The 57th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is stepping up its sophistication factor this year to accommodate the droves of people who come not just to browse, but also to close on a new boat.
Excitement and momentum built quickly for this year’s Fort Lauderdale show as the marine industry continues to rebound, having exceeded the sales volume in dollars (though not in units) of its pre-recession peak.
The show, which opens Thursday at seven locations in Fort Lauderdale and runs through Monday, is continuing its expansion geographically with some of the largest yachts ever displayed, said Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III, president of show producer Show Management.
Show Management and Trade Only are part of Active Interest Media.
“Last year was an amazing show,” Zimbalist said, pointing to an economic impact report conducted by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, which owns the show.
The report noted that in 2015 the show had an $857 million impact on the Florida economy, with $508 million coming from direct sales at the show. “It’s just staggering,” Zimbalist said.
“It’s the yachting capital of the world,” agreed MIASF executive director Phil Purcell. “There are so many amazing shows, but this show is truly unique — there are 35 countries represented, more than 100,000 attendees, with 50,000 of them coming from outside the country. The show had $508 million of direct sales last year — with $100 million in sales per day. That’s a big number. The economic impact to the state is incredible. Last year’s Super Bowl had a $719 million impact. Ours was $857 million. I think the industry feels really good, and very positive.”
MarineMax CEO Bill McGill will deliver a keynote speech at the annual press conference moderated by Soundings Trade Only editor-in-chief Bill Sisson. “He’s got great perspective and can offer his view of trends he sees, geographically, demographically and around the world,” Zimbalist said.
Heesen will bring Galactica Supernova, a 240-foot superyacht that cruises at 30 knots, Zimbalist said. Abeking & Rasumusssen will display Cloudbreak, another superyacht measuring nearly 240 feet.
The commercial division of Dutch builder Amels will bring a new support vessel measuring nearly 190 feet, a “shadow yacht” designed to accompany an even bigger superyacht and carry all of the toys and other accessories.
This morning the MIASF, Show Management, the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, the Broward County Convention and Visitors Bureau, U.S. Rep. Ted Deutch, Mayor Marty Kiar and Guy Harvey were convening to highlight the show’s impact on entrepreneurship, philanthropy and marine research.
Broward County Mayor Marty Kiar was to present a proclamation to Harvey, who credits the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show with the start of his worldwide fame as a marine and sport fish artist.
Harvey will discuss his lifelong advocacy for and dedication to the protection of the marine environment, as well as the work of the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and Guy Harvey Research Institute in collaboration with the Halmos College of Natural Sciences and Oceanography of Nova Southeastern University.
“Guy Harvey’s success illustrates exactly what we strive for as owners of the No. 1 boat show on the planet — to spur economic activity, grow entrepreneurs and promote marine research and preservation,” Purcell said in a statement. “The marine industry is excited about the opportunity to recognize him for his work and acknowledge his legacy of protecting the marine environment.”