Here’s a Guide to the Big Miami Shows (All of Them) in February
By Peter A. Janssen
You’ll find lot of changes at the Miami boat shows (all of them) next month. The big yacht show along Collins Avenue has rebranded itself so it’s now officially called the Miami Yacht Show, although it’s in exactly the same place but with some nicer amenities. It also has a sub-show for superyachts, available by invitation only, down on Watson Island.
Meanwhile, the big Miami Boat Show down on Virginia Key, which used to be only for powerboats, now has incorporated what used to the Strictly Sail show in downtown Miami, so that it’s totally interdenominational, with power and sail at the same place, also with upgraded amenities and transportation. All the shows, regardless of location, run the same time, from Thursday, Feb. 15 through Monday, Feb. 19.
Let’s start up on Collins Avenue (pictured above). That show is now run by Informa, the London-based show and events producer, that just put on the successful Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in November. For openers, it changed the show’s name from Yachts Miami Beach to the Miami Yacht Show, but it’s at the same place, basically across the street from the iconic Fontainebleau and Eden Roc hotels, running for a mile along Indian Creek Waterway from 41st to 54th Streets. And it’s now in its 30th year, showcasing 500 new and brokerage yachts, plus tents full of the latest electronics, engines and just about every boating accessory you can imagine.
As with the Lauderdale show, Informa has upgraded the food and drink situation, and created a VIP Experience (for $150 a day per person) with access to a floating, air-conditioned lounge offering a premium open bar, gourmet food and a concierge to make appointments for you to see the yacht of your choice. But you’ll need an invitation from a broker to see the display of superyachts (up to 500 feet) at the Island Gardens Deep Harbour Marina on Watson Island. The broker also will arrange transportation between the two shows.
Meanwhile, both sail and power are now combined at the Miami International Boat Show, run by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, down at the Miami Marine Stadium on Rickenbacker Causeway on Virginia Key. That show is now in its 77th year, and the NMMA expects about 100,000 people to look at the 1,400 boats in the water and on land, plus all the other boating equipment in tents and displays.
This year, for the first time, the show will include more than 50 sailboats, monohulls and cats, in the water on Pier 9, plus sailing gear and accessories in Tents F and J, and a dedicated Sailor’s Cove for meetings. The NMMA also will have Discover Boating Hands-on Skills Training workshops, and more than 200 boats will be available to serious buyers for sea trials.
This show also will have more (and better) food and drink options, plus its own VIP experience on a special deck overlooking the show and the Miami skyline also with food, drink and entertainment. More important for most of us, however, is that the NMMA has learned from the past two years, when the show has been down on Virginia Key, and has greatly improved transportation to and from the show.
It turned out that 85 percent of all water taxi passengers going to the show last year left from the Bayfront Park or the AmericanAirlines Arena, so the water taxi service now will concentrate on those spots. In addition, complimentary buses will run roundtrip from the AmericanAirlines Arena; the buses and water taxis will begin at 9 a.m., an hour before the show opens, and end at 7 p.m., an hour after it closes. If you want to drive your own car, you can make a reservation and prepay at the show site, miamiboatshow.com. For more: