The 2023 boat show was expansive, but this year's floor space will be even larger. Facebook photo.

71st Virginia Beach Boat Show Will Be Largest Yet

This weekend’s Mid-Atlantic Sports & Boat Show kicks off at noon Friday at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Owned by the Norfolk Chapter of the Izaak Walton League, the show offers boats from all over Tidewater Virginia and East Carolina all under one roof.

There are several dozen exhibitors ranging from fishing clubs and boating education/safety organizations to marinas, marine electronics consultants, and marine contractors. Organizers say the 2024 show will have its largest floor space ever.

Chesapeake Bay Magazine asked the folks at a baker’s dozen of the exhibiting dealers which boats they are most excited to be exhibiting at this show for lower Chesapeake boaters, families, and anglers. Here’s a glance at the specific boat models these dealers are most excited to show off:

And there’s even a chance to win a boat, if you’re not ready to open your wallet just yet. Lancet Marine is raffling off a fully equipped Savannah SS21 for Hooked on Hope VB, a nonprofit organization that benefits families challenged with pediatric cancer. 

Among the exhibitors, the Izaak Walton League Norfolk/Chesapeake Chapter gets first billing, since it produces the show. It’s a group of environmental-minded outdoorsmen and women helping keep waterways healthy to enjoy. Stop by their booth to learn more about participating in their programs in Clean Water, Healthy Soils, Climate Solutions, Community Science, and Outdoor Recreation.

Tidewater Virginia is loaded with fishing opportunities that range from largemouth bass, crappie, and bream in local lakes to speckled trout, redfish, flounder, and cobia in the Lower Bay, and tautog, black sea bass, and spadefish around offshore wrecks. These angling clubs are exceptionally active in conservation issues as well as helping members fish this rich area more successfully.  Several are more than 50 years old and have participated directly in the development of the region’s fisheries. Their members love to talk fishing and welcome new anglers, and several will be exhibiting at the show. Tidewater organizations dedicated to boating fellowship, education, safety, and shared boat ownership will also be on hand.

Several marinas in the Lynnhaven, James, and York Rivers will be there to offer everything from boat slips and services to fishing tackle, seafood, and waterside hotel rooms, including Long Bay Pointe Marina, Smithfield Station & Surry Seafood Company and York River Yacht Haven.

Finally, there will be a dozen vendors offering everything from maps, foul weather gear, and marine electronics to boat covers, trailers and marine construction.

Hours for the Mid-Atlantic Sports & Boat Show are Friday, Feb. 2, noon to 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 3, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, Feb. 4, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is $10/person, with children under 12 free.