Big boats and a live alligator on display in Atlantic City

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Jeff Quattrocchi Jeff Quattrocchi demonstrates how the Native Americans in Florida would capture a live alligator single-handed. While carrying a rope between their teeth, they would clamp the alligator’s jaws shut between their chin and chest, enabling them to tie the alligator’s jaws closed with the rope.

The Atlantic City Convention Center had a little something for every boating enthusiast. There were boats for every possible activity, from water skiing, fishing, cruising the back bay, or island hopping – boats powered by motor, sail, or paddle. You could spend under $10,000 or over a million. There were 280 exhibitors showing boats and accessories, from jewelry to life rafts, and boating supplies of all kinds.

I have been attending this show since I was about 7 years old, and I am not so old as to say that Noah bought his boat there, but Atlantic City has hosted this show for 34 years now. This year’s show housed 400 boats ranging from 12 to 48 feet long.

The show included sights for everyone, and even though the highlight for some people might be the opportunity to take a tour of some opulent floating condos, for others it was the chance to see Swampmaster’s Gator Show with Jeff Quattrocchi. They brought in a portable pond and a 200-pound alligator which was used to educate people as to the lives and habits of these prehistoric-looking and fascinating creatures.

Some other highlights of this year’s show were a meet and greet with Capt. Dave Marciano from National Geographic Channel’s Wicked Tuna Show. There were free daily seminars at the Fred’s Shed Interactive Learning Center, where you could learn about proper care of your new obsession. Oh, and if speed is your thing, Geico brought their Miss GEICO race boat to the show for display. It is 50 feet long with 1075 horsepower engines and a top speed of 170 miles per hour. No matter how nicely I asked, they would not let me take a test drive around the harbor. Chickie’s and Pete’s Crab House & Sports Bar sponsored a wing-eating contest at which the victor walked away with a full tummy and a 40-inch television.

Photos by Fred Fabel

The Picnic Cat, one of only two sailboats on display at the Atlantic City Boat Show. The Picnic Cat, one of only two sailboats on display at the Atlantic City Boat Show.

Jeff Quattrocchi, known as the Swampmaster, is an educator who does a one-on-one alligator demonstration at the Atlantic City Boat Show. Jeff Quattrocchi, known as the Swampmaster, is an educator who does a one-on-one alligator demonstration at the Atlantic City Boat Show.


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