by Cynthia Goss
When the Rhode Island Boat Show gets underway in five venues the weekend of May 4-5, it will not only be an opportunity to see sail and power boats, meet industry experts, learn about gear and equipment, and experience the Ocean State’s waterfront and its boating lifestyle. It will also be an opportunity to learn.
Rhode Island Boat Show logo
The statewide boat show—which takes place in Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Wakefield, and Warwick—is offering sail and powerboat clinics for all levels to add to the fun and excitement at this Ocean State happening. Each venue at the show will feature a different series of programs.
'We are thrilled to give attendees an opportunity to learn at the Rhode Island Boat Show,' says Wendy Mackie, CEO of the Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA), which endorses the show. 'These classes are geared for all levels—whether you’re a beginner, or a seasoned boat-handler. They are also a great way for experienced boaters to give family or friends an introduction to the sport.'
Sailing classes will be run by Narragansett Sailing at the Bristol, Jamestown, and Warwick venues on cruising sailboats that range 30 to 36 feet in length. Powerboat clinics and seminars—presented by Freedom Boat Club and Marinemax, and taught by Confident Captain—will be offered at the Warwick venue; the powerboating program is run in conjunction with Discover Boating, a nonprofit awareness program run on behalf of the North American recreational boating industry.
Admission and parking are free at all venues of the Rhode Island Boat Show. There will be a fee, with advanced registration, for the clinics and seminars. Details on all classes are below.
Learn from one of the state’s top sailing schools at the Rhode Island Boat Show. Narragansett Sailing will be offering sailing classes at the Bristol, Jamestown, and Warwick venues on cruising sailboats that range 30 to 36 feet in length.
A two-hour Introductory Lesson to Basic Sailing will be held each morning and afternoon of the two-day show. Beginners will have an opportunity to sail onboard a cruising sailboat and learn the five simple steps that make a boat move through the water. Participants will also learn sailing commands, the basic Rules of the Road, and have an opportunity to helm the boat. This is a great way for individuals who are new to sailing to test the waters with an expert onboard to guide them.
Narragansett Sailing will also run a mid-day Basic Docking class. This is an invaluable opportunity to work alongside an experienced boat-handler to learn, experience, and deal with the forces at play when docking a 30-foot-plus sailboat in close quarters.
The Introductory Lesson will run twice a day on both days of the show—from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m., and from 3 to 5 p.m. The Basic Docking class runs from 12:30 to 2 p.m. on both days of the show.
Space is limited, and each class can accommodate a maximum of five participants. Classes are $25 each. Register in advance with Jim Spiro of Narragansett Sailing (email@example.com / 401-250-5496).
Discover Boating will be at the Warwick venue of the Rhode Island Boat Show to help powerboaters improve their skills and learn new ones. This series of clinics and seminars—presented by Freedom Boat Club and Marinemax, and taught by Confident Captain—is an invaluable opportunity to learn from professional instructors while onboard and underway.
Showgoers can choose from four different hour-long clinics that will provide instruction on specific powerboating skills, or attend two separate three-hour seminars that provide more in-depth onboard experience.
The hour-long clinics are $20 each, and the following sessions will be run both days of the show.
Participants will hone their docking skills and practice close-quarters maneuvering in the Fundamentals of Close-Quarters Powerboat Handling clinic. This clinic includes skills such as boat control in confined spaces—such as when close to other boats, piers, docks and fixed objects—how to turn around in tight spaces, how to back down a narrow channel in a straight line, and other important docking and maneuvering skills. This clinic is designed for all boaters who wish to increase their competence and confidence in docking situations. Held both days of the show from 2-3 p.m.
In Advanced Docking and Close-Quarters Maneuvering participants will learn how to confidently maneuver a boat in tight spaces. This clinic covers advanced, precision boat control and docking techniques including how to dock confidently in wind and current, recovering and maintaining control in gusty winds, using spring lines, and more. This clinic is ideal for experienced boaters and for those who want to move up in boat size or class. Held both days of the show from 12-1 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.
Participants will take the helm in the Open Water Boat-Handling and Seamanship clinic to learn the skills they need to be a competent boat operator, including handling waves and wakes safely, determining vessel right-of-way, how to correctly use the sound signals required by the Rules of the Road, passenger safety while underway, and more. This clinic is for skippers and crew of all experience levels. Held both days of the show from 12-1 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.
Anchoring and Multi-Vessel Rafting Techniques covers seamanship skills that help insure the safety of a vessel to increase a boater’s enjoyment on the water. Participants take part in hands-on anchoring exercises and learn how to set an anchor securely, weigh anchor, free a fouled anchor, anchor in adverse and changing conditions, and use anchoring to manage emergency situations. Each session will also include techniques for rafting up with other vessels at anchor. This clinic is designed for skippers and crew of all experience levels. Held both days of the show from 2 to 3 p.m.
The three-hour seminars are $99 each and the following sessions will be run both days of the show.
In Powerboating Made Easy, a boat becomes a floating classroom while participants get a broad hands-on education in important skills such as close-quarters boat-control techniques, docking, route planning, basic Aids to Navigation, Rules of the Road, how to handle large wakes and manage building waves and seas, anchoring, techniques for rafting up, and passenger safety while underway. This seminar is ideal for new boaters and for seasoned boaters who have had no formal training. Held both days of the show from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Docking can be nerve-wracking—especially in tight spaces, unfamiliar marinas, or when the wind or current kicks up. In Advanced Docking and Precision Boat Control, participants will learn how to make their boat do exactly what they want it to do by learning to assess challenging close-quarters situations and develop docking and maneuvering plans, maintain complete vessel control in gusty winds, use spring lines in docking and undocking maneuvers, communicate with crew, and more. This seminar is ideal for all boat operators who have basic boat-handling skills, regardless of boat size or propulsion type. Held both days of the show from 1 to 4 p.m.
Space in the powerboating clinics and seminars is limited and showgoers should register in advance. To register and learn more about the Discover Boating series at the Warwick venue, visit the Rhode Island Boat Show website.
The Rhode Island Boat Show will be held May 4-5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission and parking are free. The show’s venues include: Bristol (Bristol Marine & Fleet Yacht Sales, 99 Poppasquash Road); Jamestown (Conanicut Marine Services & Latitude Yacht Brokerage, 1 East Ferry Wharf); Middletown (West Marine, 379 West Main Road); Wakefield (Silver Spring Marine, 362 Pond Street); and Warwick (Marinemax & Brewer Greenwich Bay Marina, 1 Masthead Drive).
This event is also an opportunity for those from out of state to visit and see what Rhode Island offers—including the state’s no-sales-tax policy on boats that are sold and registered in Rhode Island, and on boating services such as refits, repairs, storage, mooring, and berthing. Many out-of-state individuals have already made the Ocean State their boating home: approximately half of the 44,000 registered boaters in Rhode Island live in other states.
For more information, visit the show’s website at Rhode Island Boat Show or call 401-396-9619.