Miami Boat Show will have the newest and best

The 2018 Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show will throw open its docks Thursday to a crowd that could top 100,000 by Monday’s close. And the main attraction is less about the boats, and more about the boating lifestyle. 

More than 1,100 exhibitors with more than 1,400 boats — half of which are in the water — are the reason visitors from 35 countries will come to check out, speculate and buy powerboats, sailboats, electronics, equipment, services, accessories, clothing and much more.

For five days, the center of the boating world will circulate around the Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key. Manufacturers and dealers will debut the latest and newest models with technology upgrades to make even the most novice watermen feel comfortable at the helm.

More: Boat Show takes over Miami

The boat show is an extremely important engine for Florida’s coastal economy. In 2016, new boat sales in Florida topped $2.5 billion, up 5 percent from 2015, according to the National Marine Manufacturers Association. By the time all sales leads generated at the Miami Boat Show are tallied, it represents $854 million in economic impact by itself. The boating industry in the U.S. is a $36 billion per year business.

“The close of 2017 marked our sixth consecutive year of growth in new boat sales and recreational boating expenditures, and we expect that trend to continue through 2018, and possibly beyond,” said Thom Dammrich, association president. “On the horizon, if economic indicators remain favorable to the recreational boating market with strong consumer confidence, a healthy housing market, rising disposable income and consumer spending, and historically low interest rates, the outlook is good for boat sales.”

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Dammrich points to these figures for his industry’s confidence:

  • Annual U.S. consumer spending on boats, marine products and services totaled $36 billion in 2016 and are expected to have climbed three percent in 2017 to $37 billion.
  • Sales of new powerboats in 2017 are estimated to exceed 260,000 units with continued sales growth of 5 to 6 percent expected in 2018.
  • The recreational boating industry in the U.S. supports 650,000 direct and indirect American jobs and nearly 35,000 small businesses.
  • Recreational boats are uniquely American made with 95 percent of the boats sold in the U.S, made in the U.S.

It’s not just new boats Americans are buying: There were an estimated 981,600 pre-owned boats (powerboats, personal watercraft and sailboats) sold in 2016, totaling $9.2 billion in sales.

There were an estimated 11.9 million registered/documented boats in the U.S. in 2016.

Ninety-five percent of boats on the water in the U.S. are small in size, measuring less than 26 feet long — boats that can be pulled by a vehicle to local waterways.

More: Boat Show takes over Miami

Some of the things to do and see at this year’s Miami Boat Show include:

  • Cobia 240CC: 24-foot center console built by Maverick Boat Group. Booth A105 and A205. Maverick Boat Group will have 21 models of its four brands — Cobia, Maverick, Pathfinder and Hewes — on display.
  • Float-On Trailers: See the industry leader in how to get one’s boat to the water and help celebrate the company’s 50th anniversary in business.
  • Pursuit S408: A 42-foot center console with all the luxury and amenities one can think of and more. In-water, Pier 5, slips 520-542, and on land in Booth A235, along with 13 other models.
  • Evinrude iDock Joystick Piloting System: Along with Evinrude’s E-Tec G2 high performance and high efficiency outboard motors at Booth F145 on land, and Booths 108-124 in water.
  • Sea Tow Life Jacket Loaner program: With so many people wandering the docks this weekend at the Miami Boat Show, the Sea Tow Foundation is providing over 400 life jackets to keep kids and parents safe. Borrowing a life jacket is free and easy: Visit a loaner station, borrow one for the day, and return to one of the loaner stations throughout the show when done.
  • Boating Skills Virtual Trainer and Discover Boating Hands On Skills Training: Located on Header Dock between Piers 1 and 2. Reservations required.
  • Demo Docks and Sea Trials: More than 200 boats are available for on the water sea trials.
  • Strictly Sail Miami: Has moved to the Miami Marine Stadium this year.

Show details

Where: Miami Marine Stadium Park Basin, 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami

When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Monday

Admission: Premier Day (Thursday) $40; Adult (age 13+) $25; Two-Day Pass $45; Five-Day Pass $100; Child (12 under) free

Information, including parking and transportation:www.miamiboatshow.com


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