(Feb. 14, 2020) Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club’s annual Seaside Boat Show will return to the resort for the 37th year, with more than 350 boats, 50 dealers and 150 vendors, at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street, this weekend, Feb. 14-16.
Dealers and exhibitors will feature the latest and most popular models, and many are offering special show prices during what has become one of the most popular boat shows on the East Coast.
Visitors can browse an array of sport cruisers, sport fishing, performance and “super boats.” Financing and insurance is available for interested buyers.
The show grows in popularity every year, drawing thousands of water and boating enthusiasts to the resort to see various equipment and supplies, such as boat electronics, canvases, wave runners, jet skis and pontoon boats. More than 17,000 people attended the show last year.
“People come to see the latest line of boats,” Boat Show Chairman Charlie Dorman said. “Plus, every penny that is made on this boat show goes back into the community. That’s why it’s named ‘the boat show that works for children.’ Every cent goes back in our community projects with the children.”
Exhibitors will be selling state-of-the-art marine electronics, trailers, motors, boat lifts, dock builders, paddle boats, fishing and other water sports-related gear, in addition to jewelry and artwork.
“The main reason I think it’s a popular show is they sell more boats here – from what I understand from the dealers – more than any other show in the area,” Dorman said. “A lot of dealers say they see people in Washington, they see people in Baltimore and they come down and make their final decision.”
New this year will be a seminar on Saturday beginning at 11 a.m. with Scott Lenox, of “Hooked on OC” fishing TV show.
Lenox, as the main speaker, will discuss flounder fishing in the bay. Dorman is also expecting a presentation from the Maryland State Police, Department of Natural Resources, Coast Guard Auxiliary and a representative from Mid-Shore Electronics.
The Ocean City-Berlin Optimist Club sponsors the event and is a local affiliate of Optimist International. The chapter has 114 members and is recognized as one of the top clubs in the volunteer organization.
The Seaside Boat Show is also one of the major fundraisers for the Optimist Club’s children’s programs. All of the funds raised are used for youth activities and community service in Worcester County.
In the past, the show has supported Worcester GOLD, Diakonia, the Worcester County Fair, Worcester Youth and Family Counseling Services, Boy Scouts, oratorical contests, WEXL banquet, Junior Achievement, Youth ID, art contests, reading programs in the elementary schools, the drama program at Stephen Decatur High School, essay contests, an art show in Berlin, after-prom parties, and scholarships at the three county high schools.
For more than 30 years, the club has provided scholarships totaling more than $3 million to more than 400 Worcester County seniors at Stephen Decatur, Snow Hill and Pocomoke high schools, Dorman said.
“All the middle schools, high schools and elementary schools all ask for funds and we support them – anything that has to do with children who request money,” Dorman said. “We look at [the programs] and we supply funds that we can give to them. So, it’s all about the kids.”
In addition, anyone who buys a ticket to attend the show will be eligible to win a Sweetwater 18-foot pontoon boat with a 40 horse power Suzuki motor valued at $21,000, courtesy of North Bay Marina. The Fenwick Island, Delaware business has donated a pontoon to the show for the last three decades.
“The biggest, biggest draw that a lot of people come, is because there is no other boat show on the sea anywhere on the East Coast. That for the price of admission of $10, you can get a pontoon boat,” Dorman said. “You get to win that thanks to North Bay Marina who has given to us for the past 34 years. Thanks to [owners] Scott and Mary McCurdy for doing that.”
Admission is $10 for a day pass or $15 for the entire weekend.
The Seaside Boat Show runs from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday; and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.
For a chance to win a boat, attendees must include their name, address and phone number on the tear-off section of the admission ticket and put it in the raffle container.