Some go to the shows to drool over boats they'll never own, but attending a boat show can be a great time and a smart way to shop if you go about it the right way. The St. Charles Boat Show is this weekend. Here are details about the show, and some helpful tips on how to make the most of your experience...

St. Charles Boat Show

March 8-11, 2018

St. Charles Convention Center - St. Charles, Mo.

Thursday - 3–9 p.m.; Friday - 12–10 p.m.; Saturday - 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.; Sunday - 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Admission: $9 for adults, $5 for youth age 6–12, kids under 6 are free


Score free tickets. Many marinas, boat dealers and other businesses will have show tickets to give away. It’s worth checking with them to see if they might toss a couple your way.

Pick your day. Consider going on a weekday to avoid the biggest crowds. You’ll have more time to tour the boats, and sales reps can focus their attention on you. 

Have a game plan. Visit the show website, download the floorplan and know what you want to see. If you’re serious about buying, call ahead and make an appointment with the exhibitor.

Dress for the moment. You should already know to wear slip-on shoes with non-marking soles. Also remember to wear comfy clothes for climbing all around the interiors and exteriors of boats.

Bring your smartphone. You’ll find multiple uses for your device, such as taking pictures, plugging in notes, and saving addresses and phone numbers.

Follow in their footsteps. Reading cues from other attendees is actually a helpful way to hack a boat show: people figure out where the worthwhile stuff is.

Enter to win. Bring a pen and plenty of business cards. You’ll surely sign up for more than a few mail lists and drawings as you make your way around the show.

Make it fun for the family. Be sure to check out the interactive activities and demos. If you’re trying to convert your family to the sport, a good boat show experience will help.

Learn the ropes. Some boat shows provide workshops and seminars for brushing up on your skills. Take advantage of the onsite training, which is usually offered at little to no cost.

What the heck, bring a check. Your checkbook or credit card will come in handy to take advantage of show specials. But bring that $20 bill, too. You’ll definitely use it for concessions. 

Get the best price possible. Before you make a big purchase, break for lunch or dinner and then re-approach the exhibitor. Ask what incentive they can offer to close the deal on the spot.

The St. Charles Boat Show is put on by the Lake of the Ozarks Marine Dealers Association (LOMDA). For more information about the St. Charles Boat Show, visit - for more information about LOMDA, visit

A boat like "The Entertainer" is perfectly suited for a place like Lake of the Ozarks: where boaters can expand the starboard side swim deck for extra space while coving out and then opt to spend the night aboard in the roomy cabin.