by Bob Wonders
The United States boating industry, together, no doubt, with boat, engine, electronics and equipment manufacturers worldwide will be hoping for a highly productive edition of the famous Miami International Boat Show.
Riviera hosted an impressive display last year and intend to do something similar for the 2011 show with seven models on display.
I’ll be heading out to the Florida city on Friday this week, hoping for improved weather conditions to that encountered 12 months ago, when even tropical Miami experienced below average temperatures thanks to the ‘big freeze’ in the country’s north-east.
The five-day extravaganza is set for February 17 through 21 and will be staged at the Miami Beach Convention Centre, the Sea Isle Marina and at the Miamarina Bayside.
Although not directly connected with the show or owned by show organiser the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), the huge brokerage show spread along Collins Avenue at Miami Beach, also plays a major role.
Simply put, the Miami International Boat Show is huge; it cannot be seen in a day or even two days.
In fact, one could easily spend two or three days without leaving the convention centre.
Access to all sites is made easy by free non-stop shuttle buses operating throughout the show’s hours and for those who don’t mind dipping into the pocket there’s an array of water taxis able to slip into and out of some of the venues.
If you’re wondering just how big the Miami show is, consider these statistics;
* It will attract nearly 2000 exhibitors
* More than 100,000 visitors are expected to flock through the gates
* Nearly half (45 percent) of those attending the show come from outside Florida
* There will be in excess of 2500vessels on display
* More than 1500 employees are required for move in and move out
* The convention centre boasts 2.5 million square feet of exhibition space
* It requires enough carpet to cover 20 football fields
* In 2010 boats on display ranged from 6’ (1.82-metres) to 83’ (25.29-metres) and carried price tags from $4500 to $7.5 million.
* The show generates $817.8 million annually in gross sales and salaries in Florida
* It supports more than 9000 full-time jobs
* It takes 14 days for a team of electricians to install the show’s temporary power plant.
Like I said, when it comes to boat shows, Miami qualifies as ‘a big one.’
Twelve months ago, with the northern sector of the US under snow and ice, the show’s attendance suffered; many airports across the north were closed and a number of people, among them exhibitors and media, were unable to make the journey south.
Consequently, many are hoping for more benign conditions and a decidedly ‘healthier’ show.
Show visitors will certainly have their work cut out taking in everything on offer.
The number of ‘shows within the show’ are all capable of attracting interest.
No doubt fans of pay television’s Discovery Channel program ‘Deadliest Catch’ will be lined up to meet Russell Newberry, the deck boss aboard vessels involved in the Bering Sea crab boats.
Speaking of crab boats, another attraction at the show will be the offshore racer ‘Time Bandit’, sponsored by the crab fishing vessel of the same name; its throttleman is Travis Lofland, currently working in the Bering Sea aboard the crab boat, but destined to make it to Miami for the show.
Another spectacular offshore racer, ‘Miss Geico’, the so-called 50’ ‘aerodynamic rocket ship’ with the turbine engines capable of pushing it to 185mph (298km/hr) will be on display and it’s worth seeing, I assure you.
To its credit, the NMMA has put together an array of programs aimed at either improving a boater’s skill levels or helping a novice boater gain additional knowledge.
These range from Coastal Navigation, presented by Navionics, the Ski Boat Experience, by Miami Nautique International, Joystick Docking, by Sea Ray and MarineMax, the Jet Boat Experience, presented by Yamaha and several programs associated with sailing skills at the Miamarina Bayside.
Anglers will no doubt make a beeline for The Big Game Room, where one can enjoy a cool drink at the appropriately-named Marlin Bar, visit the Bait Rigging Station or just check out the latest equipment in the world of blue water angling.
There’s even a ‘human aquarium’ with scuba divers demonstrating the latest equipment in a clear, plexiglass tank; also, within the convention centre, there’s the ‘Be a Diver’ pool with instructors on hand to teach the basics of diving to anyone over the age of 10-years.
As I’ve been saying, it really does all happen at the Miami International Boat Show.
Aussies bound for Miami?
Definitely, Australia will be well represented at Miami with Maritimo, Riviera, and Seawind Catamarans will be prominent while many Australians representing industry leaders such as Mercury Marine, Volvo Penta, Evinrude and Yamaha will be on hand.
Maritimo and Riviera will both be displaying ranges of their luxury cruisers at the Yacht Brokerage Display on Collins Avenue, opposite the legendary Fontainebleau Hotel that has starred in so many Hollywood ‘blockbusters.’
Maritimo’s display will include the stylish Cabriolet 50 and three of the company’s popular flybridge cruisers, the 440, M56 and the bluewater ‘battlewagon’ the 550.
Marketing director Luke Durman will be heading over to support colleague Dave Northrop (president, Maritimo USA) and his team
Mr Durman said the company was 'quietly optimistic’ and looking forward to the show.
'Recent indications show that the US industry is recovering well from the economic downturn and we intend to be there to take full advantage,' he added.
The Gold Coast company has been a regular exhibitors at Miami for several years, initially at the Sea Isle Marina and more recently at the Brokerage Show.
Riviera will be displaying seven boats from its range on the Collins Avenue site, with both flybridge and sport yacht models displayed.
The display will include the 5800 and 5000 Riviera Sport Yachts which, according to Riviera Yachts director Chris McCafferty have been ‘very well received’ since being introduced to the US market.
Riviera’s 5000 will boast Zeus controls and the 5800 and 43 Offshore Express will both feature Volvo IPS power.
'The Miami Yacht and Brokerage Show is one of the leading boat shows in the world and we look forward to showcasing the Riviera range,' Mr McCafferty added.
Seawind Catamarans is another who has been a regular Miami exhibitor and this year will be on hand at Miamarina Bayside with its award-winning catamarans.
The company will be displaying three models, including the popular 1160 and 1000 cats that have proven so popular worldwide.
Seawind marketing manager Brent Vaughan, usually n site at Miami, is unable to make it this year, but his confident his US team can achieve success.
For further information visit the show’s website, www.miamiboatshow.com or, better still, stick with Powerboat-World and MarineBusiness-World for my personal updates from the heart of the action.