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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Saturday, May 25, 2002

Boat show under way at Ko Olina

By Mike Leidemann
Advertiser Transportation Writer

One of the boats on display in the Hawai'i Boat Show at Ko Olina Marina.

Cory Lum • The Honolulu Advertiser

Sure, you can buy a boat at this weekend's Hawai'i Boat Show and Ocean Expo at Ko Olina Marina. You can also get a diesel engine serviced, hear some Hawaiian music or buy a hand-made hula-girl lamp.

"It's a multifaceted event," said show organizer Michael Nelson of Ocean Sports Productions. "The idea is to bring all parts of the marine industry together in a festive, open-air setting."

This year's show, which runs today through Monday at the marina, has twice as many exhibitors and products as last year's initial effort. More than 30 boats will be in the water for inspection, while another 50 exhibitors showing everything from fishing gear and life jackets to plate lunches will have booths on land.

The show is designed to cater to Hawai'i's boating community but also attracts picnickers, beachgoers and others who are exposed for the first time to the possibility of venturing off-shore, either in a $200 kayak or in a $200,000 cabin cruiser, Nelson said.

The event also is an opportunity to showcase the 2-year-old marina, part of the Ko Olina Resort.

"The No. 1 limit on the marine industry here is a lack of facilities," Nelson said. "This is a showcase for where the state should be headed with all its other marinas." About 200 of the available 250 slips in the private marina are filled.

Sam Gray, president of Precision Fuel Injection, says he's happy just to have a booth advertising his diesel engine service shop out in the open, with a view of the Wai'anae mountains and the ocean as his backdrop.

"Normally, we're working the contractor and trucking industry trade shows in big inside spaces," he said, showing a cut-away model that demonstrates the inner workings of a diesel engine, like the ones that power many big boats. "This is a place to bring the family and relax."

Greg Elterman plans to barbecue, relax at the marina and sell a few of his Hawaiian-style table lamps. So how does that fit into a boat-show theme?

"Well, I'm a surfer, a professional fisherman, a businessman who loves the ocean," he said. "I just love being around boats all the time. Boating is freedom. You may not have any money, but if you've got a boat you can always get away from your troubles."

The show is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day. Organizers expect about 10,000 people over the three days.

Among the weekend highlights are the christening at 11:30 this morning of ElectroLaunch 25, an electric-powered vessel built in Hawai'i by Brookins Boatworks; display of the Abner T. Longley fireboat and other classic boats; demonstrations by the U.S. Coast Guard rescue teams; and a concert of Hawaiian music at 6 tonight featuring Kapena, the Ka'ala Boys and others.

Admission to the boat show is free, but there is a $5 parking charge. Concert tickets are $20.