The new number to beat is 2,000. That’s how many boats — from just 10 feet to more than 300 feet length overall — are expected to descend on South Florida from February 14-18 for the biggest show-style display ever amassed in the world.
The boats will be at two shows that have long taken place at the same time, but that have never been so physically close. The Miami International Boat Show, managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, will once again be at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. And this year, Informa Exhibitions’ newly renamed Miami Yacht Show is moving from its 30-year home on Collins Avenue to a new location on Biscayne Bay, between the Venetian and MacArthur causeways.
“If you’re going to both shows, you can connect via shuttle bus, and the time frames have been cut in half, on average,” says Larry Berryman, vice president of southern shows for the NMMA. “When there’s no traffic, you could get between the shows in 15 or 20 minutes.”
The perennial transportation challenges at both shows are expected to ease this year. At the Miami International Boat Show, a new smartphone app, along with television screens on-site, will let show-goers track water-taxi arrivals and departures.
“You’ll be able to be sitting having a beer at the show, pull out the app and see, OK, there’s a water taxi coming in 15 minutes, another one in 30 minutes, another one in 40 minutes, so maybe in about 10 minutes we should start making our way over to the water taxi,” says Thom Dammrich, NMMA president.
For the Miami Yacht Show, parking should be greatly enhanced. The previous venue had a couple hundred spots; the new one is next to a garage with about 3,500.
“It’s a quantum change for us,” says Andrew Doole, Informa’s U.S. boat shows general manager.
And honestly, organizers of both shows hope attendees will simply leave their cars at home. The Brightline train has a downtown terminal where the Miami International Boat Show plans to have shuttle buses. Or it’s a five- to 10-minute walk to the water taxi at Bayfront Park.
Using mass transit fits with another change at the Miami International Boat Show: the introduction of Conservation Village, in partnership with the sunglasses company Costa. The village will have water stations for refillable bottles, and will host groups ranging from Captains for Clean Water to the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, with eco-friendly tips for boating and everyday life.
The village also is expected to include a display of Costa’s Untangled sunglasses, made from recycled fishing nets that the company Bureo recycles by melting them into pellets for Costa to reshape.
“These are Costa sunglasses, made with the Bureo plastic,” says Andrew Cox, offshore community leader for Costa. “The lenses aren’t recycled, but just about everything else is.”
The Miami Yacht Show also is taking extra steps toward conservation this year, creating a layout that protects sea grass wherever possible, and having manatee spotters on its water taxis to avoid collisions.
And human power will be saved too, Doole says, thanks to the Miami Yacht Show’s new layout: “The number of boats and dock units will be about the same, but now instead of being stretched over a mile and a quarter, it’s going to be in two much more compact spaces. You won’t have to schlep to see what you wanted to see. It’s going to be a much better experience.”
What, Where and When
The Miami International Boat Show is at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin. Its focus is boats up to 80 feet length overall, with in-water demo docks.
The Miami Yacht Show moves this year to Biscayne Bay, between the Venetian and MacArthur causeways. The focus is brokerage boats and superyachts, with the latter at Island Gardens Deep Harbour.
Both shows are the same dates from February 14-18.
Combination tickets are available at miamiboatshow.com and miamiyachtshow.com.