Captain’s Chair: Boat-building event inspires, educates April 27, 2016

This month we held the 20th annual Plywood Regatta, a two-day boat-building and racing event in Dania Beach that exposes kids to opportunities in the marine industry, encourages team-building and awards scholarships to students pursuing advance education in the industry. We raised more than $10,000 for marine education and awarded three scholarships to students who demonstrate leadership and have good grades and a desire to work in the marine industry.

For the first time this year, MIASF partnered with Lauderdale Lakes Middle School and HANDY, which helps abused, neglected and disadvantaged youth, and we held a special presentation at Lauderdale Lakes with the students prior to the regatta to educate them on opportunities available in the industry. Speakers included Bradley Johnson, an inspirational attorney and Paralympic bronze sailing medalist who overcame physical adversity after losing both legs in a car accident, Kevin Shaw, a technician at Frank and Jimmie’s Propeller, and Don MacRae, president of Frank & Jimmie’s.

The school also entered its first team in the regatta, and their boat, the Viking Express, was one of many nautical creations that competed over a course of a series of heats. An important lesson some of the students learned at this year’s regatta is that teamwork can overcome design. Some of the best built boats were edged out by a team that cooperated and worked together to achieve a common goal.

As part of our partnership with HANDY, we have begun interviewing 12 potential interns from HANDY for summer internships here in South Florida. For the next step, we will need businesses to step up and hire these talented students and introduce them to our industry.

Also in Dania Beach, another major refit arrived at Dania Cut Superyacht Repair. This one is a commercial vessel from Louisiana that’s being converted to a private vessel at a cost of more than $40 million and is another example of a project that’s taking advantage of the sales tax cap on refits over $1 million that was passed last year. It also will support an additional 125-200 jobs for 24-36 months.

Further north, the much-anticipated dredging of the Intracoastal from the 17th Street Causeway to the Las Olas Bridge is scheduled to start on May 2. It may cause a slight navigational inconvenience for a little while, but the result is going to well outweigh any pain. You can help mitigate this by notifying any customers who may be affected and making them aware of the situation. If you would like to receive regular updates on potential impacts to navigation, you can email

And our industry’s Habitat for Humanity house in Fort Lauderdale is coming closer to completion, and the sponsors have scheduled or are in the process of scheduling their build days. We’re also looking forward to announcing a future build for our next house with a veteran through Mission United.

We look forward to seeing everyone at this year’s annual meeting. This year’s event will be on Saturday, June 4th at the Broward Center for Performing Arts, overlooking the New River – invitations to follow shortly.

In the coming weeks, the city commission will be discussing and voting on the Bahia Mar redevelopment. The association needs a tenable long-term lease and contractual language that mitigates any unintended consequences caused by the redevelopment.

Also this month, MIASF was proud to support the Cliff Floyd 4th Annual Celebrity Bowling Tournament. The event, coordinated by Plywood Regatta head judge Nancy Olson, raises money for the Cliff Floyd Foundation with the help of professional athletes. MIASF was proudly represented by members of the Plywood Regatta committee including Colin Lord, Freddie Nash, Andy Smith and Chaz and Kris Kerr.

Our Waterway Cleanup shows our commitment to environmental responsibility, and as an extension of that, we will also have a presence at the P3 Eco-Challenge Awards Ceremony on April 29 at the Long Key Nature Center. The Preserving our Planet for Prosperity project supports efforts to implement environmentally sustainable measures and green initiatives in our schools and community, and the award ceremony will recognize teachers, students and volunteers who have excelled in those efforts.

Our waterways are our currency, and we need to make sure we’re taking care of our waterways and the environment all year long.

Phil Purcell
MIASF Executive Director

© MIASF 2019 | All rights reserved | Photo credit: J. Christopher Photography

Marine Industries Association of South Florida. 221 SW 3rd Avenue, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312. Phone: 954.524.2733