Newport Boat Show 2018 – New Boats and Boat Show Fun

newport boat show fun

boat gear
A fun-filled 2018 Newport Boat Show with clam chowder, a Dixieland Band & 8 new boats with SureShade… including Jimmy Buffett’s sail boat! [VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS]

Each year it seems more and more boat builders are choosing to debut their new boat models earlier in the fall boat season, rather than waiting for the typical debut at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November. The 2018 Newport Boat International Boat Show proved that the trend of debuting at the Newport Boat Show has never been stronger.

One of the first big fall boat shows, the Newport Boat Show gives boaters a first look at new boat models and helps build momentum into the fall season. For builders of downeast style yachts Newport is a particularly good show for them to debut a new boat model. As one Maine-based downeast builder put it “these are our peeps”.

As the marketing director for SureShade (maker of retractable boat shade systems on MANY top boat brands), I’ve been keeping a close eye on this trend. This year, we got word that several new boats would make an early debut at Newport with SureShade, so we decided to plan a trip. The weekend of 1/2 biz and 1/2 fun included Captain Brian and myself along with SureShade co-founders Dana & Ron Russikoff.

shady seltzie
A “Shady Seltzie” with Diane Seltzer & Dana Russikoff in front of SureShade equipped Vicem 46

And its a good thing we did plan a trip to Newport, because as we got closer to the show the number of early debuts grew to 8 new boats debuting with SureShade. So of course the split of business/fun changed a bit… but we still managed to make time to enjoy some New England Clam chowder and the beautiful sights of Newport.

This trip was also the invention of the phrase “Seltzie” (a selfie with a Seltzer in it) or the ever-popular “Shady Seltzie” – a selfie with a Seltzer and a SureShade in it. And there are always opportunities for us to grab a Shady Seltzie at boat shows!

SureShade at Newport Boat Show

Working for SureShade I get to see a lot of the new boat models debut at Fort Lauderdale and Miami each year. However, it’s been 3 years since I went to the Newport Boat Show because its not typically on my agenda for new boat model debuts.

My last trip to Newport was for a photo shoot with Mike Schmidt as part of SureShade’s Sun Safe Boating Campaign. In addition to being a Hall of Fame baseball player for the Phillies, Mike is also a lifelong boater, skin cancer survivor and SureShade customer and was nice enough to help us promote sun safety in boating with a special video and photo shoot aboard his SureShade-equipped boat. It just happened to be the same weekend as the annual Newport Boat Show.

jimmy buffett boat
SureShade co-owners on Jimmy Buffett’s sail boat “Drifter”

Newport is a beautiful town – I like to say it’s Annapolis times 10! – and I couldn’t wait to get back again. The boat show is much smaller than the Fort Lauderdale or Miami boat shows so it is a lot easier to navigate the docks in one day (even if you have 8 must-see boats on your agenda!)

New boats we saw with SureShade included: Back Cove 34 O (the first Back Cove with outboards!), Friendship Yacht Company’s Surfari 48 (Jimmy Buffett is the owner of the one at the show!), 3 Hinckley Yachts – Talaria 48, Picnic Boat 40 and their newest line the Sport Boat 40C, Chris-Craft 27 Catalina, Sea Ray 320 Sundancer (totally new design for the Sundancer line) and the Formula 400SSC – one of the latest in their new line of sport boat crossovers.

2018 Newport Boat Show Video Highlights

Want to see even more of the great new boats at Newport? Check out our video highlight of the 8 new boat models with SureShade that debuted at the 2018 Newport Boat Show… along with a few fun moments at the show.

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Diane Seltzer

View posts by Diane Seltzer
Diane is the founder of as well as the boating lifestyle site for kids Active in the boating industry, Diane has also led the marketing for multiple recreational boating businesses and startups.
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