In this recurring column, we highlight the different ways to experience and enjoy the lifestyle that is only possible through houseboating. But this time around we’re going to let you in on a little secret that will allow you to experience everything at one time and in one location: The National Houseboat Expo.
Whether you’re a regular at these annual events or planning your first trip, the On Water Expo promises to be a great time. And thanks to houseboat manufacturing giants such as Stardust, Sumerset and Thoroughbred, there will be at least a half dozen new houseboats to tour and experience that have never been on display before.
So how do you get yourself invited to such an event? Well that’s simple. Consider yourself party-approved for the best three-day weekend of the summer. It all kicks off Friday, June 7 at the State Dock Marina on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky.
The wide range of brand new houseboats is always the biggest draw and you wouldn’t believe what the top builders in our industry have been up to. Not since the days of the Expo held at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville has there been this kind of excitement in anticipation of what will be on display. If you truly want to discover houseboating, it starts with these new models. Plus other houseboat manufacturers will be on site to answer your questions as well.
They’re called dream boats for a reason, and even if you’re not in the market for a brand new custom houseboat, it’s still fun to look around. But also included at the On Water Expo is a wide range of used houseboats, at various price points. Plus the ever-expanding exhibitor list of vendors ranges from houseboat-specific products to valuable resources and services. And unlike regular boat shows, these vendors are specific to our industry and will be on location to help educate houseboaters and potential houseboaters on ways to make your experience that much better.
Speaking of education, the ongoing seminars being held throughout the weekend are always a good way to learn as well as have your questions answered. In the past, presentations on fishing, maintenance, decorating, financing, as well as tips to watch for from a respected marine surveyor, have been some of the most popular. And the qualified presenters at this year’s show are sure to include some of your favorites, as well as new topics that will be covered.
But one popular presentation that continues to get better each year is the Captain’s Course, taught by Don and Janet Hevener. The Heveners own Dreams In Motion, a boat transport company, and have been transporting houseboats nationwide and to ports for overseas delivery for over 20 years. This Captain’s Course seminar is for those who want to get more comfortable operating their own houseboat or to just spend some time with a 100-ton master captain who can provide tips to newbies as well as seasoned veterans.
State Dock will once again offer “botels” or rental houseboats. The houseboats not only provide accommodations for the duration of the Expo, but also allow you to stay close to the show and enjoy the live entertainment at night. To reserve a boatel or find out more about State Dock, visit www.statedock.com or call 888-STATEDOCK.
But besides the impromptu games of corn hole that seem to break out at night on the docks after the show, the All Hands On Deck Poker Run also receives plenty of attention. Where else can you find a game like this where the winner with the five best randomly selected poker cards walks away with keys to a 2013 Qwest LS Splash Pad pontoon boat? Complete with trailer and motor, the top prize for the poker run from Apex Marine is just one of the great prizes available for those who choose to participate.
The first annual Two Brothers Grillin’ Chicken Wing Cook-Off is another good reason to attend. Come for the food, the fun, or for the houseboats. Whatever your reason to attend, this year is sure to lead to a good time. Kick off your summer with a three-day party centered around the houseboating lifestyle. Visit www.houseboatexpo.com for more information and for updates as the On Water Expo gets closer. You can also go to the website to see how you can receive a free Expo t-shirt just for buying your tickets online. Discover houseboating by planning to attend the On Water Expo in June.