Dealers should weigh in on new Miami show location

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There’s absolutely no doubt that the 75th anniversary of the Miami International Boat Show will take place on schedule in its new location at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin from Feb. 11-15.

And last week’s decision by the Miami-Dade county commissioners to defer expected action was due to more noise from Key Biscayne’s elected officials, who are in denial of the enormous value of the event to the greater Miami community.

The constant whining solely by a few leaders in Key Biscayne needs to finally end now. These ill-informed officials have opposed the show’s move to Virginia Key and even hired a public relations firm to attempt to turn public opinion against it. But it was clear early on that the people of Key Biscayne and surrounding areas weren’t anti-show at all, as evidenced by a staged public protest rally that the PR agency said would turn out thousands. In reality, it drew an embarrassing couple of dozen and it clearly exposed the unfounded claims that the show has any widespread opposition.

Two separate shows

There is some confusion about the Miami shows, not as much among industry folks, but among attendees. Yacht Miami Beach — the free show formerly known as the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach — has completely separate ownership and is not affected by the legal dispute between the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Key Biscayne. Although many attendees assumed the two shows were one and the same, they have always been separately owned and operated.

Yacht Miami Beach will be held along Collins Avenue, as always, as well as at an additional location at the Island Gardens Deep Harbour superyacht marina. It will be the only boat show that takes place in Miami Beach. It might sound confusing, but the two shows have been running concurrently for 28 years.

Time to act

It’s time to end the harassment and obstructionism being carried on by a few people against the Miami International Boat Show. The NMMA has been diligent in meeting or exceeding every requirement. The detailed plans for the show have addressed every concern thrown at it.

So it’s now time that the marine industry weighs in with the county commissioners, citing the undeniable facts that the show is a huge economic engine for Miami-Dade, drawing 100,000 money-spending attendees from around the world. Moreover, months of work for hundreds of local workers on the large setup crews are at stake. As one worker put it: “Thousands of residents depend on the boat show every year.”

So the elected officials in Miami-Dade, as well as the congressional representatives, need to hear the show is valuable to Miami, the state of Florida and the entire marine industry.

Do it today

Boating United is making it easy for the marine industry nationwide to support the show by calling on everyone to join a petition drive urging a greenlight decision be made at the next commission meeting, if not sooner. Boating United has made it easy — simply click here.

Boating United will be delivering signed letters to key elected officials in Miami-Dade County, as well as the local congressional representatives. But do your part right now.

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