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Miami Boat Show Poker Run Preview: Sales, Safety and Coverage

The Florida Powerboat Club’s first event of the 2014 season, the Miami Boat Show Poker Run to the Postcard Inn on Holiday Isle, Fla., has already sold more than 50 slots to high-performance powerboat owners and is on track to reach its traditionial capacity of 70 to 80 boats. That’s the word from Stu Jones, the owner and founder of the Pompano Beach, Fla.-based club. The annual run happens on Thursday and Friday after the Miami International Boat Show in mid-February.

The Florida Powerboat Club's Miami Boat Show Poker Run, which stops at Gilbert's in Key Largo, is the club's first event of the season. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.The Florida Powerboat Club‘s Miami Boat Show Poker Run, which stops at Gilbert’s in Key Largo, is the club’s first event of the season. Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image.

“This is a good problem to have, but people are going to be rafted off five boats deep,” Jones said. “Nobody wants to hear that, but it’s just a limitation of the venue. We love going to the Florida Keys, but there just aren’t any new, big marinas that can handle 100 boats. I can put 60 boats in the marina and rafted off the seawall. After that, people have to consider using other marinas in the area or even pulling their boats out of the water at Holiday Isle and putting them on display.

“The resort itself, the Postcard Inn, will sell out of rooms,” Jones added. “That will happen soon.”

Until recently, it appeared that the Miami Boat Show Poker Run might have to find a different host venue. Jones and the new management of the resort, which was renovated a couple of years ago, had to renegotiate their contract, and early negotiations reportedly produced more questions than answers.

GoPro video and remote-control mini-helicopter technology will add fresh new angles to FPC videos this year. (To watch a four-minute demo video, click on the image.)GoPro digital video and remote-control mini-helicopter technology will add some fresh new angles to FPC videos this year.
(To watch a four-minute demo video, click this link.)

“I am happy to report that we are working with new management and it looks like we have a three-year program in the works to continue using the Postcard Inn as the venue for the event,” Jones said. “With the restoration of the hotel and the marina, I feel that, as an organizer, we have a greatly improved venue and situation for club members and guests than we had before the owners of the property made the changes.”

While Jones said he had hoped to include a top speed shootout in the run, he simply ran out of time for planning and permitting. He said he plans to offer shootouts later in the year at the club’s Tampa Bay and Emerald Coast events.

“I am happy to report we will have the same effective safety measures in place that initiated last year—we are celebrating the first anniversary of instituting those safety measures that incorporate three different agencies, the U.S. Coast Guard, Dade County Fire and Rescue, and Florida Fish and Wildlife,” Jones said. “Having all three agencies, with paid active-duty first responders, in the event gives us six rescue boats—four go all the way to Holiday Isle—and access to the Miami-Dade Air Rescue services at Tamiami Airport. They can be in the air in five minutes. We really do have amazing coverage. That does not mean that accidents can’t happen, but we are just trying to provide the best first-response team possible.

“The Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue boat No. 1 will be positioned at the sensitive featherbed area in Biscayne Bay with all its firehoses in operation, which makes it visible for five miles,” he added. “Not only will the boat be there as a safety measure, but it also will serve as a highly visible navigation marker for this sensitive, shallow-water area.”

Thanks to a combination of GoPro® digital video cameras and remote-control mini-helicopter technology, coverage of this year’s run promises to be even more compelling than that of previous years, according to Jones.

“Bill Ciani has joined our talented video professionals who cover our events,” he said. “Bill recently completed a four-minute video that was just posted on YouTube a few days earlier, and already has several thousand views. This is the very first video highlight reel from FPC that features GoPro-only HD footage, all captured using a remote-control DJI Phantom rig. It’s amazing stuff, and it will only get better. The possibilities are limitless.”

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