Organizers of the Miami International Boat Show are setting the record straight about what they are calling “an aggressive campaign of mistruths” launched by the village of Key Biscayne, including issues around the docks, the environment and traffic.
As plans for the February 2016 show move forward, the National Marine Manufacturers Association is saying that the village is inaccurately depicting major areas of the show. The mayor of Key Biscayne has been openly critical of the show, saying the traffic, noise and pollution are a threat to the villagers’ lifestyle.
“The village of Key Biscayne has launched an aggressive campaign of mistruths in their quest to stop the 2016 Miami International Boat Show from taking place at Miami Marine Stadium and Basin Feb. 11-15 — risking the loss of $600 million in economic activity and 55,000 middle-class Florida jobs,” the NMMA said in a statement.
One allegation the NMMA is seeking to correct is regarding the docks, which have been depicted as unencapsulated Styrofoam that will degrade and pollute the basin. Several photos have circulated showing such docks. The NMMA has contracted with Bellingham Marine to create new encapsulated docks that are fully compliant with the Environmental Protection Agency, the NMMA said in the statement.
“We are building that kind of dock, which is very different than the docks that have been used at other sites and events using exposed foam,” Bellingham product development manager Steve Ryder told Trade Only in a separate memo. “With our nearly 60 years of experience in all types of marine environments, we design and build products that will survive in those harsh climates, but also use products that don’t harm the environment.”
The docks meet all requirements set forth by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Ryder said, and 10 percent of the dock system is made of composite materials. The rail system is reclaimed and recycled polyethylene and is “extremely stable,” he said.
Expanded polystyrene is completely encapsulated by a hard plastic polyethylene shell to ensure that no flaking or destruction of the EPS core can enter the water. The float shell consists of hard polyethylene made with UV inhibitors to prevent fading and degradation due to ultraviolet radiation.
The NMMA also disputed the assertion that the Army Corps of Engineers has said the show will threaten sea life.
“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers published a Notice of Intent to Permit in response to the boat show’s application for installing temporary docks in the basin,” the NMMA said in the statement. “The Corps of Engineers’ report and observations are a routine part of the permitting process for any project in our waterways — a process the boat show’s management has gone through across the U.S.”
Organizers said they will work with all agencies to meet any requirements during the permitting process. “As a result, any sea life in the area will be protected and respected.”
The statement reiterated the extensive plan for mitigating traffic during the show’s five-day visit in February. It also disputed statements made by Key Biscayne Mayor Mayra Lindsay that there were two other viable locations for the show.
“The Miami International Boat Show considered both of these locations, as well as many others throughout Miami, and deemed them unfit to host the show that the community and boating industry have come to expect,” the statement said. “Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin is the best and only location for the Miami International Boat Show in Miami. If the boat show does not take place at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, there will be no Miami International Boat Show in 2016, removing $600 million in economic activity from the local community, including more than $30 million in tax revenue, jeopardizing 55,000 Florida jobs and extinguishing Miami’s beloved annual event celebrating life on the water.”
Lastly, organizers say the Marine Stadium Park and Basin will not be closed for 90 days. “Customers of the surrounding marinas can arrange with boat show management any access needed during the set-up of the show, during its five-day duration and during tear-down,” the statement said.
The show will require some controlled access to certain parks and marinas during key construction times:
- The Rowing Center will have access at all times, and is working with the boat show to offer rowing activities as part of the boat show.
- Access to dry storage at the Miami Marine Stadium Marina will be limited for about 37 days from Jan. 20 through Feb. 25, 2016.
- Access to dry storage at the Rickenbacker Marina will be restricted for nine days from Feb. 8 through Feb. 16, 2016, during show and set-up hours. All Rickenbacker Marina in-water boats will remain accessible with valet and courtesy porters for customers during the show.
- All dry storage area customers (at both marinas) are receiving ample notice, to arrange in advance, for access to their vessels during the restricted dates. Vessels can be placed in the water in advance or can be made accessible during non-show hours.
- Public access to bike lanes will be open as usual in both directions.