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Old 03-11-2018, 12:48 PM   #21
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I believe the value in attending a Trawlerfest lies in the seminars and networking with the trawler community, and not in the boat show.
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Old 03-11-2018, 12:54 PM   #22
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I went to a TrawlerFest in Baltimore a couple of years ago. I was underwhelmed. There were a dozen or so boats for sale there and the seminars were held in a pretty small room that was overfilled. There was a row of vendors along the dock going out to where the boats where on sale. A few of the vendors sold boat "stuff" the rest were for insurance and docks and other auxiliary things.

The best part of the whole thing was the discounted slip fees at a marina in the Inner Harbor. It was a nice marina.
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Old 03-11-2018, 01:14 PM   #23
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Trawlerfest isn't a boat show, not in spirit or actuality. It's a festival. It's about the seminars and gathering and then just boats tossed in, but not very much in the way of selection.

I would say Ft. Pierce is even less boat oriented as there are plenty of boat shows in the area. The Miami Show was earlier and the West Palm Show later this month. That's on top of FLIBS in the fall.

Now, I would say having the kids with you was a definite issue. I'm not saying it was as much the brokers being bothered by kids as just surprised. At a local boat show in the convention center with boats from 20-60', you'd expect to see kids everywhere. At Trawlerfest, just not so much. Doesn't mean there was anything wrong with being there with kids.

I hear people talking about the seminars being very good and I never hear that about the boats.

Interesting to read your comments on the vendor requiring the full sign up to see a boat. My pet peeve with shows and the reason we don't do boat shows. I just want to look, not talk, not give my life story, not give information. I wouldn't have filled out the card. It's like web sites that require signing up to see the information. That's what I have extra email addresses I never check for.

Sorry your expectations were so at odds with what you found.
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:04 PM   #24
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Interesting to read your comments on the vendor requiring the full sign up to see a boat. My pet peeve with shows and the reason we don't do boat shows. I just want to look, not talk, not give my life story, not give information. I wouldn't have filled out the card. It's like web sites that require signing up to see the information. That's what I have extra email addresses I never check for.
Exactly.
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:25 PM   #25
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I "mostly" go along with what B&B said.

My experience with 3 t-fests over 20+ years is just the opposite.

The one I went to in the 90's, I saw people doing what I wanted to do in the future. I was inspired to one day be an owner of the kinds of boats that were there, and do that kind of boating. (It worked.)

About half of the seminars are quite good, and half are meh. You don't know until you go in. Usually it is about the presenter, as to whether it's any good or not.

But like a lot of things in life, you pay your money, spend your time, end up with some nuggets to walk away with that make the $/hours worth it. A golfer spends 5 hours to play 18 holes and he/she is happy with a couple of good putts or drives.

And, I found our boat at the last one I attended, so it worked out at least for us.

------------

I would say if you are looking for a focused shopping experience, get a reputable broker, give him or her your parameters and then go see boats with the broker.

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As to filling out a card (name/ph/email) in order to see a given boat, I really don't see the big deal. Keeps at least some less serious people out of the way. Most sales people are so lame at follow up that you aren't likely to be harassed anyway.

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Old 03-11-2018, 02:26 PM   #26
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I have said this more than once: They should piggy-back Trawlerfest onto a big show. Have it be either in a nearby marina or a nearby town on the same dates. I would love to goto Miami or FLL (or any of the others like Annapolis) and find a trawler-centric dock or, after wandering for a day or two at the MIA show, take a short drive to spend a day at the quieter and slower trawler "display".
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Old 03-11-2018, 02:42 PM   #27
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I have been to the FLL show twice.
I have no reason to go back. I own a boat and I am content with my boat.
I would rather go to a toy show and seminar show.
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Old 03-11-2018, 03:03 PM   #28
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been on both sides of this coin....

most dont understand the cost in time and money to show a boat at a show....and the damage foot traffic does, let alone getting it there.

based on how many serious buyers are there...I cant blame them if they strip searched you.

educated buyers dont go to shows anyhow.

last show I went to unless I was working one, was in the 1970's.

unfortunately, show organizers should publish the rules up front.... but no one would go then.
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:22 PM   #29
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I "mostly" go along with what B&B said.

My experience with 3 t-fests over 20+ years is just the opposite.

The one I went to in the 90's, I saw people doing what I wanted to do in the future. I was inspired to one day be an owner of the kinds of boats that were there, and do that kind of boating. (It worked.)

About half of the seminars are quite good, and half are meh. You don't know until you go in. Usually it is about the presenter, as to whether it's any good or not.

But like a lot of things in life, you pay your money, spend your time, end up with some nuggets to walk away with that make the $/hours worth it. A golfer spends 5 hours to play 18 holes and he/she is happy with a couple of good putts or drives.

And, I found our boat at the last one I attended, so it worked out at least for us.

------------

I would say if you are looking for a focused shopping experience, get a reputable broker, give him or her your parameters and then go see boats with the broker.

------------
As to filling out a card (name/ph/email) in order to see a given boat, I really don't see the big deal. Keeps at least some less serious people out of the way. Most sales people are so lame at follow up that you aren't likely to be harassed anyway.

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I think all Trawlerfests are not created equal and you see fewer boats in Stuart because you have so many other boat shows in the area.
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:38 PM   #30
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Sorry to hear about your experience. But not surprising. Your perceptions are probably correct, but you can't let other's decide your experience.

I attended my first and second in 2013 and 2014. We were in the process on buying Dauntless during the first one. It's not the place to actually look at boats in a serious manner, unless you have a million bucks.

I don't understand you vendor comment about only 20 vendors. The hundreds of vendors is what made it worthwhile for me.
Not sure what you mean by hundreds of vendors?? Maybe when you went in 2013 and 2014. There were literally only about 20 vendors this time. If there were more, I have no clue where they were.............
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:49 PM   #31
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Casey, I get the same treatment at boat shows. For you, It might be because you had your kids with you. I was told that brokers are not too crazy about them boarding boats. They touch things. Not saying that yours do, but just in general. Or perhaps you're a minority, which I am, and suspect might be the reason.

I talked to a broker friend about my lousy experience at my first boat show which I brought my 10 year old son to. He offered that it was likely because I had a child with me and how they don't like that. So, I started going alone or with my wife. But I noticed that I'm still ignored (not necessarily bad) and sometimes the salesmen are short with me when I ask a question. I once started a conversation with a sales rep of a budget brand boat and my wife noticed that the guy was brushing me off. She interjected by making a comment that indicated to the salesman that we own a boat and were looking to move up. He seemed very surprised by this and became polite and happy to talk to us. I had lost interest at that point.

I don't get the snobby treatment at the product booths though. I find the people to be nice and eager to talk about their products.

Btw, I dress just like most boaters when attending boat shows. Khaki shorts, polo shirt and Sperry deck shoes.

Odd that I don't get this kind of treatment when I go to other business establishments. Even shops on Rodeo Drive. But no Sperry's there, I put on Ferragamo loafers. Maybe I should wear them to boat shows.

But there's a positive to this. Now that I'm accustomed to this treatment, I no longer feel guilty of being aboard and no one bothers me when I tour a boat.

Funny that you would say that about the kids. Interestingly enough I had two broker / reps tell me how well behaved my kids were. (we are very diligent parents when it comes to our kids and good behavior). One even went on to ask me if I had a boat because my kids seemed well behaved and "at ease" when walking around on board. I do agree that this isn't an event well suited for kids in general. On the other hand, a huge influence in our boat buying decision is how well the kids like the boat. After all, they'll be spending much of their young lives on it.
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Old 03-11-2018, 04:52 PM   #32
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I think all Trawlerfests are not created equal and you see fewer boats in Stuart because you have so many other boat shows in the area.
That's true, I'm sure each one has its own flavor. All of mine were Seattle area.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:11 PM   #33
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Thanks everyone for the input and comments. All well noted and I have obviously chalked my experience up as a "lesson learned". In an effort to explain a few things, I offer this....we brought our kids with us because coming from North Carolina, this was a 3 day trip for us. We turned it in to a mini-vacation of sorts. Had this been a day trip for the wife and me, we would more than likely would have left the kids at home with the in-laws. Also, the kids have never been on a live aboard and I wanted their opinions on the idea of living, at least part-time, on a boat.

As far as the vendors, honestly I got the impression most were bored. Which I totally understand. I overheard one guy at his insurance booth tell the rep at the broker booth beside him, "this is dead, I'm gonna walk around some". He was the only person in his booth so this left it unattended until he returned. I was in law enforcement for 30 years and I guess I observe things differently and see things sometimes that others may not. I can read people very well.

Although disappointed, this event wasn't a total bust for us. We did learn a few things, saw some really nice boats and met some nice people. We'll add all that to our ever growing list of boat buying research.

Thanks again for the input.
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Old 03-11-2018, 05:19 PM   #34
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Thanks everyone for the input and comments. All well noted and I have obviously chalked my experience up as a "lesson learned". In an effort to explain a few things, I offer this....we brought our kids with us because coming from North Carolina, this was a 3 day trip for us. We turned it in to a mini-vacation of sorts. Had this been a day trip for the wife and me, we would more than likely would have left the kids at home with the in-laws. Also, the kids have never been on a live aboard and I wanted their opinions on the idea of living, at least part-time, on a boat.

.
I think it was totally appropriate to take your kids and have no doubt they were better behaved than most adults. Just, as you said, they were a rarity there and not what the brokers expected.

Of course, wrongly prejudging potential buyers costs sales too.
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:01 PM   #35
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Sorry it didn't go well but we went to several in past years and it was great. One thing I'd say is perhaps you were mistaken about used boats because it tends to be a showcase for new trawlers, not that you have to be in the market for a new one but gives you the feel of layouts and priorities . I'd agree about Kadey Krogen, it does seem a bit snooty the way they control access, but they weren't really on our short list anyway. The seminars remain a big benefit and still have a great staff of instructors. I'd agree the variety of vendors has been better in the past...
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Old 03-11-2018, 07:13 PM   #36
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I don't have anything to say about Trawler Fest specifically - but I haven't been to a boat show in about 15 yrs because of all the reasons given in previous posts. They are just not worth the cost of admission, hassle and parking. I find it lots more productive to contact vendors directly (ie phone their showroom/shop) and ask for 'boat show' prices during boat show times. Of course you loose the 'browse and buy' factor - but if you can research and know exactly what 'boat item' you're looking for beforehand, you can speak to vendors quickly with a product code.

Oh - of course not so appropriate if looking for an entire boat
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:06 PM   #37
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Wifey B: I go to like a bazillion boat shows a year...all online.

You can see so much of what you once needed shows for in photos, videos, and virtual tours online now. No, you can't get the feel, but you can decide what boats you want to get the feel for.
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Old 03-11-2018, 08:43 PM   #38
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I went to TFests back in the last century when they were run my Georg K. They were a real festival back then. No new boats only owner boats open for tours. Some may even have been for sale but you had to check with the owner. No signs.

The seminars were hit and miss. Mostly miss. The presenters were not paid so you would drive 4 hours and find the hotel janitor was giving the RADAR presentation because the radar tech rep. got a better deal. Several big-name boat designers were presenting but I think they were beaten and starved before the show. That's the only way they would have gotten an attitude like that. The Coast Guard showed up once and gave a GREAT presentation on fire, MOB, flares - all the safety stuff. They looked great and they were free.

The best presentations were the people at your table for lunch and nightly crab-fest. These TFests were in Solomon Island MD which was worth the trip by itself.
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Old 03-11-2018, 09:09 PM   #39
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At the Miami boat show, I was impressed we got our shoes back. I guess folks attending boat shows are honest.
Per the one vendor who said he was bored and was going to walk around, when I was in a booth answering questions, at some point I would get bored or tired and needed to walk around to stretch my legs.
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Old 03-12-2018, 08:48 PM   #40
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At the Miami boat show, I was impressed we got our shoes back. I guess folks attending boat shows are honest.
Per the one vendor who said he was bored and was going to walk around, when I was in a booth answering questions, at some point I would get bored or tired and needed to walk around to stretch my legs.

I'm sure they do get board and restless throughout the day but the event started at 10:00 and this vendor took his "stroll" at 11:15.
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