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New products, location highlight 2016 Miami show

By Jonathan Sweet

There was plenty of news, new products and a new location at this year’s Miami International Boat Show.

Some long lines aside, the 2016 show seems to have had a successful move to its new location at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, with more than 100,000 people attending, according to estimates from show organizers.

"Whether it was the gorgeous weather, exhibitors reporting significant sales, attendees having a blast enjoying the outdoor venue and all the new on-water features, or the more than 100,000 people from around the world who not only shopped our show but brought all-important tourism dollars to Miami-Dade—this year’s show was the start of something very big for our industry and for South Florida," said NMMA president Thom Dammrich. "As we expected, we learned a lot with it being the first time at our new home and we made adjustments each day of the show--adding more shuttle buses and relocating water taxis, adding personnel, improving communication and signage, decreasing food service wait times, and much more. This show proved that Miami embraces park and ride—an estimated 85-90 percent of exhibitors and attendees took shuttle buses and water taxis, which kept the Rickenbacker Causeway traffic flowing throughout the show. The plan works, we just need to apply more resources to it, which we’ll do next year."

Most exhibitors Boating Industry talked to reported strong traffic and high buyer interest from consumers at the show, with the only concerns being logistics of moving people to and from the location, along with the aforementioned waits for some services.

"From transportation and signage to restrooms and food service—these are all very do-able and necessary improvements that we’re already looking forward to implementing in our 2017 plans to make next year’s show even better," Dammrich said. "While feedback from exhibitors has been overwhelmingly positive, we encourage all exhibitors to share their feedback with us as we continue to enhance and improve the show. This is the exhibitors’ show—we need their suggestions to help us make it better in the years in to come.”

Here are some of the top stories out of this year’s show. Find more on these and other stories elsewhere on the site.

Boat show director retiring

Cathy Rick-Joule, vice president of boat shows for the National Marine Manufacturers Association and longtime director of the Miami show, announced her retirement.

Rick-Joule had actually planned to step down earlier, but wanted to make sure the move of the show was successful, said NMMA president Thom Dammrich.

She “worked tirelessly” on the move, and deserves credit for building the Miami show and other NMMA shows into the successful shows they are today, Dammrich said.

NMMA executive vice president Ben Wold will fill her role while the association seeks a full-time replacement. Rick-Joule will continue to consult on the show for the next 12 to 18 months.

Groupe Beneteau lays out future for RBH Brands

The former Rec Boat Holding brands -- Four Winns, Glastron, Scarab and Wellcraft -- will now be brought under the Beneteau and Jeanneau umbrellas under a plan laid out by Groupe Beneteau at the show.

"This will offer a new robust organization for sales and marketing, manufacturing and product development," said CEO Herve Gastinel. "By combining our forces, we can invest more."

Under the new sales organization, Wellcraft and Glastron will be under Jeanneau. Andy Gamble will continue as sales manager at Wellcraft, as will Bruce Sargent at Glastron, with both reporting to Nick Harvey, president of Jeanneau of America. Four Winns and Scarab will fall under Beneteau, with Andy Lindsay as sales manager, reporting to Laurent Fabre, president of Beneteau of America.

Roch Lambert, who has served as president of Rec Boat Holdings since shortly after Platinum Equity acquired the brands out of bankruptcy in 2010, will be leaving the company. Beneteau acquired the brands from Platinum Equity, a private equity firm, in June 2014.

Lambert has helped position for its current success, Gastinel said.

"Roch has really turned around the company," he said. "He has created a really strong foothold for the group."

It's natural for dealers to be nervous about the change, Gastinel said, but he stressed that Beneteau will continue to support the former Rec Boat Holdings brands.

"We absolutely want to keep investing in all four brands," he said. "This is very important to us, this is critical to us."

New jet, cruiser engines from Indmar

After introducing its Raptor inboard engines last year, Indmar showed off its new jet and cruiser engine series, along with Strainer Pro, the first sea strainer with a built-in flush kit.

“The response to the Raptor launch was overwhelming. The most frequent comment by far was ‘Please make this engine available in Jet Boats’ or ‘Put this in Cruisers!’ That’s precisely what we are doing now,” said Scott Clack, vice president of Indmar Marine Engines. “The all-new Jet and Cruiser engine series heralds a new chapter in the success story of Indmar and sets new standards in those segments as we position Indmar even more aggressively as a dynamic inboard marine engine brand.”

Like the ROUSHCharged Raptor series (named one of Boating Industry's 2015 Top Products), the two new segments will be built on Indmar's Ford based inboard marine engines.

Ilmor enters the sterndrive market

Ilmor debuted its “One Drive” at the show, available in single- and twin-drive configurations.

“When we crafted the Ilmor ‘One Drive’ package, we wanted to give recreational boaters a driving experience never before offered in gasoline powered boats,” said Ilmor president Paul Ray.

NMMA announces CSI award winners, innovation awards

NMMA named 46 recipients of the 2015 Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Index Awards for excellence in customer satisfaction at the annual Industry Breakfast.

Starting with this year, CSI award winners are being named at Miami instead of the IBEX show, in a move that the association hopes will put more attention on the awards with consumers.

Award recipients achieved and maintained an independently measured standard of excellence of 90 percent or higher in customer satisfaction over the past program year, based on information provided by customers purchasing a new boat or engine during the period between April 1, 2015 and Dec. 31, 2015. Participating manufacturers must survey all new boat buyers during this period. For this reporting period, the program surveyed nearly 67,000 customers.

“Measuring our customer’s satisfaction lets us know more about what they are thinking, what they are saying, and allows us to learn and adapt, ultimately reaching a point where we have truly earned their praise,” said Robert Newsome, vice president of engineering standards for NMMA.  “We congratulate these 46 manufacturers for their commitment to their customers and creating exceptional boat ownership experiences.”

Also at the industry breakfast, NMMA and Boating Writers International (BWI) announced winners of the annual Miami International Boat Show Innovation Awards. This year’s program evaluated 77 products across 31. The judges ultimately selected 17 winners in 16 categories and three honorable mentions for a total of 20 honorees.

The Innovation Awards judging committee is comprised of BWI members who perform product testing throughout the year and have specific expertise in marine products and equipment.

The full list of award winners is available at BoatingIndustry.com.

Garelicks named Freedman award winners

Ken and Rick Garelick, president and senior vice president of Garelick Manufacturing Co., won this year’s Alan J. Freedman Memorial Leadership Award.

Cousins Rick and Ken are the second generation now leading Garelick Manufacturing Co. Their fathers Joe and Saul were brothers who founded the company and handed down the reigns of leadership to Rick and Ken in the late 1980s.

“NMMA congratulates Ken and Rick Garelick on receiving the Alan J. Freedman Award and thanks them for their unwavering dedication, support and passion for the marine industry,” notes Thom Dammrich, NMMA president. “We are proud to work alongside Ken and Rick as innovators who have made substantial contributions to marine manufacturing and continues to help make boating the preferred choice in recreation.”

In November 2015, Garelick Manufacturing was acquired by Brunswick. Garelick Manufacturing is the winner of three NMMA Innovation Awards, the 2003 Motor Boating Magazine Boat Keeper Product Award, 2005 Motor Boating Magazine Best Product Award, 2011 Twin Cities Business Magazine Small Business Success Story and the 2015 National Marine Distributors Association Supplier of the Year.

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