That’s what we did earlier this month when we hit the big red launch button for the 2017 Seattle Boat Show, opening Friday, January 27. I think of the show this way because every year we reach a point where the show starts to take on a personality and path of its own, a momentum that carries it to completion on Saturday, February 4. We trust the good work and planning from our staff, volunteers, and numerous business partners as we launch 50,000 boaters into another great year of boating in the Northwest. I’m not suggesting we’ve put the show on autopilot, far from that. I like to say “big show, small staff” and the next month all ten of the full-time NMTA staff will be clearly focused on our mission of putting on the most successful Seattle Boat Show yet.
This will be the 70th Anniversary of the Seattle Boat Show. The NMTA celebrates 71 years this month, the difference coming from a one-year hiatus in 1951 for the Korean War. There won’t be any balloon drops or confetti for our 70th, as we will be saving those festivities for our 75th. We’ve added some new rocket fuel to our advertising plan this year, doubling our digital advertising budget to include Facebook, retargeting, video pre-roll, behavioral web advertising, Pandora, and more. This is in addition to our traditional television, radio, print, billboard, transit, email, and direct mail advertising. If you’re a Northwest boater or interested in becoming a boater and you spend time on the internet, you’re going to see our ads and promotions!
Once again, SeattleBoatShow.com and all of our social media channels will promote and share the details of the show. Here’s a rundown of some of our new promotions as well as our tried-and-true attractions.
$3 Weekend Parking – Let’s face it, parking and traffic in Seattle can be a challenge. Attendees can purchase $3 weekend parking on SeattleBoatShow.com for the Union Station Garage near CenturyLink Field. For those guests starting their show experience at our South Lake Union location, the PEMCO garage is the designated parking lot for this promotion. This promotion was very successful last year and kept the parking garage at CenturyLink Field from filling up. Parking in the CenturyLink Field garage is $15. Special thanks to our partners at BECU for making this discounted parking option possible.
E-tickets = Best Value – Advance tickets purchased at SeattleBoatShow.com include a one-year subscription to Sea Magazine, Boating World, Boating, Cruising World, Sailing World, Salt Water Sportsman or Yachting, as well as clam chowder at FX McRory’s, a $10 gift card to Chandler’s Crabhouse, and a one-hour kayak or SUP rental from Alki Kayak Tours. Instead of offering discounted tickets for certain groups, we encourage visitors to purchase e-tickets as we feel that e-tickets are the absolute best value for everyone.
Northwest Harvest Free Admission – For the first time, we are partnering with Northwest Harvest! Attendees can see the show for FREE Monday - Thursday after 5:00 p.m. with a non-perishable food donation. Keep in mind that parking in the Event Center Garage is reduced from $15 to $5 on weeknights after 5:00 p.m.
Uncorked/Sails & Ales – We will “uncork” the 2017 Seattle Boat Show on Friday, January 27 with our signature wine tasting event thanks to our returning sponsor, Basta Boatlifts. A week later on Friday, February 3 we will kick off our closing weekend with Sails & Ales, thanks to long-time sponsor, S3 Maritime. Uncorked and Sails & Ales tickets retail for $29, but exhibitors can order tickets to share with customers and pay only $5 per redeemed ticket. This includes admission to the show, a tasting glass, and 6 tasting tokens.
Wedding On a Whim – This is the classic “old school” radio promotion! MOViN 92.5 is the number one radio station in Seattle with the number one morning show, Brooke & Jubal in the Morning. Beginning January 16, couples can enter online for the opportunity to be married by Jubal Flagg on one of the largest boats in the show. The ceremony will take place on Wednesday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m. in West Hall Booth 41. MOViN 92.5 will be selecting the winner on the opening day of the show, Friday, January 27. Thanks to our sponsors, the lucky couple will receive a suite at the Silver Cloud Inn on the night of the ceremony, photography donated by C-Images, flowers donated by Diamond Custom Floral, a cake donated by students at Seattle Central College, and a getaway to Roche Harbor Resort via Kenmore Air.
World Records – It’s been a few years since we’ve set Guinness World Records at the Seattle Boat Show. Previous records include the world’s largest Lego boat, indoor sand sculpture, and high dives into a four-foot pool of water. This year we will attempt two Guinness World Records: World’s Largest Display of Origami Fish and World’s Largest Knot-tying Lesson.
World’s Largest Display of Origami Fish – We need to build and display 1,500 origami fish to be famous! We’re asking attendees and exhibitors to pitch in. If origami is your secret passion, we hope you’ll make some fish and bring them to the show. If you’re new to the fun of origami, which is the Japanese art of folding paper, we have instructions at SeattleBoatShow.com and in the show program. Special thanks to the Bellevue Children’s Academy and Willows Preparatory School for partnering with us to smash this record.
World’s Largest Knot-tying Lesson – On Sunday, January 29, we need 500 people to spend 30 minutes with knot-tying instructor and rigging expert, Lisa Vizzini of Port Townsend Rigging. Attendees that participate will receive free admission to the show and a Seattle Boat Show hat. Lisa will be teaching in the grandstands of CenturyLink Field. We need 500 students, but have room for 67,000! If you know of a boating club or group that would like to see the show for free and have some fun let them know about this world record.
Career Fair – Our third annual Seattle Boat Show Career Fair will take place on Monday, January 30 from 9 – 11:00 a.m. Currently, we have 28 members looking to fill over 300 full-time jobs!
Yacht Club Challenge – Did you know that there are close to 200 yacht clubs in the Northwest and every year many of these clubs have a club rendezvous at the Seattle Boat Show? This year we want to have some fun with all the clubs that support the show and give some recognition to the club with the most attendees on a particular day. The winning club will take home the massive Yacht Cup Challenge Cup for their trophy case, along with Papa Pilar’s Rum and $500 for a club event.
I look forward to seeing you at the show or at another NMTA event this year. Happy New Year and I hope your business makes it to the moon and back in 2017!