By Greg Carannante
City & Shore Magazine
Andrew Doole, the man at the helm of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, is getting ready for quite a different event than his first in 1982. That one was held in one marina with a tent in the parking lot. This month, as FLIBS celebrates its 60th anniversary, it will span seven waterfront locations with more than 1,500 boats on display, recognized as the world’s largest in-water boat show.
“It would’ve been hard to imagine that FLIBS would become the cultural and commercial icon that it is today,” says Doole, president of U.S. Boat Shows for Informa Markets, the Fort Lauderdale-based firm that also produces four other boat shows in Florida. “FLIBS has evolved into the most elaborate and influential yachting industry event in the world.”
The show’s phenomenal growth mirrors the arc of Doole’s career in boat-show production, launched when he joined Show Management a year after arriving in Florida from London in 1981. Informa bought that company in 2017 and named Doole vice president/general manager of U.S. boat shows. He became president this year.
Doole, 64, is responsible for overall coordination of the shows, including government relations, industry partnerships, exhibitor relationships, sales, production and strategies for future growth. His division’s full-time staff of 60 swells to 200 during events.
As you’d expect, Doole is a boatsman. A resident of North Hutchinson Island in St. Lucie County, Doole owns a vintage Hewes flats boat, a pontoon boat and two 34-foot commercial fishing boats that he co-owns with his son-in-law.
While preparing to welcome 110,000 guests and 1,200 exhibitors to Fort Lauderdale on Oct. 30, Doole found a few moments to answer our standard set of Quote Unquote questions.
Aside from the weather, what do you enjoy most about South Florida?
I’ve been a boater since I was 10 years old and enjoy being on the water and the nature that South Florida has to offer.
Aside from the weather, what do you dislike most about South Florida?
The traffic and the density of living in some of the urban areas.
Are you a beach person or a pool person?
When in your life are you or have you been the happiest?
I am the happiest when I spend time with my family, particularly fishing with my daughter, granddaughter and son-in-law.
What do you do when you’re stuck in a traffic jam on I-95?
Use the Turnpike.
What music are you listening to now?
Country music; Dwight Yoakam.
Are you a fan, and if so, of what?
Tottenham Premier Soccer League.
What are your social media handles?
I prefer to live in the present and in the reality of my friends and family, enjoying life.
Who is your real-life hero or heroine?
Jimmy Greaves [soccer player], Rodney Pattisson [sailor].
If you had to choose: Rocky or Raging Bull?
What car are you driving now?
Ford F150 Platinum Edition.
What do you like most about yourself?
I appreciate conversations and the human interaction our events bring.
What places in South Florida do you recommend to guests visiting from out-of-town?
Fort Lauderdale, Las Olas, Miami, Fairchild Tropical Gardens, Vizcaya, Clyde Butcher Studio on Tamiami Trail of the Everglades.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Too many to list.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My daughter, Chelsea.