FLIBS – The Biggest Baddest Boat Show in The World

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show Rings in its 60th Year

Ft. Lauderdale is considering the yachting capital of the world and is nicknamed the Venice of the Americas with so many waterways. Thus, it is only fitting that this city is host to the largest in-water boat show in the world.  It’s called FLIBS for short which stands for Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show. 

The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show celebrated its 60th year from October 30-November 3.  It was founded in 1959 long before the internet came into being or even the first man walked on the moon. Today, the show attracts 110,000 visitors and 1200 exhibitors representing 52 countries with more than 1500 boats on display for a total of almost $4 billion in products and over $508 million in show sales.  It is at the heart of a $12 billion dollar marine industry in the South Florida region. Since the show’s birth 60 years ago, the five-day event continues to offer a little something for everyone.  It’s welcoming atmosphere and carefree vibe always makes it a place where both yachting novices and the yachting-obsessed can find their sea legs, without ever getting their feet wet.

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
credit J Christopher

This year the show supported Bahamas hurricane relief programs including Mission of Hope and One Bahamas Fund.  A new Superyacht Village was added. Plenty of rose wine was poured compliments of Whispering Angel while Ulysses Nardin kept everyone on time yacht hopping after leaving the Windward VIP Lounge fully satiated with fabulous food and drink.

FLIBS Windward Vip Club
Credit FLIBS

A brand new Superyacht Village made its debut which accommodated yachts up to 400 feet from renowned shipyards (Lurssen, Feadship, Benetti and more) with Lurssen’s 311 foot Madsummer being a showstopper along with their 200 foot Phoenix plus 272 foot Here Comes the Sun by Amels Holland B.V., 236 foot Solo by Tankoa, 180 foot Vida by Heesen and 116 foot Mr. Loui and 125 foot Lejos by Benetti. Lots of toys for boys and girls were exhibited in the village including helicopters by Airbus, personal submarines by Triton and cool cars from Ferrari, Maserati, Alfa Romeo and Overfinch bespoke Range Rovers.

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
credit J Christopher

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
credit J Christopher

The best place to start the show was at the Bahia Mar location just opposite the sands of Ft. Lauderdale Beach.  And the best first stop smack in the center was the Windward VIP Lounge for the lucky ones with VIP status.  Delta Private Jets hosted an outdoor patio area with a cigar smoking space while Ulysse Nardin had a cool indoor display of their wonderful watches.  Especially notable and heartwarming was a new partnership that Ulysses Nardin did with a Limited Edition watch for One More Wave, founded by Navy Seals with a mission to help wounded and disabled veterans with surf therapy.

Just behind the Windward Lounge was Mansion Yacht, the first yacht made entirely of stainless steel with indoor and outdoor decks, perfect for a moveable restaurant/lounge.  Buy this baby and park her anywhere you want to have a pop up bar…how cool is that?

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
Credit Mansionyachts

Walking south on the facedocks, Ferretti always has one of the biggest stands.  This year they debuted the Ferretti 720 along with 48 Wallytender.

48 wallytender
Credit 1 Wally & Ferretti Group

San Lorenzo also had a large showing and elegant stand. FYI – San Lorenzo will partake in the upcoming December Art Basel Miami Beach VIP Collector’s Lounge, a first for a yacht manufacturer.

Hungry from climbing megayachts, meant time for another lounge pitstop. This time Triton hosted a cool escape from the heat (the weather was a steamy record-breaking 95+ degrees with the sun blazing down upon the boats with no breeze between vessels stacked like sardines).  Bubbly rose flowed while the owner of Triton told fascinating stories.  One couple got married in a Triton submarine deep down under while another checked off his bucket list item of going to the depths of all the oceans in the world in a Triton submarine. The Triton team has over 400 years of collective experience enabling them to offer state-of-the-art submersibles for superyacht owners, researchers, filmmakers and explorers…quite impressive!

Triton Trials 104
Photo Credit Nick Verola


Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
Credit World Red Eye

Heading north along the facedocks, were displays by most of the top boat brokerages like Northrop & Johnson, Frazer Yachts, Camper & Nicholson and many more. Each has a variety of boats for resale or charter on display.

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
credit J Christopher

Water taxis and complimentary golf cart-like vehicles shuttled guests back and forth from the Bahia Mar show-site to the new Superyacht Village at Pier 66 Marina.

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
credit Majesty


Best of Show was won by Majesty 140 built in Dubai by Majesty Yachts debuted first here at the Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.

Astondoa 100
Credit Astondoa

Astondoa 100 Century had one of the most unique features, a spacious flybridge with an open-air galley complete with wet bar and grill for alfresco dining.  The LeVen 90, the perfect cruiser for the Exumas, premiered at the show as the first yacht in the world to implement the Voith Linear Jet propulsion system.

Yacht hopping by day was complemented by party hopping at night.  The first night was the ISS International Superyacht Society Design & Leadership Gala Awards at the Broward Center for Performing Arts to recognize the best of the best in the superyacht industry.  The following night The International Seakeepers Society hosted a maritime masquerade to celebrate Founders 2019, and honor Amos Nachoum as the 2019 Seakeeper of the Year, held at a magnificent waterfront mansion under the tropical moonlight. Excellence Magazine is a proud Media Partner of Seakeepers Society.

Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show
credit Hope Gainer

Friday evening the party place of choice was at the Superyacht Village for the 2nd Annual Sunset Soiree & Yacht Chef Competition.  Leading yacht chefs including Danny Davies of MY/Excellence battled it out for the title of “Best Yacht Chef” for a gastronomic showdown while guests enjoyed internationally themed culinary dishes and drinks. Moet Chandon bubbles were overflowing while Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Makers Mark Whisky were poured continuously along with Whispering Angel Rose wine. The event benefited two Bahamian relief organizations, Mission of Hope and One Bahamas (created by Justin Timberlake, Tiger Woods & other corporate supporters) for  helping Hurricane Dorian destruction.  The Bahamas Minister of Tourism & Aviation, Dionisio D’Aguilar was on hand as a judge and to encourage guests to come to the Bahamas with 14 of the 16 islands still fully operational stating that only Abacos & Grand Bahama Island had faced devastation.

Private parties popped up on Saturday with yacht-related themes like Ft. Lauderdale philanthropist, Steve Savor’s “Sinners & Sailors Soiree” yacht cruise around the boat show aboard his yacht, Savoir-Faire.

Come Sunday, 6pm, the traditional yacht horn blowing signaled the end to yet another spectacular boat show ending Anniversary Year 60!

Hope Gainer
Hope Gainer is President of Hope International Marketing & Hope International Properties. She is a global imagemaker, marketer, and branding expert with over 30 years of lifestyle experience with a focus today on the luxury sectors. She produces unique, upscale events around the world. Gainer is a contributor to several luxury magazines. She also represents spectacular ‘trophy’ real estate properties globally and luxury properties in South Florida from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale to Palm Beach. https://hopeinternationalmarketing.com https://hopeinternationalproperties.com

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