The Best of Miami International Boat Show


Photo Courtesy Miami Boat Show.

Docking at the iconic Miami Marine Stadium Park and Basin for the fourth consecutive year, the 78th edition of Miami’s annual show on water delivered an impressive display of fast machines, power packages and accessories geared for the high-performance crowd.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) gave a green flag to the industry with a report announcing that retail unit sales of new powerboats were up an estimated 4 percent in 2018 and the outlook for this year remains positive with continued growth expected.

The Miami Boat Show spans 90 acres, showcases products from 1,100 exhibitors and lures 100,000 visitors annually. Given those numbers and the reality that Miami traffic becomes more challenging by the day, traveling to the event via a 30-minute water taxi ride across Biscayne Bay offers an enjoyable view of those ever-changing City vistas that even this local writer finds amazing.

Celebrating its 80th anniversary in 2019, Mercury Marine jumped the show’s start with an exclusive preview a few weeks earlier as the company hosted a Media Excursion at legendary Lake X – then delivered a powerful launch as several of those innovative products were introduced opening day.

Mercury’s all-new 400hp Verado outboard engine steps up as the highest horsepower Verado branded outboard engine in its portfolio, suitable for a wide range of applications including the trending center console models.  “The acceptance of the 350hp Verado in the marketplace has been incredible and through extensive conversations with our global customers, we have learned that there is an appetite in the marketplace for a Verado-branded 400hp four-stroke outboard engine,” Mercury Marine President John Pfiefer said. “As boats continue to increase in size, so has the need for more power.”

Mercury Racing unwrapped its 1100 Competition engine developed exclusively for the newly formed American Power Boat Association (APBA) Offshore Championship Series. The 9.0 liter engine features Mercury Racing’s exclusive aluminum four-valve cylinder heads and dual overhead camshaft valve train. Engines are mechanically sealed with a tamper-proof ECU to ensure a level playing field for racers. “Our new 1100 Competition engine will provide a long-term powerful and reliable product to showcase the talents of the series’ elite drivers, throttlemen and crews,” Mercury Racing General Manager Stuart Halley explained.

Boasting impressive credentials as the global leader in high performance marine propulsion since 1973, Mercury Racing charted a dynamic course via its new campaign slogan “Wide Open” signaling the rebirth of the iconic brand. “Today’s high-performance boater expects a more multi-dimensional ownership experience,” Andrea Jansen, Brand Manager at Mercury Racing said. “We are committed to deliver the high performance lifestyle to enthusiasts that demand durability, reliability and refinement in addition to the raw performance Mercury Racing is known for.”


WIDE OPEN is expected to resonate well throughout the world of high-performance boating. (Photo Courtesy Kenyon-Offshore Public Relations.)

Walking along the show docks, today’s new breed of fast-paced designs continues to spotlight a dynamic selection of catamaran, vee bottom and center consoles. Not disappointing were in-water displays from the industry’s high performance stables of Iconic Marine Group, MTI, Nor-Tech and Outerlimits.

Midnight Express wowed with its luxurious 60 Pied-A-Mer center console. (Photo Courtesy Miami Boat Show.)

Featuring a cabin with twin master suites and massive cockpit, the striking silver dressed Midnight Express 60 is powered with quad 627hp Seven Marine outboards and tops over 70 mph.

Performance Boat Center unleashed its Wright Performance 420 catamaran, outfitted with twin Mercury Racing Verado 400R outboards, while Formula featured a lineup of established models, including a 34PC and 350CBR equipped with Ilmor engines.  Its FAS Tech vee hull – a star performer from those Factory Class offshore racing days – was missing. “It’s the way of the market right now,” Formula Marketing Manager Scott Smith told me.

And if you didn’t make it to the show, Formula Boats South and FB Marine have teamed up to showcase their models at the Miami Beach Marina February 23-24.

Duffy’s Sports Grill in North Miami Beach, a favorite on-the-water spot, continues to lure FPC Miami Boat Show Poker Runners. (Photo Courtesy Kenyon-Offshore Public Relations.)

The Florida Powerboat Club’s (FPC) annual Miami Boat Show Poker Run to the Florida Keys accelerates the performance momentum from February 21-24th as those “new from the show” machines join the fleet: a 39’ Nor-Tech center console, new 399 Deep Impact and the Midnight Express 60 Pied-A-Mer. “We’re looking good,” Stu Jones told me. “And, I’ll be driving my Project 1080 Cigarette.” Departure dates are Thursday, Feb. 21 and Friday, Feb. 22 with Captain’s Meetings Wednesday, Feb. 20 and Thursday, Feb. 21 at Duffy’s Sports Grill in North Miami Beach.



About Author