Miami International Boat Show: Five things you can't miss

1. Skills training
Calling all Captains! The hands-on workshops at Sea Isle Marina are the perfect chance to get tips from USCG licensed captains who are certified professional instructors. This year’s schedule includes one-hour and three-hour tutorials that take place in the water and that are available for everyone from beginners to seasoned skippers. Over at the Miami Beach Convention Center, Fred’s Shed Interactive Learning Center will provide workshops on maintenance, repairing, upgrading your boat or motor with demos and Q & A sessions, all free.

2. Big Game Room
If you want to know where all the big fish are hanging out, it’s at the Big Game Room where the big kahunas of the sports fishing world will cavort to compare baits, rigs and tackle (Room B210 on the second floor), meet and greet with reality stars (fishing related, of course) and swap fishing tales at the Marlin Bar and Lounge.

3. Products Galore
No self-respecting boater would leave the dock without all of the appropriate gadgetry, obviously. The Boat Show has got all the latest; LED position indicators, chartplotters, sonar, desalination systems. Are you low on lures? Check out the latest Ballyhood Top Gun lures, made of polished stainless and which trolls up to 25 knot boat speed (Booth 2927). Need to get the stink of your cabin? Visit Santiation Creation’s booth (4232) to see the Dungaroo, a waterless, odorless toilet that will keep the poop out of your poop deck. How about underwater marine lights? You can snag the BlueWater 315-lumen Dual-Color underwater light, good in fresh and salt water (booth 4701). And those products are just a drop in the bucket.

4. Discover Boating Photo Contest
Capture the spirit of the boating lifestyle and you could win a $500 shopping spree at the Miami International Boat Show. Visit the website to enter. The grand prize winner will be selected and contacted by phone after the show closes on Saturday, February 15th to receive the $500 shopping spree (for use at the show on Sunday, Feb.16 or Monday, Feb. 17). Ten honorable mention winners will each receive one $50 shopping spree.

5. Fish stars
Meet Chris Fischer and Captain Brett McBride, the men behind OCEARCH, a collaborative non-profit that studies and tracks great white sharks and other large apex predators, and the stars of History/A&E’s “Shark Wranglers.” Hear firsthand how they catch, tag, study and release great white sharks on  Friday, Feb. 14 at 5 p.m. in the Big Game Room and on 19th Street across from the Bar/Restaurant on Saturday at 5 p.m.  Saturday from 1-4 p.m. the stars of National Geographic’s “Wicked Tuna,” will be in the Big Game Room where guests can enter to win tickets to the seaon premiere.

Also join some of the biggest names in the sports fishing from around the world for an informative question and answer session/discussion about offshore fishing and boating at’s “Titans of Sportfishing” round table discussion from 3:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14. On the roster are Captain Peter Bristow, the famous Australian skipper who has caught more than fifty marlin weighing more than 1,000 pounds;  Captain Bouncer Smith, a Big Game Room favorite and an expert in fishing in South Florida; and Captain Brad Phillips, a South African captain who has won The Billfish Foundation’s top captain award three times; voted one of Marlin magazine’s top 10 captains.