For watercraft lookie-loos with their eyes on a new vessel, it’s possible to stop by Central Florida launches to get a sense for the latest boats heading out on the water.
But it’d be a lot cooler and more convenient to attend the Orlando Boat Show, back for three days next month at Orange County Convention Center. Explore a selection of 400 bowriders, center consoles, deck boats, fishing boats, pontoons and surf boats from more than 80 manufacturers August 12-14.
The show comes at a time when the boating industry is still seeing red-hot demand. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, new powerboat sales are continuing to surpass pre-pandemic levels, with the first quarter of 2022 up 20 percent from the same time in 2019.
“The Orlando Boat Show is designed for new and avid boaters to explore the latest in boating trends, vessels, water activities and fishing,” said Jeff Husby, president of the Marine Industry Association of Central Florida, in a news release. “We are committed to raising the professionalism of the boating industry in a safe and enjoyable atmosphere.”
From personal watercraft starting around $10,000 to luxury watercraft topping $1 million, guests can browse an array of vessels that fit every lifestyle and budget. For guests interested in purchasing at the show, on-site incentives include extended warranties, service packages, waived dockage, enhanced electronics and accessory packages.
Visitors with a more casual interest in boating can explore options for renting or sharing watercraft, such as the BoatShare program from Mount Dora Boating Center. Families who wish to get on the water about once per month can participate in a shared lease program that’s more affordable than boat ownership.
The Orlando Boat Show also features seminars on fishing and boating, a trout pond for young visitors, caricature drawings and shows from Twiggy the Water Skiing Squirrel.
According to the Marine Industry Association of Central Florida, boating has a $4.1 billion annual economic impact in Central Florida, aiding more than 15,000 jobs with nearly 200,000 registered boats and 2.4 million Central Floridians hitting the water each year.
The Orlando Boat Show is 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Aug. 12-13 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Aug. 14 at 9800 International Drive in Orlando. Tickets are $10 per person; children ages 12 and younger enter for free. Convention center parking is $10. For more information and tickets, visit orlandoboatshow.com.