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The 2018 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) starts Wednesday October 31st. FLIBS is the largest boat show in North America; it spans 7 locations around Fort Lauderdale, has 3 million square feet of exhibition space and 6 miles of floating docks. Over 1,500 boats will be on display along with 1,200 individual exhibitors. 54% of attendees will come from outside of Florida and of the more than 110,000 people who will attend, over 52 countries will be represented. So if you think PassageMaker and other boating magazines make a big deal about FLIBS, yeah we do, it’s a big show!

An economic impact study from 2015 estimates the impact of FLIBS in South Florida amounts to more than $500 million dollars, and upwards of $857.3 million dollars statewide. Phil Purcell, Executive Director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, explained to Soundings Trade Only Today that, “Over $100 million per day changes hands during the show.”

Not only does FLIBS yield a sizeable economic output, the amount of money invested into the show is significant. Last year was the first year the show was produced by Informa, an events producer based in London.  Informa spent $6 million dollars toward improving the 2017 FLIBS experience and several million dollars more to improve this year's show.  Attendees are sure to notice the improvements right off the bat.

Access to the show has been upgraded with a new plaza entrance, better transportation between locations and improved floating docks. Also, a new food provider has been brought on board, Atlanta-based Proof of the Pudding, who focuses on a “farm-to-fork” style culinary experience. Additionally, all of the food will be served with biodegradable paperware, cups and utensils.

And while there will be much that is new to the FLIBS experience this year, what won’t change is access to new boats, boating technologies, products and solutions. Our inbox has been filled with vendor press releases so we wanted to draw your attention to 3 manufactures you should definitely check out at FLIBS.

Wave WiFi

Electronics Tent - Booth 379/380

Wave WiFi Tidal Wave

Wave WiFi Tidal Wave

Wave WiFi always offers the latest in connection technology to bring cell service and data while you are on the water without having to pay for an expensive satellite uplink. This year they are pumping two new products: the Tidal Wave and the MBR 550 router. These new products will help users stay connected via 3G, 4G and open WiFi connections at great distances, keeping you connected longer.

Wave WiFi MBR 550 multi-source router

Wave WiFi MBR 550 multi-source router

The new Tidal Wave provides high powered dual band WiFi + 3G/4G and allows for concurrent listening across 2.4 and 5.1-5.8 GHZ WiFi channels along with SIM activated cellular data.

The new MBR 550 is a multi-source router with a built-in access point that compliments any onboard set up. It can be used as a stand-alone SIM activated cellular data receiver. It also allows you to maximize your source options by connecting to other Wave WiFi receivers, and/or any third party cellular or satellite product.

In a world where we are increasingly dependent on our data connections, Wave WiFi has been dedicated to creating usable solutions. If you want to have better and faster internet on the water, they are well worth a visit.

Garmin USA

Electronics Tent - Booth 332

Garmin sent out a press release this morning announcing more new products than we can shake a stick at. They are releasing a new MFD series that builds upon their current flagship series. The new GPSMap 8600/8600 xsv series will include premium features like built-in sonar and new BlueChart g3 coastal cartography and LakeVü g3 maps with Navionics data and built-in Auto Guidance1 to smaller, more affordable display options. Available in 10-, 12- and 16-inch displays that feature full HD in-plane switching (IPS) screens with multi-touch control, the GPSMAP 8600/8600xsv series is Wi-Fi enabled and offers full connectivity and networkability, so mariners can completely customize their marine electronics system based on their needs and preferences.

Additionally, Garmin announced new BlueChart g3/LakeVü g3 cartography with Navionics Integration, inReach Mini Marine Bundle and a handful of accessories including an Autopilot Remote, GRID 20 Remote Input Device and GC 200 IP Camera. We are still trying to wrap our heads around all of the new stuff coming out of Garmin so stay tuned and we will have updates on these new products soon!

GOST -Global Ocean Security Technologies

Electronics Tent – Booth 322

GOST will be showing off their award-winning GOST Apparition SM GPS XVR system at FLIBS. The GOST Apparition system was recently selected as the Product of Excellence in the category of Vessel Monitoring system at the National Marine Electronics Association (NMEA) Conference and Expo in Palm Beach Gardens earlier this year.

The GOST Apparition SM GPS XVR system is worth checking out.

The GOST Apparition SM GPS XVR system is worth checking out.

The GOST Apparition SM GPS XVR is the most powerful, customizable and user friendly GOST security system ever released and is the only system on the market offering the capability of security, monitoring, tracking and surveillance, integrated together in one system. The entire system communicates over both cellular and Inmarsat Geostationary Satellite networks. The GOST Apparition can be controlled via a free app, key fob or the new simplified, user friendly touchscreen keypads, available in 5- or 7- inch displays. The new Universal Control Unit, the core of the system, provides the logic for up to 32 wireless sensors, 12 relays and 32 key fobs, while supplying a full battery backup. The system utilizes all of the GOST sensors including: wireless completely independent door/hatch contacts, motion detectors, high water sensors, DC battery low voltage, AC shore power loss, and smoke detectors, with optional additional sensors available like infrared beam, deck pressure, temperature and freezer sensors.

If you’re interested in pairing boat security with vessel monitoring then the GOST Apparition system is certainly worth checking out.