Gregoire Winston / highlights contributor

Boaters Unite at the Miami International Boat Show

Miami's International Boat show kicked off on February 14 at the Miami Marine Stadium, welcoming guests from all across the globe.

Running from Friday, Feb. 14 to Monday, Feb. 18, the Miami International Boat Show, one of the largest in the world, greeted throngs of guests from across the globe. Held at the Miami Marine Stadium at Virginia Key, the exposition displayed a plethora of boats —  over 1,500 models both on land and in the water — for boating experts and amateurs alike.

Although the sun was beating down, something Miamians are used to, the site offered free water taxis and bus shuttles to and from the Marine Stadium, a great way to compensate for the scorching midday temperatures.

As seen from the entry point, the boat show seemed to be a simple arrangement of hangars with an extensive patio to feed the customers. However, to many visitors’ surprise, the hangars contained more than 1,000 exhibitors and concession stands, containing every nautical commodity from luxury toilets to magnetic compasses and submersible robots able to pinpoint any object at the bottom of oceans.

“What makes Miami Boat Show so unique is the number of vendors and the number of boats that come out and the people. It is a good place for vendors and companies to get in contact with consumers even if they are not selling products directly. It is popular because people from Central and South America and all over the world come to exhibit and check it all out,” Ted Costello, a sales and service representative for Richie Navigation said.

While many customers and attendees believed the exposition was primarily for lucrative purposes, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration informed them about their day-to-day tasks to ensure the safety of boaters. 

“I help people with anything maritime related: I help people update their maritime charts, get new charts, I work with the Port of Miami to bring in the big hundred-thousand ton freighters, and even down to the recreational boaters, who need the weather information,” Louis Licate, navigation manager for Florida, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said.

It is clear that for the Miami International Boat Show, plastics are not welcome. Partnered with Costa Sunglasses, they started an initiative to conserve the Miami marine ecosystems and protect it from hazardous, man-made materials, such as Styrofoam and plastic straws, completely banning them from the location.

This year’s Boat Show was another  success, contributing approximately $850 million into the Florida economy but also providing a great experience for boat lovers internationally.

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