RIMTA Revitalizes Providence Boat Show to Inspire Sales, Strengthen Industry

Bristol (R.I.) — The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association (RIMTA) has put a new management team, new attractions, and a new vision in place for the Providence Boat Show, one of the largest winter boat shows held in New England that takes place January 31 to February 2. The changes are not only designed to draw a diverse group of exhibitors and boating consumers: RIMTA will also use the show to strengthen the marine trades, an industry that plays an important role in the Rhode Island economy.

“RIMTA works hard to showcase the leading technology, innovative design and industry excellence coming out of the recreational boating industry in Rhode Island,” said RIMTA CEO Wendy Mackie. “The Providence Boat Show is a great opportunity to pool all this expertise into one showcase and to show recreational boaters from throughout New England what the Ocean State has to offer.”

RIMTA purchased the Providence Boat Show from the Newport Exhibition Group in fall 2013. According to Mackie, the boat show is key to RIMTA’s sustainability and growth, as income from the show will support the statewide marketing efforts RIMTA makes on the industry’s behalf, the educational and networking opportunities the organization creates for the marine trades, and legislative efforts designed to keep Rhode Island’s no-sales-tax policy on boats and boating services in place. “The show’s success is truly the industry’s success,” said Mackie.

RIMTA has tapped the expertise of industry veterans to create a new management team for the show.  Susan Daly—who has managed marketing and sponsorship functions for entities such as IYRS, the America3 America’s Cup syndicate, and Vanguard Sailboats—is spearheading an aggressive marketing campaign for the show that will target boating consumers within a 100-mile radius of the show. Patricia Yeoman, director of marketing for Nautor’s Swan USA East, is in charge of developing an expanded program of seminars and special events. Boat show veteran Jonathan Banks will manage sales and operations.

As former executive director of Sail America, Banks was involved in the production of 15 sailboat shows, including the Strictly Sail family of shows held in Chicago, Miami, Philadelphia, St. Petersburg and the San Francisco Bay area. Under his leadership, space sales for the Strictly Sail Pacific boat show grew 40% and attendance grew 30% over a three-year period.

“Rhode Island is a strong and passionate boating market, and the Providence Boat Show is the ideal venue to reach a highly targeted boating and fishing audience,” said Banks. “The team at RIMTA has many great ideas to improve the overall show experience for both exhibitors and attendees—and these initiatives will help increase attendance and add excitement to the show. There’s enormous enthusiasm for the show among our exhibitors, and we are pleased to welcome several new exhibitors to the show.”

This year’s show and its attractions are built around a central theme of Explore Rhode Island. Showgoers—from those who are new to the water, to lifelong boaters—will find inspiration and information about exploring the Ocean State on a wide range of watercraft, whether they are interested in power boating, sailing, or human-powered craft such as standup paddleboards and kayaks. Seminars are both general and specific to Rhode Island, from fishing technique, navigation, and seamanship to topics such as coastal cruising in Rhode Island waters. A showcase pavilion has been designed into the floorplan to host special guest speakers and events.

The 21st Annual Providence Boat Show will be held at the Rhode Island Convention Center from January 31 to February 2, 2014. For more information about the show, contact RIMTA ([email protected] / 401-396-9619) or visit

About RIMTA: 

The Rhode Island Marine Trades Association represents all aspects of the recreational boating industry in its home state. The organization is dedicated to growing the Rhode Island marine industry through advocacy, education, and promotion and positioning the Ocean State as a worldwide leader in the marine trades. RIMTA members are involved in a wide range of marine-trades activity; the membership base of over 250 companies includes boat builders, manufacturers, marinas, boatyards, service providers, retail and wholesale outfits, educational institutions and other organizations involved in the industry.  Founded in 1964, RIMTA today is engaged in a diverse set of issues on behalf of its members; the organization’s Board of Directors represents all facets of the industry and chair committees on Dealers, Fisheries, Legislation, Yacht Clubs, Membership, Manufacturing, Boat Shows, Marinas, Boating Safety, and Education & Training.

About American Boat Builders & Repairers Association (ABBRA)

Founded in 1943, ABBRA is a national marine trade organization that represents, is dedicated to, and seeks to strengthen and encourage professionalism in the boat building, marine service, and boat repair industry.