By Dorie Cox
So many things were different in 1959. Alaska and Hawaii had just joined the U.S. as new states; the average cost of gasoline was 25 cents a gallon; a new car was worth about $2,200; and the first edition of the boat show in Fort Lauderdale opened with 13 exhibitors.
What has become the largest in-water boat show in the world after 60 years, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) now features more than 1,200 exhibitors and 1,500 boats on display.
As the show has grown, so have the boats. In 1968, the largest boat on display was 53 feet long. This year, Lurssen’s M/Y Madsummer is expected to take the honor at 311 feet.
The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) owns the show, and two years ago London-based Informa purchased Yachting Promotions, the parent company of Show Management, which manages and produces the show. Informa owns and/or operates about 200 industry events each year, including the Monaco Yacht Show.
New this year at FLIBS is the SuperYacht Village, 3.5 acres with upland and in-water displays at Pier Sixty-Six Marina South, the vacant property south of 17th Street along the ICW. Exhibitors include yacht builders Feadship, Fincantieri, Abeking & Rasmussen, Lurssen, Heesen Yachts, Baglietto, Burgess, Turquoise, Rossinavi, Oceanco, Burger Boat Co., and Benetti, plus a variety of suppliers and auxiliary businesses including yacht toys, helicopters, personal submarines, cars and other luxury items for the yachting lifestyle. Some of the show’s most notable superyachts will be on display in the new area, including the new 80m Abeking & Rasmussen M/Y Excellence.
The Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) is also found at the SuperYacht Village. The international group of builders plays an active role in the sector by working closely with IMO, flag states and other regulatory bodies in an effort to enhance the professionalism of the industry.
The Oasis Lounge for captains and crew is also found in the SuperYacht Village. First named in 2014, the initial Oasis offered food, beverages and a place to relax in a two-story, 5,000-square-foot house across the Intracoastal Waterway. Last year, it was at the Swimming Hall of Fame, which is now under construction. This year, yacht crew can register online at theoasislounge.flygmt.com/register or visit the lounge at Pier Sixty-Six Marina South.
The SuperYacht Village is open to all general admission ticket holders, and access by water tenders and shuttle bus routes from the show’s other six locations is available, as well as on-site valet and parking.
Another change this year is the Windward VIP Club’s new in-water location in the center of the show off the main dock at Bahia Mar. The VIP pass, which is valid for any one day, includes show access, food and premium beverages, and complimentary access to the water taxi. The ticket is $300 per person, per day. The Windward VIP Club is sponsored by Delta Private Jets in partnership with Ulysse Nardin. Daily events include cigar rolling, mixology lessons, rose wine happy hour and a Bloody Mary bar.
This year’s preview boat show tickets for today are $53 for adults. General admission tickets tomorrow through Sunday are $34 per day for adults, $15 for children ages 6-15, and free for children under 6. The show is open from noon to 7 p.m. today; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday; and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Organizers said they have expanded parking and transportation options, which include 600 parking spots via valet service and self-parking at Superyacht Village, the Las Olas Parking Garage and at the main entrance of the show. For $75, guests can have valet service at the Superyacht Village and the main entrance on Southeast Fifth Street. Self-parking lots will be available for $40 at the Las Olas parking garage at 200 Las Olas Circle and the Superyacht Village.
The Water Taxi is $12 per day for all stops and will run from 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. all days of the show – except for Sunday, when it ends at 7:30 p.m. A shuttle bus system runs several routes between Bahia Mar Marina, Pier Sixty-Six, the Convention Center, the Brightline train station and the Riverside Hotel Water Taxi docks.
The Brightline train is an option from West Palm Beach or Miami, and the promo code FLIBS19 offers several discount options. Two ride-share drop-off points for Uber and Lyft are at the south corner of the Las Olas Bridge and under the 17th Street Bridge in the southeast corner.
For a map, visit www.flibs.com and search transportation. All show tickets, transportation and parking can be purchased online prior to the show at www.flibs.com.
Dorie Cox is editor of Triton Today. Comment at firstname.lastname@example.org.