Charleston Boat Show begins boating season

The Charleston Boat Show has grown so large that many of the exhibits are outside of the Charleston Area Convention Center.

The temperatures might not be an indicator, but the 2015 boating season in Charleston begins this Friday at the Charleston Area Convention Center with The Charleston Boat Show.

The three-day festival (thecharlestonboatshow.com) will be celebrating its 35th year, and the show is bursting at the seams with boats, boating-related paraphernalia and activities for young and old alike.

“It’s going to be a really, really good year,” said Jacqui Bomar of JBM & Associates, which runs the show for the Tri-County Marine Trade Association.

Barrier Island Marine’s Scott Chapman, president of the Tri-County Marine Trade Association, said he expects an outstanding show to kick off a great year for boat dealers. Chapman said as the economy has improved, so has the outlook of boat dealers.

“Pretty much all of the dealers are stocking up on inventory. We are no longer operating under the recession buying frame of mind. A number of manufacturers are doing well across the country. Inventory is becoming more difficult to get. You have to make the commitment,” Chapman said.

“Winter is a slow time for boat sales and service. We all look forward to the boat show. It kicks off our selling season. Community wise, it’s the one place you can see everything happing in our industry — new models, engines and all the paraphernalia that goes along with the boating industry,” Chapman said.

Bomar said there are 21 boat dealers representing approximately 70 different boat manufacturers. Several manufacturers will be unveiling new models, she said.

Lots of entertainment also is available, much of it aimed at boating, but also including face painting, bounce castles and a remote control micro stock car race track, all part of the ticket price.

“Dan the Knot Man” Machowski will return, along with the Department of Natural Resources Fishing Simulator.

A new addition to the show will be Floaty Boat, Captain Bill, who floats through the show dressed as a boat singing and teaching boating safety.

“We’ve really stepped it up on our fishing seminars,” Bomar said.

The fishing seminars run all day Saturday and Sunday and include Fishing 101 with Brian Garris, Kids Fishing Seminar with Mike DelVisco, Reefs and Wreck Fishing with Brian Garris and Mike Waller, Understanding Sonar with Mike DelVisco, Nearshore Reef Fishing with Mike Waller, Offshore Fishing with Lee Craig and Rich Harris and Fishing 101 and Shrimping with Brian Garris and Rich Harris.

The Coastal Angler Magazine Angler Academy will be held Saturday in upstairs meeting rooms 4, 5, 10 and 11 with doors opening at 8 a.m.