The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Gets Underway With All The Super And Mega Yachts You Could Ever Hope To See
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show weekend has kicked off with more than 1,500 boats docked in our city's marinas. Of those, 137 are yachts measuring more than 100 feet in length, and five stand out among the rest at over 200 feet.
FLIBS, which kicked off Thursday, Nov. 5, and runs through Monday, Nov. 9, was pushed a week later this year in the hopes that there would be better weather.
Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler, wearing camel-brown boat shoes, noted on opening day how the move seemed to have paid off. After all, it rained last weekend, he said.
"This is boat show weekend," he said, "… and we're starting off this weekend with a perfect breeze coming out of the east."
Fort Lauderdale is a community built around the marine industry, Seiler said, and he credited it with the city's low 4.9 percent unemployment rate. Perhaps even more notable is the boat show's economic impact on the city.
"It's like being able to hold a Super Bowl every year," the mayor said of the annual event.
A previous study showed that the boat show has an economic impact of more than $500 million, which some say is more than cities see when they host a Super Bowl. (A new impact study will be released after this year.)
Danielle Butler, president of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, said she polled 100 local business owners—outside of the marine industry—on the impact of the boat show on their business.
She noted a wine shop on Las Olas sold out of Dom Perignon champagne, and a spa on 17th Street booked solid for pedicures for the last 10 days, as two of the many businesses that had seen a dramatic impact.
"I'm guilty of contributing," Butler joked, as she showed off her own pedicured toes through strappy gold heels.
Butler said she wants to start seeing the Super Bowl compare itself to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
"It's a global opportunity to connect not only the marine industry, but those that want to benefit from the marine industry," she said.
This year, the boat show has seen major growth in the number of yachts in the 40- to 60-foot range, especially.
Here are some photos we captured around the Bahia Mar Marina and Broward County Convention Center:
Photos by Lyssa Goldberg and Ileana Llorens