This year’s 59th edition of FLIBS didn’t disappoint as manufacturers unveiled their best and latest at the five day event that ran from Wednesday, October 31 – Sunday, November 4. Recognized as the largest in-water boat show in the world, a pre-show Welcome Party hosted by Informa and the Marine Industries Association of South Florida rolled out the red carpet to guests Tuesday night.
The shift to Center Console (CC) hulls continues to drive the always fast-paced high performance market as boat builders launch larger and power packed models. In-water displays along the H-I Dock showcased several dazzling styles including the 2019 Statement 35 CC, dressed in Porsche Ice Blue and outfitted with triple 300 V-8 Mercury engines for a 75+ mph ride.
Nor-Tech boasted its latest 39 CC powered by triple Mercury Racing 400 outboards at its Wednesday night Launch Party. Photo Courtesy Nor-Tech Hi Performance Boats
Dressed in custom blue and silver, Nor-Tech CEO Trond Schou walked me through lots of amped up on-board features of the 390 Sport Hull Number 200 including a rear club sport bench, second row seating, retractable top, 22” Garmin GPS flat screen and electric table that easily converts into a bow lounge area. He shared some exciting news and hinted at the future. “We’re opening our new 50,000 sq. ft. facility in December. Our goal is to increase production…looking to do over 100 boats.” And he added this teaser for the Miami Boat Show next February: “ We’ll have some really cool stuff in Miami.”
Brett Manire of Performance Boat Center looks to “grow service and sales” at his recently acquired Hollywood, Florida location (the former Dollar Marine) with veteran industry leaders Mindi Dollar heading up Sales and Martin Sanborn overseeing Operations. The Hollywood facility has undergone “remodeling and offers 15,000 sq. ft. storage just minutes away in Dania.” Displaying the Wright Performance 360 cat powered with twin Mercury 400R engines, “this demo has sold 13 hulls since it was in the FPC Key West Poker Run last year.”
MTI spotlighted a collection of catamaran and vee hulls, while debuting the all-new V-57 Sport Fish Center Console with quad Mercury 400R engines designed to lure the fishing enthusiast.
Photo Courtesy Westrec Marinas
Along with the latest products, there’s plenty of buzz fueling the show and this year was no exception as a mega announcement during Westrec Marinas annual press reception on Thursday spotlighted its growing relationship with Marine Technology, Inc. (MTI), which opened its first independent sales office earlier this year at Haulover Marine Center.
“Our brand is growing,” Owner/President of Marine Technology, Inc. (MTI) and multi-titled throttleman Randy Scism explained. “With a steadfast goal to excel at the best possible service and support for our clients, we believe Westrec’s Haulover Marine Center is the best match to our brand. We’re looking forward to our joint venture with Westrec.”
“We are so excited,” Scism told me regarding the 4,500 sq. ft. South Florida-based facility that provides sales, service, repair and its innovative white glove service (includes pre-excursion washing and full charging to post-excursion systems checks, flushing, washing and more) that affords MTI customers with a worry and maintenance free boating experience.
With Haulover Marine Center strategically situated just a half mile from Baker’s Haulover Inlet, providing boaters a quick and effortless ocean access, “This is the ideal location…on a good weather day, it’s a 45 minute trip over to the Bahamas or down to the Florida Keys,” he added.
The SBI World Championship Race Week in Key West continued to dominate the performance conversation. When I caught up with Florida Powerboat Club’s Stu Jones, I got the latest on his legendary Key West Poker Run. “Times are good. We’ve got 28 sponsors and 192 entries, maybe even 200.” And as always, Jones is already looking ahead to 2019.
Bobbye Miller Kenyon is an award-winning journalist whose high-performance articles appeared in Hot Boat Magazine, along with fast-paced marine industry news in her Hot Sheet Column, from 1997-2008 and Powerboat Magazine from 2009-2012. She received a special award from the State of Kentucky in 2014 as she was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel by Governor Steven L. Beshear for her writing efforts that showcased the diverse boating locales throughout the Bluegrass State. Her company, Offshore Public Relations, is a multi-faceted firm that has represented marine industry leaders and champions in the offshore racing arena. A native Miamian, she enjoys boating off the Florida Keys waters of Key Largo to Islamorada and the lakes of the Kentucky countryside.