Are You Ready?

Family Boating

It is already 2020! Are you ready for a new decade of boating? What will it be like? What changes will there be? Whatever the future of boating is, why not get in on the excitement at the Boat Shows this winter and spring? Get an early start.

Boat Shows aren’t just about boats. Pick up a Show Guide and make plans to see everything that you are interested in. Dive into the swing of the Show and enjoy all the exhibits, features, attractions and seminars. Rendezvous with boating friends to reminisce and plan new adventures together. Get ready for boating in 2020!

Learn the Lingo

Like every industry, there is a dedicated language, whether it is medicine, sports, law, science, automotive, computers, just about everything—including boating. Learning to use the proper terminology in boating, makes communicating much easier when underway, when docking or describing a problem to a technician and most importantly to emergency personnel, if and when that is necessary.

Use common terms like galley, head, companionway and bilge; instead of kitchen, bathroom, stairs or basement. Terms like these used incorrectly aren’t too serious; but, when you are asked to steer to starboard and you steer to port, the consequences could be disastrous.

Go with a List

To gain the most out of the upcoming Boat Shows, a little preparation goes a long way. Go with your list of questions, ideas and things you want to check out and ask the experts about, so that you don’t forget anything. Learn as much information as you can, and also gather information to follow up on, after the Show.


Kids are boaters too and just want to have fun at Boat Shows. Look for all the interactive events for kids; so that they can not only learn about boating, but also enjoy the excitement at the Show. Their enthusiasm will stay with them, as they participate more in family boating for years to come. Kids are the boaters of tomorrow.


Check the Boat Show listings in your area and mark them on your calendar. Plan to make a day of it with your whole family.


For boaters thinking about a new boat or upgrading to a newer used boat that is more suitable to your family’s growing needs, Boat Shows are the place to go. Not only can you learn about new models, but you can also touch, feel and ask questions. The representatives in the exhibits are there to help you. Learn all you can. Take detail pictures with your smart phone for review and comparison later. See Buy a Boat With Confidence and Save Money.


Do any of your electronics need updating or do you need some new electronic equipment? Consider talking to all the electronic exhibitors at the Boat Show. Take measurements of your helm to shop for electronics to fit your space.The more questions you ask, the more you will learn.

A few years ago, when we needed a new GPS, we did just that. One important thing we learned was that, because we both wear glasses, we needed a bigger screen. Knowing that, we were able to narrow down our list and only look at the suitable units.

For 55 years the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) has created standards and professional installation guidelines for marine electronics to make boating safer and more fun.

See our article – “Don’t Buy any Electronics until…..

See Also – A Guide to Boating Electronics on the NMEA site


Most Boat Shows have trailer exhibits where you can see and get information on the one that suits you the best. Do you prefer bunks or rollers? Do you need single or double axle? What about material? See – “Ramping Your Boat


Did you notice when putting your boat away last fall that the pfd’s were worn or torn and should be replaced? Maybe the kids have grown and need bigger sizes. The Boat Show is the place to look and replace them.


Boaters love to talk and tell stories about their boating experiences—good and bad.  We have heard some horrific insurance stories that could have been avoided, if they had done their homework. Take advantage of the insurance exhibits at the Boat Show. Learn about the different coverages and find out which type is best for you—BEFORE you buy. Reviewing your policy and making changes now so you have the right coverage, could save you a lot of grief later.

Boating Course

Do you need to sharpen your navigation skills for your planned trips this year? If so, check out the Power & Sail Squadron and US Coast Guard exhibits at the Show to enroll in a course this winter or spring. Prepare for your boating season with some new knowledge to accurately plan your trip, plot your course and travel in the appropriate weather windows. And, most importantly, learn emergency procedures and prepare your crew.

Gadgets and Gear

Check out the latest in gadgets and clothing. You may find something that will make a difficult task easier for you or a family member. Does any of your rain gear need to be replaced? What about new matching t-shirts with your boat name on them? There is so much to see at a Show.


Depending on what type of boater you are, you may want to check out other marinas and what they have to offer, so that you are prepared for your next season’s cruise. Knowing what facilities are along the route and at your destination is most helpful. For example; if you need to be hauled out for a prop repair, knowing which marinas you are passing, has the equipment is most important. Or, you may just need some food. Knowing which marinas have a store, because you talked to them at the Show, will simplify your decision making. See “Docking While Cruising“.

Government Exhibits

Most often, there are exhibits at Boat Shows with information on the Lock Systems, Boating Regulations, Customs, Police etc. Take advantage of their presence and learn about the latest and most up-to-date information and regulations. Be an informed boater.


Take advantage of all the seminars offered at Boat Shows. Learn from the experts to shorten your learning curve.

Internet Research

More and more people today are looking for answers to all their questions on the internet, but BEWAREnot all information on the net is accurate, or worth following up on. It is becoming more and more difficult to determine, what is good and what isn’t, as you probably know from your industry on the web.


Do your docking skills need a little upgrading? Look for experts at the Boat Show. This is a difficult subject to cover at Shows, because each drive system requires different instructions. As a result many boaters turn to the internet; but, beware!

We have found so many websites on the internet with wannabe experts giving incorrect and incomplete boating advice, that just confuses boaters and makes their docking challenges worse.

When it comes to docking, we didn’t find much in the way of good docking advice. Most assume that all boats handle the same way. This is absolutely wrong.

Doug Dawson became a boat docking expert growing up at the family marina and perfecting his skills over the next several decades on all types and sizes of boats—both power and sail. He has first-hand experience and knows that boats handle differently, thus need different instructions.

He has written the very best docking lessons for each drive system and has them on the most up-to-date site. It is safe, informative, and friendly offering docking lessons that YOU CAN COUNT ON! They are easy to follow, step-by-step instructions with pictures, diagrams and photos. AND, when you have a question or a specific issue, you can call or email Doug to get a personal answer.

Get a head start on improving your docking skills.

Order and download the correct lesson for your drive system today. It will prepare your mind ahead of time; so you are prepared and ready to practice the correct instructions, as soon as your boat hits the water. One new tip could change your family’s enjoyment on the water. or

With your new skills, the stress of returning to the dock after a pleasant family outing on the water, will evaporate. Your family will be willing participants in the docking process, as you dock like a pro.

Be Smart!

  • Look, Touch and Feel the Excitement
  • Buy “boat show specials”
  • Learn as much as you can
  • Take in all the events and seminars
  • Follow up with exhibitors after the show
  • Sign up for courses
  • Be Smart—Get docking lessons online at and

Docking Lessons will give you a boost and prepare you for more confident boating and enjoyment. More importantly, your family will enjoy boating a whole lot more, when you know how to dock stress-free—and that is a very good thing!

2020 Here We Come! We are Ready!

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