Now in its 64th year, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (also known as FLIBS) bills itself as the largest in-water show in the world, and by several measures it is hard to argue. The show, owned by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida and produced by Informa Markets, draws over 100,000 attendees every year, hosts 1000 boat and equipment brands, and puts more than 1300 boats on exhibit. It certainly helps that Ft. Lauderdale, Florida is the boating capital of the United States, but it’s still an annual challenge to fit all the boats in one city!
In this article, we include a video recap offered by the show to give you a sense of the sights and sounds of the show. We’ll also answer your questions about the show including—for starters, when is the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show? This year, the dates are October 25-29, 2023.
What Type of Boats Exhibit at FLIBS?
The Lauderdale show is known for big boats, and we’re talking really BIG boats, not to mention plenty of them. The show’s face dock runs close to a mile up the river and has an unrivaled display of superyachts parked stern-to, for sale or charter. There’s also a separate Superyacht Village and other superyachts, both power and sail, located at the show’s Pier 66 location.
The show also displays hundreds and hundreds of middle- and smaller-sized yachts ranging from motor yachts, trawlers, and fishing yachts, to catamarans, speed boats, center consoles, and runabouts, even inflatables. While some types and brands such as sailboats, pontoon boats, and aluminum fishing boats are typically scarce at this show, you’ll find far more types and brands of boat than at any other show. And the representation of international brands is always impressive.
Where Does the Show Take Place?
The show is arranged in seven different locations, all within the bounds of Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and most of them within sight of the beach. Of the 1300 boats, the majority are parked in temporary and permanent docks along the shore of the Intracoastal Waterway as it wends north through Fort. Lauderdale. The exception is a large number of smaller boats on exhibit in the nearby Broward County Convention Center. That’s where most attendees begin their visit to the show due to the lower cost of parking and ease of transportation to the other sections of the show by shuttle or water taxi.
The docks around Bahia Mar are typically filled with high-end center consoles, motor yachts and larger fishing yachts.
When Does the Show Start?
As mentioned above, Fort Lauderdale Boat Show 2023 is set to take place October 25-29, which is a typical set of late October dates for FLIBS. It’s the tail end of hurricane season and the Florida weather has often cooled down somewhat by the time the show begins. If not, it’s good to plan your time in the air-conditioned Convention Center during the hottest part of the day. In any case, don’t forget to pack your sunscreen!
What’s the Show Schedule?
The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show hours are 10am to 7pm on most days—typically a little abbreviated on the first and last days. The show has its own free app you should download to stay up to date on developments and use to tag your favorite exhibitors and plan your route through the show.
In recent years, there have been no printed tickets available, with all purchases online and presented for scanning. (Ticket agents at the entrances to the show can help you out if you have trouble accessing your ticket.) Except for the first day when you pay a premium ($64), tickets cost $42 for adults, $16 for children, and $70 for a two-day adult ticket. Children under 6 are admitted for free.
Is There a Fort Lauderdale Boat Show Exhibitor Map?
No single map can do justice to the whole show and its seven locations. Multiple maps are available including one for parking & shuttles/water taxis. You can find them on the show website, but there’s another good reason to download the official boat show app.
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show Photos
FLIBS has many different facets, and we’ll wrap up our story with a small selection, courtesy of the show.
The docks bulge into the Intracoastal Waterway in Ft. Lauderdale with a massive armada of new and brokerage yachts, many of them very large. All photos courtesy Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Many of the smaller boats on display are found at the Broward County Convention Center location, such as these Sea Hunt center consoles.
Some venues like the Superyacht Village offer a quieter, more refined atmosphere, but typically require an invitation to acquire a boarding pass.
Good lineups of express cruisers and larger motor yachts such as those from Galeon Yachts of Poland are common, especially when supported by large retailers such as MarineMax.
All manner of large yachts can be found along the face dock.
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