If you're looking for something that floats and can get you from here to there without getting you too wet, you'll probably find it at the Tampa Boat Show.
The three-day show opens at 10 a.m. today and runs through Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center, where many of the boats already are anchored at the docks just outside the doors of the Convention Center.
One of the bigger boat shows in the Southeast, the Tampa Show has the advantage of being right on the water — or at least right next to it — so you can climb aboard and see how the boat feels in its natural environment.
But the show isn't just about boats. It's also about fishing and diving and spending most of your time on the water. Some of these boats are the size of a condo.
“This promises to be our best show yet,” said Larry Berryman, show manager. “We're showcasing more than 500 new boats, the largest number of boats the show has hosted in five years.”
The lineup of boats includes an 88-foot Horizon Motor Yacht, the largest new boat they've ever had at the show. It should keep you dry.
“There's a boat for every lifestyle and budget,” Berryman said. “And there's no shortage of attractions. Whether you're a fisherman or a diver, a novice boater or an experienced captain, we've got a wide range of activities to entertain and educate people of all ages.”
Those activities include on-the-water boat training, a chance to dive in a heated, 15,000-gallon pool and dozens of boating and fishing seminars.
Boating seminars include how to maintain a gas outboard motor; how to maintain a diesel engine; how to change a water pump; fuel system care; and keeping your boat in “ship shape” condition. All sessions come with free tips from the pros.
The fishing seminars are being handled by several local fishing guides and captains. They include light-tackle expert Capt. Sergio Atanes, a member of the Florida Guides Association, the Florida Outdoor Writers Association, and the Florida Conservation Association. Atanes will conduct seminars on fall kingfish and mackerel tactics (3 p.m. today and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday) and “Secret fishing spots of Tampa Bay (6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday).
Frank Bourgeois, a second generation charter captain out of Hernando County, will talk about shallow-water grouper fishing at 4 p.m. today, 2 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
Some of the other captains and guides scheduled to speak include Dave “The Mad Snooker” Pomerleau, who will obviously offer tips on how to catch snook; South Tampa native Dave Walker, who specializes in fishing for snook with live bait; and Steven Soults, who owns and operates Angling Adventures Charter Fishing Service in Hernando County.
Along with the seminars, boats and fishing gear, the show will feature TV personality Johnathan Hillstrand from the Discovery Channel's “Deadliest Catch.”