Archive for » March 12th, 2016«

Knoxville Boat Show floats into Convention Center this weekend


Renee King browses the Downtown Knoxville Boat Show on Friday while toting her granddaughter, Emilia Hofmann.


Mark Proffitt, co-owner of Norris Lake Boat Center, explains the advantages of a forward drive boat engine for wakeboarding and wake surfing.


Dandridge residents Don and Liz Campbell look through brochures with Norris Boat Center employee Jesse Salveson. The couple said they want to do some boating now that they are retired.

By Ed Marcum of the Knoxville News Sentinel

Like a marina but without the water, an exhibition room at the Knoxville Convention Center was packed with boats Friday as the Downtown Knoxville Boat Show launched for the weekend.

The show began Thursday and continues through Sunday, with boating-safety seminars, appearances by professional wakeboarders, and displays of more than 50 brands of boats and other products.

Ryan Jones, director of the show and sales manager for American Boat Center, said dealers and manufacturers have been reporting excellent sales this year.

“I have not talked to anyone who has had an off year,” he said.

Dealers are eager to show off new products, and the show has some new features this year, Jones said. Government agencies are offering safety classes today. These include the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary and Army Corps of Engineers, and deal with issues from life jacket safety and vessel checks to passing through waterway locks.

Wakeboarders Josh Palma, who won the Buywake .com Global Rider Search, and Trevor Hansen, who has been winning awards since 2001, will be doing meet-and-greet events today and Sunday, in which fans will get to take photographs and get autographs from both athletes.

Mark Proffitt, who along with his wife, Linda, are owners of Norris Lake Boat Center, said this is the second year their dealership has taken part in the show.

“The market is really coming back,” Mark Proffitt said. “We’ve been in the service business for over 10 years, and we went through the economic recession. Dealing with the bigger boats, we have managed to stay in business.”

Norris Boat Center has been around for 15 years, mostly transporting boats for other dealers, which helped the company weather the recession, Proffitt said. Now, it is selling several boat brands, including Four Winns, and was highlighting that brand’s forward-drive engines at the boat show.

Don and Liz Campbell, Dandridge residents checking out the show, said it was the first one they had attended. They were impressed with the displays, but said they weren’t finding quite what they wanted at the show.

“We’re looking for a bass boat, and the show seems to be more about leisure boats,” Don Campbell said.

Later, however, it appeared that the Norris Boat Center staff were not far from making a deal with the couple on a boat. On the other side of the exhibition hall, Renee King was close to finding an item she wanted for her 7-month-old granddaughter, Emilia Hofmann.

“We just bought a boat dock from Norris Docks and came here to see the plan,” she said. “I thought while I was here, I would look for a life jacket for her.”

The Downtown Knoxville Boat Show is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9, but free for children under 10.


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Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show signs new contract with its …

The Marine Industries Association of South Florida has signed a 30-year agreement with Show Management to continue producing and managing the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the parties announced Friday.

Show Management, based in Fort Lauderdale, has produced and managed the trade group’s signature boat show since 1976, when it moved to the Bahia Mar Yachting Center.

“Our marine industry has become a prominent job creator, and our region is a world-leading marine sales, refit and repair hub,” said Phil Purcell, executive director of the association, which owns the Fort Lauderdale boating extravaganza. “This agreement assures the show’s future leadership presence in our region and within the marine community.”

Financial terms of the new deal were not disclosed.