Despite Post-Pandemic Complications, Miami's Iconic International Boat Show Roars Back
It’s not exactly a return to normal as this week’s Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show kicks off.
True, a Miami boat show is back after a pandemic hiatus last year. It expects to draw 100,000. As Sharon Day, president of Catalina Yachts, says, “We’re happy to be back to the boat show times.”
But normal? Not so much. Demand from buyers who in the pandemic came to love boating is huge. Unfortunately, supply chain issues and labor shortages are keeping manufacturers — like their auto industry counterparts — from meeting that demand.
Catalina has sold so many boats that it had to go to boat owners to borrow boats for the show. “We can’t make them fast enough,” says Day, whose company makes its boats in Largo.
Florida companies, such as Catalina and New Smyrna Beach-based Bajio Sunglasses, will be throughout the venues. Orlando-based Correct Craft (Read the 2021 Florida Trend profile of Correct Craft CEO Bill Yeargin) is scheduled to reveal a “never been made before” Ingenity Super Air Nautique GS22E electric boat which earned the Boat of the Year Trophy from Boating Magazine.
The show, Feb. 16 through 20, is the first under the Discover Boating name as it combines the Miami Yacht Show, SuperYacht Miami and the Miami International Boat Show as a joint effort of Informa Markets, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the International Yacht Brokers Association.Ã¢?¯
In a new configuration, the show is at five locations, including a return to the Miami Beach Convention Center (powerboats up to 49 feet along with engines and accessories); along with One Herald Plaza (motor yachts up to 125 feet); Museum Park Marina (sailboats); Yacht Haven Grande at Island Gardens (the largest yachts) with Sea Isle hosting test drives of vessels.
This year’s new layout should save buyers from having to hoof it all over venues to see what they want, Day says.
Catalina, which acquired True North Power Boats in 2019 to add to its historical presence in the sailboat markets, says the wait list for power or sail boats is at least a year, two years for some models. “With Covid going on we’ve had more and more people getting back into sailing than you would ever imagine,” Day says.
In normal times, buyers come from around the globe. Even this year, says Catalina chief operating officer Patrick Turner, “We get people from all over the country.”