Everything You Need to Know About Attending the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
With more than 300 miles of navigable waterways leading out to world-class beaches, sandbars and ocean reefs and over 100 marinas as well as superyacht-sized slips alongside countless waterfront mansions, it’s pretty easy to see why Greater Fort Lauderdale is the "Yachting Capital of the World." They don’t call us the "Venice of America" for nothing.
It’s also no surprise that one of the world’s largest boat shows calls Fort Lauderdale home. If you’ve never taken a fall trip to town for FLIBS, as the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is informally abbreviated, here’s all the info you really need to know to make your visit a success to this year's show, taking place October 27 to 31.
World's Largest In-Water Boat Show
Attendance this year is expected to be close to the normal, pre-pandemic level of 100,000+ visitors. Visitors will have a lot of room to walk the six miles of docks to view more than 1,300 boats and 1,000 exhibitors, many of which will be located at the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
The show is segmented into half a dozen zones of docks and land exhibits at multiple locations featuring everything from first public appearances of new boat models to little buoy keyrings to keep your keys afloat, as well as the latest in nautical fashions, jewelry and accessories.
Don’t expect to see it all in one visit. If you’re ambitious, plan on attending at least two days – and have a clear priority list of what you want to see. Even then, you’ll hear about something you missed that makes it to the top of your list for the following year.
One-day show tickets are reasonably priced around $35. Ticket prices for the 2021 show will be announced soon. There’s nowhere else where you can get up close with some of the world’s most expensive watercraft for that kind of entry price.
The show really has something for everyone – from the casual fisherman to the celebrity superyacht shopper in disguise. Yeah, it’s not uncommon for internationally known personalities to come to the show incognito. So be on the lookout when you’re not ogling beautiful boats. You never know who you might be rubbing elbows with.
This Show Is So Cool That Guy Harvey Does the Merch for It
Speaking of big names, the world’s foremost marine artist, Guy Harvey, does the official merchandise for the show. Even if you don’t leave with a new sedan bridge boat, make sure you pick up this year’s hat and t-shirt. They’re instant collectors items.
FLIBS is More than Superyachts
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show caters to everyone from experienced yachters to first-time boat buyers. As a general rule, the smaller craft are featured in the on-land zones or close to land within the docks. Other exhibit areas also feature boating accessories, marine electronics, fishing tackle, gadgets, gizmos, services and more. Basically, if it has to do with the marine industries, you’ll find it at FLIBS.
This show is to boating what CES is to consumer electronics. It’s where manufacturers make their big debuts and showcase the coolest gear of the year.
Choose From a Variety of Nearby Hotels
For easy access you can choose to stay on Fort Lauderdale Beach, along the 17th Street Causeway or in the heart of downtown. You'll find easy access to booking official FLIBS hotels online at the official FLIBS website with hotel booking now open. You can also check out the show's travel discounts on flights and rental cars.
For getting around during the show...
Do Yourself a Favor and Go to the Show by Water
It’s either the height of irony or incredibly on-theme that the easiest and most relaxing way to get to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is by Water Taxi. You’ll save yourself some headaches by taking the Water Taxi down the Intracoastal Waterway. It’s a great way to skip the traffic. And since you’re not driving, you have a great excuse not to skip that tropical cocktail to finish off your day at the show. Remember, you'll need to purchase your Water Taxi tickets online in advance.
Wear Your Most Comfy Shoes Because You’re Going to Walk
Listen, we know a fancy boat show sounds like a perfect opportunity to show off your newest loafers or strappy heels but don't prioritize looks and fashion over comfort. Not only will you be ridiculously overdressed at FLIBS, you’ll also be incredibly uncomfortable. The show grounds may not look that big on a map, but remember that most of it is docks, which means walking down and back a lot. You’re going to get your steps in and then some, so wear your most comfortable shoes.
Have a Plan
Create a free account in the FLIBS online marketplace and check out all of the exhibitors in the show and even create your own walking list guide of the exhibitors and boats you're interested in.
Tune In to NBCSN's Boat Show Special
Don't miss NBC Sports Network's special Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show broadcast scheduled for Sunday afternoon, October 31 highlighting the top yacht and boat premieres, the latest in watersports toys and the annual Best of Show award. IndyCar on NBCSN analysts Townsend Bell and Leigh Diffey, relying on their experience with boat owners from the IndyCar world such as Roger Penske, Ryan Hunter-Reay and Jimmy Vasser, will once again be hosting the show along with Supercross pit reporter Will Christien. But there's no need to wait until show day - take a look now at Townsend Bell's favorite ways to live luxuriously while he's in Greater Fort Lauderdale.
AllSecure Health & Safety Standards
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic FLIBS was organized last fall in accordance with show producer Informa Markets' AllSecure health and safety standards. FLIBS spans 90 acres and includes six miles of floating docks expanded to widths of up to 30 feet along the face dock, allowing plenty of roomy walking space for a smooth flow of traffic. Determinations on safety and health measures for the 2021 show will be clearly identified and communicated prior to the show.
That’s our beginner’s guide to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Now it's time to dive in and explore it for yourself!