OCEAN CITY – A boat show that benefits local youth will return to Ocean City this weekend.
The 37th annual Seaside Boat Show, sponsored by Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club, will return to the Roland E. Powell Convention Center Feb. 14-16.
Held each year on Presidents Day weekend, the boat show attracts thousands of water and boating enthusiasts to view and purchase the newest and most popular boat models and water-related items.
“Everybody that lives on Delmarva lives within 75 miles of either the ocean or the bay, so there are a lot of folks that love boats and love to fish,” Optimist Club’s Charles Smith said. “Everything they could ever want or imagine will be at this boat show.”
As in years past, the boat show will feature more than 350 boats, 150 exhibitors and 50 boat dealers. The large number of boats sold each year at the event makes it one of the most popular shows on the east coast.
“Last year we had our best year ever with 16,000 people going through the boat show …,” Smith said. “We are hoping the weather forecast holds this year and that we get another good showing.”
Dealers and exhibitors will offer numerous special show prices throughout the weekend, and financing and insurance companies will be on hand to facilitate boat purchases.
Visitors will be treated to an array of sport cruisers, sport fishing, performance and “super boats.” The boat show also will feature marine electronics, trailers, canvas tops, motors, jewelry, art and fishing gear.
Smith said one of the biggest attractions that keep people coming to the boat show each year is its door prizes. Each person who purchases an admission ticket has a chance to win a pontoon boat and motor, courtesy of North Bay Marina owners Scott and Mary McCurdy.
“North Bay Marina has donated a pontoon boat and boat motor every year for over 30 years,” Smith said.
Smith noted that this year’s event will also feature Seaside Boat Show T-shirts, which will be on sale for $16, as well as speaking engagements at the Ocean City Performing Arts Center.
“On Saturday, at around 11 a.m., we’re going to have a speaker or two there talking about boating and fishing,” he said.
Dubbed “the boat show that works for kids,” proceeds raised from the event allow the Optimist Club to support local youth through contests, awards banquets, activities, scholarships and more.
“One hundred percent of the proceeds go to children’s programs, mostly in Worcester County,” Smith said.
Each year, for example, the Optimist Club gives away $75,000 in college scholarships to graduating students at Stephen Decatur, Snow Hill and Pocomoke high schools. The organization also sponsors the Stephen Decatur High School WeXL Banquet, an annual scholastic recognition ceremony.
Smith noted that income from the boat show also supports community programs, including Ocean Pines and Ocean City recreation and parks departments, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services’ CASA program, and Project ID, a program that photographs and fingerprints children entering the school system in Worcester County and in Selbyville.
“Each year, we do this program for 1,800 to 2,000 kids,” he said.
The Seaside Boat Show will be open on Friday, Feb. 14, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 15, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is $10 for adults and $1 for kids. A weekend pass is available for $15.
For more information, visit www.ocboatshow.com.
The Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club has more than 115 members and is recognized as one of the best clubs in the Optimist International organization. The local affiliate has served the community since 1972.