The Greater Miami area will become the epicenter of the recreational boating world one week from today when the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail opens in two locations in Miami, while Yachts Miami Beach will begin a similar five-day run over in Miami Beach.
While Yachts Miami Beach marks its 29th year, the Progressive Miami International Boat Show will open for the 76th year . . . or is it only the second year? Depends on your view. That’s because in the latter case, this megashow was moved to Virginia Key last year, the biggest and most successful relocation of a major show in the industry’s history. Note: Strictly Sail did not move. It remains downtown at Miamarina at Bayside and will feature more than 130 sailboats, a large selection of sailing and power catamarans, dozens of daily seminars and the newest sailing gear.
But whether you see each show as old or new, each event touts some significant changes this year. Yachts Miami Beach will reduce the traditional number of entry points and charge showgoers an admission fee for the first time in its nearly three-decade run ($20). In addition, it will offer new VIP packages, megayacht appointments and other amenities.
Over at the Miami International Boat Show, one major emphasis is on the transportation system to move the 100,000-plus attendees that are expected. Both shows will run shuttle buses and water taxis from their respective designated public parking sites (Note: An expanded shuttle bus service will run between the Miami show and Yachts Miami Beach on Collins Avenue).
But, more specifically, the Miami International Boat Show will be served by 25 water taxis (versus 17 last year), two of which boast a 350-plus capacity and five others with a 100-plus capacity. It’s projected that the total water taxi fleet could transport up to 125,000 visitors to and from the show at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin on Virginia Key.
“We haven’t overlooked the land side transportation, either,” National Marine Manufacturers Association president Thom Dammrich said. “Hello! Florida Destination Management is now on board to provide shuttle bus management and a veteran information staff on site. Their experience will ensure that show visitors using the shuttle buses have a seamless, carefree experience.”
When it comes to amenities, Dammrich added, the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau is organizing the overall show concierge to provide one-on-one services to attendees to enjoy Miami and the boat show seamlessly.
In addition, the celebrated caterer Great Performances, known for their world-class events like the Miami Open tennis tournament and the New York City Wine & Food Festival, will lead the on-site dining options. Great Performances has relationships with Miami restaurant favorites, such as The Knife Steakhouse, Latin Café, Puntino Pizza and Sushi Maki, who will establish on-site eateries, in addition to operating its own proprietary concepts reflecting Miami's rich culinary culture. Overall, they will feature more than 150 dining options from waterside restaurants to VIP lounges to specialty food trucks. “Menu options will range from sushi to Cuban cuisine and just about everything in between,” Dammrich said.
Finally, overall the NMMA expects a record 1,300-plus new boats will be on display this year, inside and out, on Virginia Key. The largest expansion has been the in-water section, some 35 percent bigger than last year, with more than 550 boats displayed dockside.
Literally thousands of dealers from around the country will also be attending the Miami shows, visiting or working manufacturer exhibits, previewing many new mid-year model introductions and attending manufacturer-dealer meetings.
The Progressive Miami International Boat Show & Strictly Sail are produced by the NMMA. Yachts Miami Beach is produced and co-owned by Show Management and the International Yacht Brokers Association. Show Management and Soundings Trade Only are owned by Active Interest Media.
In last Thursday’s blog, I incorrectly reported that the Marine Industry Cares Foundation was founded, or is a part of, the Marine Industry Association of South Florida. In fact, the MICF was founded by a group of marine industry professionals in December 2010. The original group of professionals who started the foundation were from different Fort Lauderdale marine companies. MIASF applauds and supports the work of the MICF and their efforts in the local community by participating, sponsoring or partnering with them on various events and initiatives.