The Show Must Go On: The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show Will Take Place This October

Image by Lisa Larsen from Pixabay 

The coronavirus may have events cancelled and/or places closed down, but the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is defying all odds and carrying on, as usual, this year, with safety measures in place of course. The annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show got the support it needed Thursday from Broward County commissioners to stage its massive five-day exhibit under guidelines designed to help protect the public and exhibitors from COVID-19.

Informa Markets, a British firm which owns and operates many boat and yacht events around the world and stages the St. Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show in mid- January and the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show in late October, posted the steps it will take to ensure a safe show this year back in July. They are:

  • Mandatory face masks for all staff and show participants.
  • Screening measures such as temperature checks upon entry.
  • Deep cleanings before, during and after each day’s events.
  • Overnight disinfections.
  • Electrostatic spraying and continuous sanitation with a focus on door handles, restrooms and food and beverage areas.
  • Floor markers at exhibition booths for social distancing. Exhibitors would be “encouraged to use contactless payment systems and refrain from using interactive exhibits.”
  • Social-distancing measures in cafes, concession areas, “cocktail barges” and VIP lounges.

In addition, Those attending the show can expect a contactless ticketing system, multiple new entrances (14 total), widened docks to widths up to 30 feet, thermal imaging systems for temperature checks, and high-velocity sanitization systems with HEPA filters, organizers said.

The reason for the boat show being able to move forward with operating is due to the fact that unlike the other shows that were cancelled, such as Winterfest, the boat show “has more control and the people coming in are paid attendance. Ours are anywhere on the shoreline,” according to Winterfest board member Rob Kornahrens.

Winterfest was unable to impose safety measures upon 12 miles of spectators who traditionally lined both banks of the Intracoastal Waterway to watch the annual parade of festive party boats, said Kornahrens.

South Florida’s Marine Industries Association says the region’s marine industry brings in thousands of jobs for the middle-class in Broward, 142,000 jobs in the region, and a whopping $8.9 billion in revenue for the county. Last year alone saw more than 100,000 people, 1,000 exhibitors, and 1,300 vessels attend the show. Because of this, Informa and the association cannot afford to pass up on the show this year. 

The main location is on the beach at the Bahia Mar Resort and Yachting Center. Managers there say they’ve laid off 100 workers and are hopeful of bringing back half for at least three weeks.

The boat show would be effectively the first significant South Florida event to be staged during the pandemic despite decisions by operators of other major events to cancel their 2020 exhibitions. They include ArtBasel in Miami Beach, the 2020 Tortuga Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale and the Fort Lauderdale Winterfest Boat Parade in December.

The show is scheduled to exhibit from October 28 to November 1.

About Informa Markets

Informa Markets was created in 2005 and has grown thanks to acquisitions, mergers and the company’s own organic evolution. In 2005, Informa purchased IIR Holdings and the Monaco Yacht Show. They also acquired Euromedicom. Informa Markets have offices in Asia, Europe, North and South America as well as the Middle East & Africa.