Navigating the Show

Welcome to the 21st Annual Providence Boat Show!

As CEO of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), I have the privilege of working in the marine industry and going to a lot of boat shows. I am always excited to see new boats and the latest gear and bump into friends from the industry. But I’ve never been more excited about a boat show than I am about this year’s Providence Boat Show.

RIMTA purchased this show a short 100 days ago. I say short because those last hundred days are a blur, filled with creative meetings and intensive planning and the hard work of executing to make sure this three-day event provides you and your family with everything you need to enjoy your time on the water safely and in style.

But to do that, we have gone the extra mile. Not only did we work hard with our industry, to ensure this show is an excellent marketplace with exhibitors from throughout the region bringing the latest boats and gear for sailors, powerboaters, and fishing enthusiasts. We have also built an indoor expo that incorporates learning, activities and inspiration—all wrapped into an event that showcases what the Ocean State offers to boaters. This is the closest you can get to our great New England coast, without water!

This year’s show is different from past years, so here are tips on navigating.

First, make sure you visit our Show Pavilion. Often. It’s a new hub of activity, with live sea-to-table chef demonstrations, visits from stars of the boating world, and great activities—such as a chance to operate a bridge simulator or surf on dry land. (To figure out how that’s possible, go check it out!) To learn about what’s taking place at the Pavilion, turn to page 7 and see our Show Highlights, along with our Seminars & Special Events Calendar (page 14).

Another new area of the show is the H20 Zone. It’s the go-to center for anyone interested in getting out on the water in small watercraft. The Zone has boats, experts, learning opportunities, and plenty of inspiration. It’s a great place if you want to help your child get out on the water, or if you have dreamed of setting off on a small boat of your very own.

Free seminars on a wide range of topics—from how to use the latest navigation apps to how to catch more fish—are included in your ticket price. The ever-popular Captain Jack Sprengel is back with a team of experts to run our Sport Fishing Series. And John Martino of the Annapolis School of Seamanship has also put together a team of experts to lead sessions on Navigation & Seamanship. Turn to page 14 to choose your sessions.

The show would not be complete without visits from Rhode Island celebrities—and let me tell you, we have a great treat in store for you. On Friday afternoon Newporter Rome Kirby, a member of the winning America’s Cup crew Oracle Team USA, will be here!

If there is sailing royalty, Rome is it. His father Jerry Kirby is a veteran America’s Cup racer. From an early age, Rome demonstrated the focus, talent, and heart to make it in the big leagues, and we have him and his crew to thank for keeping the America’s Cup in America. Join us on Friday at 5 pm at the Show Pavilion to help us honor Rome with the RIMTA Boater of the Year Award.

I could go on and on. (Can you tell I am a little enthusiastic about this boat show?) But I’d like to end by saying thank you to those who have made this event happen.

Thank you to our exhibitors. RIMTA is a new owner of this show, and it would have been easy to stay on the sidelines. But our exhibitors trusted us to produce a top-notch show and signed on in full force, including many new exhibitors as well as sailing companies returning to the show after a long absence.

I’d like to thank our event sponsors, including Kellogg Marine Supply, a wholesale supplier of boating products that has been in business since 1938; Starkweather & Shepley Insurance Brokerage and their excellent team of marine experts who serve our industry so well; Tasca Chrysler Dodge Jeep RAM, for being one of our state’s leading automotive dealers and for showcasing a beautiful new RAM truck at our Show Pavilion; and Wild Things, an expert at using high-tech fabrics to make apparel for U.S. Special Forces and U.S. Navy SEALs that is plenty durable enough for all of us who sail and fish and do just about any activity outdoors. Wild Things custom-built our show team apparel; watch for their team as they travel the show with great giveaways. Thank you to Jamestown Distributors, sponsor of our Boats Work for Rhode Island career activity areas, and to KEEL Vodka and Ciders of Spain.

And finally, I’d like to thank you, our showgoers. Without you there would be no boat show. So water enthusiasts and adventure-seekers everywhere, grab your PFD and Let the Boating Begin! You are about to see a show where you can explore Rhode Island—its hot spots and hideaways, its marine industry, and its legacy as the Ocean State.