100,000 expected for Miami show

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It's a new year, a new decade and, hopefully, a new economic beginning after the long recession, so expect some new features at the Miami International Boat Show, which runs Feb. 11-15.

Strictly Sail, the all-sailboat show, is making a temporary move up the street from Bayside Marketplace to Sea Isle Marina at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay. The change comes because of less demand for exhibitor space, but Bayside isn't out of the picture. Some spillover from Big Boat Row, a display of big sailing monohulls and catamarans, will be at Bayside. Water taxis will shuttle visitors between the two venues.

Another first: The opportunity for preshow shopping on the Internet. Go to Miamiboatshow.com to browse the exhibits and determine which boats you want to see and where they will be on display. You can even make an appointment to see a particular model.

"[Manufacturers] have got to be able to start getting rid of whatever inventory they currently have so they can start getting new boat lines in, getting more models in, ordering stuff," says show manager Cathy Rick-Joule.

Exhibitors can't show used boats at Miami, but organizers are allowing new non-current models no older than 2008, Rick-Joule says. Most exhibitors, however, are choosing to show current-year product.

For those in the market for a used boat, the in-water 22nd annual Yacht & Brokerage Show runs concurrently on the Indian Creek Waterway along Collins Avenue in Miami Beach.

For the second year running, the Affordability Pavilion at the Miami Beach Convention Center will showcase boats that buyers can finance for $250 a month or less. The pavilion is expected to be an attractive stop for show-goers still shaking off the effects of the recession.

Other new extras include:

  • For the mate on the boat, a 90-minute Coast Guard first mate's course covering boater's language, basic navigation rules, environmental protection and other boating basics. Instruction will be in the Big Game Room at the convention center from 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. Feb 13 and 14.
  • Expedition Great White, an evening with Chris Fischer, professional angler and expedition leader on National Geographic's new show, "Expedition Great White." He'll talk about the team's search for great white sharks off Baja California and field questions. The program takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. Feb. 12 in the Big Game Room.
  • Guy Harvey's Artist Pavilion, featuring a collection of artwork and merchandise from the easel of the marine artist recently inducted into the International Game Fish Association's Fishing Hall of Fame. The art will be on display in Room 2700 at the convention center.
  • A five-day pass for $75. Admission for Premier Day Feb. 11 is $30, as is a two-day adult pass, valid Feb. 12-15. Single-day admission is $16 for adults and $6 for children 13 to 15. There is no charge for children 12 and under when accompanied by an adult.

Most of the powerboat show will be at the convention center; the in-water powerboat displays and sailboat show will share space at Sea Isle. Strictly Sail's in-water boats will be at Pier 5 at Sea Isle, the land displays on 16th Street and the special events under tents in the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral parking lot.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, which produces the show, expects a turnout of 100,000 - up several thousand from last year. Rick-Joule expects about 2,000 exhibitors, down about 200 from the 2009 figure.

Show hours at the convention center are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Premier Thursday, Feb. 11; 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 12 through Sunday, Feb. 14; and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, Feb. 15. The Sea Isle Marina is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.

Yacht and Brokerage Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 11-14 and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 15. Admission for that show is free.

This article originally appeared in the March 2010 issue.