Boating Bliss

One of the most influential and internationally attended boat shows on the planet, the world-famous Miami International Boat Show brings thousands of boats and yachts to its devoted sunblock-slathered fans from Feb. 13-17. From “giga”yachts to baby boat shoes, MIBS has it all.
Words by Bill & Sandy Lindsey | Photos courtesy of MIBS & Miami Yacht Show | January 29, 2020 | Lifestyle

Dropping Anchor

The Miami International Boat Show is more than just another great boat show. It’s a celebration of Miami’s unique relationship with the beautiful waters around us. As the show enjoys its 79th Anniversary of triumphing over economic ups and downs, luxury taxes, dramatic location changes and more to return once again to Key Biscayne, it brings along with it a $854 million economic impact to Miami and the State of Florida. This year’s show spans 90+ acres at the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin and is host to 1,100 exhibitors, including 500+ marine accessory vendors, who will showcase thousands of products from the latest marine technologies, gear, apparel and fishing tackle to the newest engines from the world’s leading brands. Additionally, the docks will feature more than 200 opportunities for sea trials. Over at Sailor’s Cove, a show within a show, those who love the glory and glamour of wind power will find everything they need including their own elite VIP area. Shop top sailboats, sailing yachts, catamarans and all the accessories your maritime heart could desire;

Show Navigation 101

As we kick off a new decade, we can firmly state that after a rocky start, accessing the Miami International Boat Show has improved each year due to $1 million+ invested in free transportation options to drop attendees directly inside the show. This year’s comprehensive transportation plan offers several options to suit each visitor’s needs. The most popular are the multiple Park & Ride locations (Hickman Garage, West Lot Garage, American Airlines Arena, Bayfront Park) from which guests can get a free shuttle bus that will drop them off at the front entrance where they can purchase tickets if needed. There’s also a special shuttle bus route from The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne to help more local residents enjoy the show. The free Water Taxi is the most scenic way to get to the show and you can purchase tickets at both locations (American Airlines Arena and Bayfront Park) or show a printed or mobile ticket. Exhibitors and other VIP individuals must have their credentials before boarding. No Water Taxi in sight? Check its location on the Miami Boat Show App from RaftUp Technologies. Those coming from Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach will find it a breeze, just hop aboard the Brightline Virgin Train, then take a free shuttle from the station. Use Code MIBS20 to receive a 25% Discount on select train tickets. Miami-Dade County residents can also opt to avoid traffic by taking the Metrorail from any station to the Historic Overtown/Lyric Theater Station, walk next door to the Virgin MiamiCentral Parking Garage and grab a convenient shuttle bus to the show. There is limited Pre-Paid General Parking and even some RV Parking available on site in Lot B on Key Biscayne, but it fills quickly. Similarly, there’s dedicated handicapped parking at Lot C/Seaquarium. Uber and Lyft have drop-off/pick-up sites at Bayfront Park and American Airlines Arena, where you can then take a Shuttle Bus or Water Taxi directly onto Virginia Key. Or opt for the more posh choice: Valet Drop-Off & Pick-Up at the front entrance of the show. Valet, garage and lot parking can all be purchased at

Prestige Treatment

The best boat shows are just like Disney World — crowded — and the best way to experience them is VIP. Superyacht Miami’s Windward VIP lets guests access an exclusive lounge featuring cool pop-up food & beverage stations and a premium open bar. But it doesn’t end there, the price includes admission to both Superyacht Miami and Art Wynwood, as well as some chic private happy hours and events. At MIBS, preferred guests enjoying VIP Show Admission get unlimited access to a posh and relaxing All-Inclusive Luxury Retreat with its unparalleled views of Downtown Miami and the show, as well as a relaxing beach component. The complimentary food, drink and entertainment are second to none. Looking for a non-water ride? Check out the exclusive Porsche Luxury Vehicle Display;;

Ocean Warriors

We’re entering the “Earth First” decade and the Conservation Village is bigger than ever thanks to Costa Sunglasses. Learn about the fascinating work of some of Florida’s leading environmental organizations, such as the Coastal Conservation Association, Captains For Clean Water and Costa’s Kick Plastic Program, which aims to reduce the use of single-use plastic that pollutes waterways. In an effort to expand and enhance Costa’s efforts, the show will have even more water fill stations than before and sell eco-friendly reusable water bottles to handle the 86,000 ounces served annually. Pepsi will be doing their part as well with the introduction of 12 oz aluminum cans for Aquafina and Gatorade, which will help in further reducing the eco footprint at the show.

Dining & Libations, Miami-Style!

Walking the massive Miami International Boat Show works up an appetite, one you can feed at several scrumptious full-service, sit down restaurants on site. Unless you’re going to be doing the entire 5 days of the show, it’s going to be hard to choose from Latin Café, Havana 1957, La Cerveceria De Barrio, Sushi Maki, SuViche, Novecento and Moet & Chandon. To top it all off, featuring sustainable seafood is also a hot topic this year. Taking place at Conservation Village, Chef Allen Susser will conduct presentations about a variety of topics pertaining to seafood, the ocean and sustainability. The James Beard Award-Winning Chef, will also conduct interactive spice-mixing classes, light cooking demos and share recipes from his new cookbook, Green Fig & Lionfish: Sustainable Caribbean Cooking.

Stand Tall

A sport that for all practical purposes didn’t exist before 2005, Stand-Up Paddle Boarding was created by surfers in Hawaii as a way to stay on the water and keep in shape during the off-season when the surfing waves were small. All they needed was a lightweight canoe paddle and a longboard that could support someone standing on it. The core and upper body workout was phenomenal, and while they could still catch waves, the waves weren’t an absolute requirement. And so a new triple threat sport was born that was part surfing, part exploration, and all core body workout. Tower Paddle Boards built on that history and added an allure all their own with innovative high-performance paddle boards, carbon fiber and wooden paddles, flatwater paddle boarding accessories, stand-up paddle surfing gear, and — of particular interest to Miami condo dwellers — their high-tech inflatable SUP Surfing Boards that provide all the adventure without needing a large amount of storage space;

Nautical Treasures

The yachts are the superstars, the boats are the celebrities, the PWC’s are the reality show celebs, which seems to leave the gear and gadgets as the extras. Hardly! The cutting-edge gadgets and gizmos at MIBS and Miami Yacht Show will make you want to head directly to the tents.

Full Speed Ahead

The latest addition to Garmin’s flagship GPSMAP lineup of premium multi-function displays (MFDs), the GPSMAP Plus brings increased engine integration and OneHelm third-party integration. What these features mean in layman’s terms is a boating experience that is more automated and fluent at the helm, while eliminating the need for multiple control displays and devices. Plus it offers some amazing sonar capabilities right out of the box;

Wild Ride

Get on the bandwagon with the new 4-rider Bandwagon 2+2. Sit forward, backward, kneel or lay down, this innovative towable is ready for whatever style of ride you’re craving. The state-of-the-art high-back recumbent mesh seating, EVA foam floor pads, and foam seat bumpers are designed to keep you in place as you enjoy all the heart-pounding action;

High-Flying Cocktails

Got a yacht but no airplane? Now you can have both and host golden-age cocktail hours aboard that are the envy of the yachts berthed near you. This Sterling Silver Shaker is spun in the shape of an airplane inspired by the original Boeing Stratoliners which first flew commercially in the late 1930s. No detail has been overlooked — from the enameled cockpit and cabin windows to the clever wheel base, it’s yachtsman priced at $12,150;

Wow Factor

The massive 278 ft. SilverYacht superyacht aptly named Bold is not only the largest yacht at the 32nd Annual Miami Yacht Show, it could be the mission statement for the entire show as well. Settling into its One Herald Plaza location for the second year, this magnificent extravaganza features a 60-acre display, including a massive 67,000-sq.-ft., climate-controlled on-land pavilion space accommodating 200+ yachting & luxury lifestyle exhibitors. Anchored within the show’s Sea Isle Marina just north of the Venetian Causeway, and also in-water between the Venetian and Macarthur Causeway, are a pair of Premium Floating Cocktail Lounges for oasis-seeking luxury enthusiasts looking to enjoy world-class cocktails and music overlooking the water and the fabulous Miami skyline. But, as they say on game shows and infomercials “That’s not all!” — The Miami Yacht Show will also house the largest, show-stopping mega yachts and “giga” yachts at Superyacht Miami located at Island Gardens Deep Harbour on Watson Island. This posh locale is also home to the Windward VIP Lounge, which returns to offer exclusive VIP benefits including unique experiences, admission to the esteemed Superyacht Miami, access to a premium open bar, gourmet food, festive happy hours and other events. All show attendees can expect pop-up food and beverage stations featuring top Miami restaurants, yacht toys and exotic and collectible automotives. To keep things convenient, water taxis connect the Miami Yacht Show and Superyacht Miami to the Miami International Boat Show on Virginia Key;— Top photo by Guillaume Plisson; Aerial show photos by Forrest Johnson