Feb 22, 2017

MIBS 1This is the second year that the Miami International Boat Show has been held at the Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key beside the Rickenbacker Causeway. The previous show location on South Beach was no longer available as of 2015 when the Miami Convention Centre closed for major renovations and the National Marina Manufacturers Association (NMMA) who own the show were forced to relocate. It was moved to Virginia Key for the first time in 2016.

Thom Dammrich, NMMA President and his team worked with the city of Miami to resurrect the Miami Marine Stadium, which had been out of use for many years. This is the second year the show was held in the facility and the NMMA has continued to make significant investments into the show and the infrastructure around it.

The show now has a far larger number of boats in the water. There are now 3.47 miles of docks to walk, packed with a wide variety of new boats from small fishing vessels to luxurious yachts.

MIBS 2The smaller boats are mainly indoors along with many other equipment and engine displays and to accommodate the crowds in air-conditioned comfort, the NMMA has created the largest temporary tent installation in North America with eight miles of carpet, ten miles of steel framing to make the tent structures, and to set up the show, they handled 1,500,000 pounds of freight. Ninety-six shuttle buses and 24 water taxis were used to bring people to the show.

To make sure everybody was safe and secure at the show, there were 91 first responders on site. Overall, the Virginia Key facility became the largest temporary marina in the world.

Also, held in Miami on the same dates but in a different location is the Yachts Miami Beach show where the focus is on larger yachts up to super yacht sizes. This show was located in the marina facility that stretches along Collins Avenue in the Miami Beach area.

The Strictly Sail Show continued at Bayside as in the past.

For boating enthusiasts, you could argue that Miami is either a boating mecca or a muddle. With multiple shows going on at the same time, the exhibitors are often stretched between the two locations. Travel from one site to the other can be as much as an hour and a half during high traffic times of the day.

Well there's nothing like selection and there's probably no place on earth that shows you more boats in more sizes with more accessories then Miami does at this time of year. The whole city is buzzing with boats.

MIBS 3Compared to seeing the new boats at the Toronto or Vancouver boat shows here at home, it might seem tempting to head down to Miami especially given that the weather during the show was clear, mostly sunny and up to 80°F. It's a great place to be in February.

On the other hand, when you see the boats in Canada, it's mostly indoors in the comfort of heated buildings, close to home and where your marina dealer is ready to sit down and talk. Plus, you're not faced with expensive air travel, hotels and the unfavourable exchange rate.

So in conclusion, Miami is impressive indeed but pretty much of what you want to see is all here at home, including all the newest products and boat models. But…isn’t it nice to have choice?
-Andy Adams