•Boat show easing back into water•
Preparations continue for the South Carolina In-Water Boat Show in Charleston next month, the first in the Lowcountry since 2007.
According to organizers, dock spaces are filling up for the April 12-14 event at Daniel Island’s Waterfront Park at River Landing Drive and the Wando River. The South Carolina Marine Association sponsors the show, which it is reviving after six years.
South Carolina-built boats such as Scout Boats, Sea Fox and Beneteau will be taking part as will out-of-state vessels such as MJM Yachts in Boston.
Dealers from across the state will display boat designs from Sea Ray, Whaler, Meridian, Cobalt, Regal, Edgewater and Chaparral, show backers said.
“We are thrilled to have the SC In-Water Boat Show back this year,” said Dave Wallace, vice president of Operations at Scout Boats.
“The sales we have seen in Miami Beach and other boat show locations indicate it is prime time for showcasing our product and encouraging the public to enjoy recreational boating,” he said.
The Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach earlier this year reported the largest show in its 25-year history, with a 16 percent increase in boats participating from 2012 to 2013, according to the SC In-Water show supporters.
Boaters at the Charleston area show will be able to gain awareness of marine resources, accessories, safety and regulations. The S.C. Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and the Power Squadron will be onsite for the Charleston event. The new Charleston fire boat and police boat will be on display, according to organizers.
At the Daniel Island site, an existing city of Charleston dock will be complemented by portable floating docks and spud barges.
Attendees can walk along the docks and check out boats on display. They can also view dozens of boats on land. Other highlights include boatbuilding displays, boating and fishing demonstrations, live music, local food and a children’s area. Tickets are available online for $8. They are $10 at the gate.
Children 12 and under enter free, and a discounted ticket is available for students and active military at $5.
The marine association, a trade group for the recreational boating industry and boaters in the state, “owned and operated” the S.C. In-Water Boat Show from 2000 to 2007 before dropping out.
For more information on the show, visit www.scinwaterboatshow.com.
•Keeping kids safe while boating•
Forget a child’s life jacket or it doesn’t fit? Try a loaner, said a watercraft group’s foundation, which is seeking more sponsors to lend out the vests.
Annapolis, Md.-based Boat/US Foundation said applications will be accepted through Sunday to be sanctioned as a life jacket site.
There’s no cost to serve as a loaner location. According to the program’s website, the Lowcountry has at least three sites: the City Marina, Bristol Marina and the BoatUS operation in Charleston.
The designation of loaner spots is part of the foundation’s Life Jacket Loaner Program for kids, which helps parents, boaters and anglers get the right-sized life jacket for youngsters, according to the foundation. “Children’s growth spurts and last minute changes to the roster of invited guests can conspire against you,” said Alanna Keating, the program’s outreach manager. The free program, which on average loans out life jackets more than 140,000 times a year, makes it easy, she says.
Launched close to 20 years ago, the program has saved at least three children’s lives.
There are more than 500 locations across the country, and the nonprofit is looking for additional sites. There’s no cost to take part.
Applications can be sent to www.BoatUS.com/Foundation/LJLP. The public then votes on the choices.
“The voting process allows us to best gauge those communities with the greatest need for a loaner site,” Keating said. “We also want applicants to help spread the word about keeping kids safe with our life jackets.”
The new sites are made possible by a donation from the Naional Marine Bankers Association. Sites accepted into the program receive a life jacket loaner kit, which includes the life jackets for kids, promotional materials and easy-to-use sign-out sheets to track usage, the foundation said.
“All we ask for in return is that the life jackets are made available at no cost to the boating public and kept at a readily accessible but secure location, and hosts periodically let BoatUS know how the program is going,” she said.