The Miami International Boat Show this week enters its fifth year on Virginia Key, and the Miami Yacht Show opens its second year downtown at Herald Plaza.
The shows open Thursday and run through Monday. In addition to indoor exhibition areas, there will be more than 2,000 boats on display at the two shows.
Among the boats are numerous U.S. and world debuts, including some new bells and whistles. A few include Sabre Yachts, which will debut its 58 Salon Express, the flagship model of its Salon Express line of Down East cruisers; plus the world debut of the Sirena 58 Coupe and the Riviera 505 SUV—the details of which will be forthcoming.
The Miami Yacht Show drew mixed reviews last year after its move from Collins Avenue to Herald Plaza. Some exhibitors complained about a shortage of attendees on the first two days of the show, though attendance increased during the weekend.
“We are excited to return to our new home at One Herald Plaza in the heart of downtown Miami to present another yachting spectacular in the epicenter of this dynamic, world-class city,” Informa U.S. boat shows president Andrew Doole said.
This year, organizers eliminated the grid layout from last year. The new layout starts at the entrance, which will now be at the south end of the show, and funnels patrons through a product pavilion that has expanded to 200-plus displays in 67,000 square feet of air-conditioned space.
The pavilion emerges at the in-water portion of the show, where 400 yachts will be displayed at three adjacent marinas, connected by a central dock with barges on both sides. Informa added several enhancements to “further its transformation into the ultimate luxury yachting showcase,” Doole said.
“With improved accessibility and transportation options to make it more convenient for visitors to get to the show, some of the exciting new features include the addition of a second main entrance on the north side of the show to complement the south side entrance, two in-water cocktail lounges, expanded dining options and extended show hours,” Doole said.
“We are also proud to be partnering with the Philip and Frost Museum of Science on an eco-exhibit to educate visitors about the protected sea grass within the marina area and to welcome new exhibitors hailing from Dubai, Asia, Italy and Australia,” he added.
Water taxis will now connect the yacht show, SuperYacht Miami and the NMMA’s Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key.
The NMMA has fine-tuned the show since the move to Virginia Key, yet some exhibitors still cite long lines at food tents, a lack of restrooms and poor air conditioning in hot tents.
“Every year has progressed, and we’re pleased with what we see, but there are some things that we’d like to see improve,” says David Wollard, senior director of Webasto. He said he would like better air conditioning and traffic flow in the tents, and more restrooms.
The show will add five custom restroom trailers on newly paved areas. Other upgrades, according to show director Larry Berryman, include a partnership with Anheuser-Busch for a beer garden, additional sit-down eating areas, and more grab-and-go food options. The total number of boats on display is up from last year at 1,400 (700 in the water), representing more than 140 brands.
There will be around 250 demo boats at the show, and the fleet of water taxis numbers 28, up from 23 last year.
“One thing that really distinguishes the Miami show is the opportunity to take boats out on the water and sea-trial them,” Berryman said.