Saturday, November 26

Largest-Ever Lauderdale Show Starts Oct. 26

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The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the largest in-the-water show in the world, starts Wednesday, Oct. 26, and runs through Sunday, Oct. 30. It promises to be bigger and better than ever.

This year is the 63rd annual for the show, and it now stretches across seven locations (still centered around the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, just across from the beach), with more than 1,300 boats and 1,000 exhibitors. Last year, 100,000 people attended the show; this year, the organizers expect many more.

Fort Lauderdale calls itself the yachting capital of the world, and the show reflects that standing. The boats on display range from small inflatables to massive superyachts with helipads (and the occasional helicopter). And then there are all the over-the-top exhibitors that cater to the superyachting lifestyle, from personal submarines to Ferraris and Bentleys. The economic impact of the show cannot be overstated; last year the show was responsible for $709.7 million in sales for Florida companies alone.

The show covers 90 acres, with locations at the Bahia Mar, Las Olas Marina, Hall of Fame Marina, Broward County Convention Center, SuperYacht Village at Pier 66 South, Pier 66 Marina, and Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. To get around, it’s easiest to park at the Convention Center and then catch a shuttle bus or water taxi to the other show locations.

The show has much more than boats and almost every conceivable marine accessory. There’s an Aqua Zone, run by Nautical Ventures, with a freshwater pool for in-water demos of fun toys and gear. And there are seminars every day, with topics including Spearfishing – Beginner to Advanced, Stand Up Fish-Fighting Techniques, and Lobstering: Catching the Bug.

If you want to avoid the crowds, you can sign up for the Windward VIP experience. It costs $375 (a day) but you get a premium bar, gourmet food, private restrooms, access to the show one hour early, and complimentary shuttle and water taxi service to all the show locations.

For the rest of us, tickets cost $60 for the Wednesday preview day, and then $39 each for Thursday through Sunday. Tickets for children (ages 6 through 15) are $15. You have to buy tickets on line in advance; no tickets will be sold at the show. (Click on the link below.)

Show hours are noon to 7 p.m. on Wednesday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Read more:




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