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The crown jewel of the fall boat shows

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show promises to be a kaleidoscope of boats, accessories, events and venues, from nuts-and-bolts seminars for anglers and cruisers to a 228-foot expo yacht that will showcase fine art and jewelry, host gala parties and deliver five-star dining in two restaurants.

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Set for Oct. 31-Nov. 4, the show will cover 3 million square feet at six venues: boat show headquarters at the Bahia Mar Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel & Yachting Center; the Hall of Fame Marina; the Las Olas Municipal Marina; the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina; Sails Marina; and the Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.

Show-goers can home in on “villages” showcasing types of boats and boating: a Performance Village for the go-fast aficionado; the Sportfish Village for anglers; CruiserPort for cruisers and passagemakers; the Superyacht Builders Association (SYBAss) Pavilion; the Yacht Builders Tent for the megayacht and superyacht set; and the KidZone at the convention center.

Active Interest Media, the AIM Marine Group and Show Management — in strategic partnership with Expoships — are bringing a touch more glamour and elegance to the superyacht docks with the 228-foot SeaFair, a $40 million purpose-built expo yacht. SeaFair will showcase international art from modern masters, emerging haute jewelry design, fine Jensen silver, Italian decorative design, yacht design and fine collectibles in 25 galleries.

The yacht also will host kickoff parties, daily receptions and events for SYBAss VIP members, superyacht builders and designers and their guests at The Club at SeaFair, Yachts International magazine’s VIP venue. (Yachts International is owned by Active interest Media, as is Show Management, which produces the Fort Lauderdale show, and Soundings.)

Home-ported in Miami, SeaFair boasts five bars and two five-star restaurants catered by The Savor Society and its executive chef Bill Bentz, who has managed a five-star Relais & Chateaux, the dining at Lake Placid’s Olympic venues and Las Vegas resorts.

“Everything is five-star,” says David Lester, who with his wife, Lee Ann, organizes such art events as ArtPalm Beach and the Miami International Art Fair, and owns SeaFair. “We’re trying to give you a superyacht experience at a superyacht show.”

Preferred admission to SeaFair is extended to superyacht owners, builders, designers, naval architects, brokers with their guests, exhibiting vendor clients, the press and SeaFair Society Elite Level members. The public will be welcome on a space-available basis. A link to online VIP guest registration for The Club at SeaFair can be found at

Designed by Luiz De Basto of Miami, SeaFair is the largest vessel built for commercial operation on the Intracoastal Waterway. It tours the East Coast and Florida, visiting ports large and small with its 6.5-foot draft and hosting events. The yacht is scheduled to be at the Yacht & Brokerage Show in Miami Beach in February and the Palm Beach International Boat Show in March — both produced by Show Management — again bringing The Club at SeaFair.

Also new this year at Fort Lauderdale is the Sailfish Pavilion in front of the convention center, with displays and attractions inside and out, including the Miss Geico offshore racing boat, a fishing pond, a bar and food vendors.

“We are committed to continuously enhancing the show experience for guests and exhibitors,” says Dane Graziano, senior vice president and COO of Show Management. “This year’s new attractions are designed to bring more fun and more choices to all people visiting the show.”

Attendees can hone their skills at any of a menu of seminars. At the convention center, The Wild Blue Dive and Travel Show will offer workshops on free diving, scuba diving, spearfishing, marine art, safety, conservation, underwater photography and videography. Hook the Future will host kids’ fishing clinics Saturday and Sunday at noon and 2 p.m. for ages 5 to 16. The International Game Fish Association is hosting eight mini-sessions throughout the boat show, featuring captains and professional anglers who will share tips and tricks.

CruiserPort, sponsored by PassageMaker magazine and also part of the AIM Marine Group, has scheduled free boating/cruising workshops hosted by PassageMaker editors and other industry professionals.

The free MyBoatShow mobile app will help you navigate the show and find specific boats and products. Download it at The site also is a wealth of information about the annual event.

Show hours are Thursday, Oct. 31 (Prime Time Preview), 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Daily admission, except Thursday, is $20 online, $22 at the show; children ages 6 to 15 are $5 online, $7 at the show; children under 6 are free. Admission for the Prime Time Preview on Thursday is $36 online, $38 at the show. Two-day tickets are $38 online, $40 at the show.

Parking is available at War Memorial Stadium, the downtown Riverfront, nearby city of Fort Lauderdale parking lots and garages, the Oceanside lot north of Las Olas Boulevard, the Clay Shaw lot under the 17th Street Causeway Bridge, the lot at A1A and Sebastian Street and the city parking garage next to the Main Library downtown.

Shuttle buses connect all six show sites and the parking lots at War Memorial Auditorium and the Riverfront.

See related articles:

- The Boats of Fall - Boat Show Special - Powerboats

- The Boats of Fall - Boat Show Special - Sailboats

- Find your boat at one of these

October 2013 issue