FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – For the 62nd year, the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show is back.

“It gives us the opportunity to interact with our customers and hopefully potential new customers that feel relaxed and able to come to an event,” says Roger Moore, CEO of Nautical Ventures. “We are exhibiting a number of different watersports, toys, products that we sell to yachts or people who just enjoy being on the water.”

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He says the pandemic gave the marine industry an unexpected boost this past year and a half.

“Throughout the pandemic, people have looked to water sports and looked to boats as their family ‘PPE’ and an opportunity to have fun and be away from crowds,” Moore explains. “So, quite surprisingly, we’ve had very good business.”

According to organizers, the International Boat Show has a statewide economic impact of 1.3 billion dollars. Demand for boating products, organizers say, is at an all-time high. According to the National Marine Manufacturers Association, more than 310,000 new powerboats were sold last year. Those figures have not been seen since before the recession in 2008.

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“I’m a boat captain from Jacksonville and figured I would check it out,” says Chase Hawkinson, who was at the show for the first time. “Come down and see what it was all about.”

“A lot of people are coming out with cool stuff we haven’t been able to see before,” says Javier Rodriguez, who was also attending.

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show provides both the most seasoned sailors and nautical newcomers with the chance to see the latest and greatest on the market.

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The show runs through Sunday, October 31 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Karli Barnett