Yacht crew in Miami during boat show week will notice several changes this year. Of the two annual shows that will take place Feb. 11-15, one has been renamed and the other is preparing a new location.
The show on Collins Avenue, formerly known as the Yacht & Brokerage Show, is being rebranded as Yachts Miami Beach in an effort to highlight its location, but also to separate it from the Miami International Boat Show.
Yachts Miami Beach is an in-water show now in its 28th year and held along more than a mile of the Indian Creek Waterway in Miami Beach. Produced by Show Management and co-owned with the Florida Yacht Brokers Association, the show was originally created to showcase brokerage and previously owned boats, said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, CEO of Show Management.
Yachts Miami Beach is expanding to include boats on newly completed docks at Island Gardens on Watson Island. Last year, three yachts showed at the property. Although a visit to the Show Management website pictures a facility complete with high-rise hotels, retail shops, a promenade and a marina full of megayachts, in reality just the docks and a lounge are ready for the show. The marina, named Island Gardens Deep Harbour, can hold about 50 Med-moored yachts up to 550 feet in length. The upland development is scheduled to be complete by 2018.
The other show, the Miami International Boat Show (MIBS), is owned by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA). Because of a $515 million renovation and expansion of the Miami Beach Convention Center, the 75-year-old show was required to move and is expected to be based at the newly created Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key in temporary structures and on temporary docks. MIBS also includes the Strictly Sail show at Miamarina at Bayside in downtown Miami.
Decades of consistency has some MIBS visitors and vendors concerned about the changes including off-site parking, travel to the show, ongoing lawsuits and issues with temporary dock permits. For yacht crew at Yachts Miami Beach, a trip to MIBS used to be a couple of miles by road on a shuttle bus. This year the trip will be about 10 miles by land or a shorter trip to a water taxi stop for a boat ride to Virginia Key.
Dane Graziano, senior vice president and COO of Show Management, expects to have a bus available for crew to travel to Miami Beach Marina where they can catch a water taxi to MIBS.
“We support the Miami International Boat Show, plus we don’t have room for accessories at Yachts Miami Beach,” said Graziano, noting that some companies display at both shows. “Some vendors are trying us. The trend is a crossover, if they can do that.”
Nautical Ventures has displayed at both shows for about five years, CEO Roger Moore said. He expects increased emphasis and marketing for the Yachts Miami Beach show this year where his company will have in-water and dock displays of yacht tenders and watersports equipment.
“They really got behind the Miami Beach show this year because of changes at the Miami show,” Moore said of the show organizers. Nautical Ventures also has its booth booked at MIBS, and Moore hopes for good crowds at the show’s new location.
“I didn’t take it too seriously at first, so it’s my fault that we don’t have booth we want,” Moore said. “We were nervous to put up all that money and not be sure. They [NMMA] have been consistently positive. The main thing everyone needs help on is to feel comfortable about transportation to the show.”
SeaRay will also be at both shows, said Paul Cherney, president of Mer International, which manages the company’s strategic planning for the shows.
“We’re inside the tent at Miami International Boat Show; we don’t have wet slips,” he said. “And yes, we’re in water at Yachts Miami Beach. We’ve been pretty active. These shows are a pretty big deal.”
But Cherney admitted he has heard concerns from colleagues and attendees.
“There are schools of thought all over the place, but we anticipate a smooth transition into the show, within and during, and out of the show,” he said. “We’re hopeful.”
Sea Vee Boats are built in Miami and have also exhibited at MIBS for years, said John Caballero, marketing director.
“Our entire display is on water, so for us [the move to Virginia Key] is outstanding,” Caballero said. “This is something we have never done before. We can entertain, display and give rides.
“The scary part is the whole new dynamic,” he said. “New, new, new. Everything is new. This comes with a little bit of stress.”
Marine Solutions in Ft. Lauderdale typically gets a booth at the convention center for MIBS but is considering Yachts Miami Beach instead, said Michelle Hoekstra, controller and office manager.
“We have been debating whether to do the Show Management side; we’re up in the air,” Hoekstra said. “The fact that Miami hasn’t solidified, if they can’t get permitting, the traffic … . We’ve almost decided to pull back until next year. These shows are hundreds of dollars, plus labor, setup, breakdown, parking. And every show is a bigger show.”
AERE Docking Solutions will be at MIBS. COO Vicki Abernathy said the company displays were originally in the convention center and, last year, in the accessory tent. As to the new MIBS location?
“It is a little bit of a journey,” she said. “We’re cautiously optimistic. We did have the discussion on whether to go or not. But between the fact that we want to support the show and the NMMA, we will continue to do Ft. Lauderdale, Palm Beach and Miami.”
Sea Tow has exhibited at MIBS for more than 20 years, said Cindy McCaffery, vice president of program development. Sea Tow doesn’t display at the broker show, she said, because their boats are on-call nearby in the water.
“We’re signed up and excited,” McCaffery said, and she thinks attendees are, too. “The space is new, and the visitors will explore the nooks and crannies.”
Dorie Cox is associate editor of The Triton. Comments on this story are welcome at email@example.com.