Industry gathers for growing Fort Lauderdale show

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The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show opens Thursday with seven venues, including a return of the newly renovated Pier 66, which will allow the display of superyachts as large as 200 feet and and expanded sea trial opportunities.

The other six venues are the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Hall of Fame Marina, Las Olas Municipal Marina, Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, Sails Marina and Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

More than 1,000 exhibitors and 1,000 boats will be showcased at the 55th edition of the show, which runs through Monday. The annual fireworks will be held at 7:10 p.m. on opening night, launched from the rooftop of the Bahia Mar.

Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday through Sunday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday.

Pier 66 Marina at Hyatt Regency, which dates from the 1950s, will return as a show venue after a five-year hiatus and a $20 million renovation. Upgrades to the 127-slip, deep-water marina include new bulkheads and a new floating dock system equaling more than 3,600 linear feet of parallel dockage and fixed docks.

The site, which will feature brokerage yachts, is accessible by water taxi and by buses (Green Line) that run from the convention center and the Bahia Mar locations.

Exhibitor sales for the entire show are reportedly up from the previous year, including several new to the show.

Sunrise Yachts, of Turkey, will bring a 140-foot motoryacht, the first time the builder has had a boat at the show.

Italian company Admiral Tecnomar will have two new yachts at the show — a 130 and a 145 — marking the first time the company has had boats at a U.S. show.

Another noteworthy vessel will be at Sails Marina: the 210-foot Perini Navi Felicita West, dubbed the world’s largest aluminum sailing yacht. It just underwent a $5 million refit by Rybovich Marina.

Among dozens of new-boat introductions will be the Viking 92 Enclosed Bridge Convertible, which the company says is the largest resin-infused sportfishing convertible hull in the world. The builder also will launch its 75 Motor Yacht, which marks a return to the motoryacht segment for the New Jersey builder, celebrating its 50th anniversary, and the Viking 52 Sport Tower.

The results of a new study examining the economic impact of the marine industry in southeast Florida will be presented at the press conference at the opening of the show. After four years of generally positive industry growth, the expectation is that the numbers have trended upward, according to the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, which owns FLIBS.

The MIASF will host a job fair on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the convention center, featuring more than 20 marine industry companies representing nearly 200 available positions, including skilled trades, administrative and crew jobs.

Trade Only Today will be filing daily reports from the show.

Show Management, which manages and produces FLIBS, and Soundings Trade Only are owned by Active Interest Media.