Triton Survey: Will you attend FLIBS?

Sep 15, 2020 by Lucy Chabot Reed

The latest results on our industry-wide survey: Will you attend FLIBS?

457 people have responded. More than half (55.58%) said they will not attend, with an additional 12.25% saying they weren’t yet sure.

Slightly more than 8% will attend as exhibitors, just 1.5% are expected to attend as crew working the show, and 22.32% said they will attend for the fun of it.

UPDATED: Sept. 10, 5 p.m.
By Lucy Chabot Reed

Broward County commissioners today gave their OK for County Administrator Bertha Henry to negotiate protocols to enable the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show to go on as planned from Oct. 28-Nov. 1.

Will you attend? If you haven’t already, please click here to take our survey. More than 425 of your colleagues already have.

PREVIOUS POST: Sept. 8, 10:15 am
The 61st annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is scheduled to open on Oct. 28. Despite most every other international yachting event being cancelled since mid-March, organizers of FLIBS have invested time and money to find a way to put the show on.

On July 9, Informa Markets, producers of the show, announced its 12-page health and hygiene protocols called AllSecure.

FLIBS is following all GBAC standards (Global Biorisk Advisory Council) including enhanced cleaning with overnight disinfection, electrostatic sprayers with EPA biodegradable disinfectants, and “continuous” sanitation throughout the event; non-contact registration; physical contact discouraged, including handshakes, embraces and the exchanging of business cards and sales brochures; a guest circulation path to maintain physical distancing; pre-packaged food; and face masks required upon entry. 

In addition to several employee protocols, Informa also outlines other protocols including the installation of temperature thermal imaging at entrances, an increase in the amount of space allotted for each guest, plexiglass dividers where appropriate, additional staff for cleaning, and signage throughout.

Not everyone agrees that the show could or should provide a safe environment. We invited the industry to share their thoughts in a Triton Survey last week. Almost 400 did. Slightly more than half (51.84%) said they would not attend FLIBS this year with an additional 13.42% saying they were not yet sure.

More than a third said they would attend either as an exhibitor (8.42%), crew working onboard (1.84%) or simply as attendees (24.47%).

Broward County commissioners are set to discussion Thursday whether they will allow the show to proceed.

Informa announced yesterday that frontline workers (hospital workers, firefighters, police, EMTs, paramedics) will be admitted free. Although announcing that general admission tickets would go on sale yesterday, they were still not available as of midday today.

Below are the comments we received in our survey. We felt it important to share them unedited. Three were deleted as being inappropriate.

FLIBS is a catastrophe waiting to happen. I do not know of anyone that intends to go.

I’m nervous about it. I’m usually working for a vendor. Not sure we’ll even have a booth! 

I am a local in the marine industry and have seen that marine-based people in the community are well versed in social distancing and can attend using proper etiquette.

I’m flying from out of state to attend FLIBS for the first time as a serious buyer. 2019 and 2020 have been really good to me so hopefully it’s not canceled. 

The show will be a huge waste of time. So many foreign customers will be unable to attend. 

Attending, but not every day. 

This will be an absolute waste of time and money. If anyone shows up, it will be people who were forced to attend by their employer.

Insane idea to do a boat show in the current situation. 

As a broker, I have at least three qualified clients to buy $2m-plus yachts who will be with me at the show, if we have one. The show will be smaller and have less attendance, but the quality of attendance should be good. People are shopping for and buying yachts. 

Being amongst a crowd is retarded, given the current climate. 

I don’t think it is a safe environment. 

Under the circumstances, nobody (Informa, city, county and state) can assure us exhibitors that it will be safe and well attended. Every other show has been responsibly cancelled or postponed. The fact that this one has not done the same is shameful and a clear indication of unscrupulous greed. 

Denison will be there. 

This year we are not attending any events with large gatherings of people. Not everyone will social distance the way that we feel we need to to keep ourselves and our family and our loved ones safe. 

Already hearing many exhibitors have successfully canceled with full refund and assured they will not lose their booth space for 2021. Wondering if a list will be published of non-attending exhibitors so an attendee looking for specific products/services is not disappointed?

I have attended every year for the last five years, and will most certainly not contemplate international travel nor a boat show. I feel it is irresponsible to go ahead. The COVID numbers in the U.S. are higher than in so many places, and a boat show is not a necessity. Health outweighs the economics of this.

The FLIBS team has always led the way in safely overcoming obstacles mother nature may present. 

We would attend if it was going ahead, which it won’t. As of today (Sept. 4), nobody can fly to the U.S. from the UK, EU or Schengen zone, even if they wanted to. Many don’t, if they can avoid it. Not only is Florida a hotspot, but the ability to obtain travel/medical insurance to cover COVID is a major consideration. 

No way. America is the last place I would contemplate travelling right now.

Considering that FLIBS brings in large numbers of international travelers, hundreds of thousands of Americans, support staff for the boats, the crews and all the folks that work the show, I think it is irresponsible and unconscionable to consider having the show go on. I cannot think of a more precarious venue than a boat show to promote a contagion such as COVID-19. Thousands of people shoulder-to-shoulder, holding onto the same railings, door handles, chairs, etc., is much worse than any major league sports game. 

What is the motivating reason to consider FLIBS, other than money / greed? I have worked in this industry for 43 years. FLIBS is important. I have only missed two shows. But this year, it’s not worth the risk or the irresponsible potential of having crews on boats get the virus and then pass it on to their owners, who ultimately keep this industry alive.

As a freelance writer focused mainly on superyachts, it would seem from the list of boats to be exhibited that this year will not see any groundbreaking new builds at the show. Sadly, I will not attend, but look forward to next year. 

In my opinion it would be irresponsible to let this show go ahead in light of the current global circumstances. 

Safety is the most important thing right now. The Informa organization is not thinking about this and is irresponsible.

It is too soon to open something like this up. I will not endanger the lives of crew, workers and clients. It’s not fair to them. 

I feel the COVID situation makes this too dangerous this year.

Too risky with COVID to be in such a large crowd in tight quarters. 

Don’t think it’s wise to encourage events at this time. With so many like-minded people in one place, larger gatherings are bound to happen and could lead to health problems.

Not sure I’d be comfortable going. I don’t know how they would socially distance that kind of event.

I will be attending the show from out of town, as we do every year. I know many people that are doing the same. I am in the market for a new boat and am hoping to get a good deal. Looking forward to another good Fort Lauderdale boat show. 

I do not think at this time it is a good representation of our industry. Why should a large number of people be able to attend such a big event when children in South Florida are unable to attend school? 

I shall mask up and wash my hands often, but I will have no problem attending the Fort Lauderdale and Palm Beach shows. 

We have already had numerous cases and deaths in our local Fort Lauderdale community from the greed and ignorance of our times. Allowing people to expose themselves and continue to spread the virus to our community is a bad decision. Understanding we will all lose out financially will humble us all to adapt business functions for the protection of our families. 

Absolutely ridiculous that it would go ahead. A case of greed over sense. 

Every event except for FLIBS has been canceled through the rest of the year, including the Winterfest boat parade. I can’t see how they feel they can safely hold FLIBS, and I’m even more surprised that Fort Lauderdale and Broward County will grant permission for the event.

Show should go on, even if scaled back. 

Quite insensitive to advertise the show without any mention of COVID-19 precautions. 

Nautical Structures does not plan to exhibit at this year’s FLIBS, should it be held. We believe it to be irresponsible under the current pandemic to invite our clients to a boat show in Broward County. We believe it unfair to ask our employees to participate and potentially expose themselves to this COVID virus. Further, with virtually none of our European, South American and Asian clients able to travel to the U.S., the ROI from this show this year will be non-existent. With Monaco, Cannes, IBEX and METS all cancelled, it is hard to believe Informa will actually put on FLIBS. My opinion, for what it’s worth, is that if more companies and industry leaders were open about their intentions, Informa may be more willing to make a hard decision for the best interest of our industry and the people that live, work and play in our industry. 

We are in the middle of a pandemic and a boat show in Florida is the last thing we need right now. 

It’s absurd that they are still holding this event. 

I feel that it is irresponsible and dangerous to organize such an event during a pandemic. I have attended this show since my early yachting days and unfortunately have chosen not to attend this year due to the circumstances. It will be impossible to adhere to social distancing, and holding the event will cause the virus to spread like wildfire. 

With everything going on and the restrictions of traveling internationally, having the show without fully open boarders worldwide is stupid as the attendance will be way down and not a productive show. 

Not worth the cost as an exhibitor. Let’s start over in 2021.

The Miami area’s positivity rate is high (~15% compared to 4%-5% in cities where COVID-19 has been controlled), and most medical advice suggests it’s better to get a vaccine. I’m happy to wait this out and take the burden off of healthcare workers. 

For the first time in 20 years, I will not be attending. Too many people in close proximity to each other. The Bahamas has pulled out, so we have no booth to work anyway. 

We normally exhibit, but not this time. We do not believe there will be many visitors flying in. 

It’s time to get things going again. We cannot stay locked down forever. The lethality of this disease is now no worse than the flu. 

I was interested in accessories, specifically the electronics tent. How do they plan to clean each item after it is touched by a customer? Will every manufacturer have their own cleaning staff? It is my impression that Informa just wants to keep the money for another year. 

With the U.S. and Florida’s poor management of COVID-19, the risk is too high. 

Probably not. Lack of social distancing and mask usage by others is a concern. Too soon.

Wrong to have this show at all. Other major shows have cancelled already. Really tone deaf to proceed with FLIBS. 

It is too dangerous to go to a crowded venue like this. 

Let’s all get everyone to get back to work! 

I think it’s a great idea! South Florida has been one of the few places, in my opinion, where the majority of the population is following the mask and distancing rules. I feel like everyone will do a decent enough job. Life goes on. 

It’s hard enough to navigate that crowded show. This isn’t the year for it. 

Never would miss this show. 

Do not believe there will be a show. 

This would be a blatant disregard for efforts being made elsewhere by Floridians to reduce the effects of COVID-19 on the health of everyone and the economy. Selfish move to hold this event in the current state of the pandemic. 

I don’t think it’s possible to have a COVID-free show. Too many in the yachting industry don’t believe it’s a real issue and won’t take precautionary measures. 

See no reason not to. COVID is a joke. 

Should not hold the show this year. 

Not just no, hell no. Are you crazy? 

Can’t wait to get back on the docks. Florida needs this show, Fort Lauderdale needs this show and the yachting industry definitely needs this show. The yachting industry should lead the way to responsible business events. See you there. 

The show must go on.

Excited about this opportunity for attending this event. 

I am completely in agreement to keep the show as scheduled. It is outside and, with safety measures, it could be a success. Hope you keep the show open. I look forward to visiting. 

FLIBS will take boat owners’ money and then cancel. No chance it will go on. 

I do not feel safe traveling to Fort Lauderdale at this time. My husband is a yacht captain currently in the south of England, which essentially leaves me as a “single parent” stateside. I do not believe Florida is capable of handling the epidemic and is easing its restrictions just to keep a semblance of progress when in fact they are losing a battle. Very foolish to hold an “expo” or “trade show” that will not be able to successfully keep its staff, vendors, or guests healthy. 

With COVID still a major danger, I think it is irresponsible to hold FLIBS this year.

I’d like a no-mask or voluntary-mask policy enacted for FLIBS. 

All other group functions are being cancelled. Why would they put thousands at risk for this event? 

Statistics suggest there is a chance of COVID transmission. As a result, I will, sadly, be staying away from FLIBS and other large events for the time being. Not chancing catching and unknowingly passing COVID to elderly members of my family or friends. 

Way too dangerous; super spreader event.

I am looking forward to the show. I think the city of Fort Lauderdale and the people need it. I understand that measures are being taken to make sure the event is safe to attend by all. 

It will never happen this year.

Need to get this COVID-19 pandemic behind us before any mass gatherings. 

People coming from the UK are not allowed into the U.S., so we can’t go. 

Not a chance in hell.

Due to the lack of clarity over COVID-19 and whether it is or is not under control and the large crowds that FLIBS brings from all over the world, we will not be attending any large gatherings until a vaccine is available. Heartbroken to be saying that as we always look forward to the show and many of our friends and neighbors are in the industry. Pray for next year.

Avoiding crowds and throngs of people. It’s just too risky. Hopefully see you next year. 

Stupid for the social elite to allow this event to continue. It’s unnecessary and will 100% result in a spread of the disease. Smart companies will not attend. What puts Florida in a better position than Monaco?

Though our yacht is up for sale, I feel that attendance will be sparse and those who do attend will be apprehensive about crowds. Thus, our yacht will not be displayed, nor do we plan to attend.

We are not an exhibitor this year due to COVID. 

I’m not sure I don’t have a problem walking around outside, but if they are going to require a mask, then no. I’ll go to Disney instead. 

Super-spreader event. FLIBS should be cancelled. Impossible to distance on the docks, etc. Tents have poor ventilation.

We are hoping that “we” are back to “normal” for the boat show.

Saw how people on Las Olas were acting last weekend; saw how people in Thailand are acting. Very few cases in Thailand; lots of cases in Florida. Doesn’t seem like a good idea with the way people in U.S. act. 

We are there with the boat every year. Owner says no this year. 

I’d prefer not to as I think the crew are being put in harm’s way. 

It’s time to get back to business, even if it’s a new normal. Business life can’t stop, it must continue. 

Just made the decision that it is not safe enough for ourselves and our employees to exhibit this year. 

COVID infection risks in Florida remain too great to our employees and clients. We can maintain business relationships and bring in new clients while focusing on safety first. 

Absolutely no way no how can have social distancing at the show. Owners will not want to pay the money for dockage for fear of getting their crew infected and having to sanitize the yacht each time someone goes on it. Informa can say all they want, but it is not going to happen. 

It is not in the best interest of the industry or public health to be hosting FLIBS this year. 

I don’t feel that COVID-19 is completely under control yet and multiple days in a booth (as an exhibitor) is pushing my luck further than I’m comfortable with. Both foreign companies we represent are not sending anybody from the factory for the same reason. I may go one day but will leave immediately if people are not wearing masks or social distancing is not possible. 

ORIGINAL POST: Sept. 2, 7 a.m.
By Lucy Chabot Reed

We have revived the Triton Survey, and for the first time we will open it up to the entire industry.

Traditionally open only to yacht captains and crew, this version of the Triton Survey asks everyone in yachting “Will you attend FLIBS?

This year marks the 61st annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the show is produced by Informa Markets, which owns the Monaco Yacht Show and co-owns the Palm Beach International Boat Show, among others.

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the cancellation of most yachting events since mid-March, with the Palm Beach show among the first. Informa and MIASF have created a health and hygiene program for the show, along with other changes such as wider docks and one-way traffic inside the tents to make social distancing a bit easier. Tickets are expected to go on sale next week.

Social media has been abuzz with criticism of the decision to hold the show, which is one of the major sales venues for numerous yachting businesses. While there are myriad reasons to exhibit as well as not to exhibit, we thought we would ask our readership if they simply plan to attend.

Watch this space for results by week’s end. Until then, take the survey.

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About Lucy Chabot Reed

Lucy Chabot Reed is publisher and founding editor of The Triton.

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