48th Annual Fort Myers Boat Show on until Sunday

Reporter: Nicole Lauren Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Published: Updated:
boat show
Credit: WINK News

The Fort Myers Boat Show, pushed back a day because of Hurricane Eta, is up and running this weekend. And while the multimillion-dollar boats may not be the first off the lot, organizers nonetheless expect a lot of boats to go.

The boating industry is probably one of the few that did not take a hard hit from the pandemic. Event organizer John Good says he believes people being cooped up inside played a huge factor, and boating is an easy way to stay socially distanced.

“What it is, obviously, is people are staying home; they’re not going on cruises, they’re not going to resorts,” Good said. “This is Southwest Florida—my heavens, what a better place to be out on the water than where we are! People wanna buy boats. If you watch the waterways right now, there are always a lot of boats out. So it’s grapefruit for people and a great way to social distance, and it’s great for industry.”

The Fort Myers Boat Show has brought virtually every Southwest Florida area dealer to Centennial Park, the Ft. Myers City Yacht Basin and the new Caloosa Sound Convention Center, which is filled with accessory exhibits feature everything from engines and electronics to boat lifts, boating services, fishing gear, clothing and just about anything else you might need on the water.

Located in downtown Fort Myers on the Caloosahatchee River, exhibits wind through Centennial Park along the river and Edwards Drive to the City Yacht Basin.

“We are very lucky to be a part of Fort Myers’ developing Historic District,” Good said. “Whether you are in the market for a boat, looking to repower or upgrade your current boat, or just want to see what’s new, you will find what you are looking for at this show. We are very excited to welcome the new Luminary Hotel, its restaurants and the new Convention Center.”

Plans are in place to make sure show visitors feel safe and can easily maintain social distancing. The show is spread out along the river to avoid crowding. Indoor aisles have been widened and additional show staff will be on hand to help maintain social distancing. Face coverings are highly recommended outdoors and will be required indoors (complimentary masks will be available) and there will be hand sanitizing stations throughout the grounds.

“We know that people are ready to get out and enjoy the show,” Good said. “All we ask is that everyone do their part to make other show visitors and exhibitors comfortable.”

One vendor had to pull out of the boat show because of a lack of inventory. Bryan Waid, general manager of Fort Myers Marine, says it’s the first time in 15 years they aren’t taking part. But he says it’s not a bad thing: Business has been booming, so they don’t have enough on the lot to sell.

“It was booming completely out of control for several months,” Waid said. “It has come down to a stable level. Which is more manageable than what was going on when boats were just flying off the shelf.”

Show admission is $16 (kids under 16 enter free with paid adult). Online tickets are suggested. There are no additional fees for online purchase and it will avoid waiting in line and additional contact.

The show’s hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day except Sunday, which wraps up at 5 p.m.

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