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Make the Most of Your Boat Show Experience



Boat shows provide an excellent opportunity for novice and seasoned boaters alike to see what’s new in the industry. It also presents a good opportunity to climb aboard the boats and talk with a dealer, who can answer all the questions you may have. Being prepared when you get there goes a long way toward helping you find the right boat for you and your family.



Do a little homework before you go


Doing some research before you head to the show will go a long way. Visit the boat show website and review the map. There’s a LOT going on at a boat show, from boat and accessory displays to seminars–not to mention food and beverage options galore! Knowing where you want to go before you arrive will save you time and prevent you from getting side-tracked. Speaking of side-tracked, there are many different types of boats on the market today. To best determine the right boat for you, take a moment to answer these simple but all-important questions. The answers will help you determine what type, size, hull design and even brand of boat is best for you and your family.


  1. What are your primary uses for this boat going to be? Fishing, skiing, tubing, cruising, overnight excursions or all of the above? Some boats are more suited to a particular activity, while others are well-rounded for a variety of activities. Know what those are so you can get the best boat for the activities you’ll be enjoying.
  2. What type of water will you primarily be boating in? The design of a boat makes it better suited for different waters. For example, the Coastal Explorer series is good for shallower, inshore waters. If you’re going to be boating where waters can get really rough, you need a hull design that cuts through the chop and provides a safer and more comfortable ride. Learn more about Grady-White’s legendary SeaV²® hull.
  3. How many people will you have on the boat? You’ll need to be sure that the size of the boat, as well as the seating arrangements, will accommodate the number of people you will typically take on your new boat.
  4. What brands have long-term value? Buying a boat can be an investment if you purchase one that will retain its value. Grady-White is known for exceptional attention to detail and quality boat construction, which means your boat will retain its value long after you and your family have enjoyed years of boating. It can provide a lifetime of service or be a great value when trading to a larger boat one day. Learn more here.
  5. Research the boat manufacturer and see how long they’ve been building boats. What is their reputation, and what do their customers have to say about their service after the sale? Grady-White has the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the market. See what real Grady-White owners say about their boats.


Once you’re at the show


Be sure that you are speaking with someone qualified to answer your questions. Some booths are not manned by qualified boat dealers, so ask about their experience before you start a conversation. If you are new to boating, let the dealer know. A good dealer will be able to speak in terms that are easy for you to understand.


  1. Ask about the boat’s safety features. For example: is it really self-bailing?
  2. What is the hardware made of and how is it secured to the boat? Check out the structural integrity of the boat–this is your chance to touch and feel for yourself to see if it’s sturdy and durable. Learn more about Grady’s design integrity.
  3. What kind of support will you receive after the sale?
  4. Ask to take a test ride. You can’t really tell how a boat will ride when it’s sitting on the floor at a show. Take the time to test ride the boat and see how its hull reacts to waters similar to where you’ll be doing your boating. The best case scenario is to be able to test drive the boats you are comparing on the same day in similar water and conditions. Learn more about Grady-White’s legendary SeaV²® hull.


Most manufacturers will be offering special pricing and buying incentives at the boat show. Don’t let that push you into making a hasty decision. Ask the dealer how long the offer will be in place–most will continue for a short time after the show. Go home, review your list of questions and be sure the boat you’re buying meets the requirements you set forth before you went to the show. Weigh all the facts right down to the lifestyle that the boat will offer. Boating isn’t just a hobby, it’s a way of life. Learn more about the Grady-Life here. We’ll see you on the water!