The 2023 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) closed with a wave of excitement and drawing in over 100,000 visitors from across the globe. Showcasing over 1,000 stunning vessels, this year’s FLIBS highlighted South Florida’s boating and marine industry with resounding success.
“The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show remains a vibrant hub for our industry, energizing the continued enthusiasm for boating and marine activities year after year to kick off the Boat Show Season of events,” remarked Andrew Doole, President of U.S. Boat Shows at Informa Markets. “This year showcased exciting new products, innovation, and award-winning designs. FLIBS continues to set the benchmark, and we’re delighted to welcome back our passionate customers. We extend our sincere gratitude to all our customers and local partners for their invaluable support in making this incredible event possible.”
FLIBS 2023: Success for Brunswick and Nautical Ventures
Overall, according to data from marine industry leader Brunswick Corporation, FLIBS had exceptionally strong sales and share gains for many of Brunswick’s award-winning brands. This included brands like Mercury Marine which reported record outboard market share for the sixth consecutive year in FLIBS and Boston Whaler which increased unit sales by 38% and revenue by 22% compared to FLIBS 2022.
Moreover, for Nautical Ventures, this year’s FLIBS marked an unprecedented triumph in its 11-year journey. Of the 60 boats proudly showcased, the company reported that half found new owners during the event. Surpassing expectations, Nautical Ventures projected that their FLIBS sales goal was exceeded by a staggering 30%. Adding a splash of excitement, Nautical Ventures’s Aquazone, located inside the Broward Convention Center, generated over a quarter-million dollars in sales. In fact, the Aquazone’s allure extends beyond boats, enticing enthusiasts with a captivating array of water toys, including kayaks, paddle boards, and more.
Grande 36 M by Azimut Wins Best of Show at FLIBS 2023
The highlight of this year’s show, the Grande 36 M by Azimut, a stunning Italian creation, clinched the prestigious Best of Show award. The Grande 36 M wowed attendees with its revolutionary design, creating open, barrier-free environments alongside other outstanding vessels, during its North American debut. The Best of Show award, honouring the most innovative boat models showcased at FLIBS, emphasizes performance, design, technology, and architecture.
Judged by a panel of industry experts including nautical designer Dan Lenard, Captain Kerry of “Below Deck,” racing icon Michael Waltrip, and motorsport legend Ricky Carmichael, the Grande 36 Metri stood out among eight finalists. Thus, Fox Sports 2 (FS2) will feature the FLIBS Best of Show awards presentation in a one-hour special on November 12, with a subsequent airing on Fox Sports 1 (FS1) on December 9.
“The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show continues to be a pivotal element of our city’s identity and economic vitality,” expressed Mayor Dean Trantalis, Mayor of the City of Fort Lauderdale. “FLIBS remains a driving force in our city, and we’re thrilled to witness its return with unparalleled enthusiasm.“
Phil Purcell, President and CEO of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, echoed the sentiment, “We’ve reached unprecedented heights with the 64th edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, setting a benchmark for our industry. It’s been an incredible journey, and we’re immensely grateful for the tremendous support from exhibitors, the city of Fort Lauderdale, county officials, and our dedicated staff that make the show possible.”
Broward Convention Center: Hub of Education, Innovation, and Premier Debuts at FLIBS 2023
Moreover, the Broward County Convention Center was host to a variety of educational seminars that included sustainability research and fishing clinics, interactive experiences at the Kid’s Corner, and debuts from industry giants like Yellowfin Yachts, Sportsman, Grady White, and more. Serving as the show’s transportation hub, the Convention Center ensured seamless travel between show locations, including the Bahia Mar Yachting Center and SuperYacht Village at Pier 66 via complimentary air-conditioned shuttles and ticketed Water Taxis.
Highlighting the opulence inherent in the industry, exclusive offerings at the Windward VIP Lounge added an extra layer of sophistication to the event. In fact, patrons indulged in top-tier gourmet cuisine and expertly crafted mixed drinks from Ketel One Botanical, Don Julio, Tanqueray, Crown Royal, and Stella Artois.
Uniting Community, Philanthropy, and Sustainability for a Greener Future
The FLIBS experience also brought together the local community joining forces with the Florida Panthers Foundation. Through strategic partnerships with Informa Markets and other committed collaborators, the event contributed generously to support the Florida Panthers’ philanthropic initiatives this year. Additionally, the event showcased an extensive range of pioneering sustainability projects, significantly minimizing its environmental impact and spearheading the industry towards a more eco-conscious future.
A notable feature of this year’s sustainability efforts was the introduction of the MRH Innovation & Sustainability Award, a joint effort with the Marine Research Hub. This distinguished award honoured organizations that have showcased exceptional dedication and innovation in advancing sustainability across various sectors of the marine industry. The overall winner of this year’s inaugural ceremony was Sunreef Yachts/Sunreef Ventures, adding to their impressive accolades as Sunreef was also among the finalists for Best in Show this year.
The 65th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is set to return from Wednesday, October 30th through Sunday, November 3rd, 2024. As the largest in-water boat show globally, FLIBS showcases more international and national debuts than any other, solidifying the City of Fort Lauderdale as the Yachting Capital of the World. The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) and Informa Markets own the show.
(FLIBS 2023, a Successful Five-Day Celebration – barchemagazine.com – Novemeber 2023)