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President's Report
January 2018

Happy New Year!! Here at the office and at home the holiday decorations are coming down and it feels like summer or at least an early spring is right around the corner. Just knowing the days are getting longer puts a smile on my face and gets me thinking about my boat, plus the other 240,000 registered boats in Washington.  Over the years I’ve talked with many boaters that consider their annual trip to the Seattle Boat Show the official start of their boating year which is music to my ears. 

Our tagline for the 2018 Seattle Boat Show is MORE: More Locations, More Boats, More Gear, and More Free Parking. For our exhibitors and members, the plan is for more attendance and more sales.  This will be the 19th Seattle Boat Show in CenturyLink Field & Event Center. It’s essential we keep pushing the show forward with new attractions and promotions to keep the show fresh and a can’t-miss event.

Our number one new attraction this year is the addition of Bell Harbor Marina on the Seattle waterfront, just 1.4 miles from the stadium. Bell Harbor Marina will feature over 50 new and brokerage boats up to 100 feet. We’ll have boats doing sea trials and the 150’ Point Ruston Ferry will be docked in the marina serving hot food and drinks.

Our number one promotion this year happens across the street from Bell Harbor Marina in the Bell Street Pier Parking Garage (2323 Elliott Ave.) where we have free parking for attendees that buy e-tickets online at SeattleBoatShow.com . We’ll have more shuttle busses than ever running in all directions so our guests can easily get to our three locations.  

Right now, I am pleased to report boaters have received the message because our e-ticket sales are up nicely from this time last year. New boat sales in December and the fourth quarter were fantastic. December saw new boat sales up 52 percent in units and 160 percent in value. For the fourth quarter units were up 24.5 percent and the value was up 30 percent. This means for 2017 Washington new boat sales were up 6 percent in units and 15 percent in value over 2016. 

Don’t forget about our other promotions that attract attendees every year – over 220 free boating and fishing seminars, 24 advanced Boat Show University courses, our signature Friday tasting events – Uncorked and Sails & Ales.

Just as exciting, SeattleBoatShow.com was completely rebuilt this fall, and is contributing to our strong ticket sales. One of our goals was to streamline the “path to purchase” of e-tickets. We’ve accomplished this, and showgoers can easily purchase tickets on their phone in 90 seconds. Searching and viewing the list of over 400 exhibitors, nearly 1,000 boats, 250 seminars, and 7 partner hotels has never been easier.

New Boat Show in Anacortes! May 17 – 20

I’m pleased to announce the NMTA and the Anacortes Chamber of Commerce recently finalized plans to co-produce the new Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show at the Port of Anacortes’ Cap Sante Marina in Anacortes, May 17-20, 2018. 

Our vision is to create a complete destination show from stand-up paddleboards to superyachts and everything in-between that serves NMTA and Anacortes Chamber of Commerce members. It’s been a pleasure to work with the Chamber because our missions to serve and support our member businesses are so similar.

We plan to have in-water display space for new and brokerage boats. A shoreside tent for accessory displays. Shoreside space for trailerable boats, and are working on plans to include the new and brokerage boats on display at the dry storage facilities just south of the marina. We have space to display 300 plus boats which will draw serious boat buyers from across the region.

One of my favorite sayings is “boating means something different to everyone”. Sail or power, cruise or fish, fresh or salt, big or small, expensive or on a budget - the beauty of Northwest boating is that we have it all and we can do it year-round. NMTA’s mission is to “grow boating”. We want non-boaters to discover the boating lifestyle and current boaters to use their boats more often.

Frequently I hear boat show attendees ask where the affordable or small boats are. Sometimes I try to explain the economics of boat shows to these attendees or simply just agree there aren’t enough boats in their price range. This leads to another shared vision for the show - to do whatever we can to keep costs low for exhibitors and boaters. That said, the largest expense for a boat show is advertising and if we want to attract boat buyers we need to advertise. I’m confident we can thoughtfully balance these two needs – affordability for our members with a large enough advertising budget to attract attendees for a quality show.

The Anacortes waterfront and community are a perfect venue to showcase recreational boating and fishing outside of the hustle and bustle of Seattle. Anacortes is personally one of my favorite places in the Northwest and where I keep my own boat. It’s only 90 minutes from Seattle and looks, smells and feels like boating from the minute you arrive.

We’ve built the foundation for a great show. We have confirmed dates, May 17-20, a show name - Anacortes Boat & Yacht Show, created a nine-person Boat Show Committee (five from the Chamber and four from NMTA), created a budget and display rates. NMTA and Chamber members can expect a boat show application before the Seattle Boat Show opens on January 26 and we are working on a new show website now.  This will allow our staff to talk with members during the Seattle Boat Show and help them determine if the show will be a good fit for their business.

The NMTA Board, Anacortes Chamber of Commerce, Port of Anacortes, local businesses and I are all excited about creating the next great boat show in the northwest for our members. 

See you soon at the Seattle Boat Show and hopefully again in Anacortes.


George Harris
NMTA President/CEO
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