Drop Anchor at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show
Experience the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show like an insider
By Angela Caraway-Carlton
October 17, 2019
Whether you’re a connoisseur who fancies a superyacht, or simply fantasizing of owning a boat (and throwing out the phrase, “Boat hair, don’t care!”), the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) is dropping anchor in Greater Fort Lauderdale on October 30 through November 3, 2019. Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the largest in-water boat show in the world has more to offer this year, with expanded locations, more than 1,500 boats, and 1,200 exhibitors.
“In 1959, it would’ve been hard to imagine that FLIBS would become the cultural and commercial icon that it is today,” says Andrew Doole, president of Informa Markets, U.S. Boat Shows, who’s been involved with the show’s production for more than 30 years. “In its inaugural year, the show had just 13 boats in the still-new Lauderdale Marina and has quickly evolved into the most elaborate and influential yachting industry event in the world.”
A big anniversary means incredible new additions at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, including the new Superyacht Village, a dedicated marina and on-land space boasting eye-popping superyachts and exhibits. “In order to cater to our luxury clientele, this year we wanted to dedicate a space that showcases the superyacht lifestyle,” says Doole. “Some of the world’s most exciting new yacht debuts will be docked there, including Lürssen’s 311-foot Madsummer, the show’s largest mega yacht; Abeking & Rasmussen’s 262-foot Excellence, a superyacht masterpiece; and Heesen Yachts’ 180-foot Vida.” Other yachts to put on your must-see list: the stunning 310-foot Kismet, and the invite-only Mansion Yacht, the first futuristic yacht made entirely of stainless steel.
Showgoers will drool over yacht “toys” like helicopters, personal submarines, and exotic cars by Ferrari, Maserati, and Alfa Romeo. If you’re looking to escalate your experience, check out the new in-water VIP area, the Windward VIP Club, which offers a premium open bar, gourmet food offerings, and exclusive experiences.
FLIBS Like an Insider
To navigate the five-day event like an insider, you’ll need a solid plan. “More than 110,000 visitors from around the world are expected to attend this year’s show,” says Phil Purcell, CEO and president of the Marine Industries of South Florida. “Don’t try to see it all in one day. Take time to look at the schedule in advance, plan out the “must-see” exhibits over different days, and remember to take advantage of the demonstrations, fishing clinics, and special events.”
Getting to the show is even easier this year; FLIBS has expanded parking and transportation options, including valet service at the Superyacht Village and the main entrance of the show on Southeast 5th Street. If you’re traveling from Miami or Palm Beach, consider zipping into downtown on the Brightline. “I also recommend taking advantage of our shuttle system and Water Taxi to get to and from the various locations,” advises Doole. “The Water Taxi is the best way to see it all while taking in the beautiful city and water views.”
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is more than just boat peeping; foodies should flock to the Second Annual Sunset Soiree and Best Yacht Chef Competition, where the world’s leading yacht chefs will battle for the title of “Best Yacht Chef” on Friday, November 1 at 7:30 p.m.
Those in-the-know may have access to exhibitors’ private on-site and off-site parties; but don’t miss Greater Fort Lauderdale’s many spots to dine on the famous Las Olas Boulevard and our coveted waterfront dining. “Some personal favorites of mine to visit after the show are Coconuts and G&B Oyster Bar, located right at the entrance of the show on the Intercoastal. It’s a great place to enjoy the sunset, while continuing to take in the beautiful boats on display,” suggests Doole, who also praises Boatyard restaurant as a popular place for good music, great views and delicious food. “The Wharf, an open-air nautical-themed bar, is opening in Fort Lauderdale the weekend before the show and will definitely be a popular place to visit post boat show.”