Hosting a booth and having staff spend time at the Seattle Boat Show was well worth it, according to Kathy Garcia, marina operations manager for the Port of Bremerton.
Garcia recently gave port commissioners a report about the nine day show.
“Being there resulted in bringing two new tenants to the marina in Port Orchard, and one new tenant to the Bremerton Marina,” Garcia said. “They were long days, but well worth the time.”
Garcia said one of the most popular topics for boat owners and others who stopped by the booth was the port’s new cruising club.
“People liked the promotion,” she said. “It captured a lot of attention.”
The Olympic Cruising Club was the idea of Bob Wise, a consultant with the port who is working to bring more tenants to the Bremerton Marina. It allows permanent tenants at Bremerton to “cruise” about the Kitsap Peninsula and stay over at other participating marinas for one or two nights with no moorage fee charged.
The cruising club is only a few months old and doesn’t cost the port anything, Garcia said.
“It’s a one-way deal,” she said. “We aren’t being charged for it and our tenants can participate. But tenants at the ports who are a part of this, don’t get free moorage here.”
Wise had previously explained that the cruising club is an experimental thing for the first year. If it takes off, it may be extended and could become a two-way deal.
Garcia said there were officials of other marinas in the area who asked about it and may want to be a part of it. She said it was also a popular selling tool for bringing boaters to the Bremerton Marina.
And she noted that there will be an article about the Bremerton Marina and the cruising club in an upcoming issue of Marina Dock Age, a national publication.
In all, 51,684 people attended the show. Attendance was up about 2 percent over 2013, including the fact that the show closed a day early, due to the Seahawks being in the Super Bowl.
“Thirty-two states were represented, along with five Canadian provinces and even one party from Brazil,” she said.
Garcia said she had several leads on boaters who were interested in Bremerton. But she said most of them were in leases that required 30-day notices. She said she was going to follow up on those leads.
“Love our Live-a-boards” was a theme at the port’s booth and Garcia said that got attention, too.
“Some people didn’t know that we offered live-a-boards,” she said. “And many people asked about what there is to do within walking distance of both marinas. We shared the ‘walking maps’ and pointed out the shopping, the restaurants and the museums. They were impressed with the quality of life we have to offer.”
Commissioners thanked Garcia and other staff for participating.
“It was a success,” said Garcia. “We created a buzz.”