If you love boating, Miami is always on your radar come Presidents’ Day Weekend because the Miami International Boat Show, one of the world’s largest boat shows, drops anchor in our harbor. The 2017 edition marks the show’s second year at the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin.
Since Presidents’ Day Weekend in beyond busy in Miami, the Miami Boat Show is upping the ante this year with enhancements to make the logistics easier, expand options and make the whole experience more lux.
Here are some highlights.
1. Balling out
With a deep-water basin making it the ideal locale for yachts, the show will feature more than 100 new luxury yachts, including dozens of debuts, making it one of the largest yachting exhibitions in the country.
And if you are into luxury, the new VIP experience will provide exclusive access to a private lounge, located aboard a 111-foot luxury yacht. The lounge will offer upscale dining and beverage service, live music daily, an open-air sky deck, private restrooms, complimentary Wi-Fi, luxury product displays and services, and more.
2. More boats
Organizers anticipate more than 1,300 new boats on display throughout this year’s show with more new model debuts than ever before. The number of boats in-water is expanding 35 percent to an estimated 550 boats and yachts — all located in the show’s marina. From sport fishing boats and high-performance boats to personal watercraft and wake sport boats, family cruisers and luxury yachts, there is something for every lifestyle and budget.
3. Better logistics
Yes, we know getting around in Miami is a hot mess. To address our public transportation and traffic woes, the Miami Boat Show has improved its transportation plan with even more efficiency including:
- Water taxis: There will be more water taxis and they will be larger. Water taxi pick-up and drop-off locations will be streamlined from seven to four: American Airlines Arena, the Hyatt in downtown Miami, the W Hotel (formerly Viceroy) in downtown Miami on Brickell, and Bayfront Park (Strictly Sail location). Note that the final departure for return service from Strictly Sail to Miami Marine Stadium is at 7 p.m.
- Shuttle buses: There are four departure locations throughout downtown Miami: Marlins Park, American Airlines Arena, the Hyatt in downtown Miami, and Bayfront Park (Strictly Sail location). A fifth location runs between the Miami Boat Show and the Yachts Miami Beach show on Collins Avenue.
- Miami-Dade Transit: In addition, Miami-Dade County provides convenient and inexpensive transportation to the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show and Strictly Sail Miami by Metrorail and Metromover. Buy your transit passes here.
- Downtown Parking: An estimated 10,000 parking spaces are available in downtown Miami with easy access to water taxis and shuttle buses. Downtown lots include Marlins Park and American Airlines Arena. Reserve parking ahead of time at MiamiBoatShow.com.
- Virginia Key: An additional 4,000 parking spaces are conveniently available on Virginia Key and must be reserved and prepaid in advance at MiamiBoatShow.com. Parking on Virginia Key is designated as: Lot B – General parking; Lot C – VIP and handicapped. Valet: Drop-off and pick-up at the front entrance of the show. Uber/taxi: Drop-off and pick-up in Lot C.
- Bicycle parking and special lanes: Bicycle parking is provided in a designated area on Virginia Key next to Miami Marine Stadium. It is located on Hobie Beach by the MAST Academy traffic light and next to the crosswalk.
4. Strictly Sail
The Miami Boat Show’s second location, Strictly Sail Miami, is returning to Miamarina at Bayside and showcasing approximately 130 sailboats, a large selection of sailing and power catamarans, dozens of daily seminars and the newest sailing gear. Visitors to the Miami Boat Show can access Strictly Sail Miami by free water taxis or shuttle buses, running until 7 p.m. daily.
5. Get on a boat, for reals
The Miami Boat Show will once again offer sea trials, in which interested shoppers can take the boat of their dreams for a spin in Miami’s open waters. This year, more boat exhibitors will participate, giving boat buyers a chance to test-drive a number of options. In addition, the show will offer its Discover Boating Hands-On Skills Training with more daily power boating and sailing courses. Space is limited; advance registration is recommended.