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Bigger is better at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show

This year’s event will include new additions such as PassageMaker magazine’s TrawlerPort

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show’s statistics boggle the mind: $3 billion worth of boats, engines and equipment; six exhibition sites covering 3 million square feet of land and water; and boats ranging from 15-foot Boston Whalers to a 210-foot Perini Navi luxury ketch — and maybe some larger.

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This year’s show runs Thursday, Oct. 27, through Monday, Oct. 31, at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, the Hall of Fame Marina, the Las Olas Municipal Marina, the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina, the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center and the Sails Marina.

In addition to the diverse array of boats, yachts, megayachts and superyachts — more than 165 boatbuilders represented — exhibits will include electronics, engines and accessories, along with exotic cars, clothing and jewelry. Some new products will debut at the show. Marlow Yachts Ltd. will offer three new Explorer models — the 97E, 70E and 57E — and the new Voyager 76E LR. Cobalt Boats will display four new models from 20 to 30 feet. Viking Sport Cruisers/Princess Yachts’ 60-footer will make its U.S. debut, and its 64-footer will make its Fort Lauderdale debut.
Wesmar will introduce a digital at-anchor stabilizer system and its HD825 sonar for cruising, navigation and sport fishing. GOST by Paradox Marine, which provides state-of-the-art wireless security, will debut its new control head unit, the GOST Phantom. Also new from GOST is the Watch HD surveillance system, the Nav-Tracker website and the NT-Evolution, integrating a yacht’s protective systems.
There will be a new feature at the show: the Superyacht Builders Association Pavilion, a 16,000-square-foot enclosed and air-conditioned barge where superyacht builders will display their latest designs and future builds. The pavilion will be centrally located on the Intracoastal Waterway at the Bahia Mar.
The show will include PassageMaker magazine’s TrawlerPort (, which is billed as a boat show within a boat show. (Soundings and PassageMaker are both owned by Active Interest Media, which also owns the boat show’s producer, Show Management.) For angling enthusiasts, there will be fishing clinics for children on Saturday and Sunday, conducted by Hook the Future, and eight sportfishing mini-sessions sponsored by the International Game Fish Association’s School of Sportfishing and taught by professional anglers and guides.
The Blue Wild Dive and Travel Show will give seminars on free diving, scuba, spearfishing, lobstering, survival and first aid, marine art, boating, conservation, underwater photography, and videography.
Show-goers will be able to enjoy live musical entertainment and food served in an International Food Garden. They can even arrive at the show by boat at a Drop N’ Go dock, where boats as large as 40 feet may drop off or pick up guests at the Hall of Fame Marina on the ICW.
Show locations are the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd.; Las Olas Municipal Marina, 2 South New River Drive East; Hall of Fame Marina, 435 Seabreeze Blvd.; Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, 1950 Eisenhower Blvd.; Fort Lauderdale Hilton, 1881 S.E. 17th St.; and The Sails, on the southeast side of 17th Street at the ICW bridge.
Parking is available at those locations and at the Las Olas Riverfront parking lot, the War Memorial park-and-ride lot and the Galleria Mall. Water taxis stop at the Bahia Mar, the convention center, the Bimini Boatyard and the Doubletree Hotel at the Galleria. Water taxis cost $10 for all-day use. More on parking, lot locations and rates is available at
Show Management also has developed a free app for the iPhone, iPad and Android that will allow attendees to get transportation and other information on their mobile devices. “MyBoatShow,” which will launch at the show, will also provide information about new boats and products and identify their display locations (see story on Page 86).
Show hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., except Oct. 31, when they are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Prime-time review tickets Thursday are $36 at the gate and $34 if bought online.
A five-day pass costs $90 at the gate and $85 online; a two-day general admission ticket is $34 at the gate and $32 online; a one-day general admission ticket is $18 at the gate and $16 online; tickets for children 6 to 15 years old are $5 at the gate and $3 online; and children under 6 are admitted free.

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Thsi article originally appeared in the November 2011 issue.