Lauderdale show adds pool for younger demographic

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It’s almost September and school has restarted, signaling one of the busiest times of the year in the marine industry as manufacturers and organizers start gearing up for what will be the 55th Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

New offerings this year at the Oct. 30-Nov. 3 show will include Aquazone, a 25-by-50-foot, 15,000-gallon swimming pool at the front of the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

“The convention center is getting very exciting,” Show Management organizer John Nigro told Trade Only Today. Active Interest Media owns Show Management and Trade Only Today.

“The up-to-50-foot range of boats is very popular, it’s very strong, it’s coming back and a lot of the people that are purchasing those products are very much into fishing and diving and paddleboarding and canoeing and kayaking and all of these water sports that fall into a category called the Aquazone. We’ve got everybody lined up to come in Thursday through Monday during FLIBS to do seminars and live displays and demonstrations in the pool.”

The demonstrations and seminars will include paddleboarding, canoeing, kayaking and diving and will be open to the public, Nigro said.

Organizers hope the events will lure a younger demographic to the show, Active Interest Media CEO Efrem “Skip” Zimbalist III said.

“These are designed to attract entry-level boaters, and a younger audience —people just starting out their marine enjoyment,” Zimbalist told Trade Only. “We’re very excited to have that.”

“This area, when you come into the show, is no charge,” Nigro said. “You can go up to the pool and enjoy all the seminars and demos every day. You can watch a live demo and if you want to take part, by all means.”

The demos will include paddleboard yoga, an activity that has gained recent traction, and dive demos for physically handicapped people, Nigro said.

“My goal is to take the convention center to the next level every year,” Nigro said.

Aquazone also will be held at the Palm Beach International Boat Show next March and at additional future shows organized by Show Management.