Sailors, boat dealers delighted at Bristol’s leg of the Rhode Island Boat Show


If the fair winds and sunshine wasn’t enough to lure boating enthusiasts to Bristol’s waterfront this past weekend, then maybe it was the chance to view or climb aboard one of the new or used vessels on display at the Rhode Island Boat Show.

This was the third year for the boat show with Bristol Marine designated one of five venues that welcomed boating enthusiasts to one of the first outdoor trade shows of the season.

“It’s not your typical show,” said Andy Tyska, president of Bristol Marine.

With marinas in Bristol, Jamestown, Middletown, Wakefield and Warwick promoting their inventory on-line for the two-day event, clients could view the boat of their dreams on the water.

“If they’re traveling to come see the boat, they’ve decided they’re ready to buy,” said Mr. Tyska.

Several hundred people visited Bristol Marine over the weekend. Introductory boating lessons that were available were booked solid before the show took place.

With boat dealers and product vendors on site, most every boater could find something of interest.

Stuart and Michea Kiely of Barrington grew up around boating and they both worked in the industry. Now that their children, Camden and Madeline, are old enough, the family was out looking to buy a sailboat and get back out on the water.

“We’re looking for something you can spend the night on for trips to Newport,” Mr. Kiely said.

While some were there for the boats, others were there just to see what’s out there.

“What I do at boat shows is look at what’s new in safety products and how other boater set up,” said Bob Desforges.

Mr. Desforges owns a 1978 Penn Yan boat once used as a New York City police boat.

“You get all these different ideas,” he said.

Mr. Tyska and his fleet yacht sales director, Matt Leduc, warmly welcomed visitors who strolled the docks between the shiny teak and fiberglass vessels.

“The boating lifestyle crosses all socio-economic borders,” Mr. Tyska said of the attraction to the sport. “People find a way to do it.”

With Memorial Day only weeks away, Mr. Tyska said the weekend selected for the show is a “sweet spot.” In addition to visiting the boat show, people might also take the time to ride through town and come back on their newly purchased boat.


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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.