In-water displays at the 77th Progressive Miami International Boat Show will increase more than 25 percent, to 700 boats, in 2018.
The increase in in-water boats at the show, set for Feb. 15-19, is attributable in part to the Strictly Sail Miami section of the show joining the powerboats on Virginia Key. That move added 50 boats to the in-water section, said Thom Dammrich, president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association, the group that owns and operates the show.
“That number also includes people in tents who have decided to move outside, it includes people expanding the number of boats they’re bringing and it includes new exhibitors,” Dammrich told Trade Only Today.
Some exhibitors have migrated from tents to the docks, creating more land space that has been dedicated to sailboat exhibitors, Dammrich said.
The sailboats in the water will be on Pier 9, and sailing land exhibitors will be in the Sailor’s Cove inside Tents F and J. Sailor’s Cove also will feature daily seminars presented by the top sailors in the industry and meet-and-greets with sailing experts.
Water taxi service has been consolidated once again, now only dropping off and picking up attendees at two locations — Bayfront Park and American Airlines Arena — eliminating the two additional hotel pickup locations this year.
“More than 85 percent of water-taxi goers traveled from two key stops, making them a priority for year three,” the NMMA said in a statement.
Water taxis dropping passengers off at hotels seemed to be popular among exhibitors at the end of each day, as some had rooms at the hotels or were attending other industry events being held there. However, Dammrich said many were finding alternative routes to the show because the water-taxi service does not start until 9 a.m., an hour before the show opens, putting passengers at the entrance around 9:30.
“Exhibitors like to get to the show earlier than that, so much fewer were taking the water taxis,” Dammrich said.
Complimentary shuttle buses, which also start running at 9 a.m., will run to and from two parking hubs in downtown Miami at Marlins Park and the American Airlines Arena. Shuttle bus and water-taxi service concludes at 7 p.m., an hour after the show closes. A shuttle will still run between the Miami International Boat Show and the Miami Yacht Show on Collins Avenue, a separately owned and operated show that runs concurrently with the NMMA show.
This year’s NMMA show will offer food and beer on the docks, something that was not available last year. There also will be more seating in the food courts at the show’s center, as well as on the east end.
The 2018 show features a new menu of dining options from Great Performances, which operates at the Miami Open tennis tournament and other local festivals.
Great Performances will partner with an array of local food trucks and restaurants to offer options for show-goers, including the Latin Café, The Knife Steakhouse, Moet & Chandon Sushi Maki, Killer Melts, Moty’s, Mulberry 1965 Pizza, King of Racks BBQ, HipPops, B.C. Tacos, Mr. Bing, Relentless Roasters and Ocean Breeze.