FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Executive Director, CMTA
UNSALTED BOATERS TAKE TO CONNECTICUT’S LAKES AND RIVERS
January 16-19, 2020, Hartford Boat Show at Mohegan Sun Represents All Facets of Recreational Boating on Connecticut’s Lakes, Rivers and Shoreline with over 400 Watercraft on Display
ESSEX, CT — DECEMBER 19, 2019 – When the Hartford Boat Show opens at Mohegan Sun January 16-19, 2020, the “unsalted” contingent will certainly be represented in the throngs of visitors and exhibitors. Produced by the Connecticut Marine Trades Association (CMTA), the Hartford Boat Show leads the prominent Northeast winter boat show schedule. Powered by Evinrude/BRP, additional sponsors include Helly Hanson/Landfall, Renewal by Andersen, and KinderCare. The popular #unsalted designation is a moniker for those enjoying freshwater boating across the country; on lakes and rivers.
The CMTA represents the recreational boating industry across the state, which covers 618 miles of tidal shoreline, but also the state’s 3,000 lakes, ponds and reservoirs, including the 180 inland lakes covering 701 square miles and hundreds of miles of rivers offering varied opportunities to get involved in recreational boating.
Being an unsalted boater is a lifestyle for many Connecticut residents in almost every county of the state. The word Connecticut was developed from numerous spellings of the Algonquian word for ‘long tidal river,’ with the state being named after the Connecticut River. The river cuts through the center of the state, creating the Connecticut River Valley. Ranging from the state’s largest lake, Candlewood at 8.4 square miles (5,000 acres) which is bordered by the five towns of Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford and Sherman, to bucolic Lake Hayward in Middlesex County, and the state’s rivers, the unsalted can find a variety of boat-based activities. Popular unsalted activities include powerboating, sailing, water skiing, jet skiing, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, wake sports, scuba diving, paddle boarding, paddle boating, windsurfing, and beaching. Across the state, fishing options can test every skill level, with bass, perch, catfish carp, trout, northern pike, bluegill, pickerel, crappie, walleye and Atlantic salmon being the freshwater catches.
The Hartford Boat Show will feature over 125 exhibitors – with 85% of those being Connecticut based companies. Lakeside exhibitors will include Candlewood East Marina, Echo Bay Marina, Gerard’s Water Edge, and Brookfield Bay on Candlewood Lake, and Columbia Marine on Columbia Lake in the eastern part of the state. Other inland and river-based exhibitors include Petzold’s Marine Center, Portland Boat Works, A&S Boats, G&R Marine, Boat Works of South Windsor, Lakeview Marine, Ox Bow Marina, and Saunders Boat Livery. Unsalted visitors (and others) will find pontoon and tow boats, jet skis, personal watercraft, paddle sports, kayaks, marinas, motors, slip rentals, servicing, fishing gear, educational programs and materials, insurance, trailers, electronics, sanitation, air conditioning, attire, home décor, decking, dock building, winter storage, financing, and shore side activities such as destinations and attractions.
Throughout the Hartford Boat Show, unsalted visitors will find fun family activities such as the new Passport to Safety Scavenger Hunt. Sponsored by The Seatow Foundation, safety fun facts will be scattered throughout the Show promoting safe boating through learning. In addition loaner life jackets will be available to children to wear around to show to help them learn about wearing a life jacket on any boat. The Summer Fun Demonstration pool will feature stand-up paddle boat training.
“We are seeing younger boaters getting out on lakes and rivers. There are so many factors contributing to this, including the price point of entry, accessibility throughout the state, the ease and convenience of being on the water close to home and being somewhat less time consuming, being kid friendly, a preference for fresh water over salt water, the somewhat lower maintenance costs and the enjoyment of singular boating such as in a kayak, jet ski, paddle board, canoe or small sail vessel, and more,” said Kathleen Burns, Executive Director, CMTA. She added that the National Marine Manufacturers Association cites that 95% of boats in the U.S are small, towable boats under 26 feet, and that the CMTA sees a similar trend in Connecticut, with the average boat length being 18 to 20 feet.
Jim Virgintino, Owner and President of Brookfield Bay Marina, has been operating businesses on Candlewood Lake for almost 36 years and has seen the trends in lake boating evolve, mentioning that the hottest trends are now in wake sports, the technology of tow boats, and also pontoon boats. “Lakes lend themselves to wake sports better than the Sound,” he said, adding that “People are attracted to lake boating for many reasons including the natural beauty, the safety and comfort of not being tossed around by big boat wakes and waves, the general calmness compared to the Sound, and the feeling of being protected on a body of water where you can see land.”
Lakes in Connecticut run the gambit in terms of ownership, with some being contained in state parks, others being utility owned, or privately owned, but most offer public boat ramps or access through state park property. Whether be man or dam-created, or natural river or spring-fed, the beauty of these lakes attracts boaters of all types.
The Crazy Tourist portal lists the 15 best lakes in Connecticut in the following order: Squantz Pont (Fairfield County), Candlewood Lake (Fairfield and Litchfield Counties), Bantam Lake (Litchfield County), Lake Zoar (Fairfield and New Haven Counties), Lake Lillinonah (Fairfield and New Haven Counties), Lake Waramaug (Litchfield County), Lake Hayward (no powered engines allowed – Middlesex County), Crystal Lake (Tolland County), Saugatuck Reservoir (Fairfield County), Gardner Lake (New London Country), Mashapaug Lake (Tolland County),Mansfield Hollow Lake (Windham and Tolland Counties), Lake Saltonstall (New Haven County), Hope Brook Lake (New Haven Country), and West Thompson Lake (Windham County). VacationIdea magazine’s 2019 ‘Best’ rankings included Highland Lake (Litchfield County), Quaddick Lake (Mystic County), Amston Lake (Mystic County), Anderson Pond/Blue Lake (New London County), and Beach Pond Lake (New London County), among others.
Unsalted boaters in the state also enjoy similar activities on the Mystic River, Niantic River East Aspetuck River, Shepaug River, Housatonic River, the Pachang and Quinebaug Rivers, and the countless tributaries running up and down the state.
“We always emphasize the family aspects of lake boating,” said Michele O’Hara, of Candlewood East Marina, and a CMTA Board member. “Lake boating provides families of all ages the opportunity to experience all aspects of boating in a safe and secure environment. It allows families to grow and learn together, experiencing each other’s boating accomplishments whether that be swimming, watersports, fishing, learning to drive…the list goes on and on,” she continued.
With the Annapolis School of Seamanship, the Hartford Boat Show is offering a rotating schedule of free educational sessions – appealing to both unsalted boaters and those along the shoreline. Topics include “Dock & Line Handling,” “Anchoring,” “Night Navigation” “Modern Navigation,” and more. Visit www.hartfordboatshow .com for program details.
In addition to the free seminar sessions, Hartford Boat Show visitors will have the opportunity to actually get their boating license at the show. A boat safety and licensing session presented by Boat Safe Connecticut, and its Captain Mark Vining will be conducted on Saturday, January 18 from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. Advance registration is required for the class at a discounted rate of $75 per person, which includes admission to the show, and a license certificate issues upon completion. For further information and reservations, contact the CMTA at 860-767-2645 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Norwalk Power Squadron’s booth will feature a training simulator where visitors will be able to learn about safe operations of a boat, and Connecticut’s Department of Energy & Environment (DEEP) will offer fishing, regulatory and boat ramp location information.
Tickets for the Hartford Boat Show may be purchased at www.hartfordboatshow.com. Pre-show online tickets are $13. During The Boat Show, general admission is $15, with children under 12 accompanied by an adult admitted free. A Senior/Military one-day pass is $10. A Two Day Pass allowing access to the show any two days is available at $20. Group sales for groups over 15 people may be arranged by contacting CMTA Show Staff at 860-767-2645.
About The Hartford Boat Show: Now in its 51th year, the Hartford Boat Show (HBS20) features the newest boats on the market including center consoles, fishing boats, cruisers, sport and ski boats, sailboats, personal watercraft, paddle boats and boards in addition to fishing gear, marinas and boatyards, other marine services and boating accessories. Produced by the Connecticut Marine Trades Association (CMTA) the show is open to the public January 16-19, 2020 at the Earth Expo Center at Mohegan Sun, and will feature over 125 exhibitors, 400 boats and watercraft, as well as educational seminars, boating personality appearances, and demonstration areas. www.hartfordboatshow.com
About Connecticut Marine Trades Association (CMTA): The CMTA is a not-for-profit trade association representing boating and related marine industries throughout Connecticut, from the Long Island Sound to the state’s rivers and lakes. Founded in 1954, the CMTA has over 330 member businesses and is dedicated to the well-being of the industry by promoting the interests of recreational boating, improving industry condition, monitoring legislative and regulatory issues, and advancing boating education throughout the state. www.ctmarinetrades.org