President’s Day weekend, which landed on February 11th-15th in 2016, was a red-letter day in the world of boating. The Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin in beautiful Miami Beach hosted the fabulous, long-awaited exhibition of the newest, the best, and the most extravagant boats, marine accessories, related electronics, and nautical items available today. Over 100,000 people visited the event this year. It was the largest event Miami Beach had seen yet, with more than 400 boats on the water.
This wasn’t just a “boat show” - it had an astonishing 2,000 exhibitors, over 1,200 new boats, and the latest accessories on display. You were actually able to see, touch, and even try out the latest equipment right there on the spot. Builders and factory representatives were on hand to help you find what you needed (and what you really really wanted). South Florida was the center of the boating universe for this exciting 5 day show. The event has been held here in Miami Beach for 75 years, and this year it was the best ever!
During this 5 day fair, besides the exhibition itself, there were multiple events held after hours for boat industry professionals. We attended one of these gatherings to learn more about the industry. The event was held by the Martin Flory Group for one of their client co-operative press suites. The Martin Flory Group is a public relations firm founded in 1962. The firm has been a regular at the Miami International Boat show since 1963. They concentrate on the marine, outdoor, and RV markets, and also help clients whose businesses extend to other industries. They specialize in generating editorial coverage, mainly through press releases about their client’s products, projects, and company news. The firm serves clients not only in the United States, but throughout the entire globe. Their current family of clients, numbering over 30, include boat builders, engine distributors, accessory and component manufacturers, software developers, and even an industry non-profit organization. The Martin Flory Group has close relationships with media in their core markets globally, which contributes greatly to the success of the services the firm provides their clients.
We talked to the organizer of the event, Kelly Flory. For the past 20 years Kelly has represented The Martin Flory Group at the Miami International Boat Show. She’s experienced firsthand how the show has grown over the years. So we asked Kelly a few questions…
SFL STYLE: “How has the Miami International Boat Show evolved since you first took part in it?”
Kelly: “I can only speak personally as to the past 20 years, the time in which I’ve experienced the show. Years ago, the first day of the show was for industry trade members only. It was interesting to see the transition from business-to-business attendance and conversations on the first day, to the consumer interactions on the following days. The show has continuously grown, and draws a large number of international visitors, especially from Central and South America. The in-water portion of the show, previously held at Sea Isle Marina, has always been an interesting facet of the entire experience. It’s exciting to see boats ranging from small inflatables to very powerful high-performance vessels taking people out for rides. There has also been an evolution in the focus on attendees, such as the addition of sportfishing seminars, the Fred’s Shed educational sessions, and family-oriented activities.”
SFL STYLE: “In your opinion what were the best highlights of this year’s show?”
Kelly: “The show’s new location is spectacular. Being out on Virginia Key provides a closer connection with the water, especially since the in-water portion of the show is now at the same location as the land exhibits. There is a new energy there. NMMA did a fantastic job of organizing the event, of executing a world-class boat show on what was essentially a barren site a year ago. I hope the renovation of Miami Marine Stadium becomes a reality. It will provide even more exciting opportunities for the show.”
SFL STYLE: “Was there anything that the organizers of the show could have done better or may improve upon in the years to come?”
Kelly: “NMMA has already recognized the challenges with transportation, food, and restroom facilities. I saw how quickly they adjusted in the first few days of the show to overcome initial issues, and know they will further address this for the 2017 show. They have been gathering feedback, to ensure they continue to provide the experience that attendees and exhibitors deserve. We were thrilled to be part of the Miami International Boat Show’s 75th anniversary. It’s an important show for the recreational boating industry, and has a huge local economic impact. We look forward to its continued growth and success.”
Yes, we absolutely have to agree with Kelly. The Miami International Boat Show 2016 was a wonderful success.
We can’t wait until next year. The show brings together the best in the boat industry from around the world. It gives you a chance to meet face to face the industry key players and the companies they represent. Just a handful of these companies include Maverick, Grig, Caribe, Sea Ray, Yamaha, Chris-Craft, Tracker, Malibu, MasterCraft, Sabre, Marlow, Regal, Palm City, Glasstream, Z Marine, Seminole, Mako, Starcraft, Tidewater, Premier, Cobalt, Sea Vee, Pursuit, and many, many more.
The organizers did a great job keeping visitors entertained at all times.
They had a vintage South Florida racing boat called the “Carol Suzanne”, a “Y” class hydro boat from 1962. The “Last Blast” was a Jersey skiff powered by a 1957 Chevy V-8 and was built right here in Miami.
Perhaps some of the most exciting hands-on experiences were the classes and workshops. Attendees had the opportunity to learn about troubleshooting their engines, how to keep their carbs clean, how to choose props and how they work, and quite a bit more. They even had service technicians on hand to answer any questions.
The kids had a great time, too. There was a “Kid’s Corner” with games and activities to keep the little ones entertained. The Life Jacket Relay Race was a chance for the kids to run off a little energy, laugh, and win prizes.
The event was set on gorgeous Virginia Key; there could be no better location for the show than this island surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean.