Celebrating 79 years and its fifth year at Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin, the 2020 Progressive® Insurance Miami International Boat Show, presented by West Marine, drew 82,171 attendees over its five-day run ending on President’s Day. The Show kicked off with near record crowds on opening day, Feb. 13. Momentum slowed over the weekend with rainy weather, however early reports from several boat and accessory manufacturers reported strong sales and new buyers in attendance throughout the five-day event. As a result of inclement weather, attendance is down 10 percent compared to 91,518 in 2019. The Miami Boat Show is set to cruise back to Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin in 2021 over President’s Day weekend, Feb. 11-15.
“We are happy to hear initial reports from our exhibitors that the 2020 Miami Boat Show was a strong sales event, reinforcing the healthy sales reports we’re hearing from exhibitors at our boat shows across the country,” said Larry Berryman, show director of the Progressive Insurance Miami International Boat Show, presented by West Marine, and VP of NMMA southern shows. “We are already looking forward to 2021, returning to Miami Marine Stadium and building off of this year’s best practices to keep our standing as one of the greatest boat shows in the world and a favorite destination for boaters from around the world.”
With an economic impact of $854 million annually, the Miami Boat Show is an economic driver, employing an estimated 5,700 people and filling approximately 100,000 hotel room nights in Miami. Florida exhibitors alone sell a projected $350 million in marine products at the Show while out-of-town visitors spend approximately $53 million on restaurants, entertainment and other local businesses when they come to town.
In 2020, boat show organizers continued to streamline transportation options, making it easier to get to and from the show. Transportation options included complimentary water taxis to and from downtown Miami, new water taxi service between the boat show and Miami Yacht Show, a partnership with Florida’s Brightline train, more shuttle bus options, and a new video to help educate consumers on all transportation options. Visitors this year embraced the complimentary water taxi and shuttle buses from Downtown Miami transporting a total of 37,668 passengers, which is 46 percent of all attendees using the Show’s free transportation modes.
In addition to transportation enhancements, show highlights for 2020 included an expanded Costa Conservation Village featuring the new Volvo Penta Conservation Stage, with daily seminars on topics from sustainable fish to ocean conservancy. As part of the partnership with Costa and to continue to reduce the use of plastic onsite, the boat show partnered with the company’s Kick Plastics program for the second year. Attendees embraced the program, with more than 7,500 single-use plastic water bottles saved from waste (compared to 5,000 in 2019). As part of the effort, more filtered watered stations were offered at key points around the show.
Other 2020 boat show highlights: the BoatU.S. On-Water Training Program, which provided fun and educational hands-on training for 162 boaters – a 40% increase in participation compared to last year; the new Junior Captains’ program, presented by the Annapolis School of Seamanship, developed to introduce kids to the fun of boating with 90-minute lessons aboard a powerboat; and the renowned sailing seminar program featuring well-known names in the industry, which attract thousands of sailing enthusiasts from around the world.
The Miami Boat Show also hosted its first Boating Career Day on Friday, Feb. 14 to shine a spotlight on opportunities within the recreational boating industry. Miami Mayor Francis X. Suarez kicked things off with opening remarks as the show hosted 65 students from MAST Academy for a Q&A panel discussion with industry executives.