Through the early 2000s there were two Miami International Boat Shows, the one that happened during show hours and the one that happened after the convention center doors closed. At the end of the day, exhibitors and attendees would head back to their hotel rooms for a little cleanup and downtime, and then out to any one of several parties hosted by go-fast boat builders and engine manufacturers.
Those parties typically ended by 11 p.m. and then everyone—industry folks and go-fast boat lovers of all kinds—would end up rubbing elbows at the Clevelander, that famed Ocean Drive Art-Deco temple to South Beach nightlife till all hours of the morning.
Some of the boat show parties back then were just for members of "the industry" and others were open to the general go-fast boating public. But while a few of the industry only gatherings still happen, the parties for the general show-going public are gone.
The Clevelander, however, is still alive, kicking and recently renovated. And that got Brad Schoenwald of Powerboatnation.com thinking.
"There was a time when the night life was nearly as big as the show itself," said Schoenwald. "These events bred camaraderie, and they mixed boaters from all over the country and from all walks of life with the who's-who of the marine industry. As the PBN brand, we want to bring 'lifestyle' back into the world of powerboating because we believe relationships are a huge driving factor in this sport.
"So about eight months ago we started bouncing ideas around about what we wanted as a party venue and concept for this year's show," he continued. "Our dream was the Clevelander—we wanted something special and specific to the high-performance powerboating world. In one of our meetings when we were throwing out wild ideas, I said, 'If only we could hang or suspend a boat over the party.' Someone else said, 'What if we just put one on the roof? Could the roof even hold it?'"
The answer was yes and on Saturday, Feb. 15, Powerboatnation.com will host its "Rock The Boat Show" Party at the Clevelander complete with live entertainment, dancing, PBN models, remote control boat in races in the venue's pool and—no small feat—a Cigarette 38' Top Gun on the roof above the bar. A limited number of VIP passes will be available at the Powerboatnation booth as well as in the booths of the parties sponsors.
"The sponsors behind this event— Performance Boat Center, Hardin Marine, BAM Marine, Wozencraft Insurance, BBlades Propellers, Dave's Custom Boats, Cobra Power, Arneson Surface Drives and BoostPower USA— really deserve a huge pat on the back because they were driven more by giving back to the boating community than anything else," said Schoenwald. "Let's face it—it's a party, for gosh sakes."