Sidney’s Floating Boat Show was a huge draw for crowds when it was held at the Port Sidney Marina. However, the marina owners discontinued the show because they simply ran out of space for all the boats. (File)

BC Boat Show sails back to Sidney

Port Sidney Marina hosting event May 3 to 6

A floating boat show is coming back to Sidney after years of dropping anchor in Victoria’s Inner Harbour.

The BC Yacht Brokers Association is bringing its popular BC Boat Show to Sidney May 3 to 6, after outgrowing their location of the last 12 years. The display of boats of a variety of sizes will tie up in the Port Sidney Marina for the in-water displays. Other booths, food and beverage area and exhibits will set up along Sidney’s waterfront area near the Marina. A tented, dry-land exhibition barge will be tied up on Port Sidney Marina’s main dock.

Formerly the Victoria Inner Harbour Boat Show, organizers say they needed more space for a growing event. With expansion in the works at Port Sidney Marina and more space dedicated to the event, they were able to make the move.

Sidney once hosted a similar floating boat show (unlike boat shows in arenas, for instance) but the last one sailed off in around 2005.

Steven Threadkell, boat show manager for the BC Yacht Brokers Association, says marina owner the Mill Bay Marine Group has signed on as the presenting sponsor this year and has gotten behind the 29th annual event in a big way.

“We outgrew the last location and it became very expensive to put it on each year,” he said. “Still, we would sell out our in-water and dryland exhibit space each year.”

When they began considering a return to Sidney, Threadkell said the community rolled out the red carpet, with support coming from the Town of Sidney, Sidney Business Improvement Area Society as well as a variety of marine industry employers and other groups. Many of those will be in the event’s exhibit space — including the Canadian Coast Guard, search and rescue associations and others.

The BC Boat Show features recreational vessels of almost every size and shape — from kayaks, canoes and paddle boards, to luxury yachts. The show is a collection of vessels brought in by members of the BC Yacht Brokers Association and people will have the chance to go aboard and learn about the recreational boating lifestyle. Threadkell estimated there may be as many as 200 boats on display.

“It’s a ten billion dollar a year industry,” Threadkell said. “It employs around 17,000 people in B.C. alone and 45,000 nation-wide.”

He added its ripple effects are felt elsewhere, including in Sidney which has a significant marine industry serving recreational users.

Threadkell said the Inner Harbour shows used to draw around 5,000 people, but he said based on the amount of interest in the venue change so far, he’s expecting this spring’s turnout to be much larger. That’s in part due to the involvement of the Town of Sidney and others, who hope to make it a feature event this spring and encourage people to enjoy the surrounding community while they take in the boat show. A planned shuttle between the Swartz Bay ferry terminal and downtown Sidney will also make it easier for people coming from the mainland to drop in.

Admission to the 2018 BC Boat Show is $10 for adults and $8 for seniors and students. Kids under 16, when accompanied by an adult, are free.

For more information, watch the News Review leading up to the event, or visit bcyba.com/events.



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