Attendees have five days to take in boat show’s seven sites
The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show this year is so big — 1,500-plus boats and 1,200-plus exhibitors according to itself — that counting them one by one to verify accuracy is too much trouble. The show is so big that it occupies seven locations.
You have to be pretty old to remember (we can’t) when it was all in one place and it was possible to tour it all in one day, but that’s okay. You have the first five days of November, with six hours the first day and nine hours the next two days, with eight on the last day if your feet can handle that.
In days of old, it also was possible to just go to the thing, wander around almost aimlessly and see everything. Not now. Size long ago made spontaneity obsolete, but at least technology lets us figure out what we’re doing and where we’re going next. In fact, unless our interests are very narrow — for example, if we’re only interested in yachts at least 181 feet long — we have to do some concentrated advance planning online.
The show’s website, flibs.com (See? Even its name is too big for a full-size web address) is useful for that. There’s a convenient strip of banner links. The “Welcome” link gives the show schedule, beginning with a primetime preview on Wednesday, Nov. 1. That ticket ($46.50) is good for any day, but only one.
For the rest of the week, the general admission ticket ($29) gives you more time (10 a.m. to 7 p.m. except on Sunday when the show ends at 6 p.m.) for your travel between the seven sites: Bahia Mar Yachting Center, Las Olas Municipal Marina, Hall of Fame Marina, Fort Lauderdale Hilton Marina, The Sails Marina, Pier 66 Marina and the Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center.
Admission price for a child, defined as ages 6 to 15, is $12. If you can pass for younger than 6 and are accompanied by an adult, you get in free.
The second banner link, “Attend FLIBS,” gives you crucial info about parking locations, shuttle bus stations and other stuff. Don’t like buses? Don’t worry; they are comfortable (for buses) and the waits and rides are not annoyingly long.
The website also tells you how to buy tickets online, download a show app to your phone, find the location of any boat you’re interested in checking out, and so on.
Fishing isn’t forgotten
The FLIBS is much more a boat show than a fishing show, but fishing-doers can hook and land their limits of expert knowledge at the International Game Fish Association’s School of Sportfishing (IGFASOS if you prefer) in the Convention Center. There’s no extra charge after you buy your show ticket.
A dozen sessions of one to two hours are scheduled — three a day beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday (Nov. 2) and Friday, and 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. They’ll be in rooms 124 and 125.
The best part may be that none of the seminars are scheduled simultaneously, so you can go to all of them. The roster of experts is impressive and versatile and somehow always fresh.
For example, we can’t guess how many times (a lot) we’ve listened to Captains Ray Rosher and Bouncer Smith, but we can tell you exactly how many times (zero) we didn’t learn something new and valuable from them. On Saturday, they will join Peter B. Wright on an offshore masters panel, unfairly limited to an hour and a half.
Tony DiGiulian will lead separate seminars on dolphin, wahoo and reef fishing, Russell Kleppinger will teach city fishing for tarpon and snook and, and...we’ll all see where our overload limits are.
You’ll find the full instructor roster and timetable here: https://igfa.org/Educate/flbs.