Another year has come and gone for the Miami International Boat Show. And, as always, it was the place to be in February if boating is in your blood.
Having returned to the Miami Beach Convention Center in 2022 after several years on Virginia Key, the renovated Convention Center has all the room and facilities worthy of this event. This year's sponsor was Discover Boating, a public awareness arm of the National Marine Manufacturer's Association.
If you are going to take in all that the boat show has to offer it's best to allocate at least two full days, if not three, to the adventure. The six locations make the show a bit difficult to not only navigate, but also to access, given the traffic and congestion of Miami. So, put on your "patience" and plan your days accordingly.
This show is where designers, manufacturers, suppliers and businesses focused on recreational boating roll out the red carpets for attendees. If you are a lifelong boater, or just getting started, Miami is worth your attention.
The Waterway Guide team has exhibited and attended most of the big shows in the U.S. over the years and continues to discover new trends and exciting technologies for spending time on the water and playing it safe.
Here are some of our favorite discoveries and visits this year from Miami:
NAVICO has created and refined a suite of navigation systems and related components that put it at the forefront of digital integration for vessels whether crossing a lake or the oceans. Their engineering teams are proud of their work and the technologies are impressive. As a business unit of Brunswick Corporation, NAVICO has the advantage of working with multiple disciplines within the marine industry, including electronics, propulsion through the Mercury brand, and boat manufacturing including Sea Ray, Boston Whaler, Quicksilver and a dozen, or so, more. The company's culture of energy and excellence is apparent at their exhibits.
This company was at the Miami show for the first time. And their work and attention to details is impressive. Electric propulsion is here to stay and this Austrian family and their U.S.-based representatives are poised to make an impact. Classic design and modern systems combine to offer a sublime on-the-water image and experience. Beautiful boats.
Managing space on the boat and keeping the drinks and bottles secure is the focus of Docktail Bar. From center consoles to deck boats, sailing hulls or yachts, there's something for everyone. The president of the company likes what he's doing, and it shows. We may put in our order for a special design in the weeks ahead.
LAPORTE boat shades caught our eye. For those of us who can stand only so much sun, but want to sit on the deck, either forward or aft, instead of in the cabin, this company has options for almost any boat. Delightful designs, good concepts, and excellent execution.
Regulator is one of those companies that continually rises to the top when considering design, technology and steadfast commitment to quality. First launched in the late 1980s, Regulators are stunning to see, built strong, and comfortable underway, and a testament to the hard work and focus of founders Owen and Joan Maxwell. Always a joy to visit with them, their vision remains stalwart. Regulator owners belong to a select club.
We are fortunate in the U.S. to have an agency with the depth and breadth of experience of NOAA that remains approachable, willing to adapt to new technologies, and diverse in its offerings. The source of most of our atmospheric and oceanic data, NOAA is in transition with the sunsetting of legacy paper charts and the conversion and management of data for electronic navigation charts (ENC). NOAA's exhibits at boat shows provide visitors opportunities to speak with the men and women managing the changes and get insight into the details of the resources offered.
Good optics, whether in cameras or binoculars, are always important to boaters on the water. The SkyHawk exhibit had some solid offerings. Based in Encinitas, CA, the company has an impressive line of ultra high-powered binoculars. Their 4600 7x50mm marine waterproof binoculars took center stage.
Having spent two Christmas vacations on a Pursuit Offshore 345 transiting Florida's coasts from Pompano Beach, across Lake Okeechobee, down the west coast and through the Keys, it was important to see their latest offerings. Pursuit is a legend, and their new OS 445 is sensational. Systems, comfort and attention to detail make this new release a winner.
Survival Tips for the Show
- Stay close to the show – do not drive in Miami traffic.
- Allow 3 days to see it all.
- Slow down and ask questions of vendors and exhibitors.
- Have your electronic tickets loaded and ready to be scanned.
- Wear comfortable shoes. Leave the fashion statements to the models.
- Make dinner reservations in advance.
- Recognize that with 6 locations, you will sit in traffic.
- You have a lot of ground and water to cover.
- Use the water taxi.
- Relax and enjoy Miami.