Owners love compliments and it's a pretty good way to start a conversation. In learning mode I would ask owners what kind of boating they do most of the time, day trips, short cruises extended, etc. I'd then ask what they like most about their boat and what they would change if they could or would look for in their next boat.
Walking, gawking and talking boats can be fun and interesting.
2008 MS 34 HT Trawler