Feb 22, 2022
While it’s far too early to have any numbers on the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show that opened February 16 through 20, 2022, the weather steadily improved through the week, the crowds grew larger and the vibe seemed very positive. I felt a sense of momentum as the days went on.
We had a long-awaited reunion with many friends and business clients. Those were equally positive.
It was great to see everyone. It felt like old times again. A few people wore masks on the shuttle busses (me for example), but in the buildings and in the displays, masks were rare. Warm handshakes and occasional hugs were back and people were very receptive to conversation. I’d say that many of the exhibitors brought a lot of staff. I was able to locate almost everyone on my list, in spite of the show being spread across four different locations.
There was a lot of product on display as well. Things looked good, but there were stories behind the shiny appearance. I was told that several display boats were prototypes that companies would not normally sell. Regular production boats were already sold at retail and we commonly were told that builders were taking orders for 2023.
Shipping issues, labour and parts shortage stories were abundant. Some were shocking. None promised a fast fix.
At the Industry Breakfast, NMMA President Frank Hugelmeyer delivered some key statistics and made an important announcement; the show name was now the “Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show”. Further, all the NMMA shows in the coming years are to be titled “Discover Boating…”.
It seems like it took a global pandemic for the industry to realize that we need to welcome new boaters and to offer resources, guidance and education to help them to have the best experience. The point to attending shows is to “discover boating” and there will be a strong emphasis on boating activities in their future communications while the “hardware” will play a supporting role.
We are not really back to normal, but at the Discover Boating Miami International Boat Show, it almost felt like it.
Andy Adams – Editor