Industry gets ready to gather for Miami shows

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The Progressive Miami International Boat Show and the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach starts Thursday and run through Monday.

The Miami International Boat Show will feature a new layout at the Miami Beach Convention Center, a new Accessories Pavilion and the largest Strictly Sail component yet.

“My message is very simple: We’re back,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich told Trade Only, referring to the industry’s improving sales picture. “I think that’s going to be proven out in Miami with new product, increased attendance, increased sales, a lot of excitement and a really good vibe. I feel better about the possibilities in Miami than I have in several years.”

The NMMA, which owns and organizes the show, has the “aggressive goal” of attracting 120,000 people to its three locations — about 20,000 more than showed up in 2014, said NMMA vice president for boat shows Cathy Rick-Joule.

“Last year we had 13,400 flights canceled … the day before the show opened” because of bad weather in the Midwest and South, she said. Favorable weather should increase attendance significantly.

The free in-water Yacht & Brokerage Show, which covers more than 1.2 million square feet on the Indian Creek Waterway, will feature more than 500 new and used boats valued at more than $1 billion.

“There’s a lot of momentum from the past few shows,” said Steve Sheer of Show Management, which produces the show and co-owns it with the Florida Yacht Brokers Association. Active Interest Media owns Show Management and Soundings Trade Only. “There are going to be a lot of new boats in Miami this year. And everybody wants more space, which is a good sign.”

Exhibitors will continue to host events and VIP customers at their in-water displays during evening hours, said AIM CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III.

“It’s a great setting for them to have a cocktail party or event, and it’s cost-effective for them to do it like that. That’s been growing every year. We want to make sure things are quiet and safe, but we think it’s a great feature that really activates the whole Collins Avenue area at night. It creates a festival there,” he said.

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