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Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show to sail through pandemic with new safety rules

Broward reviews new safety protocols

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Local officials decided the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show — an event that attracted more than 100,000 people last year — will be held this year as planned with new coronavirus safety rules.

Fort Lauderdale Mayor Dean Trantalis supported Broward County commissioners' decision Thursday to direct the county’s administrator, Bertha Henry, to negotiate the show’s new safety protocols.

“We have to move cautiously,” Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said during the public meeting.

Henry will be reviewing the organizer’s safety plan to allow nearly 900 exhibitors to bring over 1,300 boats for the Oct. 28-Nov. 1, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to impact the area.

“This show is more necessary now more than ever,” Commissioner Lamar Fisher said during the meeting. “It brings thousands of jobs, tourists, retail — strengthens our economy.”

According to the show’s owner, the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, the show’s statewide economic benefit is about $1.3 billion with direct sales of $715.4 million.

“It is vital that we get our economy back on track,” Trantalis wrote on Twitter. “The upcoming Boat Show is critical to accomplishing that.”

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Michael Udine and Nan Rich were among the Broward County commissioners who said there will be an increased need to have code enforcement officers in the show’s area to enforce the safety rules.

“There is a reputation risk if it’s not done right,” Commissioner Tim Ryan said during the meeting.

Informa Markets, which has been the show’s organizer since 2017, has been requiring face masks and providing hand sanitizer and hand-washing stations at all events worldwide.

The London-based multinational exhibitions group plans to have contactless thermal imaging systems and will deny entry to anyone who registers a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above.

Organizers are also planning to clean and disinfect all high touch points hourly during the show and to perform deep cleaning overnight.

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The main show will be at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center, 801 Seabreeze Blvd. Organizers plan to have 14 entrances and will also have increased ventilation and markings to help attendees social distance.

Epidemiologists with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention believe indoor spaces are riskier than outdoor spaces. Most of the show’s exhibits are outdoors.

The Superyacht Village exhibitions, which include helicopters and personal submarines, will be held at the Pier Sixty-Six Marina at 2301 SE 17 St.

Other exhibition locations include The Hall of Fame Marina at 435 Seabreeze Blvd.; Las Olas Municipal Marina at 240 E. Las Olas Circle; the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina at 1881 SE 17th St.; and the Greater Fort Lauderdale-Broward County Convention Center at 1950 Eisenhower Blvd.

General admission tickets are $35 for attendees ages 16 and up. For more information, visit the show’s page or call 954-463-6762.

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