BlogSeptember 2020

Virtual Boat Shows 2020: Tips for Navigating Your Experience

Virtual Boat Shows 2020: Tips for Navigating Your Experience

By Debbie Hanson

Sep 03, 2020

Tips on virtual boat shows 2020. How to attend fall boat shows online to compare the newest boat models, features, connect virtually with manufacturers

While many of the boat shows for 2020 will be held online in a virtual format, there are ways to compare the newest boat models and take advantage of the special pricing that fall boat shows offer.

Although the process of shopping for a boat may look a little different this year, you can still test, buy and service a new boat with proper preparation. If you're unsure of how to find an online boat show, or are wondering if any boat shows will be held this year in your local area, these tips can help you navigate through 2020's boat show changes:

  • Check the websites for your favorite boat show events to confirm if the show will still be held or if it will be switching to a virtual boat show format. For example, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in Florida will still take place from October 28th through November 1st of this year, but with specific health and social distancing safety standards.
  • Use online resources such as or Discover Boating that pull together event lists of fall boat shows by date. Remember, even if you're not shopping for a new boat right now, there are new features and accessories that you may want to learn more about.
  • If you're thinking of buying a boat, doing online research through virtual boat events is a smart idea to get the very best deals. Virtual events still give you the opportunity to connect virtually with dealers and manufacturers online from the comfort and safety of your own home. Manufacturers will continue to offer deals on boats and be available to answer questions. The Central New York Boat Show is one example of a virtual event that will feature new, used, and demonstration boats in an online format.
  • Keep in mind that many boat manufacturers are also holding virtual boat shows on their websites. Many of these manufacturers will be available for video chats and are a great resource for browsing listings of both new and pre-owned boats. Once you have your options narrowed down, you can call your dealer and ask to do a video walkthrough of those models, and then be prepared with specific questions so that inspections can be conducted quickly. Thanks to technology, a lot can be accomplished by email, text and phone these days.
  • If you are wondering how to buy a boat when you are ready to make a final purchase, be sure to set up a private appointment online through a boat show contact or by calling the dealer. They can inform you of the guidelines for setting up a sea trial or walkthrough. Be sure to ask if the dealer provides masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer or bring your own.

By following these tips, you can move forward with shopping for a new dream boat options in a safe manner. Learn more about the different types of boats before you visit the 2020 boat shows online. After all, what better way is there to social distance than out on the water?

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.