How to keep afloat at the Miami boat show

Annual Miami boat show kicks off on Virginia Key

The Miami International boat show kicked off on Virginia Key on Feb. 16, 2016.
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The Miami International boat show kicked off on Virginia Key on Feb. 16, 2016.

Worried about drowning in Presidents’ Day weekend crowds and traffic? Think you’ll need a life preserver to navigate the logistics of the Miami International Boat Show?

We have some information for you:

The basics

Times and dates: The event runs 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Monday. The website provides a complete guide at www.miamiboatshow.com.

Location: Marine Stadium Park and Basin on Virginia Key, 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway.

READ MORE: Traffic and transportation guide to Presidents’ Day Weekend

What you’ll see

More than 1,300 boats plus marine accessories and nautical apparel will be displayed under 600,000 square feet of white canvas tents on land and a grid of floating docks and exhibit stages with 550 slips in the basin. Boating workshops and paddle sport demos take place daily. One- and three-hour boating skills classes range from $25 to $125.

What you can do

Pilot a virtual boat tour. Test drive a boat. Take a seminar on “How to Keep Your Carburetor Clean and Running.” Check out the latest in anchors, compasses, davits, fishing tackle, heads, houseboats, jon boats, waterski boats, luxury yachts, multihulls, scuba gear, trolling motors and wakeboards.

Time to eat

There are six eating areas, including food courts, food trucks and the Moët and Chandon Sushi Maki Lounge.


Park and ride

Transport and parking: With estimated crowds of 25,000 a day, it’s best not to drive out to the Key.

▪ Drivers who have prepaid parking passes can use lots off Arthur Lamb Road, at Virginia Key beach or at the Miami Seaquarium, but space is limited. MAST Academy is offering 350 spaces for $40 from 4-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

▪ Park-and-ride shuttle services to the show are available from Marlins Park, AmericanAirlines Arena, Bayside Marketplace and the James L. Knight Center. Pay to park and the shuttle bus is free. Service from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the last outbound at 4:30 p.m.

▪  Park-and-ride water taxi services are available at the W Hotel, 485 Brickell Ave., the Hyatt Regency downtown, AmericanAirlines Arena and Bayfront Park. Service from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the last outbound at 4:30 p.m. The Yachts Miami Beach show on Collins Avenue will operate a water taxi to and from the two boat shows from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

▪  Metrobus Route B travels to the show. Metrorail and Metromover will operate on regular schedules, running until midnight, with Metromover running until 2 a.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Parking in a Metrorail lot costs $4.50 a day when you ride the train. There are also drop-off and pick-up areas for those who utilize taxis, Uber or Lyft. First-time Uber riders can use the code boatshow17! for a free ride. First-time Lyft riders get $5 off their first three uses with the code PRESIDENTMIA. Beware price surges.

▪  CitiBike has bike kiosks at Bayfront Park and adjacent to Yachts Miami Beach. Or ride your own bike out to the Key.

Strictly Sail

Strictly Sail Miami will take place Thursday-Monday at Miamarina at Bayside Marketplace, 401 Biscayne Blvd. Same hours and pricing as the boat show.

▪  $40 on Thursday, Premier Day

▪  $25 a day for adults (16 and older)

▪  Free for 15 and younger

▪  Two-day pass: $45

▪  Five-day pass: $100

▪  Book tickets and parking on the show’s website at www.miamiboatshow.com/tickets-and-parking. Office phone: 954-441-3220.

▪  Scooter rental available on site

▪  No pets allowed except service dogs