Try a boat before you buy at the inaugural Wilmington Boat Show is your source for free news and information in the Wilmington area.

Boat Show 1
The inaugural Wilmington Boat Show features more than 80 boat brands and family activities during the three-day event. (Photo courtesy of JBM & Associates.)

WILMINGTON – The inaugural Wilmington Boat Show is coming in September.

JBM & Associates, a 16-year-old boat show management company, is launching its first show in Wilmington Sept. 9 through 11, according to JBM President Jacqui Bomar. The boat show will take place over several locations in the Port City, including Pier 33, Port City Marina, the Wilmington Convention Center and across the Cape Fear River at Battleship Park.

More than 80 different boat styles will be on display, including skiffs, cruisers, sailboats, fishing boats and yachts. It will also give potential boat buyers a chance to try out the ride at the show’s “demo dock” before purchase. The boat show will include more than 100 vendors that will be set up along the Wilmington’s Riverwalk and in the convention center.

“This is more than our shows in both the Charleston and Savannah markets,” Bomar said. “We have wanted to bring a quality boat show to Wilmington for more than 10 years and it’s finally almost here … the Wilmington Boat Show has morphed into a major show for the boating industry and promises to deliver a first-class experience for the Wilmington/Wrightsville Beach market.”

And it’s more than just boats on display. Fishing and sailing seminars will be held for adults and children, along with other educational sessions. Children can also look forward to pirates, face painting, bouncy houses and knot tying demos. Every child who attends the Kids’ Fishing Clinic will take home a free rod and reel, as well as other other prizes.

Tour Cape Fear Community College’s boat building school, as well as the R/V Cape Hatteras, a 135-foot research vessel owned by college. Families can also enjoy live entertainment, food and activities throughout the three-day event.

The show will run Friday, Sept. 9, from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday, Sept. 11, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday mornings prior to the opening of the boat show, children can take a free one-hour pirate cruise with Wilmington Water Tours in celebration of the inaugural boat show.

Tickets for adults are $10 (adult tickets purchased online are $1 off until Sept. 8), while children ages 15 and under can attend the boat show for free. The show offers seniors and members of the military tickets for $5. And on Sunday, all first responders and military personnel are invited to attend the show at no charge as part of the show’s 9/11 tribute.

Those traveling into downtown Wilmington can park for free at Battleship Park and take the free water taxi across the river. Other parking locations include the Wilmington Convention Center parking deck and the Cape Fear Community College parking decks.

“There are very few shows in the country that have the capability to utilize venues on both sides of a river. This is a major opportunity for the show’s future growth,” Bomar said. “This is not a one hour experience. We have enough going on for an entire day or two.”

For information about the Wilmington Boat Show, including tickets, show details and a list of vend0rs, visit the event website.


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