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It is that time of year where hundreds of boats and people flock to the docks for boat show season. From your biggest yachts to personal water toys you can find it all at a boat show.

But, whether you’re attending to buy that boat you’ve had your eye on or just excited for a fun day out it is important to know a few important tips on etiquette,  especially if it is your first show. We’ve polled boat dealers and the organizers to gather a list of the do’s and don’ts.

Boat Show Etiquette:

  • Generally, you should wait to be invited on board one of the boats you’d like to tour, or ask permission prior to boarding.
  • Always remove your shoes before boarding a boat at a show. Wear comfortable shoes that are easy to slip on and off.
  • Don’t demo a boat or request a sea trial unless you are truly interested in purchasing. If you know which boat brands you are interested in trialing, call the dealer you plan on working with ahead of time to make an appointment for the show.
  • Most shows do not allow strollers on floating docks. Be sure to plan accordingly.
  • If you must keep your cell phone on while touring a boat, make sure your ringer is on silent, and show respect by excusing yourself from your tour if you receive a call.
  • Do not request to use the head (bathroom) on board, find one ashore at the show.
  • Be safe! If you, a friend, or your children don’t feel 100% comfortable around the water, visit a Sea Tow Foundation Life Jacket Loaner Station at the show and pick up a life jacket to borrow for the day. The station has a wide range of sizes from adult to infant. The large crowds can make maneuvering the docks difficult. One wrong slip and you could fall in.


With so many seminars, vendors, products and delicious food you are sure to have a fun-filled day exploring many boats. Just follow the main rule: relax and have FUN!

Sea Tow Team

Sea Tow has been the premier leader in on-water boating assistance since 1983. We want to share news, press, tips and all things boating.

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