MIAMI 2014 VIDEO: What it takes to set up the shows

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MIAMI — Tuesday afternoon was a good time to be in Miami to witness the herculean effort of staging four venues that make up the massive boat shows set to open on Thursday.

All four sites — along Collins Avenue for the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach and the venues at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center and Miamarina at Bayside for the NMMA’s Miami International Boat Show — were bustling as thousands of crewmembers assembled showcase stages for 3,500 boats.

Wooden crates, steel frames, banners and signs were being carried in and assembled by well-coordinated teams amid the sound of hammers, screw guns and miles of carpeting being stapled down. Forklifts, scissor lifts and power machinery — most of which will be out of sight once the shows open — were everywhere on Tuesday and will be again today.

“We’re in better shape on a Tuesday than we’ve ever been before,” Dane Graziano, senior vice president and COO of Show Management, producer of the Yacht & Brokerage Show, told Trade Only Today.

The expanded show will feature more than 500 new and brokerage yachts. New this year is Superyacht Miami, which is for yachts larger than 155 feet. It will be at the Miami Beach Marina.

Although there will be more than 60 yachts larger than 100 feet at the Yacht & Brokerage Show on Collins Avenue, the new location was added to accommodate yachts that are too large for the Indian Creek Waterway.

Graziano said staging the Indian Creek venue involves the creation over a two-week period of a 2 million-square-foot full-service marina to accommodate 450 yachts.

Additional challenges to staging the show are restrictions that provide only 10-minute intervals each hour between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily to open the 63rd Street Bridge, which is required to move yachts into the narrow creek while minimizing the effects on vehicle traffic, and closing one traffic lane on busy Collins Avenue between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. (to accommodate rush hour traffic) for exhibitors to unload trucks full of gear.

“It takes a choreographed move in and out by our team and the exhibitors to make this work,” Graziano said. “We’ll be ready for the opening bell.”

About 25 blocks south, Cathy Rick-Joule, vice president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association’s boat shows division, was overseeing the setup of the Miami International Boat Show.

“We started moving product into the [Miami Beach Convention Center] on Saturday and it should all reach a fever pitch on opening morning,” Rick-Joule told Trade Only.

More than 3,000 boats and 2,000 companies worldwide will exhibit at the Miami show’s three venues.

“Between Monday and Wednesday of this week, we’ll have about 1,600 people — that’s union laborers, electricians, parking, decoration and NMMA staff — working to put the show together,” she says.

Rick-Joule said the number of international exhibitors has increased so much this year that a special section was added to showcase boats from Australia, China, Great Britain, Italy and others at the convention center.

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