Even after 28 years of staging the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, Dane Graziano still gets butterflies in his stomach at the challenge of choreographing such a huge endeavor on a tight deadline.
The logistics are mind-boggling:
Six miles of floating docks that must be built on top of pilings plunged 10 feet deep into the earth.
Some 1,500 boats that must be maneuvered in the water in the right sequence to fit into their slips.
Six giant air-conditioned tents that must erected on land, the largest one bigger than a football field.
Some compare the task to building a small resort city: About 22,000 people get credentials to work on the show, and 6,500 sleep on the yachts at the docks.
And that doesn’t include what it takes to transport 100,000-plus attendees between the six show venues. Graziano charters 22 buses from across Florida and all 12 water taxis in the Fort Lauderdale area fleet.
To prepare, crews this week are working rain or shine and even round-the-clock.
“Like any play or concert or production, you have to open,” Graziano said. “Thursday at 10 a.m., the show must go on.”
Scheduling for the event begins a year in advance — when the last show is dismantled.