7 Reasons Why Fort Lauderdale Is the Yacht Capital of the World
“Fort Lauderdale is South Florida’s mecca for marine enthusiasts” -Boatsetter Explorer
When you think of Fort Lauderdale, you probably think of warm weather, sunny beaches, and plenty of palm trees. While those are all big draws, something else is a big deal, too.
Did you know that Fort Lauderdale is the yachting capital of the world? Other global regions have tried to claim the title, but none can truly hold a candle to Florida’s 10th-largest city. Here are seven fascinating facts proving why:
- More than 300 miles of inland waterways pass through Fort Lauderdale.
- Roughly 50,000 boats and yachts call Fort Lauderdale home.
- More than 2,000 superyachts pass through its waters— annually!
- Fort Lauderdale is home to a multi-billion-dollar marine industry.
- The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (duh).
- Rare aquatic life thrives in these waters!
- The largest collection of warm-water wrecks in the Western Hemisphere is here!
1. More than 300 miles of inland waterways pass through it.
The New River, the Intracoastal Waterway, and many navigable canals comprise those waterways. Entirely within the city limits are 165 inland waterways, too. No wonder the city has earned the nickname the Venice of America.
2. Upwards of 50,000 boats and yachts homeport here.
Every conceivable size, from small runabouts to super-size superyachts, is registered in Fort Lauderdale. Some cities around the world don’t even have 50,000 residents. This statistic alone proves that Fort Lauderdale is the yachting capital of the world!
3. More than 2,000 superyachts pass through its waters annually.
A superyacht is a private yacht of 80 feet and larger. Why do so many visit? They stop by on their way to the Caribbean for the winter, for example, whether they summered in other U.S. waters or internationally. They do the same when leaving the Caribbean at the end of the season. Fort Lauderdale has multiple marinas capable of accommodating them and shipyards servicing them.
4. It’s home to a multi-billion-dollar marine industry.
Speaking of marinas and shipyards, Fort Lauderdale is the yachting capital of the world due to its abundant marine businesses. These include gear manufacturers, retailers, yacht brokers, and service companies. Altogether, they make a $9.7-billion economic impact within Broward County. The marine industry further is the second-largest business sector in Greater Fort Lauderdale—second only to tourism.
5. It’s home to the world’s largest in-water boat show.
Having just celebrated its 63rd anniversary, the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show has long held this title. More than 1,300 boats, yachts, and superyachts are typically on display amid seven miles of dockage. Additionally, upwards of 100,000 people visit from 50-plus nations.
6. Fort Lauderdale offers rare fishing.
Only a few places in the world allow anglers to enjoy fresh and saltwater fishing within minutes. The city is one of them. Try your hand at more than 200 freshwater species, then head offshore to go for grouper, snapper, mahi-mahi, and more.
7. Divers dig it.
Fort Lauderdale has the largest collection of warm-water wrecks in the Western Hemisphere. Plus, its 76 artificial wrecks are cool for exploring and spotting sea life. Therefore, there’s a good argument that Fort Lauderdale is the yacht capital of the world and a dive capital, too.
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A journalist with more than 30 years’ experience, Diane M. Byrne is the owner
of MegayachtNews.com, a daily website educating American superyacht owners, buyers, and
their circles of influence about the leading builders, designers, cruising destinations, and more.
She founded the website in 2007 as the first, and still the only, American-focused online media
outlet exclusively covering this market. It features all-original content, for real stories of real
Diane is additionally one of the most-sought-after journalists for expert editorial coverage and
commentary about not only superyachts, but also general boating and yachting. Her byline
appears in Boatsetter.com, DiscoverBoating.com, and the magazines Luxury Guide, Ocean,
Yachting, and Yachts International.
Additionally, Diane is the Chair of the U.S. Superyacht Association, having been on the Board of
Directors since 2015. Outside of yachting, she’s a trustee of Sempre Avanti, a non-profit
resource supporting Italian and Italian-American individuals, businesses, and organizations in the
United States and Italy.