Boat dealer Roger Barker struggled to find the right words to describe the importance of the Utah Boat Show and Watersports Expo, which opened ends a four-day run at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy on Sunday.
"It's actually so powerful that I can't think about how to word it," Barker, the owner of Roger's Performance Marine, said as he stood on one of many boats at the 48th annual show at 9575 S. State St.
"Without it, the year wouldn't be as good as it is. It's a priceless event for us because it gets everybody in the door. It sets the standard for the year."
For potential boat buyers or folks who just like to wander the aisles looking at everything from tiny fishing boats to a six-bedroom houseboat and accessories galore, the show covering 200,000 square feet of exhibition space offers a potpourri of choices.
Like every year, there are new products that get a lot of attention.
One is the FlyBoard, a kind of jet pack that uses water instead of fuel to propel a rider on a surf-like board into the air .
Nate Oldham of Spanish Fork was at the show to introduce a product he invented called A Boat in a Box. As the name implies, the craft fits into box that can be hauled in a pickup, and seats four or seven people, depending on the model. Assembly takes about 10 minutes. The smaller version can be strapped to an all-terrain vehicle. A full-sized model that comes with compartments for ice, fishing gear and life jackets sells for $2,900.
Show visitor Chris Heninger of Salt Lake spent some of his time opening day aboard another craft.
"This is just a day out," he said. "I have a boat, and I like boats. I want to see what's out and what is new."
Statements like that bring joy to dealer Fred Ulrich of Fred's Marine in Layton.
"This is very important," he said. "It kind of kicks off our season after a cold winter. People can't wait for the season to get going."
At the various exhibition booths, visitors can watch a dog trainer, see professionals at an indoor wakeboarding site and listen to Dutch oven cooking experts.
Jon Greenband, whose family has organized the event since 1965, as well as operate an RV and travel show opening Feb. 14, said every dealer along the Wasatch Front is showing boats this year.
The show run from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and military with identification, and free for children 12 and under accompanied by a paid adult.
If you go
Where • South Towne Expo Center, 9575 S. State St., Sandy,
Hours • 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Admission • $9 for adults, $7 for seniors and military with identification, and free for children 12 and under accompanied by a paid adult.