Whether it’s a classic trade fair in well-tempered halls or an inwater boat show in a lively harbor: If you prepare well in advance for your visit to the fair, you will get a maximum of information and insights into the yachts that really interest you. We have compiled for you the best tips for preparing a successful trade fair stroll.
Proud yacht owners, enthusiastic charter sailors, sporty dinghy sailors or simply water sports enthusiasts interested in maritime lifestyle, technology, travel destinations and new ships – for all of them, a boat show is the perfect place to find out about new trends and developments, meet people and talk shop. Most importantly, a show gives you the opportunity to directly compare many new boat types and thoroughly inspect each vessel inside and out.
Buy boat show tickets online
Almost all boat show companies now offer to order, pay and print the ticket for the boat show visit online in advance. This is more than convenient, so the time-consuming wait in front of the ticket office is eliminated, you often even come into the price advantage of an early bird or can take the public transport to the exhibition center free of charge.
To ensure that your visit to the trade fair is a real success and that you can see and try out everything you have planned, it helps to plan your day at the trade fair in detail in advance.
Think about what you want to see beforehand. On the Internet, all exhibitors are listed on the organizer’s homepage days before the trade fair begins, along with the hall plans and stand numbers. So you can comfortably from home the “route” for the visit to the fair and consider with which exhibitor it is helpful to already make an appointment.
Make appointments in advance
If you are interested in a new boat, you should definitely make an appointment with the exhibiting dealer or shipyard days before your visit to the show – by phone or by mail. So you can be sure that they are expecting you and have enough time and also patience for all their questions. Similarly, if you are interested in technical innovations and need expert advice on the installation of new equipment. Here, too, it is worth making binding consultation appointments in advance. This also helps the experts from the exhibiting companies to prepare for their visit and to schedule time for you and your questions.
Depending on whether it is a classic indoor exhibition or an inwater boat show, where the boats are moored in the exhibition harbor, you can not only take a critical look at many different types of vessels on and below deck, but also – after making an appointment in advance – go for a ride on the boat. These sea trials at a trade fair are no substitute for a full-scale test drive, but they do give you a good feeling as to whether the boat you have chosen suits you at all. In most cases, you can tell after just a few minutes at the helm whether you feel comfortable aboard the yacht. And determines when going into the cabin and the bathroom, whether the size and also headroom below deck are sufficient.
Make a list of electronics used
Anyone needing new equipment and electronics for their yacht should not come to the show unprepared, but should have a list of the equipment components already in use. Often the finer points here are in the details, but a savvy electronics specialist will know exactly which equipment is compatible with each other and which equipment can be upgraded to a more modern version.
If you are planning structural changes to your ship and are still looking for the right shipyard for this, take copies of the construction plans of your ship with you to discuss possible feasibility on site. The same applies if you are interested in new sails or tarpaulins.
Don’t forget your swim trunks and towel
Some shows now also offer a large entertainment area where you can try out new fun sports. Wind machines propel small dinghies across a pool of water, artificial waves attract waveboarders, and in parallel you can try stand-up paddling. For many of these activities, which are included in the entrance fee, it is worth booking a slot weeks in advance. Those who spontaneously try to get on or into the water should bring swimming trunks or a suit and a towel.
In addition to the classic trade show experience – new boats, accessories, equipment and travel – many shows now offer an extensive accompanying seminar and lecture program. The seminars provide an excellent opportunity to educate yourself and make new contacts. The lectures, which are often accompanied by lots of pictures and videos, are not only interesting, but sometimes quite appropriate when you need a break from the strenuous walking around the exhibition grounds.
The information on offer at trade fairs is rounded off by various service providers in the maritime sector. In addition to a large charter area, various sailing schools and insurance providers are often among the regular exhibitors. SeaHelp, which has significantly expanded its portfolio in recent years from breakdown service to sea, is also regularly represented at numerous boat shows in Austria and Germany, as well as Italy, Spain, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Holland with its own stand.
What do you wear to a boat show? Matching, sporty clothes that are also good for getting off and on board. And flat, comfortable shoes. Even if the fair is quite manageable, you leave many kilometers behind you in the course of a long day at the fair and often have to stand. In drafty trade show halls, a scarf or warming shawl is often nice to have to protect yourself from the cold that threatens after every show.
Most important, however, are comfortable, flat shoes, preferably with a light-colored sole. When entering a new shipyard, it is usually necessary to put on foot protectors, which works much better with classic docksides or sneakers than with shoes with a sturdy heel.
For inwater boat shows that take place outdoors, you should always have a warm, wind-resistant jacket with you and optionally a cap or hat against the sun as well as sunscreen.
Take a backpack or large bag
Even if almost out of fashion: At trade shows, formally handing over a business card is sometimes handy to quickly have all the data together and continue the consultation conversation started at the show at a later time. It is often helpful to also write the type or name of the ship on this card so that the salesperson still remembers the subject matter.
And even if we all try to solve as much as possible digitally and save paper: Especially at trade shows, you often can’t avoid collecting brochures and catalogs. A large bag or, even better, a backpack help to transport the many papers well. However, a lot of information and especially detailed catalogs are also fully available on the Internet! Ask the sales consultants for the relevant links and save them carefully.
However, you will still need the large bag to pack at least one bottle of water. Even though there are plenty of opportunities for an extended snack or a tasty lunch in the trade show environment: Due to the many conversations and the air-conditioned halls, you will quickly get thirsty.
Boat Fair as a showcase of innovations
Last but not least: Use the time at the fair to let yourself drift. This is the only way to get new inspiration, become aware of products you didn’t even know existed and learn about real innovations! If you are looking for a trade fair bargain, you should choose the afternoon of the last day of the trade fair for your visit. Although it is then often no longer possible to hold intensive technical discussions with the exhibitors, various clothing items in particular are reduced once again – exhibitors benefit from every item that they do not have to dismantle again and stow away in boxes.
However, numerous manufacturers also grant a so-called trade show discount for the entire duration of the trade show, even if you don’t order directly at the booth. Those who already know that they will soon want to invest in new sailing equipment or a music system for their boat can benefit from these attractive prices.
However, the feeling of being at a trade show and being able to see and try out the new products for yourself is no substitute for ordering on the Internet or by mail. The personal exchange, the conversation with each other and the casual meeting with many other water sports enthusiasts can only be achieved by visiting a offer trade show.