The Insider's Guide to the Ft Lauderdale International Boat Show

job hunting Sep 11, 2018

If you haven’t already booked your flights and bought tickets for the Ft Lauderdale Boat Show, add it to your to-do list!

This year’s show happens October 31 - November 4, 2018, and it’s hands-down the biggest opportunity in the U.S. to build your network, find a job, and learn about the industry.

But don’t just show up and hope for the best!

We’ve got 7 tips for how you can make the most out of your Boat Show experience - including planning a working pub crawl!


1. Stay in a crew house


We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again - staying in a crew house is the BEST way to network with existing crew and yachties.  Read about crew houses here.

Crew houses may fill up early for the boat show, so do your research ahead of time and make sure you’ve got a reservation.

And give yourself a buffer -- arrive early and plan to stay a few days after the show, to maximize your time to connect with your new network and so you’re not rushing around with all of the other boat show tourists.


2. Get there early

Hint hint -- we’ll tell you again. Get there ahead of time. This isn’t just good practical advice - it opens up some great ways to meet more people and learn more about the industry.


You see, a lot of events happen in the run-up to the show. One of these is the Triton Crew Expo - an annual crew-focused event held a few weeks before the show (this year, on October 10th!).

You don’t need tickets or to RSVP -- just show up for this “boat show without the boats” and meet a bunch of new yachtie friends before the show even starts!


3. Have a transportation plan


Parking is a big hassle during the show, so plan ahead and make other arrangements -- whether it’s walking, taking the water taxis, or using a shuttle. You’ll save time and hassle, and have the chance to network even when you’re on the go between events! Our pick for the best transportation is the water taxi - with a flat rate, all-day ticket, you can come and go as you please.


4. Be a Sponge


The Ft. Lauderdale boat show is the world’s largest in-water boat show. It attracts yacht owners, prospective yacht owners, captains, crew, and companies that sell all manner of products and service to superyachts.

Between conversations with crew, demonstrations of equipment, and sales pitches from interested companies, the only way you’ll learn more about working on a superyacht is by actually working on a superyacht.

So - if you’re new to the industry, be respectful, but take any opportunity to ask questions and learn useful information on new technology, yachting industry advances, and crew best practices. You never know what nugget you’ll tuck away that will be helpful down the road!


5. Make it easy


In our FreshYacht Interview series, everyone we’ve talked to emphasizes the importance of networking -- and making yourself easy to remember. A few great tips from our Insiders include:


  • writing your name, desired position and availability on your nametag
  • having your digital C.V. ready to go
  • creating business cards with your contact information and personal website (if you have one.)


Most importantly, introduce yourself. Have a short and focused statement, be friendly, and dress the part. You’ll impress prospective employers and stand out as someone who has made the effort to show up in person at the show.


6. Connect  & Follow Up!


No excuses - take every opportunity to meet new people, share your (short) story, and ask for their best contact method.

Then -- follow up with the people you’ve met. It doesn’t have to be a long message or a sob story looking for employment - just a short note will do. Try sending something like this to your new contact’s email or Facebook account:

“Hey there <name>, it was nice to meet you at <where did you meet?>.  Thanks for keeping me in mind if you hear of any <type of job> positions or dayworking opportunities. I’ll hope to see you around!

Sign with your name, email, and any links that are relevant (like your digital C.V.!)

Keep it short and simple - you don’t want to waste their time, but making the effort to send a quick note shows you’re a professional and gives them your name and contact info.


That way when they DO hear about a position, it’s easy to remember and reach out to you.


7. Pub Crawl with a Purpose


At the end of the day or when it’s time for brunch, you’ll find many crew members at the bars - socializing, drinking, or just unwinding.

So whether you’re a drinker or not, it’s a great plan to stop into some of the top yachtie bars and introduce yourself to some new faces. Here are a few of our favorite stops:



View of the boat show from Coconuts Bar and Grill

This hot spot will be busy - it’s at the same venue as the show, so it’ll be an easy destination for many visitors. With great seafood and killer views, it’s a perfect place for a cocktail at the end of the day.


Bimini Boatyard

This is a popular pick for happy hour -- located on the canal, you can sip a drink or grab a snack after a long day of learning & yacht ogling!

O2K Lounge and bar

This lounge at the Pelican Grand Resort offers a more affordable option at this luxury destination. With a build-your-own mojito bar and reasonably priced food, you can enjoy an evening rubbing shoulders with some of the rich boat owners and a fair mix of crew members of all ages.


The Treasure Trove

A popular pick by yachties, this is an unpretentious bar perfect for a cold drink and networking conversations.


Waxy O'Connor's

This Irish Pub is a bit of an institution when it comes to yacht crew leisure. It’s only a short walk from the boat show venue, so it’s a great chance to stretch your legs after a day of seminars.


Tap 42

Another hot spot for yacht crew after hours, Tap 42 offers an impressive selection of beer from across the U.S., with casual fare to fill your belly. Add this to your must-go list for successful networking!


Las Olas & 17th Street

These aren’t bars, but they’re both close to the show and offer a range of fancy restaurants, upscale bars, and good food and drink. Plan to make a circuit and pop into a selection of spots in either destination, and you’re sure to make some new connections



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