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Fort Lauderdale Show Reports 100,000 Visitors

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL  – The 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) returned in full force for its 62nd year, putting on five full days of programing filled with superyachts, family-friendly events, and experiential activations throughout Fort Lauderdale. This year’s show lived up to its title as the largest in-water boat show in the world, welcoming over 100,000 visitors and featuring exhibitors from global shipyards and local marine manufacturers. FLIBS, which is owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and produced by Informa Markets, took place from Wednesday, October 27th through Sunday, October 31st.


“The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show was a complete success, proving that South Florida remains a premier destination for those seeking all the marine and boating industry has to offer,” said Andrew Doole, President of U.S. boat shows at Informa Markets. “We are grateful to the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and the City of Fort Lauderdale for being our partners in this great event – and we can’t wait to return next year for another unforgettable boat show.”


The 2021 boat show was the premier destination of notable debuts for a range of luxury yachts, including the Azimut Grande Trideck, the Ocean Alexander 35R, and the Feadship Boardwalk.


“It was by far the happiest boat show in years. So nice to return to normal,” said Ted McCumber, Commercial Director with FEADSHIP AMERICA, INC.


The return of the Superyacht Village for this year’s FLIBS provided a fantastic backdrop for opening day events, including the ribbon cutting ceremony and the opening night reception, while spotlighting some of the world’s most astounding superyachts like the Benetti 40M Oasis and the M/Y Bold, measuring 133 feet and 278 feet respectively.


At the Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center – which was back in action after undergoing renovations – visitors were connected to new product debuts from exhibitors including notable brands such as Grady White, Yellowfin, and Robalo, among others. The Convention Center also served as the home to Nautical Ventures, which was one of the largest exhibitors at the show occupying over 44,000 square feet and representing 23 brands. Through its signature and innovative AquaZone – which featured a 40,000 gallon freshwater pool inside the Convention Center for in-water demonstrations – Nautical Ventures gave boat show-goers an upfront and personal experience with a variety of water sports and innovative marine products.


“In 20+ years of working FLIBS, I can honestly say that I have never seen the mood of the buyer any better. The event had a vibe unlike any I have ever worked,” said Chuck Cashman, Chief Revenue Officer with MarineMax. “The buyer was laser focused – the usual social, political and economic distractions were not present, and COVID protocols were in place and understood by all. I believe it was a safe, well organized, and certainly successful event.”


FLIBS is a major economic driver benefitting the marine industry, the City of Fort Lauderdale, and the State of Florida with a total statewide economic impact of $1.3 billion and over $714 million in products sold over the 5-day event, as per a 2019 study prepared by Thomas J. Murray & Associates. Marine Industries Association of South Florida and Informa Markets has commissioned a study of this year’s show which will be released early in 2022.


“The demand for boating products is at an all-time high – and we are thrilled to see that FLIBS served as the perfect medium to connect boat buyers with sought-after products,” said Phil Purcell, President and CEO of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. “We are already looking forward to next year’s show, which is set to continue supporting our local marine economy and setting the bar for boating exhibitions across the world.”


The 62nd annual FLIBS also featured exclusive partners such as Glen Grant, which launched the exceptionally rare Dennis Malcolm 60th Anniversary Edition. The coveted 60-Year-Old Single Malt Scotch, which retails for $30,000, debuted at the boat show. Made in celebration of and tribute to the six-decades long career of The Glen Grant’s Master Distiller Dennis Malcolm, one of Scotland’s most renowned and longest serving Master Distillers, this offering is the oldest to-date in the brand’s 181-year history.


As part of the 2021 event, the Ocean Alexander 35R received the Best of Show award by NBC Sports. The megayacht, which measures approximately 117 feet in length, is given to innovative debut boat models on display at FLIBS that embody a variety of elements, including performance, design, technology, and architecture. The winner was selected by an elite panel of independent judges including Captain Dave Marciano of Wicked Tuna; Ricky Carmichael, Motorcross Superstar; Paul Tracy, former Indy Car driver and current Indy Car analyst; Captain Jo-Ann Burdian, Captain of the U.S. Coast Guard, Sector Miami; and Inter Miami CF Midfielder, Victor Ulloa. The Best of Show winner was among the FLIBS highlights in the hour-long NBC Sports Special which aired Sunday night.


Visitors also had the opportunity to take part in educational seminars and activations created by West Marine. As the official marine accessories supplier of the signature event, visitors at FLIBS got to learn more about West Marine and their suite of over 120,000 different marine products, including the latest in marine electronics, technical sailing and fishing gear, engine parts and more.


Movement between the multiple show sites was facilitated by air-conditioned shuttle services and the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi. Many guests took advantage of viewing the show from the nautical perspective, as the Water Taxi had over 98,000 boardings throughout the five days of the show.


From an exclusively curated VIP experience at the Windward Club to family-friendly programming offered by fishing clinics from Hook the Future, FLIBS served as a safe, open air experience for all to enjoy one of the greatest boat shows on the seven seas.


The 63rd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is slated to return on Wednesday, October 26th through Sunday, October 30th, 2022.


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