BOSTON,  Mass. –  Visitors to the 55th annual New England Boat Show here Feb. 26-March 6, can expect to invest in happiness, according to a recent report from CBS Money Watch, which identified buying a boat as one of the top ways to “buy happiness.”

As the area’s oldest boating marketplace in New England, the nine-day event offers New Englander’s the rare opportunity to board and compare boat options side-by-side with the region’s top dealers, and take advantage of show specials on the latest marine accessories and electronics, a press release said.

“The New England Boat Show not only provides new and seasoned boaters the ideal chance to compare hundreds of brands and get a great bargain, but also an annual tradition where families and friends can gather together for some nautical fun while preparing for boating season,” said Joe O’Neal, show manager. “And with the addition of SAILFEST, new activities and educational courses, everyone is sure to be inspired to discover why life is truly better with a boat.”

The New England Boat Show’s first ever SAILFEST features the newest and best in sailing for racers and pleasure cruisers. Visitors will be able to see, board and explore dozens of sailboats ranging from 8 feet to 45 feet from more than 20 manufacturers in this new area, and shop more than 100 booths of sailing-related products and services including sail makers, hardware, marine electronics, rigging equipment and services, time share companies, foul weather gear, sailing gear, and more.

The Close Quarters Boat Handling Clinic will offer helmsmen to learning the principles of precision boat handling in confined spaces. The clinic uses the newly developed twin inboard powerboat training simulator from the Recreational Powerboating Association.

This practical program begins with a short classroom session to discuss essential boat control elements used in docking, departing and other challenging close quarters maneuvering situations. Participants will then have the opportunity to put boat handling theory to practice using a specially designed powerboat training simulator, learning new skills and strategies to get their boat to do exactly what they want it to do without worrying about damaging the gelcoat or bumping into another boat or dock. Participants may register on site.

A two-day Marine Meteorology Weather Course (Level 1) is being offered by Lee Chesneau for serious skippers, Feb. 19-20.  Chesneau’s 39 years of forecasting marine weather and strategic route planning on a global, synoptic, and local scale for mariners has been now successfully transferred to the classroom where he takes sailors step by step toward understanding both the ocean and atmospheric environment of any waters. Course fee is $325. Pre-registration is required.

The remote-control sailing pond  will allow you to take part in a sailboat regatta. Everyone gets a chance to race against their closest worthy opponent or race against the clock for the chance to take home bragging rights as the fastest sailor at the show!

The show is open Saturdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 27, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.; Monday, Feb. 28-Friday, March 4, noon-8 p.m.; and Sunday, March 6, 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. at the Boston Convention & Exhibition Center, 415 Summer St.  Tickets for adults, are  $14 (16 and older) and youth 15 and under are free.  Advance tickets can be purchased at