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Ft. Lauderdale’s 54th Annual Int’l Boat Show Comes Ashore Thursday

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The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show (Source: www.showmanagement.com)

The Ft. Lauderdale International Boat Show (Source: http://www.showmanagement.com)

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FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – They’re putting on those last minute touches and making sure everything is shining bright for the 54th annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.  And if you love the water, you’ll likely find what you’re looking for here.

“We’ve got everything here from stand up paddle boards to personal water craft, up to multi-million dollar super yachts,” explains Daniel Grant from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

One of those Super Yachts is called “The Finish Line.” The captain gave CBS4 a sneak peek.  What makes the yacht stand out is that it’s mostly home grown, “Everything was designed, sourced and built locally, in the U.S., either by companies out of Fort Lauderdale here or in New Orleans,” said Captain Billy Lockhart. “(It’s) for a US owner with a US flag in the back.”

Many of these mega yachts are so big they hold a corral of personal water craft or even helicopters and now, there’s a new toy to haul on board, a quad-ski. It’s a max between an ATV and a personal watercraft. The retail price is $43,500.

“Basically, you drive into the water,” explained AJ Nickel from National Marine Super Yacht Toy Store, “and as soon as the sensors realize you’re in a deep enough floating position, it’s a four second transition from your button to raise your wheels and the jet drive system kicks in and then you’re functioning as a wave runner.”

And if you’re not in the market for one of these floating resorts or even a smaller boat, organizers hope you’ll still hang out. “We’ve got floating cocktail lounges,” pointed out Grant.  “We’ve got lot of air conditioned tent space with clothing and jewelry, lots of nautical accessories.”

What makes the Boat Show standout is the business it brings along the beach. The city estimates half a billion dollars will be spent in the city in four days.

Workers at Coconuts Restaurant on the beach are well aware of how important the weekend is. “It’s insane!  It’s intense!” said bartender Olivia Zappin. “We have people from all over the world coming just for this show.”

Many consider this the kick-off to our tourist season—and most can’t wait for it to get started.

“It’s a fantastic weekend,” said Zappin.  “It’s such a great way to start off our season. We look forward to it. We’re loving seeing and meeting new people coming in. It’s a great week.  We all just work really hard because it’s definitely worth it.”

The show runs Thursday through Monday.

Click here to see the full Guide To The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.

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