The Miami International Boat Show and the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach will run Feb 16-20. But the Miami shows are a different breed of boat show from those in Fort Lauderdale and Annapolis — they span four locations (Collins Avenue, the Miami Beach Convention Center, Sea Isle Marina and Yachting Center and Strictly Sail at Miamarina and Bayside) and cover literally miles of docks and display aisles. To have a successful experience at Miami, you need to know what you want to see, where it is and how to get there.
Hit the Convention Center Like a Pro
Here are three ways to find what you need, avoid wasting time and money, and not miss out on the real deals.
1. Do your research. Just as you wouldn’t cast off for a cruise without charts (we hope), you don’t want to approach the boat show without some sort of plan of attack. Thanks to the Internet, you can get a good idea of what new stuff will be at the show before it starts. In the case of the Miami International Boat Show check out www.miamiboatshow.com to get the list of all companies that will be at the Miami Convention Center — the Mecca of new boat products during the show.
2. Location, location, location. Without proper planning, you can easily spend your day in taxicabs and lines for shuttle buses and never find what you need. Take a look at what you want to see and where it is located at the show. Set priorities and make a targeted list. In the case of the Miami boat show, you’ll most likely be spending most of your time in the Convention Center — don’t let the concentrated location fool you with thoughts of simplicity-- this place is a madhouse, so know what you want and where you’re going. Whatever your goals for the show are, you’ll accomplish them easier with a well-laid plan.
3. Keep your head on a swivel. So you’ve got your planned route and you know where you’re heading, but you don’t necessarily want to put on the blinders once you embark on your mission. There are new products on display at boat shows that are a surprise to everyone (including magazine editors with inboxes full of press releases), so keep your eyes open to surprises — you may find something you need but weren’t looking for. Now this is a balancing act to be sure, it’s a slippery slope between an efficient, targeted hunt and a day of aimless wandering. Have a plan and stick to it, but keep your eyes and ears open for new things.
Approach the maelstrom of product-hocking salesman and tables of overflowing miracle creams with a plan, you’re guaranteed to have a more successful day at the show.
Thursday and Monday the show hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Friday, Saturday and Sunday the show is open between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m.; Sea Isle Marina and Yachting Center and the Strictly Sail portions of the show operate from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day. A five-day show pass is $80, a single-day pass (adult) is $18, and a two-day pass is $32. For more information: www.miamiboatshow.com
- View a full list of exhibitors at the Miami International Boat Show, and see our list of new electronics at the Convention Center, along with a list of new debuts at the Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center.
- View a full list of exhibitors at the Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show, and check out our list of boats to see.
Getting Around Town
Courtesy shuttle buses and water taxis run among all portions of the show beginning one hour prior to opening and stopping one hour after closing, and water taxis run 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily between the Sea Isle Marina and Yachting Center and the Strictly Sail portion of the show.
Look into renting a motor scooter for your stay in Miami. It’s great for getting around town, easy to park and will free you from the shuttle bus lines and cab fares. Here are several scooter rental options:
1435 Collins Ave.
South Beach Scooters
2745 Collins Ave.
233 14th St.
By the Beach
The Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach, the portion of the show that we’ve all come to know from the overhead shots of millions of dollars worth of gleaming yachts stretching down the Indian Creek Waterway, will have more than 500 new and previously owned boats along a mile-long strip of Collins Avenue. There is parking between 64th and 85th streets, and free shuttle buses run between the docks on Fort Collins to and from the Convention Center and the Sea Isle Marina portions of the show. For a full list of boats and companies on display, visit www.showmanagement.com.
The Convention Center at the Miami Boat Show (1901 Convention Center Drive) is the mecca for new equipment, products and smaller vessels, though there are some 50-footers here too. Do your homework before hitting the display aisles — there are so many rooms and exhibitors in the Convention Center that it can easily become overwhelming. Before you head over, visit www.miamiboatshow.com for a list of what is on display and where you can find it. Don’t put on the blinders completely though — sometimes the best deals and coolest products may be the ones you stumble upon.
Sailors, Miami has an entire show dedicated to you, with some of the newest sailboats in the water and nearly 200 vendors on land — Strictly Sail Miami at the Miamarina at Bayside. This year, Jimmy Cornell will be offering his Long Distance Cruising Master class on Saturday, Feb. 18. Admission is $155 per person, which includes the seminar, a two-day pass to the show and a buffet lunch aboard the Biscayne Lady. For more information, check out our list or visit www.strictlysailmiami.com.
The old tried and trues are still here (Versailles, Joe’s Stone Crabs and Blue Door — now with an emphasis on fish!), but you may want to plan ahead for a reservation at these hot spots:
Scarpetta at the Fontainebleau
Fontainebleau Resort, Miami Beach
4441 Collins Ave.
Celebrity chef Scott Conant serves Italian favorites imported from his New York location that range from crisp fritto misto to a rich, classic pomodoro pasta.
4000 N.E. 2nd Ave.
Miami has a lot of celebrity chefs who open outposts in Miami. But chef Michelle Bernstein is a native, so it’s nice to see her culinary career sizzling at several locations. Sra. Martinez is her take on Spanish tapas, accompanied by the creations of her in-house mixologists, who serve it forth in a remodeled post office.
OLA at the Sanctuary
1745 James Ave.
Famed chef Douglas Rodriguez offers up ceviches and small-plate tapas highlighting Latin and tropical flavors in a peaceful oasis that sidesteps the crowds.