From the Captain's Chair: We Need Your Promptness
With summer in full swing, I hope everyone is enjoying time with family and out on the water.
While we’re all making the most of our summers, I want to touch on a few pressing topics that require your attention in the coming days and weeks. Many of these topics come with requiring your responsiveness immediately.
As we all know, the debate and discussions continue about the infrastructure project to find a solution over or under the existing bridge on the New River. Per the PD&E Study, the current options on the table include a 21’, 56’, or 80’ bridge, or a tunnel. A final decision will be made down the road, but right now the marine industry has the opportunity to provide input that will best serve our industry and its continued growth.
In July, we sent out a Vessel Survey to all local boatyards and those businesses with commercial activity. It is critically important that all stakeholders – especially those upriver from the FEC tracks site – complete and return the survey promptly.
Information as to the number of vessels that will require the opening of a 21’ to 25’ bridge is especially important to compile so we can appropriately lobby for a solution. A big reason for this is that the numbers tell us a 25’ bridge would still require an opening for 95% of boats, while 80% of boats would be able to clear a 56’ bridge. Your responses to the survey move us towards a solution that avoids creating an impediment for the vessels our industry serves, which is critical for our future. Public charrettes of the matter will begin in September, so we ask that you give us this information promptly.
On a very positive note, industry acquisitions continue. The recent purchase of Yacht Haven Park & Marina for $58 million is the latest newsmaker. Fort Lauderdale Motorcoach Resort and Yacht Club, led by Gary Cioffi and Christopher Hein, bought the property, and secured an $81.7 million purchase and renovation loan. The buyers plan to add amenities to the RV site and renovate the marina, including the addition of a new sea wall.
This is just the latest in a string of high-profile acquisitions that demonstrate the marine industry is seen as a Class A investment by investors, family offices, private equity, and the like. Despite the global pandemic, our industry has thrived, with overall acquisitions approaching $2 billion. It shows no sign of slowing down, either.
In less than 90 days, the opportunity for us all to get together, reconnect, and conduct business at the largest in-water boat show in the world takes place. The 62nd Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show will deliver on B2B, B2C, welcoming back the convention center, and building the economic impact created for our industry and community that is second to none. Exhibitors and attendees can also remain confident that, like last year’s highly successful live event, it will be a safe and secure environment, following Informa’s AllSecureä plan.
In addition to the world premieres and debuts, there is always a collection of new offerings and events taking place as well. And this year’s show is no different. One standout event kicking off the weekend will be the Fort Lauderdale Concours, produced by Maxim Sports Management. This unique pairing of classic cars and collector sneakers promises something for everyone. The event will take place at the Las Olas rooftop, one of seven FLIBS event sites this year.
Also new this year is the Visit Lauderdale and Bermuda Tourism Authority partnership’s Go Where the Yachts Go tourism program. This multi-year marketing campaign debuts at the FLIBS opening night party which is also co-sponsored by the two organizations. This event is only the kick-off as there will be a number of other events happening throughout the show to highlight this new initiative.
South Florida Business Journal Survey
Last but not least, a reminder to send in your response to the 7th Annual South Florida Business Journal survey. As you know the marine industry has been a part of this publication’s prestigious Book of Lists for the past 7 years. Your prompt survey responses help prove that the marine industry is not just “an” industry in South Florida, but “the” industry.
Having the marine industry represented on the Book of Lists is one more way we maintain a seat at the table and can demonstrate to local, state, and federal leaders just how important our industry is to the overall economy. We can’t do that without your support.
Have a great rest of summer, stay safe on the water, and make the most of this time with family and friends.