Ft. Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler opened the first Fort Lauderdale Yachting Symposium in October by telling the audience of crew and business owners how important the yachting industry is to the city.
“This industry is so vitally important to the city of Ft. Lauderdale,” he said. “We are all sensing that we have turned a corner. There’s optimism again.”
Seiler noted that as the economy has rebounded, so has the city, which has seen 18 months of increases in home prices, the median home price increase 21 percent to $255,000, and home sales that are up 11 percent in the second quarter.
Unemployment, too, has declined, and he cited statistics for the city, county and state.
“There is no better job than a job in the marine industry because of its ability to sustain a family,” Seiler said. “You can’t support a family on a tourism job salary. Don’t get me wrong; tourism is great for the local economy and for sales tax revenues, but it doesn’t sustain a community.
“That’s why we want the marine industry to come back,” he said. “The marine industry is not just about the wealthy; it’s about an impact that crosses all economic sectors. Your success is so important to our community.”
Seiler ticked off several projects that have or will benefit yachts in Ft. Lauderdale, including the dredging of 3 miles of the Intracoastal from the 17th Street bridge to just before Sunrise Boulevard bridge, slated to begin this spring. The city will dredge into Bahia Mar, Las Olas and Hall of Fame marinas.
“Dredging the ICW without that is like building I-95 with no off ramps,” he said. “We have to do it.”
And as for the 54th annual Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show held each fall, he assured attendees that the city would not allow anything to hinder or hamper it.
“No event that we hold in the state of Florida has the economic impact of the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show,” he said. “Nothing will happen to Bahia Mar that will impact the boat show. We are committed to the boat show and to you all succeeding.”
In parting, he urged attendees to e-mail him with ideas on how the city can support the yachting industry, firstname.lastname@example.org.
“No good idea starts in government,” he said. “E-mail me.”
The full-day Fort Lauderdale Yachting Symposium held on Oct. 3 included more than 30 speakers in panel discussions on topics ranging from crew training and leadership to provisioning and shipyards. It was organized by King’s Institute of Private Service.
In another session, crew placement agents offered tips and advice for young crew.
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Lucy Chabot Reed is editor of The Triton. Comments are welcome: email@example.com.