June 25, 2022
Seas the Day: Miami's boat show is a glimpse into the future of the industry

Photo: Miami International Boat Show

Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show

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Seas the Day: Miami's boat show is a glimpse into the future of the industry

Mike Vogel | 2/23/2022

MIAMI - The boating industry looks for another strong year in Florida and beyond, judging from interviews with manufacturers, vendors and startups at this week’s DiscoverBoating Miami International Boat Show. Demand has been so high that sales reps for South African catamaran maker Leopard, which has a U.S. office in Dania Beach in Broward, were telling shoppers the earliest they could get a boat would be 2024. Meanwhile, those like French boat makers Dufour or Bali were happy to tout they could deliver this year. A noticeable trend: The movement of individuals in the industry from California to Florida to pursue their careers, finding California too tough in the pandemic to continue work. The show also featured a share of companies relocating or opening offices to Florida, such as boat maker Group Beneteau’s Excess brand’s new Fort Lauderdale office. Florida Trend South Florida Editor Mike Vogel captured some perspectives from the event:

Photo courtesy Derek Hunsinger

iYachtClub founders Derek and Brenda Hunsinger, here sailing with daughter Lorrin, turned their family’s love of sailing into a vacation and yacht sales company

First time show exhibitor
Brenda Hunsinger

iYachtClub, a family-owned yacht management, brokerage and vacations company - Raleigh, N.C

“This year, we knew because we’re growing and we’re diversifying that we needed to be here. We needed to be able to present this (Dufour) boat. Most manufacturers have boats that are years out. You can request them and you can’t get them. We have four boats available and you can get them for the season.

“Years ago, we were monohull sailors. And we came to the Miami boat show. We had a little too much fun. I nudged my husband with my elbow and said if you me buy one of these, I’ll go live on it with you. He turned around … and said 'sold.' We crewed our own boat for about five years and then we started in this business. We went to the Cannes boat show this past year, got introduced to the Dufour Catamarans, the new owners there. They asked us if we would be interested in presenting it here this year and we said yes. With the boat, we thought it would make a nice way to make a splash in Miami for the first time. We partnered and came to the show.”

 

Brad Kauffman

Sales
Brad Kauffman

Dream Yacht Sales, represents boat maker Bali Catamarans and others - Annapolis, Md., with offices in Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale

“Business is very good. I hope it keeps going. I’m a full-time broker. I have 25 appointments, which is incredible. It’s a lot for a boat show. Last year was the best year we’ve had. We sold 30 boats at the Annapolis boat show in October, which is unheard of. Definitely everyone’s optimistic. The good thing is we actually have inventory. We have boats available this year. This fall, you can buy anywhere from a 42- up to a 54-foot Bali. Our company committed to 150 boats in 2022. We’re down to about 30 boats left. That’s worldwide.”

Startup
Eli Yittah

sailamate.com - Houston, Texas

“We are the Airbnb of boats. We connect travelers and sailors. We want to be all over the world. Out first launch is going to be here in Florida in three months. The reason we chose Florida is because it has a large amount of boats and the people here are very understanding of this industry. Florida is very welcoming. This is our first boat show. It’s going tremendous.

“From the sailor point of view, you can get somebody that has a skill that you can use on your boat or to basically take the cost down because somebody can pay you to go on the trip you’re already going to. As a traveler, you can get offers from all the sailors and get the best price for what you want to do and get experience on the water with somebody who knows what they’re doing. They’re verified.”

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