Sunny skies and balmy temperatures set the scene for a buoyant start to this year’s Miami International Boat Show (MIBS). I attended the first two days of Miami as a guest of Mercury Marine, where the US-based outboard giant launched its line of 175-225hp V6 four-strokes.
The site of this year’s event meant catching a bus, boat or taxi to the venue. Exhibitors and show attendees flocked to the gates and through the metal detectors, giving them access to several large marquees and an enormous marina.
The vibe was upbeat and the show was noticeably crowded on day one. A stronger job market and confidence in the US economy reflected in strong sales across most brands and boat sectors, according to exhibitor reports.
Miami has many new global product launches and buyers were there to see first-hand the new goods. Best of all, many of these new products were available for on-water testing. With a giant expanse of water nearby, it’s a great opportunity for boat and engine companies to show potential customers and media the new releases first hand. Customer feedback at the Mercury stand spoke for itself. Within hours of the outboard range unveiling, customers were on the water sampling the product; many returning with cheesy grins and open chequebooks!
Miami is very much a sport fishing boat show. Almost all fishing boats inside and outside the tents were ‘glass and most in excess of 20 foot. With the exception of a few shallow water flats boats, there’s a clear trend towards large centre console sport fishing boats. This trend has been matched with a move towards multiple outboards. Twin, triple, quad, even the odd quintuple outboard rigged boat was on display. It was rare to see a single engine boat on the water around Miami.
Maritimo enjoys Trump ‘bump’
One of a handful of Australian brands attending MIBS, luxury boat builder Maritimo reported that the recent Trump administration’s tax cuts were having a positive impact on consumer sentiment and that “people were spending”.
“Numbers were up in Miami, but more importantly the people who were there were strong prospects and deals will definitely come from the show,” said Greg Haines, international sales and marketing manager.
“Our S51 and M51 models were a hit with the Miami attendees and our USA based dealer partner, Galati Yacht Sales, is currently finalising negotiations with several expected purchasers.”
Maritimo had four boats on display at MIBS and plans to follow up with a three-boat display at the upcoming Palm Beach International Boat Show later this month.
“We have struck on a winner with the M and S51 models as they are appealing to the broader overall market being not too big and not too small, so easy for a boating couple of own and operate,” said Haines.
“We were also getting very positive feedback on the standard of our fit-outs and finishes and the overall build quality. Being Australian and having a reputation for taming tough cruising conditions adds to Maritimo’s appeal with Americans.”
Visitor numbers up at MIBS
The organiser of MIBS reported an increase in attendances over the course of the five-day event, up 3% from last year to 97, 391. Overall the show featured 1,100 exhibitors and a total of 1,400 boats on display, either on land or on water.
The show featured more than US$3 billion in product on display with exhibitors reporting strong sales on everything from fishing equipment and sailing gear to new yachts.
“It was a successful 2018 edition of the Miami Boat Show as exhibitors reported some of the best sales they’ve seen in years,” said Larry Berryman, manager of the Miami International Boat Show.
“We are proud to host the greatest boat show in the world right here in Miami, delivering an estimated $854 million into Florida’s economy, and we will continue to enhance the show to provide a world-class experience for our guests, exhibitors and the community.”
Although primarily a power boat show, this year saw the addition of Strictly Sail Miami which featured more than 70 sailboats and catamarans on Pier 9, as well as a new Sail Accessory Pavilion and Sailor’s Cove in the same location.
This news article was written by Fishing World‘s Scott Thomas as he reports from a busy Miami boat show.
Read more visit www.marinebusiness.com.au/news/