MIAMI – The boating industry is expecting another strong year in Florida and beyond, judging by interviews with manufacturers, vendors and startups at this week’s DiscoverBoating Miami International Boat Show. Demand has been so high that sales reps for South African catamaran maker Leopard, which has a US office at Dania Beach in Broward, were telling buyers the soonest they could get a boat would be 2024. Meanwhile, those like French boat builders Dufour or Bali were happy to boast that they could deliver this year. A notable trend: The movement of individuals in industry from California to Florida to further their careers, finding California too difficult in the pandemic to continue working. The show also featured a share of companies relocating or opening offices in Florida, such as the new Fort Lauderdale office of the Beneteau boatbuilder group’s Excess brand. Florida trend South Florida Editor Mike Vogel captured some insights from the event:
Exhibitor for the first time
iYachtCluba family owned yacht management, brokerage and vacation business – Raleigh, North Carolina
“This year, because we are growing and diversifying, we knew we had to be here. We had to be able to present this boat (Dufour). Most manufacturers have boats that are years old. You can ask for them and you can’t get them. We have four boats available and you can get them for the season.
“Years ago we were monohull sailors. And we came to the Miami Boat Show. We had a little too much fun. I nudged my husband and said if you bought me one I would go live with you. He turned around…and said “sold”. We maneuvered our own boat for about five years and then got into this business. We went to the Cannes Boat Show last year, were introduced to Dufour Catamarans, the new owners there. They asked us if we would be interested in presenting it here this year and we said yes. With the boat, we thought it would be a great way to make a splash in Miami for the first time. We teamed up and came to the show.
Dream Yacht Salesrepresents boat manufacturer Bali Catamarans and others – Annapolis, Md., with offices in Clearwater and Fort Lauderdale
“Business is going very well. I hope it will continue. I am a full time broker. I have 25 dates, which is incredible. That’s a lot for a boat show. Last year was the best year we’ve had. We sold 30 boats at the Annapolis boat show in October, which is unprecedented. Clearly, everyone is optimistic. The good thing is that we actually have an inventory. We have boats available this year. This fall you can buy anywhere from a 42 to 54 foot Bali. Our company has committed to 150 boats in 2022. We only have around 30 boats left. It’s worldwide.
sailamate.com – Houston, TX
“We are the Airbnb of boats. We connect travelers and sailors. We want to be everywhere in the world. Our first launch will be here in Florida in three months. The reason we chose Florida is that it has a large number of boats and the people here understand this industry very well. Florida is very welcoming. This is our first boat show. It’s going tremendously well.
“From a sailor’s perspective, you can find someone who has a skill that you can use on your boat or to reduce the cost because someone can pay you to go on the trip you’re already going to take. As a traveler you can get deals from all sailors and get the best price for what you want to do and gain experience on the water with someone who knows what they are doing. They are verified.