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FLIBS 2012: Show will go on amid weather watch

The marine industry has been built around defying the weather.

That was the message Marine Industries Association of South Florida president Kristina Hebert gave as she addressed a crowd of about 130 people at an opening breakfast today at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

“I know everybody’s talking about weather and it always kind of makes me chuckle when we do,” Hebert told the crowd. “Boating was invented by us humans to buck the system.”

From rain gear to shoes such as Crocs, one of the breakfast and show sponsors, to navigational equipment, boaters have invented ways to defy the weather.

“We create all these products based on weather,” Hebert said. We had a couple boats that didn’t come in until yesterday — 23 days to cross the Atlantic — they did that in bad weather. They had the desire to be here. They defied the weather to get here.”

The show opened this morning with wind and some threatening skies as the effects from Category 2 Hurricane Sandy, which was cutting a path across Cuba.

Friday is expected to bring rain and more wind, forecasters said, but the hurricane wasn’t expected to make a full-fledged appearance in Fort Lauderdale.

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said Sandy had emerged off Cuba's northeast coast about dawn and was moving north at 18 mph, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph.

Hebert quipped during her introductory remarks that in her two terms serving as president of the association that owns FLIBS this is the second show that a hurricane has threatened.

“People ask you when you’re president what kind of influence you have,” Hebert said. “They want tickets, or a better booth spot. ... My influence is weather. Influence isn’t always a good thing because the first time I was president was during [Hurricane] Wilma, so I apologize. They say you take a risk in taking people out of retirement, and I’m living proof.”

Click here for the MIASF weather release.

— Reagan Haynes

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