Navigating the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show if you're a family

Sun Sentinel

How do you keep spouses and kids happy at the boat show? You go where you know they'll see things that they like.

If you're serious about buying a boat, but they're not interested in the process, leave the negotiations for another day. You and the family will be much better off.

Instead, take everyone on the free riverboat ride from the Las Olas Riverfront to Bahia Mar. After you arrive, let the family gawk at the spectacular superyachts lined up along the face dock. Then you can move on to whatever type boats interest the family — sportfishermen, high-performance, inflatables, trawlers or cruisers.

Plan to have lunch at Bahia Mar's food court, where everyone can get something to suit his or her tastes. Then head toward the boat show's main entrance. Along the way, you'll be able to peruse and purchase clothing, boat shoes, fishing tackle, sunglasses, jewelry, coolers and the art of Carey Chen, Guy Harvey and David Wirth.

If the kids are into fishing or you think they might like fishing, and they're ages 5-16, catch a shuttle bus to the Broward County Convention Center so they can attend one of the free Kids Fishing Clinics, which are at noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. They'll get fun, low-key instruction in casting, knot-tying and conservation.

Afterwards, they can stroll through the Blue Wild Dive and Travel Show in the lobby of the convention center, where exhibitors offer everything from dive instruction and scuba gear to spearguns and dive destinations to underwater photographers displaying their work.

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