Captain's Chair - HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
With the undeniable success of the 61st annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) behind us, we are incredibly grateful to the participating exhibitors, vendors, staff, and guests for their continued support and loyalty of FLIBS. Steadfast dedication to participating in the largest in-water boat show in the world exemplifies the stalwart perseverance of our industry during times of great challenge and substantiates its significance to the economic prosperity of the community at-large. We are also very thankful to the Broward County and city of Fort Lauderdale mayors and commissioners for trusting us to produce a safe, secure, and significant event for the benefit of residents and visitors, as well as the marine, tourism, and hospitality industries that underpin the economy.
Our third year of partnering with NBC Sports Network to produce the one-hour FLIBS special, which was broadcast to 90 million households on Sunday, November 1st and again on Saturday, November 14th, brought in first-time sponsorships from Visit Lauderdale and Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport, strengthening our local relationships and bolstering the platform to showcase South Florida’s enviable boating lifestyle. The special can be viewed anytime at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SePKm7U6PDc.
Numerous exhibitors at this year’s show conveyed their feelings of safety and security with the advanced protocols put in place with Informa’s AllSecure program, in addition to overwhelming excitement at the surprising strength of sales and quality of buyers who visited their displays, with many meeting or exceeding sales from previous years.
Like other experiences during this pandemic, such as dining out, traveling by plane, or gathering with friends, the boat show felt a little different this year. The crowds were smaller, the docks were wider, face masks were required, there were multiple entrances with thermal temperature screenings, and one-way pedestrian paths inside the tents and on the docks. But what remained the same at FLIBS is that sellers and buyers found each other, and most importantly, created commerce.
During this traditional time of Thanksgiving, we certainly have much for which to be thankful. The marine industry remained essential throughout the coronavirus lock downs earlier this year, keeping our yards and businesses open and employees working; an emphasis on outdoor recreation after being cooped-up and isolated allowed a new generation of people to discover the joys of family boating and boat ownership; and the marine industry and its supporters showed true leadership and perseverance in successfully shepherding the boat show to fruition in one of the most challenging times in its history.
I hope you enjoy the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday with close family and friends, stay safe, and remain healthy.