After 400,000 hours of planning, the 78th annual Miami International Boat Show will shift into gear Thursday, Feb. 14 at the Miami Marine Stadium.
The five-day event is expected to inject $850 million into the Florida economy and attract more than 100,000 attendees.
It’s where 1,000 marine businesses — hundreds of which have operations in South Florida — are expected to ink $60 million in deals, according to organizers.
“There were a lot of doubters when we were going to move,” said National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) VP of Southern Shows Larry K. Berryman, who has been working with the Miami show for 20 years. “It’s exceeded everyone’s expectations.”
The Miami boat show, with about 1,400 boats on display, relocated from Miami Beach to the Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key in 2016. The show has since grown from its number of boats in the marina (from 440 to 700), to its number of seats in its dining area (from about 800 to 2,200).
This year, the show will have added dining options, a new entrance and more ways to get to the show. NMMA expects to transport 25,000 people to the event in water taxis through Feb. 18.
Members of the media received a preview of the show site on Friday with Miami Mayor Francis Suarez in attendance.
“The impact is immeasurable,” Suarez said. “From the thousands of jobs it provides to the city, to people coming from all over the world — and some deciding not to leave. Any show that builds our brand is a show that’s good for us. Every year they do it better.”
The 2019 Miami International Boat Show will run on the same days as the 31st Miami Yacht Show, organized by Informa Exhibitions and Show Management in Miami Beach. The tickets to both shows are sold for a combined price on their websites.
The Miami boat show is among the largest in-water boat shows in the world, along with other major boat shows in our region: The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and the Palm Beach International Boat Show. South Florida’s marine industry has an overall economic impact of $12 billion, according to a recent study by Thomas J. Murray and Associates.
Next week, the boating industry will gather to celebrate what it hopes will be a great year for business. The 78th annual Progressive Miami International Boat Show, presented by West Marine, will open to the world Feb. 14-18 at the Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key.
As it does every year, the event will draw the focus of boaters and those who wish to become boaters by showcasing the newest, boldest and most creative innovations rolled out by manufacturers and dealers across the country.
The annual expo has grown from its roots in 1941, where 50 boats were on display under one tent, to an event with more than 1,400 vessels on display ranging from 10 feet to 90 feet long, spanning 90 acres of on-land and in-water expo space. Since moving to its new location four years ago, the waterside location offers some 200 vessels available for sea trials.
This year, show organizers anticipate 100,000 attendees to visit its 1,100 exhibitors. Organizers also project an economic impact of more than $850 million, or twice more than the Super Bowl, which Miami will host in 2020.
Every year, the Miami Boat Show serves as the debut for dozens of new lines and products and this year is no different. Here are just a few of the announced new products and lines:
1. Viking Yachts out of New Gretna, N.J., a well-known builder of sportfishing vessels, will debut its new 38 Billfish model.
2. Yamaha Watercraft is debuting a 27-foot jet boat with low-speed handling technology.
3. Scout Boats is unveiling three new models — the 530 LXF model, the new 270 LXF and 235 Dorado.
4. Cobia Boats, from Fort Pierce, will reveal its newest addition to its dual console lineup, the 240DC, and will have new feature announcements for two of its most popular center consoles.
5. Pursuit Boats, from Fort Pierce, will debut its DC 266, dual console boat.
6. Mercury Marine and Raymarine will showcase DockSense, a revolutionary partnership between the two marine giants, which is expected to change the docking experience for boaters with “assisted docking technology.” Demonstrations will be available at the show for interested boaters.
7. Sea Doo will introduce its Fish Pro 155, the first and only personal watercraft designed for sports fishing including rod holders, a Garmin fish finder and more for under $15,000.
In an effort to promote conservation and educate consumers about the importance of protecting the ocean and marine environments, sunglasses manufacturer Costa announced it will debut the Conservation Village at this year’s expo. It will feature more than a dozen of the industry’s conservation leaders on hand to educate and inform attendees about critical environmental issues including efforts such as restoring and protecting marine ecosystems as well as game fish conservation.
Exhibitors of the 2019 Costa Conservation Village include The Billfish Foundation, Biscayne Foundation, Biscayne National Park, Bonefish Tarpon Trust, Captains for Clean Water, Coastal Conservation Association, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, International Game Fish Association, Nature Conservancy, United States Border Protection, United States Coast Guard Auxiliary, University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science’s RECOVER Program and Volvo Penta.
Beyond the Conservation Village, marine conservation is front-and-center at the 2019 Miami Boat Show. As part of an effort to continue to reduce the use of plastic and help raise awareness for the plastic pollution issue, the Miami Boat Show has partnered with Costa’s Kick Plastic initiative. As part of the effort, filtered watered stations will be offered at key points around the show. Complementing this, Costa will offer reusable water containers for sale at the show (24-ounce aluminum water bottles for $10), so attendees can be a part of the solution in reducing the amount of plastic used at the show. As an incentive to use the aluminum bottles, show attendees who purchase a Costa Kick Plastic bottle at the show will receive a free gift from Costa when they visit the Conservation Village.
Show attendees will also be able to see firsthand Costa’s new Untangled Collection, a line of sunglass frames made entirely from recycled fishing nets — the most harmful form of ocean plastic. The new collection features four frame styles made from 100 percent recycled fishing nets, each featuring mineral glass polarized lenses, recycled aluminum Costa logos, PLUSfoam recyclable temple and nose pads, and a unique tumbled finish. This new collection, along with other Costa styles will be available for purchase at the Captain Harry’s Fishing Supply, Crook & Crook and Hopkins Carter Marine Hardware booths.
Additional site-wide initiatives to encourage conservation include:
1. The boat show has eliminated plastic straws.
2. Concessions are introducing a new line of disposables for grab and go items that are recyclable and compostable.
3. There will be zero Styrofoam on the premises (for the third year in a row).
4. Renewable and plant-based coffee cups, sleeves, and recyclable lids will be used throughout the show.
5. The boat show is removing the use of hard plastic utensils from the docks and VIP Lounge, replaced with Green Ware Products utensils.
6. The boat show is eliminating the printing of official show press materials and transitioning exclusively to digital.
Want to learn the basics of powerboating or brush up on skills? A partnership between the nonprofit BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and Freedom Boat Club will bring affordable on-water boat training courses taught aboard single-engine powerboats to the Miami International Boat Show.
“Intro to Boating” and “Women Making Waves” are three hours long and offered for $149, which includes admission to the show. Class size is limited to four students per vessel, ensuring each student gets sufficient time at the helm under the watchful eye of a U.S. Coast Guard-certified instructor.
Boats are provided by Freedom Boat Club Miami. The “Intro to Boating” course covers shifting and steering, basic docking, open-water handling, and basic navigation. The ladies-only course, “Women Making Waves,” offers the same curriculum and is the perfect opportunity to spend a half day learning boat-handling techniques in a supportive environment. Both courses are taught aboard single-engine powerboats.
The goal of the courses is to address the high costs typically associated with at-the-helm training, making hands-on boating education more accessible. The courses also offer area residents the chance to try out recreational boating and give current boaters the opportunity to improve their boat-handling skills.
“Intro to Boating” is offered Thursday through Sunday at 10:30 a.m., 11 a.m., 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. while “Women Making Waves” is offered at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
Space is limited. Students must be 21 years or older. To sign up for any on-water training course from the BoatUS Foundation, go to BoatUS.org/On-Water.
Miami Boat Show
When: Feb. 14-18
Where: Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, Virginia Key
Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Tickets: $40 Premier Day, Feb. 14. All other days — $25 adults, Children 12 and younger are free when accompanied by an adult. Other tickets — $45 for a two-day pass (Feb. 15-18); $100 five-day pass.
Parking and transportation: Enjoy a water taxi ride across Biscayne Bay directly to the show from Bayfront Park, 301 Biscayne Blvd., or American Airlines Arena, Biscayne Boulevard at Eighth Street. Note: Must already have purchased admission ticket to show before boarding water taxi. Shuttle bus transportation is available from other parking located at Brightline MiamiCentral parking garage, 161 N.W. Sixth St. and at the Hickman and West Lot garages at Second Avenue and Second Street.