Seattle Boat Show – The Largest Boat Show on the West Coast

For years, Scott and I have been going to the Seattle Boat Show. This show is in January and is located in two spots. One at the Century Link convention center and also at Lake Union. At the convention center they have a lot of ski boats, fishing boats, lots of booths and a handful of sail and large power yachts.  They offer a free shuttle to Lake Union where they have a lot of trawlers and a power yachts.

We stopped at a few booths, mainly with the purpose of talking to marinas. We quickly found out that many marinas don’t offer space for live-a-boards, or if they do, they have a long wait list. (Yikes, we don’t have a boat yet, but once we do, we’ll need a spot!).  We did talk at length with Foss Harbor Marina in Tacoma. Very nice guy and they don’t have a wait list. In fact, one of their residents happened to be there and she not only sold us on the marina, but also on composting toilets. (yes, odd, but very useful info).  He said we could come down any day and take a tour, which we will do one of these Saturdays. With Scott working from home, he has the flexibility to work anywhere, so this could be perfect.

We did talk to City of Des Moines Marina, Port of Everett Marina, Port of Edmonds and Shilshole Marina. Some had a few wait lists and some didn’t. Guess we’ll have to figure that out when the time comes.  
From there we also talked to yacht charter and lesson companies. We talked at length with Bellhaven ASA Sailing & Power School in Bellingham. Here we can get our certification to bareboat a catamaran anywhere in the world. San Juan Sailing also offers this service. 
Another fun thing we would like to do is simply charter a power boat here in the PNW and there are many companies, that offer day training and charters, including Ship Harbor Yacht Charters, Blue Pacific Yacht Charters, Crown Yacht Charters and Anacortes Yacht Charters. For information and rates, visit their websites.
We found a few new cool items too (of course, when we’re finally boat owners!). One was the Electric Paddle. Simple idea, your small motor runs off a battery and it can last up to a few hours. Perfect for your tender. This company is local and is based out of North Bend, WA!

Another new product to the market is Bella d’Vine the “ultimate outdoor beverage holder” from Sun Chaser products. They retailed for about $15 and we definitely will get these when the time comes.
For long term cruisers, you might wonder how do you get your mail? Well, we found a company that does just that! Dockside Solutions will receive your mail, scan it and forward it to you. How cool is that!?  And this is also a local company based in Seattle. Visit their website for rates.
 Scott immediately fell in love with Yacht Controller. This device lets a captain single handle his vessel with a joy stick. They can range in price of anywhere from $9,000-16,000. One cool thing about it, is it controls your prop in seconds (or a few rotations), whereas if you did it manually, your prop would rotate too many times to making docking more difficult. Scott does not want to be “that guy” coming into the marina where everyone is watching him dock the boat and then hit a piling.
We did see a few boats that inspired us, but to be honest most of the boats at Lake Union were all trawlers and we are not looking for a trawler. It’s just not our style for a live-aboard. Again, older Meridians are perfect for what we are looking at. The ones they had at the show, were a bit too small.  We did go on the Meridian 408 Aftcabin 2007. Keep in mind, we’re looking for something we can live on, so it has to be “apartment like”. Here are a few shots of it:

One thing we look for at shows is storage. Notice above, the closet. That’s a big one compared to most. We look to see how many storage compartments are under the bed, under the couch, etc.  We also look to see how they utilized the storage. Here are a few cool ideas:

It was a cold and damp day, so we didn’t spend a lot of time lingering around all of the yachts. If we found a warm one, we definitely took our time to check it out! I like the idea of a fireplace, but Scott felt it was a waste of space. Sure, on a hot summer day it would seem so, but when it’s 40 degrees outside and you live on it then that’s a different story.
Needless to say, this was a quick show for us due to the weather. We are looking forward to the Fall show, Boats Afloat at Lake Union next September where it should be warmer.

For now, look for my next blog on “new reads”. There are so many new books coming out, that I can’t keep up. Follow me on Twitter at @allyr2 for tips and stories about boating!