Q & A With Miami Boat Show Director Larry W. Berryman

Logistics of the Boat Show a massive feat of coordination, teamwork and sensitivity to the environment

Miami International Boat Show

The Miami International Boat Show built an immense four-mile extension dock structure to display about 700 yachts on the water. The infrastructure is all the more impressive because the bay-front must retain its natural state once the event ends, according to Larry Beryman, director of the show in an interview with the Islander News.

IN. How do you build the whole infrastructure in the water?

LWB. We have four miles of docks that we've assembled. Once we are out with the Boat Show and all the boats are out heading home, we start the dismantled process that takes three to four weeks. We stuck everything in trucks and trailers and we send 150 trucks and trailers to an area in Virginia Key where we store all the products. So everything is located inside Miami so we don't have to travel so far. But is literally 4 miles of docks that we categorized and put together to create a custom made marina for some 700 boats. So we don't build exact the same marina, each year we changed it, we have complete flexibility on how we build this marina that is really unique".

IN. What measures are taken to protect the ecosystem in Virginia Key?

Larry W. Berryman  Director, Miami International Boat Show

LWB. We have very strict instruction criteria from the Department of Environmental Protection, from the Department of Environmental Resource Management, and from the Army Corp of Engineers. They do a pre-show survey on the shoreline, then we come in and spend 3 to 5 weeks building the show, and once the event is done, those agencies come back on and do another survey to determine how the show came in and out, and every single year we had stellar marks and zero negative impacts on the environment. On the area where we build the marinas there were minimum seagrass and now is almost double, in the last four years.

IN. What would you recommend for someone who is going for the first time and wants to explore good opportunities to buy a boat?

LWB. Utilize the Miami Boat Show website to learn before you go, plus the Show Guide is usually published online about a week before the show and is the ultimate shopping guide. We also recommend looking at the list of brands and exhibitors coming to the Show and calling them ahead of time to schedule on-site appointments. Our show offers thousands of boats from luxury vessels to personal watercraft (a.k.a. jet skis), marine accessories and gear, so there’s really something for every interest and budget.

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We also have the best boating manufacturers in the world, who bring experts onsite to help guide potential buyers through their options, answer questions and truly help walk someone through the process of buying a boat. The Miami Boat Show is also one of the only Boat Show in the world to offer Sea Trials, where guests are able to test drive the latest boats with the latest technology on the open water with the Miami skyline as a backdrop.

IN. Is the Boat Show a good place to close good deals or is it more for entertainment?

LWB. Unlike auto shows, boat shows are the place to buy offering the best pricing and incentives of the year. The Miami Boat Show is one of the most internationally attended and influential boat shows in the world with companies from near and far all in one place, creating a pop-up like marketplace where buyers can explore different brands side by side and experience products firsthand before making a decision. However, the Show offers so much more! The Miami Boat Show began 79 years ago and has expanded and evolved over the years from a sales event to an interactive and immersive experience. The Show offers top notch education for boaters and sailors at all levels and we made it a point to focus on bringing the lifestyle elements that boaters enjoy to life from dining waterside, enjoying live music to the VIP experience that includes food and drinks, a lounge and outdoor deck overlooking hundreds of boats in water, plus much more.

IN. What did you learn from previous shows in Virginia Key that will be improved this year?

Larry W. Berryman  Director, Miami International Boat Show

LWB. We’ve truly created the ultimate destination for boating enthusiasts from around the globe! We’ve created one comprehensive show with both power and sail in one place, coupled with more food and beverage options, a beautiful VIP deck & lounge, streamlined transportation options, and we now offer more than 200 boats available for sea trials for serious buyers. Plus, last year we launched Conservation Village presented by Costa Sunglasses and will be expanding it in 2020 to showcase more of Florida’s leading environmental organizations with presentations from leaders in conservation on important topics and support the Kick Plastic campaign, which provides guests with water fill stations around the Show to reduce the use of single-use plastic water bottles.

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