"We are so lucky to have a show of this magnitude in San Diego," said Jeff Hancock, show manager and part of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), which produces the event. "At the same time of our event is one in New York City, and they are shoveling snow off the ground."
According to Hancock, who has been the show manager every year except the first one, this is the perfect opportunity to find excellent prices on boats and equipment.
"This is a buyers' market because of the time of year, which is slow for the boating industry," he stated. "The dealers want to make deals. Furthermore, with all the exhibits, vendors and displays, you can see in one afternoon what, literally, might take you a month of driving all over Southern California to find."
However, the show is more than simply a chance to find good prices on boats. From the most experienced boater to the novice, there will be something for everyone.
"Once again we will be offering free sailboat rides [from the Marriott Marina], which is always a popular activity," said Hancock, who developed a lifelong interest in boating when, as a 10-year-old, his father took him to the New York Boat Show. "No previous sailing experience is required."
The show also will accommodate those who like to dream a little and wonder how "the other half" lives. There will be a number of yachts available to view at the in-water display at the Marriott Marina. In total, more than 500 boats will be on display both on land and in the water, including yachts, powerboats and sailboats.
The Take Me Fishing Center returns after its debut at last year's show. Attendees can visit the fishing information stations, a casting pond or a mobile aquarium stocked with local fish in addition to participating in daily seminars. The Discover Boating Center staffed by highly experienced boating experts is designed as a comprehensive resource to help the novice make the right decisions toward an enjoyable experience in boating.
"This might surprise a lot of people, but often you can purchase a boat for far less than a car," Hancock said.
Plenty of activities and fun will also be available for kids.
"The waterskiing squirrel is back again," exclaimed Hancock, noting one of the most popular events at the show. "There will also be puppet shows, boat painting, giveaways, the balloon man and many other great experiences for kids."
One annual promotion that helps emphasize safety is on Saturday and Sunday, when Allstate Boat Owners Insurance gives all children under the age of 12 a free life jacket while supplies last.
Hours of operation are Thursday and Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.,"¨and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The marina portion of the show closes at 6 p.m. every day.
San Diego Convention Center and Marriott Marina is located at"¨111 West Harbor Drive. Admission prices are $10 for adults, $5 for youth ages 13 to 15 and free for children 12 and under. Tickets can be purchased online at www.san diegoboatshow.com. San Diego police, firefighters and military with a valid ID will receive free admission on Thursday, Jan. 3 and Friday, Jan. 4.
For information, visit www.sandiegoboatshow.com or call (858) 274-9924.