A Show 60 Years in the Making

A Show 60 Years in the Making

By Max Crampton-Thomas

 2 min read October 2019 — Oct. 30 to Nov. 3 are probably the most important couple of days for the city of Fort Lauderdale and for Broward County. Over the course of these five days, the city opens its doors to over 110,000 boating enthusiasts from around the world representing over 50 countries, all here for the purpose of attending the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. While this event is always a highlight for the year, this year has special meaning: it’s the 60th anniversary for the Boat Show.

The success and longevity of the event comes as no surprise as Fort Lauderdale has been dubbed the “Yachting Capital of the World” with its economic roots deeply cemented in the marine industry. This event is not just a chance for visitors to see these boats up close and personal; it serves primarily as a platform for yacht brokers and various other exhibitors to showcase their marine products and services. 

The economic benefits to the region brought on by a boat transaction cannot be understated, and were highlighted by Paul Flannery, executive director for the International Yacht Brokers Association, when he spoke to Invest:. “A boat is an economic engine for the community. When a boat comes to a community, 10% of the value of that boat is injected into the local economy on a yearly basis. When there is a transaction involving a boat, an additional 13% of the value of that boat is injected into the local economy in the first year after the sale,” Flannery explained. He continued: “When a person wants to sell their boat, then we need to make sure they know that there is no better place to do business than South Florida, the yachting capital of the world. The impact of that boat sale happening in South Florida benefits the local economy through the yacht broker and marina owner, as well as all the people engaged in that transaction.”

The show this year will not only feature the debut of the show’s largest megayacht, Madsummer, it will also include the 2nd Annual Sunset Soiree and Yacht Chef Competition, a superyacht village and a mansion yacht. Perhaps most unique about this year’s event is the FLIBS 4 Bahamas initiative that will be in support of the Bahamas relief efforts in the Abacos and Grand Bahama, two of the islands devastated by Hurricane Dorian. The proceeds from both the raffle of a Pioneer Sportfish 180 and the Yacht Chef Competition will be going directly to charities working on hurricane relief for the islands.

With more than $4 billion worth of product on display at the Boat Show, the event has not only become a staple for the South Florida community, but the global marine community as well. The event is owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, whose CEO and President Phil Purcell perfectly summarized to Invest: just how important the Boat Show is to the region. “We are the refit and repair capital of the world, the yachting capital of the world. When you think of Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show’s impact on the state of Florida, it generates an $857 million economic impact, with 110,000 visitors from 52 countries around the globe. Keep in mind that $100 million a day changes hands in sales during the five days of the show. The marine industry has an economic value to Broward County of $8.9 billion.”

To learn more about our interviewees, visit: