For any boating enthusiast, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) marks not only the beginning of the season’s overall boat show circuit, but brings to mind visions of palms, beaches and the most impressive collection of new yachts anywhere in the world. Granted, Lauderdale and neighboring communities are home to 23 miles of soft sand beaches and the city does a great job of maintaining the innumerable palm trees that cover the landscape. Fair enough, but that statement about the yachts seems pretty bold, don’t you think?
Bold is probably the most descriptive word one can use when referring to FLIBS. Heralded as the worlds’ largest boat show, this event takes place along nearly a full mile of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) at seven locations and covers 3 million square feet. Everything from SUP’s, right on up to the finest super yachts the world has to offer will be there. With a total value of 4 Billion Dollars worth of boats on display, I’m thinking the term ‘bold’ works quite well.
The centerpiece of the show takes place at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center. Situated right along the ICW, this 250 slip marina also houses a hotel and yacht brokerage and is mere steps from the beach. Extending northward, the in-water display of boats goes all the way up to Las Olas Marina, which straddles trendy Las Olas Boulevard. To the south, there are more boats on display at three other marinas, including the Hilton Marina Hotel and Pier Sixty Six Marina, the later of which underwent a major expansion of it’s docking facilities last year.
If you need a break from the sunny & warm outdoors, the air conditioned Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center hosts numerous indoor displays. Getting to all the venues is made easier with shuttle buses running on the roads, and the Water Taxis running along the ICW. Having rode on the water taxis many times in the past, that would be my recommendation.
If walking is more your style, keep in mind that this is Fort Lauderdale, the town that was once a mecca for spring breakers. Even though those crowds of high school and collage kids have been replaced by family vacationers, the many bars and restaurants remain. Finding a place to take a load off your feet is not going to be a problem ;-)
Over the past thirty years, Fort Lauderdale has worked hard to create an atmosphere and ambiance as the ‘yachting capital of the world’ and from what we have seen, has done an admirable job. A perfect venue for this event.
For the past number of years, the show has been taking place during the last week of October, but for 2015, the date has been moved to November 5 – 9. Tickets are generally available online, but a quick check showed that they are no longer offered for this event. One can purchase theirs at the gate during the show.