The show runs from Thursday, Jan. 23 through Sunday, Jan. 26, with hours from noon to 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The winter boat show, now in its 25th year and fifth year at Sunroad, provides visitors the opportunity to experience more than 130 sail and powerboats in every price range and size from trailerable 20-foot boats to yachts over 100 feet, said show manager Jim Behun, who doubles as the marina’s general manager.
“There are more in-the-water boats than ever before, with a good balance between sail and power,” said Behun. “All the major sailboat lines, including some big catamarans, plus numerous powerboat lines, local boatyards and boating-related vendors, will be at the show. We’re making a push to ensure it’s fun for everybody.”
Unlike many boat shows, the Sunroad show offers new and brokerage (or used) boats on the docks. The show’s expansive tent and adjacent space feature more than 100 vendors offering services like financing, canvas, electronics, boat maintenance and supplies, surveys, furnishings, boating accessories and clothing.
With the improving economy and low-cost financing again available, the show is attracting more attention from exhibitors selling both boats and services, said organizers. The show sold out its exhibition and dock space far earlier than expected.
“We’re busting at the seams,” said sales manager Kat Ohlmann. “A number of our in-the-water exhib-itors are expanding their displays, including debuts of several new models. Interest in purchasing boats is higher now, with boat show attendance up everywhere,” she said.
The Sunroad show draws about 14,000 visitors annually.
To help “newbies” gain a taste of the boating experience, Seaforth Boat Rentals is offering free sailing lessons and San Diego Electric Boats free rides aboard its 18-foot electric Duffys.
Show tickets are $12, with children 12 and under admitted free. Active-duty military, police, EMTs and fire personnel with ID are admitted free Thursday and Friday.
Because of crowded docks, show organizers ask guests to leave pets and strollers at home, with service animals always welcome.
Parking is available for $10 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina on Harbor Island, with shuttles provided, plus close-in marina parking priced at $20-25.
Sunroad’s Island Deli will again offer hungry show visitors some tasty fare to the accompaniment of steel drums.
For more information on the show and exhibitors, visit www.bigbay-boatshow.com, or call (619) 574-0736.
— Nicole Sours Larson is a licensed maritime captain and avid