Strong sponsor lineup gets behind Providence Boat Show

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), owner of the Providence Boat Show, has drawn a strong lineup of sponsors to this annual boat show with one clear result in mind: to draw a large crowd of boating consumers and ultimately strengthen the region’s marine trades. The boat show takes place January 23-25 at the Rhode Island Convention Center.

RIMTA purchased the Providence Boat Show in fall 2013, and the event makes a valuable contribution to the marketing, advocacy, and program-development work the association does on behalf of the state’s marine trades. Last year, the event saw a 15% increase in space sales and a 20% increase in ticket sales. According to Show Director Jonathan Banks, the show is poised to continue that success with help from local sponsors.

"Boat show consumers are looking for new experiences from one year to the next: they need to be entertained, they need to be amazed, and they need to find reasons to keep coming back,” said Banks. “We are pleased to announce the addition of new sponsors who are giving us the horsepower to create new attractions and build on last year’s success.”

Several Rhode Island companies have signed on as sponsors to support new features designed to attract showgoers. Chief among them is The Washington Trust Company, the largest state-chartered bank headquartered in Rhode Island and one of New England’s leading financial services companies, which has joined as sponsor of the show’s centerpiece attraction: The Washington Trust Show Pavilion. The Pavilion is the focal point of the show, with revolving events ranging from sea-to-table cooking demonstrations with the region’s top chefs, to special guest appearances, to presentations designed to both educate and inspire boaters.

New England Boating, a multimedia company that produces a television show for NESN and a magazine of the same name, has come onboard to create an exciting new feature: the New England Boating Experience. Here, showgoers can learn about all the ways they can go boating in New England—from simple and affordable, to high-speed and high-tech.

The show will highlight the Volvo Ocean Race in anticipation of the round-the-world fleet’s arrival in Newport next May. The Rhode Island stopover, hosted by Sail Newport, will be the only U.S. stopover in this 11-port event. Showgoers can learn about the global marathon so they can plan a return trip to Rhode Island next May when the fleet arrives. The 2012 America’s Cup World Series, also hosted by Sail Newport, drew 65,000 visitors and generated $38.2 million for local businesses.

Tasca Automotive Group in Providence, an automotive leader in the state, is returning for a second year to showcase vehicles that can transport trailerable boats throughout the Ocean State. Trailerable boats are generally less than 26 feet in length and constitute the vast majority of registered boats in the United States, according to the most recent statistics from the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Safe/Sea Rhode Island, a leading provider of on-the-water boat towing and marine salvage services for recreational boaters, is sponsoring an expanded series of boating seminars organized by the Annapolis School of Seamanship. Safe/Sea is also sponsoring a special two-hour “Women on the Water” seminar taught by Newport-based Confident Captain/Ocean Pros.

“The Providence show is a valuable opportunity to tell people why Rhode Island is a great place to go boating,” says Wendy Mackie, CEO of RIMTA. “It’s inspiring to see how our sponsors have matched their business goals with different areas of the show to create new ways to support the marine trades—a business sector that is vital to our state’s economy.”

As part of an effort to breathe new life into the show, RIMTA unveiled new branding and a new website this fall. An expanded marketing campaign targeting specific groups of boaters is underway. As part of that strategy, show organizers have created two new interest areas of the show—Reel Island for fishing enthusiasts and The Sailing Center for sailors.

Additional sponsors include Starkweather & Shepley insurance brokers, which is helping the show to draw star personalities for guest appearances; Helly Hansen, a provider of technical apparel that will showcase performance wear at the show;Keel Vodka, which has launched the first-annual Yacht Club Challenge to inspire yacht clubs to attend the show as a group; and the van Beuren Charitable Foundation and the Rhode Island Foundation, which have helped create a Youth Boat Build area so young Rhode Islanders can learn about marine careers.

For more information, visit or contact RIMTA at 401-396-9619.

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