MIAMI BEACH — Thursday, 10 a.m.
I began my first day at the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show by covering the announcement of West Marine’s Green Product of the Year winners at the Miami Beach Convention Center.
This year there were two winners — the Attwood Fuel Demand Valve and West Marine CFA Eco Antifouling Bottom Paint made by Pettit. The EPA in 2011 began requiring portable fuel tanks to be sealed and leakproof. The Attwood Fuel Demand Valve only allows fuel to pass when the engine pulls fuel from the tank. West Marine’s CFA Eco Antifouling Bottom Paint is the world’s first copper-free, dual-biocide, water-based ablative antifouling paint, according to West Marine. It busts barnacles using the metal-free Econea biocide with a slime-fighting inhibitor for multi-season protection.
Next stop was Grady-White, where the company unveiled the largest outboard-powered dual-console boat in the world — the Freedom 375, according to the boatbuilder. Click here for my sit-down interview with Grady vice president of marketing Shelley Tabaugh.
I also chatted with the new vice president and general manager of Bombardier Recreational Products US Inc., Alain Villemure. The company is showcasing a new joystick helm control system using its ICON electronic shift and throttle and Teleflex’s Optimus by Sea Star joystick and steering technologies. “Improving the entire experience for the boat owner is our priority, and something like this certainly goes a long way toward that end,” he told me at the BRP booth. Evinrude is also showcasing its new E-TEC 135-hp High Output outboard with direct fuel injection.
Click play for a Day in the Life at Miami.
Boston Whaler has come out with yet another new boat — the 350 Outrage center console. “For boaters who want a well-appointed fishing or cruising vessel, or a spacious and versatile yacht tender, the new Outrage does it all,” said Jeff Vaughn, Boston Whaler vice president of marketing, sales and customer service. Whaler also had two dual-console vessels on hand that it introduced at FLIBS last October — the 230 and 270 Vantages. You can read about those boats, as well as the Grady-White Freedom 375 and the resurgence of the dual console, in the April issue of our sister publication, Soundings.
I headed east toward the beach for my next event, at the Shore Club on Collins Avenue. Yamaha was having a casual get-together for the media. The company has its new Helm Master joystick and outboard integrated system on display. In fact, the system is installed on about a dozen different boats at the show. I drove one of them — the Pursuit 365i Sport Coupe. Company president Ben Speciale was optimistic about the state of the industry and the coming year, saying that boaters in the mid-income range now feel more comfortable buying a new boat or engine.
"Our large-engine-class business grew over 20 percent this last 12 months," Speciale said. "What we see happening in the 100-hp-plus category is that the serious boaters are stepping back in the marketplace at a good rate."