2016 US Power Boat Show Review.

As we had planned, we attended the US Power Boat Show in Annapolis, MD this past weekend.  Much to my delight, the weather was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, which was a huge improvement from the Trawler Fest rain show.  We arrived on Kent Island on Saturday morning around 10ish.  We decided on our way that we would plan to spend the majority of Saturday at Mears Point Yacht Sales for their open house and then spend the majority of Sunday at the Power Boat Show.  I had purchased two-day tickets for both of us for the boat show but figured Sunday might be less crowded so no big deal.  The people at Mears Point were very welcoming and very kind.  We gave them some contact information in their office first and then they told us that we were free to roam about the docks and board any boats with the red, white and blue streamers on them.  (Boats without streamers belonged to private owners and were not for sale.  Well, at least not during this open house.)  They also said that one of their employees named Bruce would be roaming the docks in case we had any questions.  They provided us with a printed list of what boats were at the docks so we could determine which ones we wanted to check out.  And then, we were off!  I was a bit anxious that the experience would be a lot like buying a car…stop at the lot to window shop and end up being hounded by employees that really want to sell you a new car.  But, I was really, really pleasantly surprised when it was NOTHING like that.  The boats were all very clearly labeled and all the doors were open, making it feel okay to just board random boats that you don’t own with no one around.  The icing on the cake was that there was a Silverton 38 Convertible at the second dock from the parking lot.  I couldn’t contain my excitement as we approached it, hoping that all the pictures I had looked at weren’t horrible representations of the actual vessel.  On our way to the Silverton, Bruce emerged from the docks, said a quick hello and then told us to holler if we had any questions.  He disappeared about as quickly as he had appeared and we continued on our way.  Suffice to say, I was not disappointed by the Silverton AT ALL!  Actually, I felt like the hundreds of pictures I looked at prior to boarding the Silverton were perfect representations.  I immediately fell in love.  It was easy to board, with designated “step spots” that were molded into the boat and plentiful handholds.  The cockpit was large, open and equipped with the “fishing package,” which included a designated tackle station, rod holders, a sink and an ice maker.  The steps up to the flybridge felt safe, with plenty of handholds and steps big enough to fit my entire foot on.  The flybridge was large and provided plenty of seating.  Josh seemed pretty pleased with the Captain’s Chair, too.  We also determined that isenglass is a must and I was pretty happy with how easy the panels seemed to go from closed to open without much effort.  Another perk, there was plenty of room for a dog bed, which is kind of a big deal when owning a severely needy, 60 pound pitbull with an extreme case of separation anxiety.  Then we went inside.  And I fell in love all over again.  First entering the salon, it was really open and you could see the entire way through the salon, past the galley, to the main stateroom with no problem.  There was plenty of space in the salon, with natural light pouring in from the big glass door and plenty of seating options.  I’m confident there was enough room for a dog bed without interfering with anything else or the ability to walk through the salon, which will keep the dog happy.  Which is a definite plus.  The galley was as I had imagined, compact and sunken from the salon by four small steps down.  The amount of cabinet storage in the galley was incredible!  I could easily see us being able to pare down our necessary “kitchen stuff” to be able to fit just fine in the galley.  There was no oven, but, there was one of those microwave convection ovens, which I still need to research.  Not a deal breaker at this point, especially if I can bake cookies in this microwave convection oven contraption.  The second stateroom was the first door on the left, past the galley.  Again, I was not disappointed.  The second stateroom would easily satisfy our desire to additional storage room with the ability to clear it out (if we need to) for guests.  There was also a hanging rod already installed above the beds, which we planned making part of our to-do list once moving aboard, so that was cool.  There was also a door to be able to access the shower in the second stateroom, across from the foot of the beds.  The shower was quite a bit bigger than I anticipated, easily accommodating us, with a “seat” molded into the boat which will make leg shaving substantially easier.  Across the “hall” from the shower was the second part of the split-head, the vanity and the toilet.  The room didn’t feel tiny, despite the large amount of storage under the sink and the many mirrors.  I could easily get ready for work in there!  There was a door into the main stateroom from the vanity / toilet room.  The main stateroom didn’t disappoint, with a large bed and steps up both sides in order to be able to climb into the bed.  I will say that the bed is quite high.  There are four decently sized drawers built into the foot of the bed.  So the story goes, those drawers can be removed and replaced by a washer / dryer combo.  The particular boat we were on did not have the washer / dryer so I still want to see how that works, but, the bed is high enough to accommodate the height of a washer / dryer combo, so it’s pretty high!  There’s a good amount of storage in the main stateroom, though I’m sure while we’re still working, we will need the extra storage space provided by the second stateroom.  And, of course, it appears as though there will be plenty of room for the dog’s third bed in the stateroom.  (At this point, the dog’s “need list” has been satisfied.  A marina that will sign for his Bark Boxes that get delivered monthly by UPS, a place that he can bask in the sun whenever he wants to and enough room to have a bed in every room that I might end up sitting in.  Congratulations, dog!)  Overall, I feel like the Silverton is a really solid choice for us at this point.  The idea of living aboard while still working, albeit not our current jobs, but still jobs, seems feasible from this boat.  We boarded a bunch of other boats at Mears Point including a Carver 41 CPMY, Hatteras 53, Sea Ray 400 Sedan Bridge, Silverton 37 Convertible and a Silverton 42 Motor Yacht, but nothing seemed as “right” as the Silverton.  I think I’m hooked!  Around 1430, Bruce appeared again, this time emerging from a golf cart.  He seemed a little confused when he asked, “You guys are still here?!  Did you at least go eat lunch?!”  I hadn’t realized we’d spent nearly 4 hours between about 20 boats, climbing on and off, letting our imaginations run wild.  Bruce’s mention of “lunch” made my stomach immediately begin growling and I realized I was pretty thirsty after four hours out in the sun.  We took a break to get a quick bite to eat before deciding that we had just enough time to go check out some of the boat show since we had two day tickets anyway.

We paid $10 to park at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium and took the free shuttle bus into the city.  It seems like that was a pretty good idea, as we passed parking garages closer to the boat show that were charging $35 for parking.  The shuttle bus ride also provided us the opportunity to get to see some of the city of Annapolis, as there was a ton of traffic.  The city of Annapolis is pretty cool and very much unlike any city I’m used to visiting.  It was clean, there were a bunch of people out walking their dogs, riding bikes and sitting at patio tables on many of the sidewalks, talking, eating and drinking.  The historic homes downtown were in very good repair and I didn’t see a single “CONDEMNED” sign.  It was very, VERY much unlike Harrisburg.  As Annapolis seems to be the biggest city near Kent Island, I imagine we’ll be traveling to Annapolis for some things, so I was happy to see it seemed like a pretty nice area.  (The “corrections” in me is still curious about crime in both Annapolis and on Kent Island, but, I haven’t done that homework yet.  I doubt it’ll be a deal-breaker either way, but, I’d like to have an idea, anyway.)  Purchasing our tickets to the show beforehand and being able to just present them on my phone was the way to go – no line, no confusion, get-a-wrist-band-and-go-on-in.  We spent some time walking through the tents and around the vendors to scope the lay of the land out.  From boats to clothing to navigation systems to animal stuff to dinghy’s, this show had it ALL!  It was almost overwhelming until I saw people walking around with cocktails.  Cocktails are always a good idea, especially when attempting to maintain patience among a sea of people who are in a hurry to get absolutely nowhere.  We found a beverage vendor and continued about our expedition.  Josh led the way, eyeing all of the beautiful boats, and I trailed behind, people watching.  Honestly, I’m still reeling from my people watching experience.  I know that we don’t have much “experience” in the boat world, but, I was amazed at how many women I saw, walking the docks in what appeared to be cocktail dresses and high heels, draped in jewelry that glittered in the sun’s rays.  The majority of the men were dressed in sport coats, or at the very least collared, button-up shirts, and what appeared to me to be dress shoes.  Josh was in shorts and a t-shirt and I was in Walmart jeans and rubber Crocs.  I don’t often feel out of place, regardless of what I’m wearing or what place we’re in, and I certainly didn’t feel out of place there.  But, I was curious about these “fancy boat people.”  I’m still not really sure how the women board the fancy boats in their high heels without breaking their necks and how the men don’t get wrinkly sport coats while sitting in the Captain’s Chair, but, I’ve conceded to the idea that somewhere out there must be a “heathen boat people” club, too.  It must have just been that the heathen boat people club was underrepresented at the 2016 US Power Boat Show in Annapolis.  (I plan to continue wearing my Walmart jeans and Crocs in support of the heathen boaters until I find some more like-minded people to critique my attire.  Cocktail dresses and high heels are not in my future.)  We boarded a few boats at the main show and then decided to catch a water taxi to the “Brokerage Cove,” just a block away from the show.  The Brokerage Cove provided us the opportunity to board a 43’ Silverton Sportbridge, which was a pleasant surprise.  The 43’ was a bit more than I think we need (a second head and a considerably bigger second stateroom), but, it was nice to be able to check it out and know for sure we don’t NEED it.  It started to get cool so we caught the shuttle bus and headed back to the truck.  It had only been a few hours since we ate lunch but my stomach was protesting again.  We made our way back to Kent Island and checked into our room at the Holiday Inn Express, where they had upgraded our room to a water-front room, for free, due to room availability.  Sweet!  We checked in, quickly dropped off our stuff and then headed for dinner at the Fisherman’s Inn.  Dinner was fantastic and we were exhausted, so we headed back to the hotel, with full bellies to pass out.  Shortly before falling asleep we got to see three deer in our hotel’s backyard.  It was a familiar reminder from our current home against the backdrop of our new home – really, really cool.

Sunday, we checked out of the hotel and decided to venture back to the boat show early to miss most of the crowd.  Our plan worked well as it was much less congested and a whole lot easier to actually visit the vendors without being caught in the flow of the mass movement of people.  Given the relative quiet so early, we got a chance to talk “numbers” with a boat financing guy which we both found helpful to confirm some of what we had read about what we should be expecting.  Satisfied with our boat show experience, we headed back to Kent Island to grab a late lunch before hitting the road for home.  We finally got to experience The Jetty – a place I’ve been eyeing for a few years.  The Jetty was a cool little place where we got to sit outside, right near the dock, and watch people come and go on their boats.  The food was good – I highly recommend the Chesapeake Burrito!  They even offer a “doggie menu” for the four-legged friends.  We hit the road around 1600 and made great time coming home, discussing our adventure the entire way.

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