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Miami Yacht Show brings $480M to District 24

The Miami Yacht Show was held Feb. 13-17, and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson spearheaded legislation in Washington that moved the event into her presiding District 24.

Miami Yacht Show brings $480M to District 24

The Miami Times / Penny Dickerson / February 19, 2020

The Miami Yacht Show was held Feb. 13-17, and Congresswoman Frederica Wilson spearheaded legislation in Washington that moved the event into her presiding District 24.

The annual display of lavish boats and extravagant exhibits debuted in 2019 at One Herald Plaza between the Sea Isle Marina and MacArthur Causeway. For 30 years prior, the Miami Yacht Show was located on Miami Beach on Collins Avenue between 43rd and 56th streets.

On Saturday, Feb. 15, Wilson was given a private tour and awarded an appreciation plaque for her advocacy. Scheduling conflicts precluded her from attending ribbon cutting ceremonies.

"When we were trying to move the show from Miami Beach to downtown Miami, Congresswoman Wilson was instrumental in getting support from some 11 members of congress," said Andrew Dooley, president of Informa U.S. Boat Shows, Miami Yacht Show. "It was her pushing and cajoling to solicit the Army Corps of Engineers to help us and to obtain permits. It has meant $480 million for her district."

The showcase of new and pre-owned vessels represent some of the world's most unique and finely crafted. Deep Impact is a Miami-based builder of custom center console boats with emphasis on quality, luxury and performance. The company's Opa-locka factory employs a staff dedicated to the entire design and construction process.

"Thousands of jobs have been created in the congresswoman's district," Dana McLean, chief financial officer of Deep Impact, told The Miami Times on Saturday, Feb. 15.

"You've got all these boat builders and the fabricators, painters, engineers and carpenters. They are all a part of the build process and they have jobs with us…We're proud of what we do and thrilled to be in this city."

The Miami International Boat Show ran concurrent dates to the Miami Yacht Show and was located at Miami Marine Stadium Park & Basin, Virginia Key along the Rickenbacker Causeway. According to Wilson, the revenue from the two marine events combined resulted in a financial impact for the city that surpassed Super Bowl LIV.

"This was a win-win for District 24. We even hired people to build the dock," Wilson told The Miami Times. "This was a heavy lift, but one I accepted because I knew an event for millionaires and billionaires would produce a financial gain for my district. I drafted the amendment in the transportation committee three years ago. It took a lot of time to meet the marina's eco-system requirements and to obtain those permits, but the bill passed."

The logistics of managing sponsors, partners and a fleet of displayed yachts and industry-related exhibitors was no easy task for Lana Bernstein, vice president of marketing for Informa U.S. Boat Shows, Miami Yacht Show. Bernstein shared with The Miami Times the event's diversity.

"Over 90% of the attendees are from around the tri-county South Florida, area which in and of itself is extremely diverse," said Lana Bernstein. "We have exhibitors from over 32 countries in the world from Australia, Dubai, Canada, Japan, United States and attendees from 23 countries with Canada being the biggest international presence."

The biggest fans on deck were Wilson's immediate family who accompanied her for the tour followed by an event-hosted brunch. Wilson's legacy boasts a representation of generations who have traveled with her to the White House and exposing youth to the potential of new horizons is the cornerstone of Wilson's investment in education. Wilson's grandson showed he understood the connection between history and what was taking place at the Miami Yacht Show.

"Boats brought slaves to America back in the day," said Tristan Wilson, the congresswoman's 13-year-old grandson who is enrolled at Aventura Waterways K-8 Center. "Now, my grandma is being honored with a bunch of rich people on a luxurious boat. That's pretty cool."