By Eric Barton
City & Shore Magazine
Six decades after it began as a free event featuring just 13 boats, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show returns this year with over 1,500 vessels, 1,200 exhibitors and more than 110,000 expected to attend.
Spread out over seven locations around town, the five-day event can be dizzying for those attending for the first time and those who remember the days when it was run by a volunteer committee. To help navigate the big show, here’s what you need to know:
FLIBS, as it’s often called, runs Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 at locations including the Bahia Mar, the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and Pier Sixty-Six marina property. Tickets start at $34 for adults, but upgrades include $65 for valet parking or a $110 ticket that gets access to the new Anglers Lounge in the convention center. Visit flibs.com for more.
New at this year’s show will be a dedicated 3.5-acre marina space for the largest of yachts, which measure up to 400 feet. Exhibitors include some of the world’s most luxury-focused shipbuilders and manufacturers of yacht toys, like submarines and exotic cars. Located at the Pier Sixty-Six’s new “Pier South” property at the southeast corner of the 17th Street Causeway bridge, the village is accessible to general admission ticket holders and can be accessed by water tenders and shuttle buses from other boat show locations.
A $300 upgraded ticket to the show includes access to the new Windward VIP Club, which promises to offer a “spectacular new in-water location” on the main dock at the Bahia Mar, with outdoor terraces, premium open bar, food, cigar lounge and events thrown by Delta Private Jets and watchmaker Ulysse Nardin.
In Case You Missed It
The NBC Sports Network will air a one-hour special with behind-the-scenes footage of the show and its vessels, including the “Best of Show” award to the most innovative boat model design.
By the Numbers
6 Miles of floating docks
8 Chefs competing in the Best Yacht Chef Competition
13 Water taxis
1,000 Private planes at local airports
3,000 Pounds of conch fritters served
110,000 Beers consumed at show
$857 million Annual statewide economic impact
$4 billion Value of products displayed
Source: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show organizers