If you’re new to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show or simply want a few tips for attending, this guide will help you be one step ahead. We are here to answer as many questions as possible before you head to Fort Lauderdale for the largest in-water International boat show in the world.
Here are the basics of what to bring/wear, what to expect and how to prepare.
Let’s get started!
What is Fort Lauderdale like?
Fort Lauderdale always has great weather! And there is so much to do. After a day at the Boat Show, there’s plenty of restaurants and clubs you can go to and things you can do in the evening.
What should I wear and bring to the show?
The key is to dress comfortably!
We highly suggest wearing comfortable shoes and a hat. You will be doing a good amount of walking on docks, plus the daily highs range from 78°F to 82°F. Sunscreen is also recommended.
Many people wear shorts and a t-shirt; others opt for button down shirts and dress pants. You can always dress like a boater and go for a Columbia PFG shirt and lightweight shorts. It really just depends on your personal preference and style. Just remember that you will be roaming the docks in the heat, climbing aboard boats and exploring outdoor exhibits.
Don't forget your camera! You will want to take lots of photos so make sure you have plenty of space on your phone or camera.
What can I expect?
Considering the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is the largest in-water boat show in the world and covers over 3 million square feet of space, you can expect a lot! The show is home to over 1,400 exhibitors. Exhibits range from yacht builders to designers to exotic cars to brokerage yachts. You can bounce around the seven different locations via bus shuttles, water taxis and riverboats, and see what the Boat Show has to offer!
You can also expect celebrity appearances! Nichole Galicia from Django Unchained, Christiane Seidel from Boardwalk Empire and Lina Axmacher (Miss Sweden) will all be in the Windward Club throughout the weekend!
What types of events should first-timers check out?
Take advantage of as many events as you can! There are all kinds of things based on what you are interested in, whether it be photography, fishing, cruising or law.
For example, if you were going to buy a boat larger than 80 feet, you must have a captain. Guess what? There’s a seminar at the Boat Show about how to hire a captain for your boat!
Word of advice: Check out the seminars and special events that apply to the type of boating you like to do. There’s no reason not to! Most of the events are free. Plus, you get to meet other people that have the same interests as you, and you’ll get more information so that when you go to look at a boat you don’t feel clueless.
There’s probably too many events to attend but you won’t be left looking for something to do. There is plenty! The best thing is to do your research before you get there and know what it is that you want to find out about, learn about or see.
Check out our previous blog post for a breakdown of the various seminars you can attend, and click here for a full list of events.
What tools are available for new show attendees?
If you just walk into the Boat Show without a game plan, you might be overwhelmed. The good news is the FLIBS website has a great tool for discovering the types of boats you’re interested in.
Before you attend, you need to know what type of boat you’re looking for. If you go to the “Boats” page, you can search for boats and view different categories to find what kinds of boats you like. You can view a type of boat and say, “Yes, this is the type of boat I want,” or “No, I don’t want anything like that.” This tool will help you get a good feel for the type of boat you’d want to see at the show if you don’t have any idea.
What must a first-timer do before attending?
We want to stress the importance of doing your research before you attend the Boat Show. You want to be prepared so that you can easily maneuver the Boat Show and hit the parts that you’re most interested in. If you need help getting to the Boat Show and navigating once you're there, check out the maps on the FLIBS website before you go!
Take advantage of the tool mentioned above so that you can make a list of the boats you especially want to see and take a tour of. It might be wise to create a schedule so that you have time to attend your favorite seminars, tour the boats, eat and do all of the other activities you desire.
What does a first-timer need to know before attending?
Before you attend the Boat Show you need to understand the importance of the relationship you build with a dealer or builder. If you are going to buy a new boat, remember that you will have a relationship with that dealer for a long time. You might find a boat you love, but you should make sure you connect with the people in the dealership.
You have to find a connection with a builder or dealer that connects with the water and the boating in the same way you do. Some are family-oriented; some are more about the excitement and adventure. Find a good match because you will be with them for a long time.
VIP Boat Show Experiences
New to the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this year, VIP Boat Show Experiences takes your experience to the next level. Enjoy tickets to the show, valet parking inside the show, access to the Windward Club, presented by National Jets, celebrity appearances (Nichole Galicia, Christiane Seidel, Lina Axmacher) and access to a personal on-site concierge (Susan Phipps) for reserving private tours. The Windward Club, presented by National Jets, is an all-inclusive, climate-controlled party venue that is closed off from the public and includes a premium open bar, gourmet food buffets, and private dining. Don’t just attend the Boat Show; attend like a VIP!
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