Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat Show

At 59 feet long, the Sea Ray Flybridge 590 will be the largest boat at this year’s Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat Show.

Mike Jones

While the end of summer is always a bummer, the Atlantic City In-Water Power Boat Show is a four-day event that helps take the sting out of the imminent departure of sun, fun and frolic. It returns for the 34th year Thursday to Sunday, Sept. 7 to 10, at Farley State Marina at Golden Nugget Atlantic City.

The show is an offshoot of a pioneering concept that returns to the Chesapeake Bay in early October, according to Jay Silberman, who introduced the A.C. In-Water Power Boat Show with business partner Jerry Flaxman in 1984.

“Pete Carroll and Jerry Wood established the first in-water boat show in Annapolis in 1974, and like ours, the whole purpose of it was to allow manufacturers to show larger boats in the water than you could ever fit inside places like the old New York Coliseum or Philadelphia Civic Center,” says Silberman, whose first A.C. In-Water Boat Show was held at the since-demolished Harrah’s Marina in 1984, and four years later moved to Farley State Marina. “So from that first Annapolis show, in-water boat shows became the marquee for yachts of 50, 60 and 70 feet that you couldn’t bring indoors.”

In-water boat shows have also garnered a reputation for finding the best deals on boats of all sizes, says Silberman. Manufacturer representatives would prefer to unload their product on-site rather than haul it back to whence it came, so plenty of wheeling and dealing will be happening in A.C

Larger craft may be the featured attraction, but the show will have more than 700 power boats — from sport fishers to pontoon boats to every style of pleasure cruiser starting at 18 feet in length. Prices range from the low five-figures to more than $2 million, or “if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it.”

Among the largest boats will be the 55-foot Viking Convertible sport fisher, made just up the Garden State Parkway in New Gretna. Brothers Bill and Bob Healey founded Viking Yachts in South Jersey in 1964. At 59 feet from bow to stern, the Sea Ray Flybridge 590 will be the largest boat in this year’s show.

“Our show’s sphere of influence is a reflection of the changing trends in boating, and not just in New Jersey,” Silberman says. “We draw a lot of people from Staten Island, Long Island and other parts of the New York coastal communities who come down to see what we’ll have.

“We always try to reflect what the most popular boats are that people are buying now,” he adds. “sixty to 65 percent of what we’ll have are fishing boats. The core of the boating market is probably a bowrider up to maybe 38 feet, and then the dual-console fishing boats that companies like Grady-White, Boston Whaler, Contender and Jupiter all make are also very popular now.”

Some of the smaller craft will be dry docked on the parking lot across from Golden Nugget.

“The boat-show landscape — and not just in Atlantic City — has changed and evolved over the past seven to 10 years,” Silberman says. “Stern-drive boats ruled in popularity for years, and now it’s primarily outboards.”

Consult a surveyor if considering pre-owned

The A.C. In-Water Power Boat Show’s Marine Mart is a popular spot for boaters to find the latest in electronics, equipment, accessories, finance options and other on-the-water services.

Among the Marine Mart’s perks is a plethora of places to get help if you happen to be a novice boater, or maybe a prospective boater seeking expert advice prior to making a major purchase.

Jude Cioci, owner of Harbor Marine Surveyor in Brigantine, offers assistance to the otherwise unsure. Cioci conducts bow-to-stern inspections of boats for prospective buyers, and insurance underwriters and damage assessments for claims consultants. He typically travels from as far north as Red Bank and as far south as Cape May.

“Basically I’m like a home inspector, except for boats,” says Cioci, whose services also include boat detailing. “It can be small-craft inspections for people looking to buy an 18-footer to complete inspections for boats up to 65 feet. That would include an in-water inspection, an out-of-water inspection and a sea trial. I go over all the electrical and plumbing systems, engines and vital components.”

Nearly every insurance company requires the policy carrier to have periodic inspections on the vessel being insured.

“Banks and insurance companies need to know that what they’re backing is in good operating order, and they want an unbiased opinion on the condition of the boat before they loan money for it or insure it,” Cioci says. “That’s where I come in. And my reputation is on the line, so if I say an electrical system is mechanically sound, it had better be.”

Most of the boats he inspects for prospective buyers are previously owned, but plenty of used boats still carry a hefty price tag.

“If you’re spending $250,000 on a boat, you’re going to want somebody who knows what to look for give it a thorough inspection for a neutral perspective,” Cioci says. “That’s what’s great about boat shows — you get to meet people face-to-face and explain to them in person what goes on in a survey, which can make a difference to someone who might be reluctant to make a cold call.”