Newport International Boat Show Sets a Course for Growth

Already one of the five largest boat shows in the United States, the Newport International Boat Show has faced some big questions about growth.

What happens when marine manufacturers from around the world want to introduce their boats at your show, yet you have 80 to 90% of all manufacturers already exhibiting?

What happens when the number of exhibitors keeps growing, and you still want every kind of boat and marine product--both power and sail--available to your visitors at that one show?

What happens when you’re also the first show of the model year, and more and more boatbuilders plan to introduce their new year’s offerings at your show?

What happens when you’re partnered with PassageMaker Magazine to exhibit specialized, large boats within your show at a separate TrawlerPort exhibit, not to mention that there are two other specialized boat shows going on in the same town at the same time?

Finally, what happens when you want to make all those exhibits easy to get around to, yet you’re required to use over 13 acres of space for the main show alone?

The Newport International Boat Show’s answer is simple: You streamline, you consolidate, and you grow.

First of all, the Newport International Boat Show will add a new marina basin for its display of in-water power and sailboats at this year’s show, scheduled to run from September 11 through September 14 along America’s Cup Avenue in Newport, Rhode Island. The additional 10,000 sq. ft. basin at Bannister’s Wharf and at the Newport Harbor Hotel Marina will allow the show to reduce the number of separate locations from five to four, yet offer even more exhibit space in total. Now all its sites--Newport Yachting Center, Old Port Marine, Bannister’s Wharf, and the Newport Harbor Hotel and Marina--are side by side with the first three offering an easy-to-navigate layout of dock-to-dock connections and with the fourth location only a few steps away. It brings the show space to over 13 acres in one, almost-continuous sweep along beautiful Newport harbor.

This year a number of international sailboat manufacturers will be debuting at the show. Elan Marine, the Slovenia-based sports conglomerate well-known for boats as well as skis in Europe, will enter the U.S. market with its line of Rob Humphreys-designed high-performance cruising yachts with it’s new Elan 40. Some of the other international manufacturers showing for the first time at the Newport Show are Najad from Sweden, the Malo36 also from Sweden, a South African multihull, Wild Cat 350, and Vilm from Germany, who’ll be showing off its Boat of the Year 2002/Best Product Cruiser by Cruising World.

According to Nancy Piffard, show director, "Thousands attended last year’s Newport International Boat Show, and a record amount of boats and accessories were sold. Thus, to accommodate the demand from manufacturers and buyers alike, we’ve made the show bigger, better, and easier to navigate."

This year, with over 750 exhibitors, 350 boats in the water ranging in size from 16 to 75 feet, and plenty of new boat and marine product debuts to investigate, both attendance and purchases are expected to be even higher. Along with the big boats, kayaks, inflatables, equipment and accessories, services such as financing, insurance, storage, surveying, repair and maintenance will be on display. In addition, there will be demonstrations, educational seminars, and workshops during the four days.

Of course, one of the main reasons that people go to the Newport Boat Show is Newport itself. Long a playground of the wealthy, the ambiance of Newport simply suggests that luxury yachting is an American right. For anyone who harbors a passion for boating, there’s only one place to be. The "City by the Sea" is conveniently located just three hours driving time from New York City and an hour from Boston with extensive train, plane and bus service to handy locations nearby. And, once in town, getting around is getting easier with satellite parking just a short bus ride to the main show site plus high-speed ferry service from Providence and other ports around Narragansett Bay docking just next door.

The show runs from Thursday through Sunday, September 11-14, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Tickets are $15/person and $25 for a two-day pass (children under 12 free with an adult) and reduced-price advance tickets and trade passes are available if ordered before August 29 (see our website at The Newport International Boat Show is produced by Newport Exhibition Group. More information is available at 800-582-7846 or on the web at