Executive Profile: Stiles Realty’s Julie Berry on the resilience of the marine industry

Editor’s Note: Executive Profiles offer insights into the management styles, hobbies and inspirations of the South Florida’s c-suite. These Q&A’s are featured in our weekly print edition.


Birthplace: Fort Lauderdale

Residence: Fort Lauderdale

Current position: Principal of Marina Investments Group and Senior VP, Stiles Realty

Current boards: Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County, Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance, Seafarers’ House

Education: Nova Southeastern University

Favorite book: “The Winds of War” by Herman Wouk

Julie Berry is the businesswoman behind some of the major marine real estate deals happening in the “Yachting Capital of the World.”

During her decades at Fort Lauderdale-based Stiles Realty, she has brokered more than $300 million in marine-related transactions. Those transactions include Lauderdale Marine Center, the nation’s largest yacht repair facility, which was sold in 2015 to investment giant The Carlyle Group for an undisclosed amount.

She’s currently working on trades between $150 million and $175 million in value. She searches for buyers and sellers who share her vision in strengthening South Florida’s $12 billion marine sector. Those deals include the sale of Billfish Marina in Dania Beach, which closed in recent weeks despite the economic downturn. She sold the property to the same operators who acquired Bradford Marine in a large transaction in 2019.

Despite the economic uncertainties brought on by the coronavirus, Berry says her clients show continued interest in South Florida’s resilient marine industry, for which she is a steady advocate. Recovery, she says, will come quickly.

When you were studying pre-law and accounting in college, did you know you wanted to go into the real estate business? I got my broker’s license just days after I turned 19, but I always thought I would go to law school. I worked at my dad’s real estate office while I was going to college. He gave me a property in Collier County that wasn’t accessible by land. He said, “go sell it.” It was probably the best thing he ever did for me. I ended up exchanging the property for a waterfront house in Lighthouse Point. That was my first real estate transaction.

What was growing up in South Florida like? My dad had a boat, so we went to the ocean all the time since I was about 3 years old. My family moved to Massachusetts when I was younger, and we went to Cape Cod during the summers. We were always around the water, and I loved it. When I got into commercial real estate and joined Stiles, it was a natural progression into marine transactions because I spoke their language.

What was it like working with Terry Stiles? He was definitely a mentor to me. He always told me, “Loose lips sink ships,” as in: Make sure to always keep a client’s confidentiality. I’ve always held that close. I learned a lot from him from being in meetings with him, dealing with people like Wayne Huizenga, and Steve Halmos. I learned that if you don’t know something, say so. Be direct.

Why is being a mentor important to you? I’ve had several mentors in my life who have set me on the right path. When I help mentor people at the Business Journal’s Mentoring Mondays, some of them are looking for a path. It’s really important to convey certain aspects of business to them, similar to what I’ve done on the marine industry panels I’ve served on. I still talk to some of the Mentoring Monday mentees; we continue to communicate.

How do you balance work and family life in these times? My son is attending University of Florida, studying pre-med microbiology and when he was home because of the coronavirus, we sectioned off a separate part of the house for him so he could study and do his exams. I had a separate section of the house to operate my business. It worked out very well for us. It was nonstop and intense because of his exams, but it was wonderful having him home for a month. He loves the water as much as I do. We have two golden retrievers, a nine-year-old named Juno and a four-month-old puppy named Kodi we just adopted, who has made life very interesting.

How has it been working from home because of Covid-19? It’s not abnormal for me because I have a home office set up and, because of the confidential nature of my deals, I worked from home often before. I do miss the interaction with the team, and being able to work on certain aspects of my business with the team, especially when we’re doing marketing. We have to do all of that remotely, so it’s a little tough. I’m very social.

What do you do in your free time during quarantine? I’m doing a refresher course on French. I’ve studied French all my life, but I’ve been able to spend a little more time on it recently. Honestly, I’ve been very, very busy. It’s not slowed down at all. Before all this started, I was thinking about doing a weeklong immersion course in France, just for the fun of it.

Has the coronavirus slowed anything down in your world? I was scheduled to attend the American Boating Congress in Washington, D.C., to advocate for the marine industry, but it was canceled. The Palm Beach International Boat Show was canceled, too, and we typically get a lot of interest during that and other boat shows. People are usually flying into town and they want to have meetings.

From your view, how will Covid-19 affect South Florida’s marine industry? I think everybody knows this will pass. Even though businesses were affected by the shutdown, I’ve seen a positive attitude with many of the owners. The closing of marinas and ramps did affect business, and it affected some of the marine businesses because they couldn’t access their clients, but I expect it to remain strong in the near future.

Stiles Marina Investments Group Executes Sale Of Fort Lauderdale Marina

Marina Investments Group, a specialty group of Stiles Realty, has arranged the sale of Billfish Marina to the owners of Bradford Marine.

Situated on the New River directly east of Bradford Marine in Fort Lauderdale, Billfish is a full-service marina and boatyard consisting of 65+- marina slips for yachts up to 130’.

Stiles Realty is the third-party brokerage services division of Fort Lauderdale-based full-service commercial real estate developer Stiles.

Stiles Realty Senior Vice President Julie Fisher Berry, who specializes in private client representation for the acquisitions and sales of marinas, boatyard and waterfront hospitality properties, exclusively handled the transaction between buyer and seller. Billfish Marina is the home to Pipewelders Marine, globally recognized for over 60 years in custom tuna towers, hard tops and outriggers; electronics firm High Seas Technology; marine canvas designer and manufacturer P&R Canvas; and yacht dealers Ocean Alexander and Hatteras.

Fisher Berry has built a track record of success in the marina sales industry, successfully closing over $300 million in recent sales transactions. Her most prominent transactions include the 60-acre Lauderdale Marine Center in Fort Lauderdale, the largest mega-yacht repair facility and marina in the U.S., Bradford MarineRiverbend Marine Center and the 13-acre Caloosa Cove Marina and Resort in Key Largo.

Fisher Berry is a principal of Stiles Realty’s Marina Investments Group, which specializes in the real estate brokerage of high-end marinas, boat yards and waterfront resort investments throughout Florida and the East coast.

Bradford Marine parent to acquire Billfish Marina

Bradford Marine parent company Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor said it entered an agreement with Billfish Marina owner PipeWelders Marine to purchase the marina for an undisclosed price.

Billfish Marina, a repair and marina facility in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., agreed to terms to be acquired by Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor.

The acquisition of Billfish Marina and all affiliated entities — PipeWelders Marine, P&R Canvas and High Seas Technology — is anticipated to close in April, subject to customary closing conditions. Both properties will continue operations as normal and will retain the Bradford Marine, Billfish Marina and affiliate names.

Julie Fisher Berry, principal of Marina Investments Group at Stiles Realty, brokered the transaction. “We are very excited to have the opportunity to acquire Billfish Marina, PipeWelders Marine, P&R Canvas and High Seas Technology,” said Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor CEO John Kelly in a statement. “Adding Billfish Marina and its affiliates, with their world-class employees, significantly expands our geographic footprint and the services we can provide to our customers in South Florida.”

Bradford Marine and Billfish Marina have service-focused operating philosophies and complementary strengths, Kelly said.

“One year ago, with the acquisition of Bradford Marine, we looked forward to being an integral part of the Fort Lauderdale marine community to help grow Broward County’s $8.9 billion economic impact that comes from the marine industry,” said Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor COO Michael Kelly. “Entering into a purchase contract for the purchase of Billfish Marina and its affiliated companies reinforces our commitment to those stated goals.”

“Continuing family ownership was very important to me because I can see that John and Michael Kelly are committed to the same high standards my father and I had building Billfish Marina and our other companies to what they are today,” said Billfish Marina/PipeWelders president Trey Irvine.

Irvine will continue as an advisor to the Kellys after the transaction closes.

Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor, LLC Acquires Bradford Marine

FORT LAUDERDALE, January 02, 2019 – Bradford Marine, a prominent megayacht repair facility, marina, and yacht brokerage with locations in Fort Lauderdale, Florida and Freeport, Grand Bahama, announced that it has agreed to terms to be acquired by Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor, LLC (“FLYH”) for an undisclosed price. The acquisition of all assets of the Fort Lauderdale property closed on January 1, 2019, while the acquisition of Bradford Marine Bahamas is pending customary governmental approval from The Bahamas. Both properties will continue operations as normal and will retain the “Bradford Marine” and “Bradford Marine Bahamas” names under FLYH ownership. Julie Fisher Berry, Principal of Marina Investments Group, Stiles Realty, brokered the transaction.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to own and operate Bradford Marine. As one of the foremost megayacht repair facilities/marinas in South Florida and The Bahamas, Bradford Marine has a tremendous history built by its world-class team of employees,” said John Kelly, Chief Executive Officer of FLYH. “Paul Engle will continue as President of Bradford Marine and manage the daily operations, and Tom Thomas will remain in his role as Chief Financial Officer. Both Paul and Tom are well-respected in the marine industry and are great assets for both of the Bradford Marine facilities.”

“Just as the yachting industry has evolved, so too will Bradford Marine continue to cater to the needs of the next generation of yacht owners, captains, and crew,” said Michael Kelly, Chief Operating Officer of FLYH. “We look forward to being an integral part of the Fort Lauderdale community to maintain and grow Broward County’s $8.8 billion economic impact from the marine industry.”

Paul Engle, President of Bradford Marine, commented, “I am very pleased with the new ownership. John and Michael are highly knowledgeable and informed as to the needs of yacht owners, captains, and crew given their long-time passion for yachting. They have plans for substantial enhancements that will be greatly welcomed by our customers. Continuing as a family-owned and operated business makes FLYH the perfect fit to acquire Bradford Marine, and to position us as the premier yacht facilities in South Florida and The Bahamas.”

Julie Fisher Berry, Principal of Marina Investments Group, Stiles Realty, noted, “Having worked closely with John and Michael Kelly, their keen vision for the future of Bradford Marine reflects their depth of knowledge. They understand the trends in the marine industry and what is needed to service megayacht owners, captains, and crew as the industry evolves to the next generation of yachting. They will be a great asset to Fort Lauderdale and the marine industry as a whole.”

Financing for the transaction was provided by BankUnited.

About Bradford Marine

Bradford Marine was founded in 1966 on the New River in the heart of the yachting capital of the world, Fort Lauderdale, FL by Dieter Cosman and Charles Blickle, Sr. who shared a vision for this premier yachting facility. This megayacht repair facility, marina, and yacht brokerage operation, with a capacity to haul up to 250 tons, has over 11,000 linear feet of covered, in-water dockage making it one of the largest undercover yacht facilities in the world for yachts up to 180’. Located just 60 miles off the coast of Florida, Bradford Marine Bahamas was founded in 1997 on 47 acres of land in Freeport, Grand Bahama in the heart of Freeport harbor. With over 25’ of draft, a 1,200 ton drydock, 150 ton Marine Travelift, and access to a 27,000 ton drydock, Bradford Marine Bahamas has the capability to service the world’s largest superyachts up to 500’ with the top-notch quality, innovation, and attention to detail that Bradford Marine is known for. For more information about Bradford Marine, please visit www.bradford-marine.com.

About Marina Investments Group, Stiles Realty

Julie Fisher Berry is a principal of Stiles Realty’s Marina Investments Group, which specializes in the real estate brokerage of high-end marinas, boat yards and waterfront resort investments. Berry provides exclusive and confidential representation in acquisitions and sales of signature marine properties. Learn more at https://marinainvestments.com/.


Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor, LLC
Michael Kelly, [email protected], (954) 791-3800

Bradford Marine
Paul Engle, [email protected], (954) 791-3800

Stiles Realty

Adrienne Zalkind, [email protected], (954) 627-9148

Brant Long, [email protected], (954) 627-9102

Florida Marinas From Fort Lauderdale Through The Treasure Coast: Everything You Need To Know

Location. Location. Location. That old real estate mantra applies even when the land in question is not totally on the land. In assessing the quality of local marinas, one must consider not just the location, but the variables of the assessor, and more specifically, the boat one drives, and where one drives it. 

And along Florida’s east coast, there is more than just water involved. Real estate development along waterways in more congested areas is altering the geography of the boating industry. And with dramatic expansion plans for passenger railroads coming to Florida’s east coast in the next few years, frequent drawbridge openings come into play as well. A marina location that is convenient today may be non-existent, or much less handy, a decade from now.

“It gets very specialized,” says Ginger Hornaday, a broker associate with the firm Engel & Völkers, whose beat is South Florida waterfront. She points out that the needs of a serious cruiser are different from those of a weekend boater. “There’s really three different marketing targets: There’s the guy with a boat 20 feet up to 60, and then 60 to 120 and 120 up to 200. And they tend to graduate up in each class. I have a client who brings his boat south to Miami in the winter. He says his dock is his condo.”

That’s one reason many marinas are catering to the larger boats, but at the same time, a market such as Fort Lauderdale is running out of space as developers increasingly buy up prime waterfront sites. Hornaday notes that repair facilities are moving farther west, along the Dania Cutoff Canal. The canal was built as a shortcut between the serpentine western reaches of the New River and Port Everglades. The industry is also migrating north to Palm Beach, St. Lucie and Martin counties.

 Still, the Fort Lauderdale area easily leads South Florida in marine facilities. Julie Berry, a principal of Stiles Realty’s Marina Investments Group says, “Fort Lauderdale is the Yachting Capital of the World for good reason. It has miles of waterways; immediate access to the ocean from the protected inland waterways; the sport fishing is some of the best in the world; it has a host of activities and services for yachts and crew; it is close to the Caribbean and the depth is capable of handling superyachts, especially since the Intracoastal Waterway is being dredged to a 17-foot depth. The economic impact of the yachting industry in South Florida is $11.5 billion, of which $8.8 billion comes from Broward County.”

Last year, Berry sold one of the notable Fort Lauderdale facilities, Lauderdale Marine Center, to The Carlyle Group. It is the largest boatyard in the country, located on 60 acres along the New River near Interstate 95. It can accommodate 380 vessels of all sizes.

The emphasis on mega yachts at such convenient locations as Bahia Mar and neighboring Pier Sixty-Six on the Intracoastal Waterway—both a quick voyage to the busy Port Everglades Inlet—does not sit well with everybody, especially owners of smaller boats. Among them is Paul DeBold, a certified marine surveyor and long-time boating enthusiast.

“It’s all mega yacht driven,” he says. “Docks for the 50-foot boat are being ripped out to build what can take 150 feet. Fewer and fewer want to bother with a 35-foot boat. They want the boats that will spend thousands of dollars. It’s a difficult market in some places. West of I-95 there [are] some new places. Up in Palm Beach and beyond they’re recognizing that the average guy is getting pushed out of market. Some inlets can’t take larger yachts, so the smaller guy is their market.”

DeBold points out that the Mako Fishing Tournament, featuring smaller boats, moved because of declining interest in Miami and Fort Lauderdale. “Then they took it up to Jensen Beach (in Martin County) and every year it’s growing—somewhere close to 100 boats at the last tournament,” he says. 

Hornaday recognizes that the industry is trending north; so is she, moving her license to the Engel & Völkers office on Palm Beach’s Worth Avenue.

Stiles Realty’s Marina Investments Group’s Julie Berry sold the country’s largest marina last year. (Photo by Gina Fontana)

Access to Amenities

One of the most respected marina companies in South Florida does not need to follow the trend north. It set that trend decades ago. Its spokesperson, Sue Morgan, is something of a legend. She has been the marketing and public relations director for 40 years at Old Port Cove in Palm Beach Gardens, and two other nearby marinas owned by Old Port Cove Holdings. Her marinas’ clients define the wide spectrum of the business, and she is a recognized authority on what makes a successful marina.

“We have quite a seasonal business,” she says. “Many leave in summer. Some live on their boat, some come and go. They travel to the Bahamas or Fort Lauderdale.” She is qualified to define the ideal marina—one of which is Old Port Cove.

She explains, “It is centrally located, with a location near I-95, the turnpike and the airport. There are a hundred restaurants and all kinds of shopping close by on PGA Boulevard. We have a restaurant open seven days a week and a commissary with a deli area where you can get a quick sandwich or provision for boats. A lot of folks love that we have an on-site gym. We have a captain’s lounge. For any marina, on-site services is really
a top amenity.” 

She notes that ease of access is another plus for the company’s marinas. The other two are the North Palm Beach Marina—across the Intracoastal from Old Port Cove—and New Port Cove Marine Center in Riviera Beach. All have close proximity to the Lake Worth Inlet, also known as the Palm Beach Inlet, and there is only one 65-foot bridge between them.

She explains: “The biggest problem cruising the Intracoastal is that there are quite a number of bridges that can slow you down. Our marinas are all easy to get in and out of.”

Easily Available

Ease of access is paramount to serious yachts arriving from the ocean. One would not normally think of Fort Pierce as a boating destination, but Andrew Cilla, president of Fort Lauderdale-based Luke Brown Yachts, lists it prominently among the top marinas in the area.

The Fort Pierce City Marina is where the Pelican Yacht Club is situated.

“The Pelican Yacht Club can handle 80 yachts,” Cilla says. “And the entrance to the Fort Pierce Inlet is the easiest I’ve ever seen. The Yacht Club dining facilities offer an outstanding view of the inlet, too.”

Morgan seconds that motion.

“The Fort Pierce Marina is definitely a destination,” she says. “After the hurricanes (11 years ago) tore them up, they built little islands in the Intracoastal to act as a barrier, and they rebuilt the marina. The old downtown has been redeveloped. They have a green market, which is huge. There’s a little theater there. It has everything you need for a nice stay.”

There is nothing that contributes to a nice stay like a good restaurant along the docks. When Bob Davis built Sailor’s Return, it was instantly busy and enhanced Stuart’s Sunset Bay Marina along the St. Lucie River in downtown Stuart. Doing the same for Lauderdale Marina is 15th Street Fisheries in Fort Lauderdale. Dating from 1948, the marina was started by the late, former Fort Lauderdale Mayor Robert Cox and is still family-owned. Both restaurants attract more locals than mariners, but they both contribute to the elusive “nice stay” for those passing through.

Location is Key

In the marina business, few things top having a location with built-in amenities. That makes urban sites ideal. There are few better examples than Palm Harbor Marina, which is located in Lake Worth in downtown West Palm Beach. It is convenient to the shopping on nearby Clematis Street in West Palm Beach and just across the bridge from storied Worth Avenue in Palm Beach. It is not far from Palm Beach International or the beaches. On top of that, its yachting amenities make it a regular honoree among the top marinas in the country.

Although the facility dates back decades, it was remodeled six years ago by owner Leisure Resorts LLC to become what it calls with some justification “Florida’s Premier Port of Call.”

“You can’t beat the location,” says Tricia Mason, of United Landmark Associates, who does marketing for the marina. Aside from the natural advantage of being situated in an affluent and active community, she adds, “It’s an ideal stopping place for people headed to the islands.”

“We have 15,400 feet of dockage, nearly 200 state-of-the-art floating docks and can take up to 250-foot vessels,” adds Rob Montanile, marketing director for the facility. “We have added slips for larger vessels. We have a yacht club with a fitness center, catering, golf cart service to yachts, golf cart porter service. We’re a gated marina, so people feel secure when leaving their boat here. We never stop hearing about how good our customer service is.”

Rob Bowman, director of marketing for HMY Yachts, considers Palm Harbor and the Miami Beach Marina among the best in the state. The latter “is a huge marina near the Art Deco district, close to Government Cut; it can take larger yachts and has more volume than just about any place.”

“The neat thing is that they’re both destination marinas,” he adds. “You just don’t leave your boat here. There’s nightlife—a lot of things to do.”

Bowman should know. Nine of HMY’s 12 offices are in leading South Florida marinas. HMY also has the distinction of owning one of them—Pirate’s Cove Marina in Port Salerno, a few miles south of Stuart. It is run by HMY President Steve Moynihan’s family. Because the Stuart area is such a sport fishing mecca, this marina is geared to the smaller fishing boats—the market that is in danger of being crowded out by the trend toward mega yachts. But the need to accommodate smaller boats is very real, and even Palm Harbor Marina, while it capitalizes on the major yacht presence in the heart of the wealthy Palm Beaches, recognizes that important market.

“We will always take small boats,” quips Tricia Mason, “but please bring a friend with a big boat.”

The Carlyle Group acquires Lauderdale Marine Center

The Carlyle Group has acquired the largest yacht repair facility in the nation, the Washington D.C.-based company announced Wednesday.

Lauderdale Marine Center will undergo minor renovations and several expansions, the global asset manager (Nasdaq: CG) said in a statement. Its immediate plans for the property include adding pavement to the southwest corner of the property for additional mega-yacht repair space, completing the renovations adjacent to the River Bend boatyard and developing a new management and leasing office on the site.

The sale price Lauderdale Marine Center was not disclosed, but the Sun-Sentinel reported that the property may have been purchased for $140 million. It was last sold for $3.8 million in 1997, according to Broward County property records.

The sellers, Selvin Passen and business partner Morio Mito, were represented by Stiles Realty Broker Associate Julie Fisher-Berry. There was no other broker in the transaction, according to Stiles.

Passen and Mito acquired the property in stages, starting with 33 acres in 1997 and another 17 acres in 2004, Fisher-Berry said. The 8.5-acre Riverbend Marine Center was sold to the partners last year. The property at 2001 S.W. 20th St. in Fort Lauderdale situated at the entrance of Marina Mile and visible from I-95.

Lauderdale Marine Center is the largest yacht repair facility in the U.S. in terms of the number of large vessels it can haul and service. It can accommodate boats up to 200 feet with 19 covered sheds and 156 wet slips. It has three marine travel lifts with haul-out capacity up to 330 tons and features 7,000 linear feet of dockage.

“Carlyle has a track record of value creation in its business and property investments, which makes their ownership a welcome development for LMC,” said Mark Pratt, general manager of LMC since 2000.

Equity for the transaction came from Carlyle Realty Partners VII, a U.S. real estate investment fund.

Stiles Realty Brokers Sale Of Largest MarinaBoatyard In The United States

Stiles Realty, a division of Fort Lauderdale-based full-service commercial real estate developer Stiles, announced the sale of Lauderdale Marine Center, the largest yacht repair facility and marina in the U.S.

The property was purchased by a division of The Carlyle Group, a global asset management firm based in Washington D.C., for an undisclosed amount.

The approximately 60-acre property located at 2001 SW 20 Street in Fort Lauderdale includes the adjacent Riverbend Marine Center and is situated at the entrance to Marina Mile, along I-95 and in within five miles of the Fort Lauderdale/Hollywood International Airport.

Stiles Realty Broker Associate Julie Fisher Berry represented the sellers, Selvin Passen and business partner Morio Mito. There was no other broker in the transaction.

“Lauderdale Marine Center is a valuable investment opportunity not only because of the scarcity of available waterfront land in South Florida, but also because it has a strong repeat customer base of mega yacht owners,” said Fisher-Berry.

This is Fisher-Berry’s second marina sale in 2015. Earlier this year, Fisher-Berry completed the sale of Caloosa Cove Marina and Resort, a 13-acre property located in Islamorada that consists of time-share hotel units, as well as a restaurant, lounge, and full service marina with enclosed dry rack storage.

Fisher-Berry noted that Lauderdale Marine Center’s distinctive business model has driven its market value and reputation over the years. The property maintains multiple operating units, which are comprised of 156 wet slips, an office complex, contractor bays, covered sheds, covered in-water dockage, and a large basin for mega-yachts.

“Lauderdale Marine Center benefits from a substantial revenue stream due to its reputation, experienced management team and quality customer base,” she said. “The marina’s business model combined with growing industry demand for mega-yacht services will only drive further upside potential.”

According to Fisher-Berry, Passen and Mito acquired the property in stages, starting with 33 acres in 1997 and then another 17 acres in 2004.  Included in this transaction is the adjacent 8.5-acre Riverbend Marine Center, which was sold to Passen and Mito last year by Fisher-Berry. It was planned for redevelopment to further expand Lauderdale Marine Center.

“The fact that a global firm has stepped in to acquire this property further solidifies the strength of the marine industry in South Florida,” Fisher-Berry observed. “This acquisition has truly raised the bar for marina and boatyard sales in this market.”

Berry is a principal of Stiles Realty’s Marina Investments Group, which specializes in the real estate brokerage of high-end marinas, boat yards and waterfront resort investments throughout Florida.

News – Economic Impact Study for FLIBS 60th Anniversary

By: MIASF Staff

Date posted: May 27, 2020 Wed

Following the 60th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS), held October 30th through November 3rd, 2019, Thomas J. Murray and Associates, Inc. conducted a study on the economic impact of the world’s largest in-water boat show. The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), owners of the show, and Informa Markets U.S. Boat Shows, producers of the show, released the impressive results of the now completed study this week.

The major findings in the report indicate FLIBS generated $1.3 billion in economic output throughout the state of Florida. That number is up from $857 million from the previous study conducted in 2015. Other increases include total sales of $715.4 million, up from $508 million, or more than $143 million in direct sales per day of the five-day show.

Other highlights in the study include:

•             sales and excise taxes of $69 million in Florida, with $20.7 million occurring in Broward County (up from $51.2 million in taxes, with $16.9 million in Broward County)

•             61% of nearly 100,000 visitors came from outside the region, 49% were from outside Florida, and 10% were from outside the U.S. (up from 58%, 54%, and 10%, respectively)

•             visitors spent an average of $226 per day and were responsible for more than 72,000 room nights in local hotels (up from an average of $208 per day and 69,000 room nights)

•             more than 8,000 full-time jobs are associated with the show and exhibitors expended $13.1 million in exhibit space and local goods and services (up from 6,000 jobs and $12.9 million in exhibitor expenditures)

•             More than 200 vessels of 80’ or greater were displayed

The latest FLIBS economic report can be found by visiting www.miasf.org and clicking on Library in the upper righthand corner.

Florida Trend Forecast: Real Estate

Julie Fisher Berry, Principal Marina Investment Group Senior Vice President, Stiles Realty, Fort Lauderdale

“I focus on the sales of marinas, boatyards and mega-yacht facilities. I receive numerous inquiries to purchase marine properties. If I had 20 small marinas, I could sell them immediately.

There’s more demand for larger slips and, as new boaters come in, there’s more demand for slips in general. I see it continuing and continuing.

It’s very important for us to protect the marine industry. The economic impact of the marine industry in South Florida is about $12 billion. The economic impact of the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is greater than the Super Bowl.”


Billfish Marina, family-run since opening in 1956, will have new ownership if all goes according to plan by April. The same owners behind Bradford Marine have an agreement to acquire not just the facility, but its affiliates, too.

Fort Lauderdale Yacht Harbor (FLYH), run by father-and-son team John and Michael Kelly, acquired Bradford Marine last year. Since then, FLYH has been renovating the property, on the New River in Fort Lauderdale. Conveniently, Billfish Marina sits across the river from Bradford Marine. In addition, with a boatyard plus dockage for megayachts to 130 feet (about 40 meters), it has several affiliated companies on site. Specifically, they are Pipewelders Marine, P&R Canvas, and High Seas Technology. All service the yachts that call on the boatyard, plus address service and refit needs worldwide, too.

Trey Irvine, president of Billfish Marina/Pipewelders, says the acquisition will permit growth and raise the bar on customer service. “Continuing family ownership was very important to me,” he says. “John and Michael Kelly are committed to the same high standards that my father and I had building Billfish Marina and our other companies.”

Upon the anticipated close of the deal in April, Irvine will remain as an advisor to the Kellys. In addition, the marina and its affiliates will continue operating under their respective names.

“Bradford Marine and Billfish Marina both have customer-service-focused operating philosophies and complementary strengths,” comments John Kelly, CEO for FLYH. “We are excited to deploy best practices across the two companies.”

Michael Kelly, COO for FLYH, adds that he and his father acquired Bradford Marine in 2019 to be “an integral part of the Fort Lauderdale marine community” and boost the industry’s economic impact. The new acquisition “reinforces our commitment to those stated goals.”

Bradford Marine bradford-marine.com

Billfish Marina billfishmarina.com

Yachting’s Hurricane Dorian Relief Effort Raises $200K for Aid Vessel

Multiple yacht and megayacht organizations joined forces with the city of Fort Lauderdale last week for Hurricane Dorian aid. Equally noteworthy, over two days, yachting’s Hurricane Dorian relief effort raised $200,000. This is funding the deployment of a 110-footer (33.5-meter) heading to the Abacos this week.

The Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner and a local church started the outreach. The Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), the International Yacht Brokers Association, and the U.S. Superyacht Association all joined in. Further coalition members include The Triton crew newspaper, Atlantic Yacht & Ship, Denison Yachting, Informa Markets, the trade-show company behind the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, and Hope 4 Hope Town, a Facebook group. Hope 4 Hope Town was one of the first yachting alliances to help the Bahamas after Hurricane Dorian, in fact.  

A combination of daily conference calls and WhatsApp messaging brought the various parties together. “I’ve always known we have an amazing community in Fort Lauderdale, but this immediate outpouring of not just financial support, but true compassion and care, is an experience I’ll never forget,” says Ben Sorensen, Fort Lauderdale’s city commissioner. Phil Purcell, MIASF’s CEO and president, adds that industry stakeholders responded quickly. “Abaco and the islands surrounding it are like family to all of us,” he explains.

Thanks to yachting’s Hurricane Dorian relief effort, True North, a 110-foot vessel, loaded dozens of boxes of aid supplies on September 8 at Derecktor Shipyard. True North belongs to Mission of Hope, which addresses physical and spiritual needs of communities following natural disasters. It uses True North as a floating campus, too, additionally transporting medical and skilled construction professionals. Besides the above-mentioned groups, staff from the crew newspaper The Triton, plus brokerage houses Atlantic Yacht & Ship and Denison Yachting, helped to load the vessel.

The images emanating from the Abacos propelled the yachting industry into action. “We knew we needed to act quickly to help our neighbors and friends who remain in harm’s way in the aftermath,” says Julie Berry, a Hope 4 Hope Town committee member, and senior vice president of Marina Investments Group.

Yachting’s Hurricane Dorian fundraising effort continues. You can visit the donation page, via the Mission of Hope website. 

Marine Industries Association of South Florida miasf.org

International Yacht Brokers Association iyba.yachts

U.S. Superyacht Association ussuperyacht.com

Hope 4 Hope Town – Dorian Assistance for Northern Bahamas facebook.com/groups

Marine Industry and Non-Profits Raise Money to Send “Mission of Hope” to the Bahamas

A coalition of business and non-profit organizations, associations and religious groups organically coalesced around an opportunity to provide direct and sustained disaster relief to the Abaco islands. Originally organized by Fort Lauderdale City Commissioner Ben Sorensen and the Rio Vista Church, the group grew to include the Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF), the U.S. Superyacht Association, the International Yacht Brokers Association and more. The team came together using multiple daily conference calls and WhatsApp to communicate, coordinate and leverage their efforts to raise more than $200,000 in two days.

The funding is being used to deploy True North, Mission of Hope’s 110-foot vessel that has been converted into a floating campus for disaster response teams, including medical and construction personnel that react to natural disasters. 

“Abaco and the islands surrounding it are like family to all of us,” said Phil Purcell, CEO/president of MIASF. “When Commissioner Sorenson called, the marine industry responded quickly and decisively to join this relief effort.”

Andrew Doole, president of U.S. Boat Shows at Informa Markets, said, “The people who have been displaced in the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian are our friends, clients and customers and we are committed in the long-haul recovery of this global treasure.”

Hope 4 Hope Town core committee member, Julie Berry of Marina Investments Group, Stiles Realty, was overwhelmed by the stories of destruction and despair, saying, “The images and messages coming from Abaco and the Bahamas are heartbreaking, and we knew we needed to act quickly to help our neighbors and friends who remain in harm’s way in the aftermath.” 

Anyone wishing to join the effort is encouraged to visit the donation page at http://www.missionofhope.com/dorian

Fort Lauderdale Community Leaders Embark on Bahamian Relief Efforts, Deploying Supplies and Assistance

Sept. 5, 2019 – Within hours of Hurricane Dorian pummeling the Bahamas, a group of Broward-based community leaders began planning relief efforts that will commence as soon as the storm passes the devastated island chain. The core group is comprised of individuals donating their time and resources, with experience in disaster relief. All bringing different skill sets and contacts to the table, the group’s working name of “Hope 4 Hope Town,” has secured a fleet of vessels ranging from boats (65 to 185 feet in length), cargo planes, helicopters, seaplanes, private charters and barges up to 300 feet in length.

A collection of specific supplies is taking place at locations around Fort Lauderdale and a GoFundMe page has been set up to collect monetary donations that are being run through The Roger Jennings Davis Memorial Fund, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization in connection with Songwriters In Paradise Hope Town (SIP Hope Town) that has been fundraising and donating to causes in the Abacos for years. The “Hope 4 Hope Town” fund has amassed over $150,000 within 24 hours of its formation.

Deployment of collected equipment and supplies will begin Wednesday, September 4, with reconnaissance efforts happening beforehand to assess where boats can dock and where planes may be able to land or safely drop supplies. The first efforts will be targeted towards the smallest barrier islands. The group already has contacts on each island to assist with on-the-ground deployment of supplies. A team of volunteers including doctors, veterinarians, engineers and paramedics will also be arriving as soon as they can safely be brought in. All funds collected are going to be used to purchase supplies in bulk as well as any large equipment needed. All items are being brought in without VATs, customs or entry fees.

Those involved in these efforts are: Chris Rotella, Mike Rotella, Bill Pace and Bill Rotella from the Rotella Group; Julie Berry from Marina Investments Group-Stiles Realty; Kaisa Pace from Churchill Yachts; Zander & Molly White from Z&M Development; Brett Rose from United National Consumer Supplies; Scott Young from Tropic Ocean Airways; Shelly Tygielski, Bob Denison from Denison Yachts; Kevin from Divers Direct; Leah and Chris Carroll from Atlantic Yacht & Ship, Inc.; Troy Menken from Jetscape; Ed Stobel from Sunshine Solar Services; Julian and Lisa Siegel from The Riverside Market; Durée Ross of Durée & Company, and Songwriter Patrick Davis who is based in Nashville and runs the SIP Hope Town Music Festival.

Mentoring Monday: Meet South Florida’s Bizwomen mentors for 2019

More than 8,000 women across the nation will participate in Bizwomen Mentoring Monday, an annual speed networking event hosted by over 40 American City Business Journals newspapers.

Ahead of Mentoring Monday 2019, the Business Journal is highlighting the distinguished group of 29 prominent executives serving as mentors in South Florida.

They hail from a range of industries, from small business owners and serial entrepreneurs, to executives at some of the most powerful companies and nonprofit organizations in Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties.

Mentoring Monday with the South Florida Business Journal kicks off Feb. 25 at Nova Southeastern University.

From 7:30 a.m. to 8:00 a.m., attendees will enjoy a light breakfast and some networking before opening remarks. Then speed mentoring discussions will take place until 9:25 a.m., followed by closing remarks. Every attendee will have an opportunity to meet from three to seven mentors within that time. Admission is $35. Exhibitor booths are $300, which includes two tickets to the event.

Mentoring Monday takes place in every American City Business Journals market across the U.S., from South Florida to Hawaii. At least 200 women are coached at each event.