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IBEX 2009: what to expect this year

With the cancellation of MAATS, the show will now include an accessories pavilion for that segment


This year's International BoatBuilders' Exhibition and Conference promises to be more industry inclusive than in years past, featuring programs for builders and dealers, as well as an accessories pavilion to provide that segment with a venue now that the Marine Aftermarket Accessories Trade Show has been discontinued.

The 19th annual IBEX is set for Oct. 12-14 at the Miami Beach Convention Center. While the core of the show will continue to center around technology - primarily OEM technology - including a forum for accessories manufacturers will be a good addition, says show co-director Carl Cramer, publisher of Professional BoatBuilder magazine.

"As everybody's fond of saying, there's too many shows," he says. "We're stepping up and making ourselves available in ways that fit our mission."


As of late August, about 550 exhibitors had signed up for IBEX, Cramer says, though that number is expected to climb to between 725 and 750 by the time the show opens. Last year's show had about 800 exhibitors and was about 95 percent sold out. The drop in exhibitors is due to the economy, says Cramer, who was encouraged that contracts were still coming in.

Attendance at the 2008 show was down about 14 percent from 2007. About 3,924 people attended IBEX last year, compared with 4,570 in 2007. Cramer says it would be difficult to project attendance for this year's event. "The alternative is staying home," he says, "and that doesn't do anybody any good."

Seminars and more

IBEX 2009 features an opening-night presentation by marketing strategists Al Reis and his daughter Laura Reis titled, "Focus for Boatbuilders: The Future of Your Company Depends on It." The best-selling authors have served as consultants to some of the biggest companies in the world, including Microsoft, Ford, Disney, Merck and Frito-Lay. Their talk is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 12.

"Their primary occupation is consulting for large companies with problems very similar to the ones we have, as opposed to a retired football coach or battlefield commander," says Cramer. "There's a lot of true application here."

IBEX's traditional seminar program will feature dozens of sessions in nine tracks: design and engineering, design and engineering/composites, composite materials and methods, repair and survey, marine systems, electrical systems, boatyard and marina operations, education and training, and manufacturing management.

A general seminar, "Evaporative Emission and Ethanol Fuel Update," is set for 8:30 a.m. Oct. 13. It will update attendees on the California evaporative emission proposal and how its requirements compare to Environmental Protection Agency and American Boat & Yacht Council standards currently being developed. Boat design and fuel system changes being considered to meet this standard will also be discussed, as will the possible impact of gasoline with 15 percent ethanol content (E15).


"Each boatbuilder needs to be aware of these recent developments to stay ahead of the curve in order to make proper production decisions and manage our ever-changing business effectively," says John McKnight, director of environmental safety and compliance for the NMMA.

Education sessions are also being offered for the first time to dealers as part of the Dealer Development Days program. The free sessions will be held each day as follows:

  • Oct. 12: "Dealer Economics: How to Survive"
  • Oct. 13: "Stop Scaring Your Banker: What You Need to Know"
  • Oct. 14: "Keep Your Dealership a Top-Notch Performer"

The Dealer Development Days program also provides boatbuilders an opportunity to showcase new models at nearby in-water locations and in the exhibit hall. Goetz Custom Technologies, Malibu Boats, SeaArk Boats and Yellowfin Yachts are among those scheduled to take part in this new feature.

Organizers are calling this an "unprecedented - and affordable - opportunity" to meet with dealers in a "cost-effective and productive marine trade environment." The shakeup in the industry has many manufacturers looking for new dealers, and dealers looking for new brands, says Ben Wold, executive vice president of the NMMA.

"There's a need for it, certainly, and we were asked to do it, so we're happy to," Cramer adds.

Numerous exhibitor workshops will be held Oct. 12-13, along with outdoor demonstrations throughout the run of the conference. The show also will include the annual All Industry Awards Breakfast Oct. 14. The NMMA will present the Hall of Fame Award, Alan Freedman Award, and the IBEX Innovation Awards judged by Boating Writers International.

Before and after IBEX

Once again, many organizations are offering programs before and after the show. The Marine Industry Training & Education Council is holding its Conference on Marine Industry Technical Training as an all-day program Oct. 11. This year's COMITT includes workshops led by Valerie Ziebron, of Yamaha University, and VRZ consulting, and an evening of networking at Shake-a-Leg Miami's waterfront facility in Coconut Grove. Those interested may participate either in morning or afternoon workshops, or the full-day conference.

IBEX also is offering an Oct. 11 workshop on core-infusion technology, presented by DIAB Technologies.

Following IBEX, the American Boat Builders & Repairers Association is hosting a boatyard tour and roundtable, which runs from Oct. 14-16 and provides an in-depth look at eight marine service and repair facilities, with daily analyses facilitated by Jim Bronstien of Marine Business Advisors. Facilities on the tour include Lauderdale Marine Center, Harbour Towne Marina, Roscioli Yachting Center, Keystone Point Marina, Bill Bird Marina, Merrill Stevens, Haulover Marine Center and Point, and Bradford Marine. The daily roundtable discussions will analyze each facility on that day's agenda.

Dr. Shrink will host Shrinkwrap University Oct. 15 for those interested in learning about the business of shrink-wrapping boats. The course covers the general costs of setting up and running a business, marketing strategies, safety training and hands-on shrink-wrap application.

The American Boat and Yacht Council is hosting SC400 - ABYC Standards Certification Oct. 15-17. Class discussion will address specific compliance issues relevant to engineers, installers, compliance inspectors and marine surveyors. The course is followed by a 100-question exam for certification.

For information on IBEX or any of the programs, visit

This article originally appeared in the October 2009 issue.


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