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February is finally right before us. We have been counting down the days to the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show to be held Feb. 16-20. Mark your calendars for the world’s largest (and best) boat and yacht event.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association formed a landmark partnership with Informa Markets last year to create the first joint production of South Florida’s preeminent winter boat shows: the Miami International Boat Show, Miami Yacht Show and Superyacht Miami. Since then, planning has been at full throttle to ensure that the combined event delivers enhanced value to participating businesses and an unparalleled experience for attendees.

Boats from 50 to 150 feet will be displayed at One Herald Plaza.

Boats from 50 to 150 feet will be displayed at One Herald Plaza.

For 80 years, the Miami International Boat Show has served as the boating industry’s flagship event for showcasing world-class products and innovations to nearly 100,000 people from around the globe. NMMA and Informa are committed to taking the show to the next level to deliver an unforgettable experience for our members, attendees and exhibitors for decades to come.

What can you expect at this year’s show? A new look and feel, locations, features, name and logo, and more. We’re looking forward to a return to the Miami Beach Convention Center, as well as four additional locations across downtown Miami. The show will be anchored at the convention center, but it’s not the convention center you may remember. The venue has been renovated and reimagined to create a more state-of-the art facility to showcase powerboats to 49 feet, engine manufacturers, accessories, electronics and retail pavilions.

We also have four in-water locations on tap. One Herald Plaza will display larger powerboats, motoryachts from 50 to 125 feet, yacht tenders, engines, accessories and retail pavilions. Sea Isle Marina will set the stage for test drives of more than 150 boats while highlighting builders and engine manufacturers. Museum Park Marina will provide an up-close look at the latest sailboats, catamarans and sailing accessories. And IGY Yacht Haven Grande at Island Gardens will showcase SuperYacht Miami with the show’s largest yachts on display.

The 2022 show will include such new elements as the Boat Show Experience, which we consider to be the ultimate boater’s destination, located directly outside the convention center at Pride Park. Here, visitors will have access to a range of experiential activations. The Nautical Ventures AquaZone within the Boat Show Experience will be for thrill-seekers and water lovers alike. It is designed to give showgoers an up-front and personal experience with a variety of water sports and innovative marine products.

The Costa Conservation Village is dedicated to sharing information about how we all can protect and promote a healthy marine environment; it will include the Volvo Penta Sustainability Stage. The Electric Zone’s Products of Tomorrow will showcase the newest electric propulsion systems, battery-powered boats and high-tech products.

The Wake Sports Experience will feature professional wake-sports athletes from the competition circuit. Visitors can test their skills on the wakesurf simulators. The Community Corner will let attendees engage with community clubs and associations that are dedicated to promoting the benefits of marine stewardship and community involvement.

Live music performances at Pride Park will run from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 17-19. There will be an opening-night party for exhibitors and industry stakeholders, and we’ll celebrate the show’s kickoff with a sneak peek at the new Discover Boating creative campaign, as well as with live music and refreshments.

The show returns to the Miami Beach Convention Center, which has been renovated and expanded since this photo was taken.

The show returns to the Miami Beach Convention Center, which has been renovated and expanded since this photo was taken.

Also, the Windward VIP Experience will offer guests a way to relax in style and take in the boat show. Guests will have access to a concierge to book private appointments, a premium open bar, and complimentary water-taxi and tender access to and from IGY Yacht Haven Grande at Island Gardens.

The show also has a new name and logo. Discover Boating, powered by the NMMA and the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, unveiled in December the first phase in a three-phase Discover Boating brand evolution strategy to help attract the next generation of boaters while retaining existing boaters. We’re launching a new Discover Boating logo and a rebrand of the Miami International Boat Show to the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show.

Discover Boating will expand its reach and impact through an integration with industry-owned boat shows. Miami is the first show under the Discover Boating umbrella, and the rest of the NMMA’s boat shows will follow suit in winter 2023. At the same time, other shows are invited to take part in extending the Discover Boating brand’s impact. After all, Discover Boating is an industrywide effort designed to have a long-term consumer and industry impact. It exists to retain the influx of new boaters, invite the next generation of boaters to get launched, and connect and excite current boat owners.

Museum Park Marina will showcase the latest sailboats and sailing accessories.

Museum Park Marina will showcase the latest sailboats and sailing accessories.

MRAA president Matt Gruhn sums up the new brand elements well: “Discover Boating is the lifestyle brand for boating, and it remains the most effective pathway to attracting and engaging consumers into the No. 1 outdoor recreational pastime in the U.S. economy. The new logo, boat show integration and the new Discover Boating campaign we’ll launch this spring will help us broaden Discover Boating’s reach and better connect customers with the businesses that help them maximize their enjoyment of boating. This brand evolution couldn’t come at a better time, as we seek to build post-pandemic momentum.”

Big evolutions are on tap this February in Miami. Many new and exciting elements of the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show await. I look forward to welcoming you in the aisles and on the docks. 

Frank Hugelmeyer is president of the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

This article was originally published in the February 2022 issue.

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