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Review: Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2017

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The American yacht market looks to be booming, as indicated by the strong 2017 edition of the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, among other factors. The prestigious yachting event concluded in superb fashion on 5th November with increased visitor numbers, having generated strong business leads and reflecting a buoyant sense of confidence in the industry.

Bigger and Better Than Before

The 58th edition of FLIBS outperformed 2016’s event on several fronts, with 105,000 yacht buyers, industry professionals, and marine enthusiasts pouring through the show’s gates, making a 7% increase on last year’s attendance.

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The world’s largest in-water yacht show was greater in size than ever before, with new floating docks and improved facilities accommodating 4% more sailing and motor yachts for sale and charter than previous years. The show displayed a grand total of more than 1,400 yachts across seven state-of-the-art locations.

From spectacular superyachts through to high-speed tenders, the selection of attractions on show at the 2017 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show thrilled the international yachting community. New yacht launches, exciting watertoy displays, and the revelation of innovative yachting accessories made for an extremely entertaining occasion.

Superb weather shone down on attendees over the 5 days, with many exhibitors praising organisers’ decision to change the show’s format to run from Wednesday through Sunday, rather than the traditional Thursday-to-Monday format.

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M/Y Turquoise

Highlights and Yacht Design Awards

As always, new yacht launches and designs attracted enormous attention at FLIBS 2017. One particular highlight of the show was the superb M/Y TURQUOISE, the 55.4m flagship superyacht from the Proteksan-Turquoise shipyard, which was a finalist at the 2012 World Superyacht Awards. Over at the Feadship stand, acclaimed Dutch yacht designers were designing yachts in real time for enthusiastic buyers, using interactive models to create a personalised design.

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Looking out over the top deck of M/Y Turquoise

For superyacht Owners, shipyards, yacht designers and industry professionals, all eyes were on the ISS Design and Leadership Awards on the 1st of November, in which S/Y MY SONG and S/Y SYBARIS took the ‘Best Sailboat’ awards, M/Y AQUILA won the prize for the ‘Best Refit’, and M/Y JETSETTER, M/Y CHAUSSEUR, and M/Y FAITH clinched the awards for ‘Best Power’ in their respective size categories.

Other popular exhibits included the toys and tender displays, which displayed the greatest new watertoys, as well as the latest generation supercars.

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One of M/Y Turquoise's dining options

Positive Sales in Booming American Yacht Market

Sale leads were positive at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show and many yacht brokers and exhibitors were enthusiastic about visitor traffic levels, buyer interest, and relationships to nurture in the coming weeks. The growing American economy lent a confident outlook to the show, while the impact of the recent hurricanes also reportedly contributed to a rise in boat and tender sales at FLIBS 2017, as owners looked to replace their damaged vessels.

FLIBS 2017 yachts

Mary Bender, Vice President of Marketing at Informa Exhibitions, shared excellent news about the results of the show so far, saying: “We have received overwhelmingly positive feedback from exhibitors who have been reporting boat sales, leads, and more qualified buyers than ever before." 

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show 2017 was a resounding success for buyers, brokers and the extended marine industry, indicating a strong outlook for yacht sales and charters in 2018.

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