NMMA gains key support in Miami show dispute

A boating and fishing conservation group is taking aim at the leaders of Key Biscayne over their effort to thwart the Miami International Boat Show.
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A boating and fishing conservation group is taking aim at the leaders of Key Biscayne over their effort to thwart the Miami International Boat Show from moving to a new venue at the Miami Marine Stadium and surrounding area on Virginia Key.

Center for Coastal Conservation president Jeff Angers urged industry players to sign a petition telling elected officials in South Florida that “we can’t afford to lose the Miami Boat Show,” which is set for Feb. 11-15.

“You’ve seen the stadium many times: it’s where Sammy Davis Jr. hugged Richard Nixon in 1972, and it’s where Elvis Presley filmed the movie Clambake about a water skier who trades places with an oil tycoon,” Angers wrote. “With its floating stage, the facility has hosted concerts by acts ranging from Jimmy Buffett, the Beach Boys and Steppenwolf to Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops.”

“The city of Miami has invested $20 million to reinvigorate the Miami Marine Stadium Park for community use, but now local politicians — the mayor of Key Biscayne and her leadership — have pulled out all the stops in an effort to keep the boat show from using the facility,” he wrote, adding that the village has been making “trumped-up environmental claims.”

Last week the National Marine Manufacturers Association, which runs the show, issued a statement to argue against what it has labeled environmental mistruths.

Angers also reiterated the annual economic impact of the show, quoted at $597 million — “more than the Super Bowl” — and that it supports at least 6,500 jobs in South Florida.

The Miami-Dade County Circuit Court dismissed one of the village of Key Biscayne’s lawsuits seeking to stop the show last week. That was after the Miami-Dade County Commission voted to delay a decision on whether to issue a permit required for the in-water portion of the show until Dec. 14.

“Please sign the petition to tell elected officials in South Florida that we can’t afford to lose the Miami [International] Boat Show,” Angers wrote.

Yachts Miami Beach — formerly known as the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach — has completely separate ownership and is not affected by the dispute between the NMMA and Key Biscayne. Although many attendees assumed the two shows were one and the same, they have always been separately owned and operated.

Yachts Miami Beach will be held along Collins Avenue, as always, and at the Island Gardens Deep Harbour superyacht marina on Watson Island. It will be the only boat show that takes place in Miami Beach.

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