Coastal Today Magazine

North Florida Marine Association Announces 75th Anniversary Jacksonville Boat Show

The 75th Anniversary Jacksonville Boat Show will be January 27 – 29, 2023 at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE, Florida  – The North Florida Marine Association is proud to announce the 75th Anniversary Jacksonville Boat Show, January 27 – 29, 2023, at the Prime Osborn Convention Center in Jacksonville. This year’s show is a special celebration of a beloved North Florida event that has been bringing together the boating community since 1947.

North Florida Marine Association Announces 75th Anniversary Jacksonville Boat Show.

Dick Boger, 73, is one of the longest-standing current members of the North Florida Marine Association. He has been involved with the Boat Show since 1985, and he is well acquainted with the Boat Show’s long history in Jacksonville. “Back in the mid-forties, the late Grace Rogers of Pier 17 Marine Shop decided to display a few new boats in the parking lot of a gas station on the west side of Jacksonville,” he said. “That’s how this whole thing started. Then in 1947, a group of local businesses got together and built on Grace’s idea by creating an exposition for local boat dealers. Seventy-five years later, that exposition has become a true legacy in Jacksonville.”

Boats docked along North Roosevelt Boulevard in Florida Keys during the Mariel Boatlift. Provided photo/ State Archives of Florida/McDonald

The Boat Show’s early venues included the old Armory on Market Street, Jacksonville Naval Air Station, the Gator Bowl, and the Jacksonville Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum, where Boger remembers that the Coliseum’s low ceiling prevented sailboat exhibitors from including full mast extensions on their boats. When the show was relocated to the Prime Osborn Convention Center in 1990, he says, it gained additional traction and has continued to grow as a mainstay event for the Northeast Florida boating, fishing, and watersports community.

Boat show in Miami in 1967. Provided photo/State Archives of Florida

The Boat Show has continued uninterrupted since 1947, with one exception. “The only thing that shut us down in three-quarters of a century was Covid-19,” Boger explained. “That’s the only year we were not able to hold the Boat Show. Had it not been for the pandemic, we’d actually be celebrating our 76th Boat Show this year, not our 75th.”

In January, the 75th Anniversary Jacksonville Boat Show, sponsored by VyStar Credit Union, will offer three days of water-related fun, family-friendly activities, and educational seminars—as well as amazing deals on hundreds of boats and thousands of accessories. Special giveaways each day will be awarded to commemorate the 75th Anniversary. Boat Show attendees will be among the first to see and board brand-new models of all types of watercraft, including fishing boats, cruisers, ski boats, pontoons, inflatables, personal watercraft, and more.

The 75th Anniversary Jacksonville Boat Show highlights include:

  • All show goers will have the opportunity to enter a FREE grand-prize drawing to win a 75 HP Honda motor, estimated value $12,000, courtesy of Honda Marine and Big Boys Play Toys.
  • Online ticket purchasers will be placed in a drawing to win a FREE Simrad Go9 Combo Package sponsored by RideNow Beach Blvd.
  • Giveaways will be presented to the first 75 people through the door each day, including $10 Daily’s gas cards, commemorative Richardson hats, and face shields.
  • Seminar presentations will take place on Saturday and Sunday by Dowe Thornton, Senior Marine Specialist with Garmin Marine Electronics.

“We are both proud and grateful to be celebrating the 75th Anniversary Boat Show,” said Erin Johnson, North Florida Marine Association Administrative Director. “This event has a special legacy in Jacksonville, and it has been a beloved tradition for the boating community for multiple generations. We can’t wait to welcome attendees for what promises to be our most exciting and most fun show yet.”

Hours and Admission: Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center is located at 1000 Water Street, Jacksonville, FL 32204. Boat Show hours are 11am to 6pm Friday, January 27; 10am to 6pm Saturday, January 28; and 10am to 4pm Sunday, January 29. Admission is $15 for adults; $5 for children 12 and under; and $12 for seniors, military, and first responders with ID. Food is purchased from the vendors and is not included with admission. For more information, visit www.boatjax.com

Parking

Parking for the general public is $5 per automobile per day.