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Gallery Of The Week: Miami Boat Show—Now And Then

Since the Miami International Boat Show’s forced relocation from the Miami Convention Center to Miami Marine Stadium on Virginia Key in 2016, longtime show-goers have argued about which venue is best. The convention center was dreary and accessing its in-water display required crossing a traffic-choked causeway to Sea Isle Marina, but it was close to South Beach and its assorted diversions. Miami Marine Stadium is painful to access, but has all relevant go-fast boats in the water with the Miami skyline as its fresh-air backdrop.

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From the 2019 Miami International Boat Show (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

Both have their pros and cons, and the reality is the show won’t return to the convention center. Still, the debate continues among Miami Boat Show veterans from attendees to exhibitors. Without South Beach as a focal point, the go-fast boating community vibe took a nasty hit when the show moved, so much so that Stu Jones of the Florida Powerboat Club ended up scrubbing his annual Saturday night Miami Boat Show party.

On the other hand, having more boats in the water—with marine engine and accessory exhibit tents a short walk from the show’s portable docks at the historic stadium venue—is wonderful for exhibitors and visitors.

As usual, preference is a matter or priority.

Speedonthewater.com already has devoted considerable time to its 2020 Countdown To Miami article series, which gives readers a good idea what to expect and where to go when show opens on February 13, and will continue to until the show begins. (Of course, we’ll be reporting daily from the show.) No matter how anyone feels about its current location, the annual Miami exhibition remains the most relevant event of its kind.

But as the show is entering its fifth year at its new location, the timing seems right to share a look at where it is now—and where it used to be.

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From the 2014 Miami International Boat Show (click image to enlarge). Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

Related Stories: Countdown to Miami: Inside the 2020 Miami Boat Show