We've all seen them. As most of the crowd meanders aimlessly down one boat show dock and up the next, these people are moving with the same purpose as a man with a winning lottery ticket in his pocket. While the midafternoon heat fells the faint of heart, these soldiers continue to walk the line, looking at the yachts they came to see. They are seemingly immune to the various charms of the modernday marine traveling circus that is the boat show, be it the 200-foot-long temple to one man's taste, the beer tents, or most temptingly, a multitude of boats and marine equipment laid before a true yachtsman's feet. The difference between these people and the vast majority of boat-show goers is that they come with a strategy, and they stick to it. Depending on a boat buyer's situation, a show can be a wise investment of time and resources. As with any investment, expectations have to be set. The best way to do that is with a plan, and it needs to be more spelled out than "Get a good deal at the boat show."
Where to begin? Why not ask the experts, the people who work the show like it's their job because it is their job. They have the inside track on where to go, and how to go about finding what you need. You can bet the professionals don't suffer bad boats or poor equipment, just as they don't suffer fools. If you're there to conduct business, they will notice. And you'll get the treatment-and the deal-you deserve.
If you've got a thirst for a new yacht, then Collins Avenue is a long, cool drink indeed.
Miami Beach is home to the Yacht and Brokerage show as well as the Miami International Boat Show. These events are worldclass showcases for the yachting community and attract an international audience. "Miami has more of an international crowd than you get at Ft. Lauderdale," says Sean Fenniman, a sales executive at Allied Marine. "The venue is fantastic, you're right there on Collins Ave."
Collins Avenue has been there through thick and thin, but this year may be special. "I'm looking forward to a great Miami Boat Show because I've just seen a resurgence in the market," says Roy Sea of Ocean Alexander. "And I think the buyers have been literally sitting on their wallets. Maybe they got tired of the doom and gloom or maybe they feel more optimistic."
People are buying boats, and it's the smart money that's on the prowl. "I think what you're going to find this year in Miami is the very nicest brokerage boats, the very last of the new boats that were built when everybody was fat and happy and the companies were healthy," says Fenniman. "Because you've got to think the gestation period was 18 months for some of these larger boats. So those boats started construction and were built when those companies had grandiose dreams and fat bank accounts. This is probably the last of the old-economy boat shows."
How will you get in on the action? Make your plan by finding the boats you're interested in seeing in person-the Internet is a great way to focus your search in advance, but of course a buyer's broker can be a big help.
Sean Fenniman Sales Executive Allied Marine
"The best parking is at the public parking garage on West 42nd between Royal Palm Ave. and Sheridan. Park there, walk over the bridge [on 41st Street], make a left turn on Collins, head north, and you get to walk the whole show."
"The factories aren't ever going to crank back up, at least not in the near-foreseeable future, to the level that things were. This is your last, best chance to see all the models in one location. At future boat shows, I think boats are going to be sold more out of catalogs than having the physical boats there. Very rarely will you walk into a boat show and see an example of every model that a builder builds. Next year I doubt you'll see that-it's the end of the era. Everybody's who's going to survive is getting leaner and meaner and going to on-sale production instead of build-to-spec and dealer inventory."
"There are boats in current dealer stock built during good times when they had an economy of scale. To build that boat today will certainly cost a good bit more than what they cost to build two years ago, even a year and a half ago. We've got '08 models that people will get a hell of a deal on. And once that '08 or '09 model gets sold, to replace the same boat with a 2010 model, it's not 5 to 10 percent more, it's 20, 25, 30 percent more."
Hot Tip: "You want to be there for the Monday of the show, February 15 this year. That's the best day for the show [because] truthfully, you've got the least crowds. If it were me, I would come preview and look at everything on Thursday, take a second look on Friday. Saturday and Sunday are just fun days. And then you come back Monday-that's the day to make the deal."
Lazzara will show off the Motor Cruiser 76, featuring a four-stateroom layout, the company's signature "country kitchen," and a power package featuring triple 600-horsepower Cummins Zeus pod drives. Lazzara Yachts; www.lazzarayachts.com
Marlow Yachts will be premiering the new Voyager 76LR, a goanywhere vessel for owners with offshore cruising on the itinerary. Marlow Yachts, (941) 729-3370; www.marlowexplorer.com