Boat show afloat

Cruisers and speed boats and kayaks were well explored by hundreds who gladly shed their shoes as requested and trod sock-footed upon the decks of 200 boats representing 75 brands from 25 dealers at the recent Great Northeast Boat Show.

The extravaganza of March 22-24 was presented at the NH Sportsplex Bedford, 68 Technology Drive. Motor yachts edged in lights beckoned. Sailboats and pontoon boats drew explorers. Canoes and jet skis mesmerized buyers and dreamers.

The 10th annual show also offered vendors of all things nautical. Scott MacKay, of Northeast Dock Sales, displayed materials he uses to craft a wide selection of docks and ramps, in addition to floating swim platforms, kayak docks and jet ski docks. Others offered everything from cookware for the galley to safety gear, apparel and accessories.

Merrimack boaters Tom Neary, and his son, Declan, 5, and Ryan, 9, already an accomplished angler, checked out a sleek 2018 Stingray. They agreed it would make a great fishing boat.

“This show is a great event,” Tom said. “It’s another way to make family memories.”

Mark and Danielle Sargent, of Bedford, hustled after their fleet-footed boys – Ethan, age 10, and Brayden, 8, both Riddle Brook School students. Their brother, Christian, age 4, beelined for anything capable of chasing Jaws.

Bill Irwin, vice president of sales and marketing for Irwin Marine, fielded dozens of questions. His grandfather launched the business in 1919, a century ago. The firm provided six lines of boats for the show, models in a wide range of sizes and styles.

“We want to thank everyone for getting to know us over the years,” Irwin said. “We love being able to give people many happy years on the water.”

Elsewhere, Bedford’s Matt Allard and his son, Cole, age 7, a second-grader at Riddle Brook School, agreed they were “on the prowl” for a lake boat. A likely candidate would enable skiing and tubing.

Meanwhile, a boat sporting red sparkles of metal flake paint across its hull diverted Bedford residents Pete LeBlanc and his daughter, Erika, age 10, a sixth-grader who is an avid cheerleader with the Bedford Bulldogs cheer team. The speed boat was a Raptor by Indmar. The seaworthy bird of prey awaits taming by a bulldog.

Exhibitors from Bedford’s Ameriprise Financial included Kenneth Angell and Rob Martin, who offered an array of souvenirs including pens, business card holders and chocolates. They raffled a set of camping rocking chairs that drew scores of entries.

Amherst Middle School students Zofia Rosenfield, 11, and Elias Rosenfield, 9, expressed high-energy entrepreneurship by generating sales at a spacious booth. The Lake Life Brand enterprise founded in 2016 in Amherst, is operated by family and friends. Quality apparel and accessories that “capture your love of life on the lake” are specialties.

The Baskervilles, of Manchester, along with boat-owning kin from Indiana, tested some kayaks. Boat show ticket sellers Shelby Mahar and Stephen Leoni, both of Albany, New York, along with other staffers, greeted them and hundreds more.

“Welcome to the Great Northeast Boat Show,” said Mahar. “It’s our 10th anniversary.”

Information on the Great Northeast Boat Show can be had online: greatnortheastboatshow.com.

Loretta Jackson may be contacted via email: