Construction for 2017 Miami Boat Show well underway

Construction for the 2017 Miami International Boat Show began on Dec. 1 and is on its way to building a record-breaking show. MIBS will run from Feb. 16-20, 2017 at the Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin at Key Biscayne.

The show is prepared to host its expected 100,000 or more attendees in mid-February. Many improvements have been made to this year’s show to handle an even larger capacity of attendance.

“I do think this year is going to be certainly one of the biggest shows in the world, based on the new location. I think this is probably the best boat show location in the world so I do expect to see attendance grow,” said NMMA President Thom Dammrich.

Every year, MIBS crews build 600,000 square feet of clear span tents for the show. Three of the six large tent shells are already up and crews began building the marina over a week ago. The head dock, which is 90 feet short of a third of a mile, has been installed.

“Last year, the marina that we built for the show was the largest temporary marina ever built in the world, and it was the second-largest marina in the state of Florida while it was in existence. And this year, it’s going to be bigger,” said Dammrich. The marina itself will be 35 percent larger and “we’re adding about 40 percent more boats to the water.”

The new marina will allow the show to add more large yachts, with over 100 yachts scheduled to be in the basin this year, including the Biscayne Lady, which will be the home of the VIP Lounge. This lounge will offer air conditioning, private restrooms and a top deck with views of downtown Miami.

“It’s going to be a spectacular new VIP experience on the water,” Dammrich said.

On land, last year’s show was three-fourths of a mile long and the show will be cutting that length down to end just beyond the water taxi dropoff.

“There will still be a very large, 600,000-square-foot footprint on land, but it will be more compact for the visitors,” said Dammrich.

The water taxi capacity will be significantly increased in 2017. In total, there will be 47 percent more water taxis with larger taxis and more frequent service.

“Last year, we transported 52,000 people by water taxi. This year, we have capacity to transfer 125,000 people,” said Dammrich. “We don’t expect the big delays with the water taxis this year that we had last year.”

These numbers equate a one-way trip as one person, so figuring each attendee will take a round trip, this equates to 62,5000 attendees, or two-thirds of the expected attendance.

Other improvements to the 2017 show, which have come directly from feedback by past attendees, include a new bus transportation system, which Dammrich said will bring higher quality to the management of the bus operation. The city will also be paving the path along the front of the show and causeway, which was uneven to walk on last year and will make it easier for attendees to walk from parking areas. LED lighting is being added in the tents, which will have 35 percent more lumens.

“Manufacturers may still want to bring in some of their own lighting to light their boats and displays, but the lighting in the tents should be much better this year,” said Dammrich.

A new cleaning service has been hired for the restroom and the show will be providing 30 percent more restroom facilities, with most located in the center core of the show and big helium balloons hanging over each facility for easy spotting. Great Performances has also been hired as the new food service company for the show, with major food service facilities placed in six different locations throughout the show.

“They’re going to bring much higher level quality of food and service to the whole food service operation,” said Dammrich.

To learn more about the show, visit

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