Why Did We Go To A Boat Show?
Visiting the 2019 Miami International Boat Show
At the end of the day, this is an ATV and UTV site. However, we are keenly aware that all of us have passions for outdoor recreation far beyond the off-road world. Personally, I like to hike, bike, boat, and rock climb. In addition, one of those passions has to do with watersports, so we ventured to the Miami Boat show to check it out...
The Miami International Boat Show has been around for quite some time, and it is known as one of the premier boat shows in the world. Not only are there large yachts that you can tour around, and purchase if your heart so desires, but there are also displays that showcase the latest outboard technologies, fishing reels, on-board computer technologies, communications, and many more things. Oh, and there are reasonably priced boats all the way from a few thousand dollars to massively expensive million dollar models.
One of our favorites elements of this show had to be the latest displays in technology. As larger, computer-based screens get more prevalent and cost effective, they get more and more used in the boating market. Garmin, Raymarine, and others are jumping into the technology market further by the day with massive, tough-sensitive chart plotters that make repeated navigation and finding the best fishing locations easier, time after time. I can say with confidence that this technology will continue to evolve at a quick pace based on the representation at this show.
The screens this year are getting larger and larger, with 12" + being the norm at the helm of these boats. Luckily for us, the screens are not just one dimensional in their operation anymore – they are evermore powerful with the ability to utilize various 3rd party apps on the screens. For example, the Garmin connected system, which comes standard with fish finding capabilities and more right from the factory, comes in a variety of screen sizes ranging from 16" to 24". These are massive chart plotters that are mounted directly into the helm of the boat, and the touchscreen enabled, easy-to-use interface is really something to behold if you're into navigation. While technology like this is somewhat available for land-based activities, these large screens and amazing graphics are definitely VERY cool. I look forward to seeing this technology make its way into the off-road world, hopefully sooner rather than later.
Not only were the large yachts all over the show, but the smaller boats were also there (more my size!). From the Zodiac inflatables to an innumerable amount of center console fishing boats, these all packed the show floor. My personal favorites had to be the mid sized 25-30 foot center console boats. Not only are these highly capable for moderate distance fishing trips, but they are also able to be trailered from place to place all around the country. So, you don't have to just have these boats in one location and then get a delivery service to get your boat from one spot to the next because of its massive size. Plus, 2 outboards on the back of these boats are plenty, keeping the cost down and the fun up! However, the boats with 3-4-5-6 outboard motors on them were pretty darn cool...
Speaking of outboard motors, these are more popular than ever, basically replacing any sort of inboard setup that you used to find on fishing boats. This powertrain combination, combined with a center console layout, makes the latest generation of fishing boats great for maneuverability when you're fishing, both from a mechanical standpoint and from a fishing standpoint. Pretty much every manufacturer of outboard was in attendance, and all of them have some sort of off-road connection for their brands. You'll recognize Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, and Evinrude (BRP brand) as the mainstays in the off-road market that also produce cutting edge outboards. Mercury marine is still the largest in the industry with a massive amount of representation at this show. However, Yamaha was a close second with a massive presence and many of the premier boat manufacturers choosing Yamaha power to be mounted to the transom.
No ATVs or UTVs were found at this show, but we sure look to see more and more by next year. The cross promotion is popular among the different brands. However, we did find lots of PWC's out there!
There were also great demonstrations both in the water and with simulators in booths. The iDock system from Evinrude is a very clever and easy way to dock your boat, and people were able to take advantage of this interactive station where you could practice parking a boat with Evinrude's ingenious technology.
The question is, would we go back to the Miami International Boat Show? Undoubtedly the answer is YES. If you're into the boating market for any reason, this is one heck of a fun show to attend, plus you get to take in all of the sights, sounds, and fun that Miami has to offer. Well, I say that candidly after pretty much cussing out all of the horrible drivers and sheer amount of traffic there. Oh, and did I mention the mosquitoes?!
Mark your calendars for President's Weekend in Miami next year – it's a fun time!