February 22, 2012
With the 2012 Miami International Boat Show over, those of you who didn't make it south to the Miami Beach Convention Center and accompanying marinas missed your chance to view firsthand new products from boating companies and boating accessories makers. The official boat show dates were February 16-20, 2012.
Good thing Florida Sportsman magazine was there to cover the event and wade through the minutiae for you. And believe us, after all the years of covering boating shows, there are plenty of distractions amongst the gems.
Many of the new boats pictured here will be featured in future pages of Florida Sportsman magazine print. One not-so-well kept secret was the release of the brand-new Contender 25 Bay, a dual step bayboat from the well-known offshore center-console builder.
Consider the information below just a taste of what's to come for 2012.
Contender 25 Bay
We had to sneak in after the show closed on February 16 to get a photo of the brand new Conternder 25 Bay. This boat had crowds surrounding it all weekend. The signature dual step on most-all of Contender's hulls highlights this smooth-riding bayboat.
This photo is one of the first of the brand new Contender 25 bayboat on the water. The first two boats were made specifically for this boat show. In this picture, we headed out of the Miami Beach Marina for a test-ride. The Contender team experimented with the props all day to get the 25-footer running in the top 50s. Not bad for a first dip.
Teleflex Marine's Optimus 360 by SeaStar
This one blew us away. The Optimus Electronic Power Steering System by SeaStar individually controls outboard engines to allow forward, backward, diagonal, sideways, and 360 movement. This new control system, in this photo rigged to a Dusky center console, might be a first when it comes to stress-free docking. There are no bow thrusters of any kind, just an extremely advanced hydraulic system that can be rigged after market.
The Optimus System is controlled by a separate joystick that's exceptionally user-friendly and easy to use. Twist 360, rotate, push to the right or diagonally--the boat moves as the joystick does. BOOST mode allows the driver to compensate for increased currents, winds or tides.
Raymarine E-Series with HybridTouch
This could be a big one for Raymarine. The new e-Series network multifunction displays feature HybridTouch, ClearPulse Digital Sonar, ClearPulse CHIRP, and FLIR's Thermal Night Vision. In this view, notice the bait school picked up in 20 feet of water.
Mako 17 Pro Skiff
Mako offers a full line of the boats ranging in size and price, but with the introduction of the 16 and 17 Pro Skiffs, even the most cash-strapped angler can get on the water and fish the shallows. The 17-foot skiff has a casting deck, full-size cooler, livewell and center console in a price package under $14,000.
Accon Marine Popup Navigation Light
The strength and ingenuity you expect from Accon Marine was on display. This pop-up navigation light was a hit at the show. The light pops down into place when not in use, covered and out of the way.
Suzuki 20-hp Engine
The new 20-hp kicker engine from Suzuki features its Lean Burn Control System. Suzuki's new DF300, not pictured, was the first Suzuki V6 outboard motor to feature its Lean Burn Control System and it won NMMA's 2012 Innovation Award.
LEHR Outboard Engines
West Marine displayed a new engine-maker: Lehr. Lehr engines are unique in that they use propane to fuel the small outboards. Benefits include lower fuel costs, no gasoline, and no choke, priming or carburetor gum-up.
Bluewater Boats 180 Flats
Bluewater Boats introduced its 180 Flats at the Miami Boat Show. This is the first in a line of inshore boats from the Fort Pierce-based company. Two bayboats are expected in the future. A loaded wide-open deck and a hull color to match the poling platform are just some of the features.
Andros Boatworks Cuda 23
The Cuda 23 from Andros Boatworks was on display at the Sea Isle marina. If you have never considered a panga-style boat, check out this modernized version of a classic fishing hull. Features abound on the Cuda, including a custom tower with controls, full well, and a shallow draft that allows for take-off in less than one foot of water.