The countdown has begun for Southwest Florida’s biggest boating event, and this year it’s celebrating 50 years of providing fun on the water! The Fort Myers Boat Show is our coast’s most extensive and longest-running boat show. January’s show runs the 5th-8th and features over 500 boats from over 130 manufacturers, plus accessory and equipment displays, so there’s a ton to see. Plus, downtown’s historic river district is open for business and ready to welcome you back. Whether you’re dreaming of a new boat or want to scope out the latest gear, here’s what you can expect to see at this year’s event.
An Event 50 Years in the Making
The 2023 Fort Myers Boat Show boasts indoor and outdoor exhibits along the scenic Caloosahatchee River. This year the show will not have any in-water displays as the City Yacht Basin suffered Hurricane damage and is currently closed. Several in-water exhibitors will show boats on land, and others with larger boats plan booth displays inside the convention center. The Caloosa Sound Convention Center and adjacent Luminary Hotel suffered only minor damage, and Centennial Park and streets along the waterfront are all in good shape. Completing the new amphitheater provides additional exhibit space to accommodate dealers who traditionally display in the water. First-time and returning visitors should preview the show layout to see how the displays will wind throughout the park and convention center.
Tour the Latest Boat Models
The Fort Myers Boat Show has always been the ultimate chance to see a vast selection of new and used boats all in one place, and this year is no exception! If you’re a serious shopper, carefully inspect each boat you’re interested in. From the control gauges to the upholstery stitching, go over all the details to get a feeling for the boat’s quality and comfort. Sit in every seat, open every hatch, stand on the casting platform, and imagine what owning that boat would be like. Most dealers require you to remove your shoes before boarding their new vessels, so dress accordingly. Perhaps most importantly, take advantage of the onsite staff and get answers to all your questions. That’s what they’re there for!
The Best Boat Deals
Doing homework before the show will help you navigate incentives and special boat show pricing dealers offer just for the Fort Myers Boat Show. If you already have a specific make or model in mind, plan your visit by consulting the list of participating boat lines. We’ve also compiled some great first-time buyer tips for navigating the sea of options. Make sure the entire family is on the same page and determine your budget before attending the show.
Education & Seminars
Local experts will be onsite helping boaters make the most of their time on the water. From boat maintenance to marine safety, you’ll learn from the best in the region. Stick around for daily fishing seminars covering inshore and offshore topics, where beginning and advanced anglers can learn something new. There’s no better opportunity to speak with a local fishing guide and get specialized advice on fishing here in Southwest Florida.
The Popular Be In The Know Zone Returns
What are the differences in wake zones? What do all those lights, markers, and buoys mean? How should we pass or approach another vessel? Where is it safe to run my boat? What’s the best way to tie up my boat? Go Boating Florida’s Know Before You Go display is an interactive boating information center that can answer these critical boating questions. Stop by the exhibit located outside near the fountain between the amphitheater and the convention center to talk with experienced boaters and pick up a free reference guide to keep on your boat.
Admission & Parking
The boat show is making it easier than ever to purchase tickets online, giving visitors access to a special entrance line for fast entry to the show. Plus, show organizers have made online tickets the same price as gate admission—adults are $18, and children 15 and under get in free with a paid adult admission.
In partnership with the Old Salt Fishing Foundation, the Marine Industries Association of Southwest Florida and Tampa Bay (MIA) has established the Boaters Helping Boaters Hurricane Ian Marine Industry Family Relief Fund to quickly help those most in need. Show attendees will have the opportunity to donate to the fund at the time of online ticket purchase, and 100% of the funds collected will go directly to individuals and families involved in boating, such as the marine industry, fishing industry, and marine law enforcement.
Paid parking is available in various lots and garages throughout downtown (rates vary). Head to the Edison Garage closest to the show’s main entrance or the Main Street Garage nearest the show’s marina entrance. For surface lot parking, look for the signs guiding guests and exhibitors to these lots.
Thursday, January 5: 10 am-6 pm
Friday, January 6: 10 am-6 pm
Saturday, January 7: 10 am-6 pm
Sunday, January 8: 10 am-5 pm
Please mark your calendars and don’t miss our region’s premier boating event. Get full boat show details here, and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and tag us in your pics from the 2021 Fort Myers Boat Show—you just might be featured on our page!