From the Captain's Chair: Showtime and a Solution
The 62nd annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show just finished and, by all accounts, was a great success. Despite the hurdles presented to us this year, such as border restrictions for European guests and exhibitors as well as reactivating the new convention center venue, the world’s largest in-water show produced attendance and sales numbers that appear to surpass 2019 numbers. Thomas J. Murray & Associates is already engaged and working to complete the economic impact study to officially report this year’s show numbers. This study requires exhibitors to complete an anonymous survey to self-report your companies’ numbers, when you receive the survey, please complete it in a timely manner. We thank everyone who worked through any inconveniences or obstacles to attend this year’s show and appreciate your contribution to making it the success it was.
In addition to increased daytime crowds, new nighttime events elevated show experiences and paid homage to how our business has developed into the $9.7 billion industry it is today in Broward County. History Fort Lauderdale honored the Denison Family along with the Marine Industries Association of South Florida with the Pioneer Family Award and Legacy Business Award, respectively. This event, hosted at Superyacht Village memorialized the contributions of both parties over the decades.
Some other highlights this year included the debut of the tourism partnership between Visit Lauderdale and Bermuda Tourism Authority, “Go Where the Yachts Go”. Led by Stacy Ritter, CEO of Visit Lauderdale, the partnership was celebrated with a wonderful event at Superyacht Village on opening night. On Friday evening, the Fort Lauderdale Concours, where classic cars collector sneakers collide, was another great addition to the show line-up. Collectors and connoisseurs gathered for an evening of cocktails and conversation on the Las Olas rooftop. It was a classy event befitting the collection of yachts and superyachts dotting the horizon in every direction.
With another successful FLIBS in the books, it’s time to turn our attention to a very important policy issue – train vs. tunnel. As most of you know, Brightline has finished conducting practice runs and is now operational. This is welcomed news, as a solid transportation infrastructure solution over or under the New River is critical to our community, the sixth largest metropolitan area in the United States.
Whether our New River infrastructure solution goes over with a bridge or under with a tunnel, we must ensure that one that moves forward. Based on cost of ridership and cost to build, a no build is not an option. This project has been decades in the making and the county, MPO, and FDOT are aligned to move our community forward. However, we cannot stay silent. MIASF and its members have an industry and community responsibility to advocate for infrastructure that is beneficial to all.
Towards this goal, please mark your calendars for November 18th from 6 pm to 8 pm and plan to attend the Broward Commuter Rail Study – New River Crossing Stakeholder Workshop. This is our chance to show our unified support for Fort Lauderdale’s transportation future. MIASF has created a one-page white paper of key points related to the bridge vs. tunnel discussion, and we will be emailing that to all of our members soon. You can register to attend this community hearing here.
In other news, be sure to check out the October edition of the South Florida Business Journal. The Special Marine Section and Book of Lists was released on October 15th and marks the 7th year the marine industry has been included in the prestigious top list collection. Besides showcasing our important marine businesses, our presence in this publication gives us the economic weight needed to be influential when advocating for issues important to our industry and community. To borrow a somewhat tired yet applicable phrase, it gives us a seat at the table where key decisions are made.
I would also like to extend a hearty congratulations to the 2021 Ocean Exchange winners, Element Resources (Wallenius Wilhelmsen Orcelle Award) and Virgil Group (Neptune Award, sponsored by the Marine Research Hub). This annual global competition is in its 10th year and received a record number of submissions this year, including from a few from local entrepreneurs. The competition was held October 24-26 at the Nova Southeastern University Levan Center
Each year, Ocean Exchange awards more than $250,000 to professional and collegiate innovations that protect the environment. The solutions presented at Ocean Exchange are innovative and critically important to the health of our global environment. It is the only competition of its kind, and we are proud the organization calls Fort Lauderdale home.
Finally, you likely have seen a new face around our offices or at the show last week. Noah Dermody joined MIASF in mid-October as our new Director of Membership & Events. Noah is a 2019 graduate of FSU with a degree in environmental science. He spent two years after graduation working in a management role in New Orleans and returned home to Fort Lauderdale to take on his role with MIASF. Noah really hit the ground running and was an integral part of our FLIBS team. His aptitude, attitude, and team-focus make him a great addition to our team, and we are glad to have him onboard.