SCMA concerned over competing show

CHARLESTON, S.C. – The South Carolina Marine Association’s (SCMA) 8th Annual South Carolina In-Water Boat Show will be held April 10-13, 2008 at the brand new St. Johns Yacht Harbor on the Stono River, just five minutes from downtown Charleston, it reported in a recent statement.

The marina, just off the ICW, is on the site of the former Buzzard’s Roost and Stono Marinas and features wet slips with power and water for on-water exhibitors, while the landside exhibitors will have their choice of locations. In addition, show attendees will be offered on-site parking.

South Carolina In-Water Boat Show’s presenting sponsor, Bob Pilcher, vice president of IBG Partners, pointed out, “We can accommodate all boats that want to exhibit up to almost any length.”

“We’re excited about the new venue and already have several of our large exhibitors committed to bringing more boats than last year,” said SCMA Executive Director and Boat Show Chair Suzi DuRant “The additional space available to us is more than welcome as we sold out all our space at the 2007 show.”

Competition not welcome

In 2001, the out of state organization that had been producing the Charleston Boat Show, decided to withdraw in February. SCMA stepped in and put together its first boat show as a service to the boaters and recreational marine businesses in South Carolina.

“We felt an in-water boat show was an integral part of boating so, with only volunteers from our membership, we created a boat show in six weeks,” said DuRant.

SCMA has continued to increase the size of the show each year although it has been held in different places.

“We thought we had a home at Brittlebank Park in downtown Charleston,” DuRant said, “But the landside area flooded if it rained so we moved at the request of our exhibitors. This will be our third location in as many years but it also gives us a chance to showcase our members’ facilities. And we are working on a permanent location that we hope to announce early next year.”

The proceeds from the show allow SCMA, a not for profit organization, to retain a lobbyist in the state capital, keep members up to date on regulatory and legislative issues that affect boating, and provide educational opportunities. This year, the association succeeded in having the South Carolina legislature reduce the property taxes on boats and is playing a key role in the revitalization of the state’s Clean Marina Program.

SCMA said that of “major concern” is that one of its members, The City Marina Co., plans to hold a boat show the following week. Rick Griffin, SCMA President, and DuRant met with representatives of The City Marina in early August. “We expressed our concern about their show and its negative effects on the association,” Griffin said. ”They know very well that it is our major revenue source.”

“It was my understanding that our concerns would be taken into consideration, and that there would be other discussions.” Griffin continued, “but the association was never contacted again. We hope that our members, exhibitors and the boating public will continue to support our show and, in doing so, help SCMA continue its mission to grow and improve the boating lifestyle.”

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