The yacht and brokerage show in Miami Beach is navigating from the sidewalk to the Indian Creek Waterway with a new approach for this year’s Yachts Miami Beach (YMB).
“The focus is on the water, to get people off Collins Avenue and out on the docks,” said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, CEO of Show Management. “The show will be more engaging and enjoyable.”
The 29th annual show includes more than a mile of in-water displays as well as larger yachts on show at Island Gardens Deep Harbour marina on Watson Island in Miami.
The show runs from Feb. 16-20, the same time as the Miami International Boat Show (MIBS), a schedule that has caused confusion for visitors unclear of the difference between the two shows.
Previously open to the public, this year attendees will enter at monitored entrances for a $20 daily fee. Five entrances on Collins Avenue, plus five water taxi entrances, are a big change from nearly 30 separate accesses at last year’s event.
“Now, there’s no mistaking, it’s a different show,” Zimbalist said. “At the request of the exhibitors, this year’s visitors will be somewhat qualified, that assures that.”
The layout for about 500 boats, from 30 to 160 feet in length, will be split at the center dock of the show, with brokerage yachts to the north and new yachts to the south.
Co-owners Show Management and International Yachts Brokers Association (IYBA, formerly FYBA), have increased media coverage to clarify the changes and encourage attendees to pre-buy tickets online at www.showmanagement.com. This year’s new admission fee is virtually all going into the increased media plan, Zimbalist said.
Last year, Island Gardens Deep Harbour marina opened for business just weeks before the inaugural Superyacht Miami section of the show. Marina Manager Marieke van Peer said this year will be even better.
“We had 25 yachts last year on our first year and we should match or surpass when everyone is confirmed,” van Peer said. “All the teething problems are out of the way.”
Visits to Deep Harbor are by invitation only and must be arranged through exhibitors. The Deck at Island Gardens restaurant is now open to the public Wednesday through Sunday, and crew get a 20 percent discount.
“The public can view, but not access the show, and people can see the sunset over Miami,” van Peer said. “But brokers can meet for lunch. There isn’t a better place than this place as a canvas backdrop for the show.”
This year the marina is better logistically prepared, she said.
“We have more golf carts, parking is sorted and we have good security,” van Peer said. “Everything is up and running.”
MarineMax has a lot invested in both YMB and MIBS with 250 people working at both shows, according to Steve Gale, general manager of MarineMax Ocean Alexander at Pier 66 in Ft. Lauderdale. Gale also serves on the boat show committee for IYBA.
“It’s a major event for us with 100 boats on display including hull No. 2 of Ocean Alexander’s 120-foot tri-deck,” Gale said. “The changes came from industry. We think it is a compilation of what we were asking for. The show is better connected and it will be safer with people not stepping into the street. Most clients contact the salesperson for tickets, so the new admission fee is not an issue.”
Show managers are working with captains navigating yachts into the show about the changes to the dock layout.
“We’ve been working with each exhibitor, and in most cases there is a tugboat working with each captain,” Zimbalist said. “The major difference is the orientation. We were Med-style with sterns to Collins and now most yachts will be turned around. We had to add lot of new dockage to do this, and we’re on a major two-and-a-half year program to encapsulate the styrofoam on the docks so bits can’t chip off.”
The docks are 80 percent encapsulated and will be complete by 2018, he said.
Booths, tents and food will be available on the docks, customer parking and valet parking are expanded, and there will be a dedicated ride share/taxi area as well as a shuttle from South Beach to the water taxi.
“And for the first time we have a new VIP option,” Zimbalist said. “It includes the Grand Floridian party boat for members, nightly events, and concierge for applications to get on boats.”
Until then, Zimbalist said he is excited about the changes.
“My favorite thing is being able to walk the show out on the water,” he said.