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Boat Show News

What Not to Do at a Boat Show

Sarah Nadler | March 23, 2022

Our Total Guide to Boat Show Etiquette

With boat show season in full swing, you may be asking yourself what is the best way to prepare. And if you’re a first-time visitor, you may not know what to expect. Teeming with seasoned vets of yachting, industry professionals, and big-time boat buyers, an upcoming boat show may have you feeling like you’re treading water. “Boat show etiquette” most definitely exists. Read on to get our insider secrets on the dos and don’ts of attending a boat show.

Dress Up by Dressing Down

Boat shows on the dock

What to wear to a boat show is a common concern for first-time visitors and even annual attendees. What those return visitors know that newbies may not is how taxing these shows can be. Many visitors imagine the boat show as a fancy event where you stroll from yacht to yacht at your leisure while sipping champagne. And it totally can be that! However, spending hours in the hot Florida sun, plus long days on your feet, can cause many wardrobe faux pas. To make sure you are both comfortable and stylish (as well as event appropriate), keep these boat show attire tips in mind.

  • Feet First: Make sure to come to the show in easily removable and wearable shoes, as you will be taking them on and off throughout the day when touring the boats. FYI: you must remove your shoes when coming aboard any vessel (this is generally common practice in boating, not just at boat shows). Many women want to wear high heels to match the upscale vibe at the show, but this is a big no-no. With so much walking, plus the constant shoe removal, heels are a recipe for disaster. Comfort and convenience are key. 
  • Outfitted for the Outdoors: Keeping in theme with the desire to dress up for a weekend amongst luxurious vessels, some novice visitors may initially opt for fancy dress clothes, which can sometimes be stuffy, tight, or downright uncomfortable. We cannot stress this enough: comfortable clothing is a must. Think light linens, comfy cotton, and flowy frocks. Anything breathable will literally give you breathing room on hot days walking amongst dozens of boats at the show.
  • Fun in the Sun: If it is not yet clear, boat shows are hot. Between the strong Florida sun, walking around outside (hello humidity!), and the physical act of touring boats–including getting on and off ships, climbing stairs, constantly removing shoes–get ready to face the heat. Come prepared with a hat, sunglasses, and already applied sunscreen (make sure to reapply!). If you can, avoid dark colors, which absorb more heat (you don’t need any more). You’ll thank us later.
  • The Long and Short of It: While shorts are suggested for everyone coming to the boat show, given how hot it gets as the day progresses–and for comfort, of course–they are even moreso recommended for women. Touring boats, especially the larger megayachts with multiple levels, can have you climbing up and down stairs and put you in a compromising position. Let’s leave showing your body off for when you actually choose to–boat day in the Bahamas, anyone?

The Golden Ticket

Boats anchored at pier

Don’t spend your precious time waiting in long lines at the ticket booth on the day of the boat show. If you really want to maximize your time and get the most out of those sunny Florida days, buy your tickets in advance. That way, you can breeze through the entrance and head straight to those beautiful boats. You can purchase your digital tickets to this year’s Palm Beach Boat Show on their website. Forgot to order before the show? No sweat (yet)! You can always purchase physical tickets at the box office onsite.


Hunger Pains

Melting ice cream cone

Those full, hot days at the boat show are sure to build up an appetite. And with so many food vendors stationed at the Palm Beach Boat Show, there are options for every palate. However, make sure to scarf down your grub before touring your next boat; food cannot be brought aboard the yachts. We know the Florida heat will have you indulging in the most refreshing of ice cream cones at some point, but you don’t want to be the visitor dripping that sticky goo all over the quality leather or exotic wood flooring of one of those luxurious megayachts. The same goes for drinks–so make sure to raise a glass before you hop aboard. Cheers!

Bab(i)es on Boats

Couple pushing baby stroller at marina

For parents bringing their babies along to the boat show, there are some details that may be unintentionally overlooked. While baby strollers lighten the load and quite literally allow you to stroll through the show, keep in mind that strollers cannot be brought aboard the boats. Visitors are able to leave strollers by the boat entrance (often where they leave their shoes before coming onboard), but having a heads-up can help you plan ahead. Knowing what to expect makes your day that much easier and more enjoyable. 

Don’t Be a Pest About Pets

Dog steering boat

We all love our pets more than we can put into words. That being said, with so many expensive yachts to tour, the boat show is no place to bring your dog, cat, or any other animal. We don’t want to see yet another “Florida Man” news story about you bringing your pet alligator aboard a multi-million dollar superyacht; that sounds like a narrative with a not-so-happy ending. (FYI: service animals are an exception to this regulation, so you can rest easy with yours by your side.)

We’re looking forward to seeing you at the next boat show! To take a tour of your favorite yacht at the show, contact a Denison yacht broker.