Billing itself as the largest boat show in the world, with US$1.6 billion worth of boats and equipment, Ft Lauderdale is considered by most in the industry to be an integral part of the opening of boat show season, and a barometer for the upcoming sales season. It is the only US show with a range of boats from personal watercraft to superyachts.
Hurricane Wilma is expected to make landfall somewhere near the Gulf town of Naples, Florida, around dawn on Monday, and then proceed eastward across Florida. At 1:00 am. EST on Sunday, news reports said that the Keys were already being lashed with strong winds and heavy surf.
Officials in Broward County, where the Ft Lauderdale show will take place, said that the area will most likely take the hardest hit from a hurricane than at any time in more than 40 years. Widespread power outages are expected, as are tornadoes generated from the storm. "For Broward County, this is a much stronger storm than Katrina or Rita was earlier this year," said Tony Carper, Broward's emergency management director at a press conference on Sunday night. Carper said the worst of the storm should pass through between dawn and 10 am.
Officials at Yachting Promotions Inc., which produces the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show, announced on Friday night that they would be postponing the show by two days and extending it through next Tuesday.
"The current forecast calls for the storm to be 75 miles off Florida's Atlantic coast by Tuesday afternoon, allowing us to resume set-up at all six show sites," said Kaye Pearson, president of Yachting Promotions Inc. "We are in continuous communication with our exhibitors to ensure a smooth opening."
The set-up of the show, which includes 3 million square feet of both in-water and on-land exhibits, was suspended late last week. Dozens of yachts were moved out of the marinas because they would not be covered by insurance. The massive dockside tents that housed many exhibits were also flattened to prevent hurricane damage.
This is the first time in the show's 46-year history that it is being postponed because of weather.
Date Ufficiali: Da Giovedì 27 Ottobre a Lunedì 31 Ottobre
Date Previste: Da Sabato 29 Ottobre a Martedì 01 Novembre