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Commentary: One Week To Breathe

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Why do so many high-end custom high-performance boat builders shut down for week during the holidays? Because they need it. Photo courtesy/copyright Pete Boden/Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.

You can argue about whether the new Miami International Boat Show venue at Miami Marine Stadium and Park on Virginia is better than the old one—never to come back by all reports—at the Miami Convention Center in South Beach. Everyone has an opinion and, for what it’s worth as a reporter who’s covered the event since 1994, mine is that the new location is breath of fresh air, albeit one that required plenty of long exhales from attendees while they waited for their rides to and from the new spot in its rocky first year.

But what no sane observer of the show can argue is its importance to the high-performance marine industry. As a go-fast boat builder, engine company or aftermarket parts manufacturer, if you want to show off something new, you do it at the Miami show in February. For there is no brighter spotlight.

Yet for good reason many boat builders take off the last week of December and return to work after New Year’s Day, and that creates an annual time crunch. A lost week of production in any labor-intensive industry is a big deal, particularly those in which most of the labor is done by hand. So why does Cigarette Racing Team, Skater Powerboats, Mystic Powerboats and so many other companies shut down before Christmas and reopen after New Year’s Day just one month prior to their most important event of the season?

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