There will reportedly be new health and safety standards in place at the 61st annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest in-water boat show, as of now still set to take place October 28 – Nov. 1.
The U.S. Boat Shows division of Informa Markets, the organizer that operates international boat and yacht events, including the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), is introducing AllSecure, a newly enhanced approach to health and safety at all of its events.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Informa says in a press release "it has worked diligently in coordination with its association partners, peers, venues, suppliers, contractors, health officials, and federal and local authorities to develop the AllSecure standards."
They go on to say AllSecure standards raise the bar on safe, hygienic, productive, and high-quality organized event experiences.
“The health and safety of our staff, exhibitors, visitors, and community remains our number one priority,” said Andrew Doole, president of Informa Markets U.S. Boat Shows. “We also recognize the importance of our boat shows to the local and state economy and the marine industry at large. Since the inception of the pandemic, we have been focused on a plan that prioritizes safety and an exceptional visitor experience, so that every person who attends our events can do so safely and with confidence.”
As such, FLIBS will be organized in accordance with Informa’s newly adopted AllSecure health and safety standards, as well as all official government and local authority guidance and regulations.
With the new standards in place, FLIBS, as well as all Informa events, will follow the GBAC (Global Biorisk Advisory Council) standards for enhanced cleaning, including undergoing deep cleaning before, during, and after each day’s events, to ensure the highest standards of hygiene and cleanliness.
This includes complete overnight disinfection, electrostatic sprayers with EPA biodegradable disinfectants, and continuous sanitation throughout the course of the boat show, with a focus on high-touch areas such as door handles, restrooms, and food and beverage areas.
Additionally, pursuant to local laws, all staff and participants will be required to wear a face mask, and participate in screening measures such as thermal scanned temperature checks or other screening processes upon entry.
Exhibitor booth space will comply with all requirements outlined for retail establishments in Broward County’s Guidelines and Emergency Orders, including floor markers within each exhibitor booth to allow for social distancing, increased sanitation of all items throughout the day, encouraging adoption of contactless payment mechanisms, and eliminating interactive exhibits.
All seating in cafes, VIP lounges, concession areas, and cocktail barges will be set up in accordance with social distancing guidelines.
Phil Purcell, CEO/president of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, which owns the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, said, “As the world’s largest in-water boat show, FLIBS is a major economic driver, benefitting the marine industry, the city of Fort Lauderdale, and the state of Florida with a total statewide economic impact of $1.3 billion. Informa’s standards and guidelines, coupled with the show’s seven sites and nearly 90 acres of outdoor space, will allow every guest and exhibitor who attends over the five days of the show to feel confident and safe.”
“We are adjusting to the new normal and remain flexible and prepared to adapt quickly if need be given rapidly changing conditions, policies, and guidelines,” added Doole. “We are excited to bring the marine community and boating enthusiasts back together in October and are moving full steam ahead to a robust boat show season.”
Since 2017, FLIBS has brought more than just prospective boat buyers to Fort Lauderdale: it has worked to connect those affluent buyers with marine conservation efforts that need funding.
The Marine Research Hub, a nonprofit effort connecting South Florida university partners, business development agencies and the MIASF, hopes to make South Florida a Silicon Valley of sorts for marine science.
Last year, the hub brought the Ocean Exchange event to Fort Lauderdale for the first time at the boat show. The groups awarded money to companies that are working with carbon waste and developing more efficient batteries that could be used in marine vehicles.
Even though walking through the show will look different this year because of the new safety guidelines, Purcell said putting on the show as planned sends a positive message to the marine industries:
"We have to get back to a sense of normalcy," he said. "So, if the sense of normalcy is the requirement of social distancing and wearing masks and sanitation stations and temperature checks, we're gonna do that."
Should anyone at the show later be found to have contracted COVID-19, Purcell said there is a plan for that too. "We'll definitely make sure there'll be some contact tracing, God forbid," he said.
Purcell credits Kelly Skidmore, former Florida House Representative who is currently campaigning for the open seat in District 81 - and who also runs public relations for the MIASF - with coming up with sort of, an unofficial slogan going into this year's show: "It's not too much to (m)ask."
Despite the economic recession, Skidmore said she thinks more local families will come to the show.
"Boating is kind of on the rise," Skidmore said. "I think families have realized that boating is a really great way of getting out of the house but still keeping a household together and being able to enjoy what we have here in South Florida in terms of our natural resources."
You can read more of the safety protocols and new things in store at FLIBS2020 on their website www.flibs.com