YACHTING IN
SOUTH FLORIDA
SOUTH FLORIDA YACHTING MECCA
Beautiful weather, diverse waters and proximity to the Bahamas and Caribbean make South Florida’s yachting industry one of the fastest growing in the country.

Florentia Yacht. Courtesy Rossinavi and Michele Chiroli

With 237 average days of sunshine every year, South Florida is the U.S.’s yachting mecca. Kicking off 2021 with the highest number of registered recreational boats in the country–ending 2020 with nearly 960,000 vessels–its popularity continues to grow, with $2 billion invested in the region’s robust yachting infrastructure over the last year, according to the Marine Industries Association of South Florida. To date, it can accommodate more mega and giga yachts than any other region, defined as those whose lengths extend beyond 120 feet. The region’s entire marine industry is worth $12 billion, with the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show–the world’s largest in-water boat show-generating $1.3 billion in economic output throughout the state.

“Deep water ports and marinas with significant refit capabilities are a big draw for mega yacht owners,” says Benetti Americas’ Country Manager Nick Bischoff. “There is no other place in the world where such vast resources are available to owners and their crews.”

“What we’ve seen is that the usage of the boat has tripled,” says Stefano De Vivo, Chief Operating Officer of the Ferretti Group. “Clients who were not used to sailing during both seasons are doing it now.” This is likely due to the rush of new ultra-capable South Florida buyers from colder seasonal climates like New York, indicated by a 25 percent increase in property sales over $10 million. Combined with South Florida’s proximity to the Bahamas and Caribbean, at 50 and 300 miles, respectively, demand for both yacht ownership and charter rose dramatically in the last year.

Island Gardens Marina can accommodate 500-foot-plus mega yachts in its slips of up to 27 feet deep.

Island Gardens Marina. Courtesy @Lauder_Dude

DOCK-AND-DINE IN MIAMI

More than 20 percent of Miami-Dade county is actually water. The concentration of local waterways, barrier islands and other small islands makes the city of Miami an ideal dock-and-dine destination.

Discover our picks of the top restaurants located along the 5.5-mile-long Miami River, on Watson Island, Belle Isle, Fisher Island and Virginia Key.

1. Kiki on the River
2. Seaspice Brasserie & Lounge
3. Casablanca Seafood Bar & Grill
4. Zuma
5. Joia Beach Restaurant & Beach Club
6. The Deck at Island Gardens
7. Lido Bayside Grill
8. Porto Cervo on Fisher Island
9. Rusty Pelican

The Western Hemisphere’s first deep-water super-yacht marina is in Miami.

Kismet Yacht. Courtesy Charl van Rooy and SuperYacht Time

Hannah Wolstenholme, Sales and Charter Broker at Edmiston, tells us that the calendars are filling up earlier than they have historically as people want to be on board longer. “What may have been a 7-day charter in 2019 has now turned into a 10, 14 or 21-day trip.”

Extended periods at sea have been made possible by improved connectivity and design features on board. Sailing for months at a time has become the new norm, but safety remains paramount, says Federico Ferrante, President of Azimut-Benetti U.S.A. “Besides the beautiful weather, Florida is above all safe. Owners can feel completely at ease whether they moor and stay on board, or leave their yachts for refitting and come back after a trip.”

According to The State of Yachting 2021 report, 19 percent of the mega- yachts (120+ feet) being built this year are destined for U.S. owners. Chris Callahan, Sales and Charter Broker of Moran Yachts, Fort Lauderdale, tells us, “Year-over-year sales have been up tremendously. We expect the trend to continue into 2022 with several deals pending and a number of new construction projects in the pipeline.” These include the 163-foot Mangusta ALISA, 200-foot Hakvoort TOP FIVE II and 464-foot Lürssen NORD, all delivered this past summer. The fall and winter will also see the 242-foot Amels Project SHADOW and 377-foot Lürssen Project ENZO go to their owners. We look forward to seeing them on the pristine waters of South Florida.

ANNUAL YACHTING EVENTS TO ATTEND

In 2022, the Miami International Boat Show, the Miami Yacht Show and the Superyacht Miami show will be coming together for the first-ever joint event over President’s Day weekend. In March, Palm Beach Boat Show will display hundreds of boats up to nearly 200 feet in length. Fort Lauderdale Boat Show, the world’s largest in-water boat show, will spotlight more than 1,300 vessels across 90 acres of land and water over five days in the fall.

Miami International Boat Show | February 16-20, 2022
Palm Beach International Boat Show | March 24-27, 2022
Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show | October 26-30, 2022

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