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
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TIPS FOR HOW TO DO THE BOAT SHOW RIGHT
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.
The old adage says that all boats are a compromise. The Formula 430 Crossover is built to prove that wrong.
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.
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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 www.stcharlesboatshow.com - for more information about LOMDA, visit www.lakeozarkboatdealers.com
PHOTOS: 2017 Fall In-Water Boat Show At Captain Ron's
Dreaming about an upgrade? Plenty of boaters cruised the Fall In-Water Boat Show last weekend, shopping for new and pre-owned boats at the popular year-end sales event.
Take a look at what was for sale—and who else might have been interested—in our photos below...
(Photos by Al Griffin Photography. See one of you? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll shoot you a price for a high-res version.)
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