Miami Boat Shows Revel in Good Crowds, Weather and Sales March 18, 2015

Concurrent boat shows that have piggy-backed on and thus leveraged the same mid-February dates for a number of years both reported solid attendance, strong exhibitor numbers and encouraging sales results for the 2015 exhibitions. The Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail, held in several locations on Miami Beach and in Miami proper, is owned and produced by the National Marine Manufacturers Association. The Yacht and Brokerage Show, staged on Indian Creek off Collins Avenue near the Fontainbleu Hotel, is owned by the Florida Yacht Brokers Association and Show Management Inc.

At YBS, Show Management CEO Efrem Zimbalist III told the Miami Herald that many exhibitors reported “significant sales” that continued through show week and after it closed. The number of show attendees and the total number of boats on display went up 2 percent, Zimbalist said. And the number of yachts on display in the 105-foot to 150-foot segment increased 20 percent. “As an industry, we believe that we will continue to see a rise in attendance and new exhibitor displays as the economy continues to improve and luxury condominium projects with marinas are currently in development and pre-sold in South Florida,” Zimbalist said.

The optimism was reflected in a Sounding’s Trade Only column by editor Bill Sisson saying the industry turnaround that has been building for the past couple of years and was clearly evident at the 2014 fall shows was present at February’s Miami shows, where the momentum kept going. “The rebound was evident in the number, quality and sophistication of the new boats and propulsion systems on display — not to mention the sizable investment manufacturers are making in developing the array of new product. And you could read the shift in consumer confidence on the faces, in the body language and in the snippets of conversation overheard from show-goers. Consumer confidence was up sharply in January (102.9), reaching its highest level since August 2007. Enthusiasm was in the air,” Sisson opined.

The tune was similar at MIBS. “I have a simple message,” NMMA president Thom Dammrich said at the industry breakfast on the opening day of MIBS: “We’re back.” And he predicted another three years of positive growth for the industry based on a continuing economic recovery and positive consumer sentiment. MIBS counted 96,009 visitors from around the globe (a one percent increase over 2014), showcased more boats than ever before, and boasted hundreds of product launches. NMMA reported exhibitors in every market segment indicate the show generated strong sales – in many cases, record sales – helping to kick start momentum for the recreational boating industry in 2015.

Changes are in store for the Miami twins in 2016. MIBS will celebrate its 75th year at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin – a well-known destination by South Florida boaters – located on Virginia Key off the Rickenbacker Causeway, just across from downtown Miami; the Strictly Sail Miami portion of the show will stay at Miamarina at Bayside. To see what’s in store next year, access a fact sheet at

For the YBS, because of reported growing demand to display boats larger than 150 feet, Show Management will open an additional location for the 2016 Yacht & Brokerage Show at the new marina project on Watson Island called Island Gardens Deep Harbour, across from the Perez Art Museum with views of the downtown Miami skyline. When completed, the new superyacht marina will be able to accommodate an average of 50 yachts from 80 to 550 feet.

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