Miami braces for celebration of all things boating, 17-21 Feb

by NMMA 
Miami Boat Show -2010 one of many many marinas
Tom McAfee
The 70th annual Miami Boat Show runs Feb 17-21 at the Miami Beach Convention Center and Sea Isle Marina & Yachting Center. Running concurrently is the 26th annual Strictly Sail Miami show at Miamarina at Bayside, which like the main show is produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association.

Also taking place on those dates, along Collins Avenue, is the 23rd annual Miami Yacht & Brokerage Show, which is produced by Show Management.

'We're feeling pretty optimistic. Some of this Christmas [retail] news obviously has helped everyone feel a little more encouraged that people are going to actually start getting some money out of their wallets,' says show manager Cathy Rick-Joule, vice president of Southern shows for the NMMA.

Rick-Joule says the number of exhibitors should at least equal last year's total, when 1,970 took part. And e-ticket sales, about two weeks in, were running about 27 percent ahead of the previous year. Last year, 91,415 people attended the show, and hopes are that more than 100,000 will come out this year.

Convention Centre - 2010 Miami Boat Show
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One of the most anticipated new features, trialled at the Tampa Boat Show is the Discover Boating Resource Center.
The interactive educational series takes a hands-on approach to training, with free daily boating seminars followed by in-water clinics to apply skills learned in the classroom. About 500 people went through the experience in Tampa and Rick-Joule is hoping to get at least 2,000 in Miami. Attendee preregistration began Jan. 20, although spaces will be kept open for sign-ups at the show.

'With the addition of the Discover Boating Resource Center, the Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail provides the ideal destination for new boaters to get educated on all of the benefits of the boating lifestyle, and seasoned captains to learn about the latest boating technologies and sharpen their skills,' said Cathy Rick-Joule, show manager. 'Whether you want to become more confident docking, learn how to sail, or take the plunge scuba diving, the 2011 show gives people the unique experience to take to the water and discover why life is better with a boat!'

Discover Boating Resource Center opportunities include:

Close Quarter Boat Handling – This hands-on instruction with certified R.P.B.A. captains teaches advance docking skills and close quarter maneuvering aboard inboard and outboard vessels. (presented by the Recreational Power Boat Association, Bayliner, Rinker and Mercury)

Joystick Docking Experience – Learn docking and maneuvering aboard larger vessels equipped with Joystick Docking Controls during daily training sessions at Noon, 2:00, 3:00, and 4:00p.m; register. (presented by Sea Ray)

Jet Boat Experience – Discover the difference between propeller and jet drive propulsion, which includes a 20-minute classroom session covering jet boat propulsion followed by a 25 minute jet boat ride. Rides depart daily from 11:00a.m.-4:00p.m; register. (presented by Yamaha)

Ski Boat Experience – Sign up for a 30-minute ski boat adventure on Biscayne Bay departing daily from Noon-4:00p.m; register. (presented by Miami Nautique International)

Coastal Navigation – presented by Navionics, learn how to use the latest GPS and navigational equipment aboard a 26' Andros Center Console. Classes will be offered daily at Noon, 2:00, and 4:00p.m.; register.

Introduction to Sailing – Learn how easy and fun the sport of sailing is aboard a Discover Sailing training vessel. During these 90 minute sessions, visitors will learn how to raise and lower sails, trim the sail correctly, tack and jibe, steer a compass course and more. These hands-on training clinics are taught by professional, American Sailing Association Certified instructors and are designed for those 18 and older. Classes will be held 10:30am–Noon and 4:00-5:00p.m. daily; register. (presented by American Sailing Association)

Coastal Cruising Advanced Sailing Clinics – Duringthese 90 minute sailing lessons, participants will learn several important advanced sailing skills including how to heave to, reef the sails, steer with the sails and crew overboard recovery methods. Classes will be held from 1:00-3:30p.m. daily; register. (presented by American Sailing Association)

Learn to Scuba Dive! The DEMA ‘Be Diver Pool’ – Part of the New Dive & Travel Harbor, guests 10 and older can submerge themselves into the fun and excitement of scuba diving in a heated pool. Each guest will receive a photo of their dive as a keepsake to take home.

Strictly Sail Miami is returning to its traditional landscape of an all-sail environment at Miamarina at Bayside. This year's show will feature 65 to 70 boats, compared to 46 boats in 2010.

Andrew Doole, senior vice president and general manager at Show Management, is optimistic heading into the Yacht & Brokerage Show. 'We've had a lot of interest from new-boat exhibitors and also the same brokerage customers that have been with us - some of them for 20 years now. The larger brokerage firms in the US are all exhibiting and have all committed to the same space or more than last year,' he says.

Doole expects between 400 and 500 boats in this year's show, which is comparable to last year. The brokerage is mostly domestic, he says, but new boats are split between international and domestic, with Italy, the United States and China among the biggest exhibitors.

More at www.miamiboatshow.com