The new virtual event does what the boat show always has — connect shoppers with 160-plus exhibitors, link learners with experts, and help the boatless find boats.

“Start Online. End up on the water.” The tagline for the new approach to this well loved event pretty well sums it up. The Seattle Boat Show is going digital this year, and it’s still THE place to go to shop for the boat of one’s dreams, compare boats all in one place, take advantage of exclusive boat show deals, attend seminars, network with other boaters, enter to win contests and prizes, and plan how, when and where to get on the water in 2021.

The show will take place Thursday, January 28 through Sunday, January 31, 2021. There will be four levels of ticketing, starting at only $5 (Mate) and going up to $89 (Admiral) — each price allowing different levels of access to content, as well as value adds like a Boat US membership, a Waggoner Cruising Guide, and a subscription to SEA Magazine.

Attendees can view hundreds and hundreds of boats and accessories from the comfort of their couches and connect with the 160+ exhibitors via live text chat or by scheduling Zoom, FaceTime, phone, or in-person meetings for boat and product tours and to discuss special show pricing.

The three-dimensional show floor will feature the iconic Seattle Boat Show red carpet and allow boaters to simulate cruising the aisles. Many exhibitors will have a virtual porthole into their showroom floor and retail locations. Attendees can explore the 3D virtual scans and feel like they are visiting businesses around the region and getting a glimpse behind the scenes.

The ability to connect with and learn from other boaters is another new and exciting feature. The Community Forum will have topic-based channels such as fishing, sailing, or cruising where boaters can chat, ask questions, and share tips and resources.

With more than 100 hours of seminars and streaming content, attendees can learn and be entertained by the best of the best in their fields. Content includes:

Boat Show TV

New with the virtual show is Boat Show TV — 34 hours of live streamed entertainment hosted by KOMO TV’s Denise Whitaker (an active Northwest boater) and the Northwest Marine Trade Association’s Peter Schrappen.

Boat Show TV will include: cooking demos by Chef Ethan Stowell on preparing his favorites from the sea; a behind the scenes look at the hit TV series Below Deck from Captains Sandy and Lee; a conversation with Daniel James Brown, author of the New York Times best-selling Boys on the Boat; Master Classes on preparing cocktails and coffee; chats with experts on cruising with your pet, exercise on board and much more. Access to Boat Show TV is free. 

Boating Seminars

Thirty-four hours of boating seminars will run the gamut from the practical — anchoring techniques, sail trim, no impact docking, or diesel engine basics — to the inspirational, such as the Cruisers Panel talking about coconut palm beaches and passage planning, as well as exotic destinations and making dreams a reality. 

Fishing seminars

Fishing seminars at the boat show have always been known as the place to learn from the Northwest’s top-notch fishing experts. The virtual show will be no different and an added bonus is that some of the seminars will be delivered from the water — something previously not possible — allowing attendees to see the presenters’ tips in action, not just theory. There will be 30 fishing seminars. New topics this year include: 

  • Squidding by Boat in Seattle: catch, clean, cook, and consume, featuring Chef Taichi Kitamura, executive chef and co-owner of Sushi Kappo Tamura, and Paul Kim of Seattle Squid Fishing Charters
  • Puget Sound Cutthroat Fishing
  • Washington State’s Best Saltwater Fishing Opportunities
  • A four-part series on tuna fishing airing daily
  • Fishing in British Columbia, Canada
  • Seminars on fishing in Eastern WA and the Washington Coast

Boat Show U

Boat Show U this year will consist of 15 2-hour advanced seminars from some of the smartest boating minds in the business. Four classes a day will be presented for all four days of the show. Although not in person, attendees will still be able to ask the instructors questions and get responses during portions of the classes. A unique asset to the virtual experience, the courses will be recorded and can be viewed online until February 7 so attendees can be sure to see them all or re-watch segments with particularly complex information. Handouts can be downloaded and viewed later, or used as a checklist on your boat.

 Presenters and topics include: 

  • Nigel Calder talking about electrical troubleshooting and how to eliminate expensive gensets for power generation on a boat.
  • John Neal and Amanda Swan Neal with tips for conducting long passages
  • Annie Feyerheisen, a Harborview nurse and liveaboard boater on common boating medical issues, how to resolve them and what emergency equipment should be on board.
  • Leonard and Lorena Landon, the managing editors of the Waggoner Guide, on the top places to visit by boat in Southeast Alaska. 
  • Weather router, Bruce Hedrick on the many new weather products now available online and how to make them part of weather planning for a safe and comfortable cruise.
  • Captain Linda Lewis with techniques for boat handling on a twin-screw boat and how to use the advanced capabilities of the Navionics on an iPad or other mobile devices.

All of the Boat Show U classes are included with Captain ($49) and Admiral ($89) tickets, an incredible value since, in the past, individual Boat Show U classes have been $55.