From The Pilot House:
The Mysterious Mark of Samuel Plimsoll

The Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show

For as long as anyone can remember, the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi has been shuttling guests to and from the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. Many guests, however, may not have know that Water Taxi provides this critical service.

The Fort Lauderdale Boat Show is an enormous event taking place November 5th – 9th, 2015, and one you do not want to miss. With all of the hustle and bustle associated with the show, it would be easy for a visitor to miss the Water Taxi transportation information. This year Water Taxi is making an all-out effort to get the word out about how to use the Water Taxi system to get to the boat show. No one wants to end up stuck in interminable traffic, only to find there is either no parking or very expensive parking near the show venues.


In order to meet the demand generated by the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, every Water Taxi is pressed into service during the show. Water Taxi even charters additional vessels for the duration. Although the primary mission of Water Taxi during the boat show is to efficiently shuttle visitors to and from the event, guests are treated to an amazing view of the beautiful homes and yachts along the route. Each Water Taxi crew member is adept at providing entertaining and useful information and narration as the trip unwinds.


The Water Transportation Dock at Bahia Mar (Water Taxi Stop 7) is ground zero for Water Taxi shuttle operations to the show. Here you can see a line of Water Taxis ready to go. When visitors get to the Transportation Dock, they can buy a show ticket right there if they have not purchased one in advance.


The Water Taxi “Bayview” is shown here making a stop at Sails Marina where visitors will find some huge sail and power yachts. Vessels with a draft too deep to proceed further up the waterway are displayed at Sails Marina. If you missed it last year, the Columbia is a replica fishing schooner built with modern materials and outfitted like a yacht. She is truly breathtaking. By the way, THE best view of the Columbia last year was from the Water Taxi as it approached the Sails Marina dock.


Through running efficient routes, and with a very efficient boarding process, Water Taxi can help you beat the crowds. During peak boat show hours, boats can run quite full, but Water Taxi can accommodate over 1,000 guests on all Water Taxis combined. This photo illustrates another example of Water Taxi riders getting a spectacular view of the boat show along their trip.


Busy day at the Transportation dock.


The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi fleet includes boats of all different sizes. The two largest Water Taxis, The Island Expedition and The Island Discovery, can each accommodate 200 guests at a time. These two boats are deployed on the New River route during the boat show to move large numbers of guests between the Las Olas Riverfront/Boulevard and the transportation Dock at Bahia Mar. As an additional bonus, when guests ride these larger Water Taxis, they have access to a bar, a bathroom, and air conditioning.


In the next blog, we will show some great fun photos of what guests might experience at the boat show such as this four-story water slide attached to a mega yacht!

Ciao for now!

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Rebuilding the Island Adventure

Over the next several weeks the Water Taxi engineering team will be completing the multi-year project of rebuilding the Water Taxi Island Adventure. Follow along with us as we document in photos the history of this great vessel. She was built in 1964 in Erie, Pennsylvania and has been in service up and down the coast and on the Great Lakes. So, why rebuild a 51 year old boat? The answer is simple…she has “good bones”.

After completing extensive re-plating of the hull and modest interior improvements; The Island adventure has been shuttling guests back and forth between Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood over the last few years. Significant improvements that are underway include: Replacing the second deck roof with an open air awning to provide an inviting open air seating area, Rebuilding of the entire interior on the main deck to create an inviting and comfortable guest space, significant machinery upgrades because the old machinery is “tired” and to improve noise control and reduce environmental impact and repainting of the hull in keeping with the Water Taxi colors.

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From The Pilot House:
The Mystery of Plimsoll Marks

The Water Taxis often pass through Port Everglades taking guests to many Water Taxi Cruise and Save Partners. Guests have so much to look at they often miss something interesting. This includes symbols on the sides of the large commercial vessels.

These symbols are a language of their own and they have a very interesting history. Referred to as the Plimsoll Mark, they are located on the port and starboard side of a ship. The mark was established in the 19th century by Samuel Plimsoll, a champion for mariners and member of the British Parliament. Samuel was shocked at the number of cargo ships that were sinking at sea due to overloading by greedy ship owners. The symbol is known as the Plimsoll Mark, or the Load Line. This symbol is found on all commercial ships and provides a graphic indication of how much cargo a ship can hold and still remain balanced and safe to embark on it’s journey.

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Team Member Profile: Captain Nelson

Team Member Profile: Captain Nelson has been with The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi for 14 years after spending 25 years as an account manager in medical sales. Nelson is one of Water Taxi’s most seasoned captains having earned his Captain’s license in 1997. When asked what Nelson likes most about his role in the company, he said “I like meeting and talking with people from all over the world.” He believes “people are basically good and are interested in the same priorities; taking care of family, having a rewarding career, treating others with respect and courtesy.” Nelson’s most important function is to keep his guests, crew and vessel safe. But that’s not all he does to make Water Taxi successful, he also makes the trip entertaining and fun. Nobody EVER says that Nelson’s trips are boring. Nelson has extensive knowledge of Fort Lauderdale and his engaging ability to tell a hilarious joke, deliver an eye rolling pun or just a quick quip is what makes him the perfect Captain. When asked what his guests like to hear about most during the tour, he said “guests love to hear about the beautiful homes and yachts along the waterway; they never tire of it and I always like to share these stories.”

When Nelson is not working at Water Taxi he enjoys sailing (he used to competitively race catamaran sailboats such as Tornedoes, Hobbies and Prindles). He also enjoys buying, selling and tinkering with cars. If there is an exotic car in the employee parking lot, it probably belongs to Nelson. Recently, he has been seen driving a 2006 Jaguar. If you get a chance to come for a ride with us here at Water Taxi, keep an eye open for Nelson and say hello!

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Plan Holiday Charters on Water Taxi This Holiday Season.

Nothing beats Holiday Charters on a Water Taxi being during the festive Holiday Season. It’s never too early to start planning! For the last 7 years, one or more of our large double deck Water Taxis has been entered in the Winterfest Boat Parade. Imagine decorating a Water Taxi for your own parade appearance. Get your family, co-workers or a group of friends together and be a part of the event that signals the start of the Holiday Season in Fort Lauderdale.

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Full Moon on the Water Taxi

Here it comes again, another full moon and once again it is a Super Moon. For the next week, the sight of the moon is going to be very impressive with the highlights being Saturday (moonrise at 7:15pm ) and Sunday (Moonrise at 8:00 pm) nights when the moon will be at more than 99% full. And as always, the BEST place to watch the full moon rise is either ON the Water Taxi or at a vantage point on land next to a Water Taxi Stop. I have made it a point to be out on the Water Taxi each of the last three full moon nights:

Full moon seen on Water Taxi

In June I got off the Water Taxi at the Esplanade Park Whistle Stop and had a great view of the moon amidst the billowing clouds. This was, I think, the day before that actual full moon so the moon was up before the sun actually set.

In July, I went to stop B in Hollywood and walked to the Hollywood Beach Theater on the beach at Johnson Street. After a memorable oldies rock and roll performance, I went to the beach for a couple of moon shots. The moon was only visible for a few minutes as it quickly ascended into low lying clouds. I did take some photos, but sad to say, I did not get anything worth posting.

Viewing the full moon from Water Taxi

In August I went to the top of the 17th Street Bridge directly above Water Taxi Stop 5 and took a variety of photos. I liked this one as it captured the ambiance of the evening.

AND do not forget the Beautiful Fort Lauderdale sunset that precedes the moon rise.

Beautiful Fort Lauderdale sunset

Sunset behind a cargo ship in Port Everglades on a trip to Hollywood.

Water Taxi heading out to view the moonrise and sunset

Lastly, here is your chariot for heading out to view the moonrise and sunset!

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Use Your Smartphone to Improve Your Yacht Watching

Yacht watching in Fort Lauderdale has dramatically changed with the advent of smart phones. Read on to see how information at your fingertips will let you “peak under the circus tent” of the rich and famous and their multi million dollar yachts.

We all talk about the spectacular yachts in Fort Lauderdale and some of them can be seen from various vantage points on land, but; the BEST location from which to enjoy the view of yachts in Fort Lauderdale is from your front row seat on the Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi with your trusty smart phone in your hands. On a recent day on the water I spied a beautiful vintage Feadship custom yacht on one of the outer docks at the exclusive Bahia Mar Marina. I took some photos and used my smart phone to get more information. This is what I was able to glean as we coasted by:

Avante V

The 120’ long Avante V was built in 1974 at the famous Netherlands yacht construction company, Feadship… This classic beauty has a crew of 8 and is able to accommodate 10 guests in traditional style.

Avante V appears to be undergoing some maintenance painting, which on a super yacht is a never ending process.

Avante V appears to be undergoing some maintenance painting, which on a super yacht is a never ending process.

Avante V is a 120’ Feadship

Avante V is a 120’ Feadship constructed with a steel hull for strength and an aluminum superstructure for light weight and because aluminum is easier to form into complex shapes with lots of angles and curves. It all requires much continuous maintenance. Here you can see some blue painters tape around the pilothouse door.

Here you can see the Feadship logo. Also seen here is the Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus or “IBA” life raft. You can pull the lanyard to inflate or the can hanging from the cable that is a hydrostatic release that will activate if it is submerged more than about 10’ underwater.

Here you can see the Feadship logo. Also seen here is the Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus or “IBA” life raft. You can pull the lanyard to inflate or the can hanging from the cable that is a hydrostatic release that will activate if it is submerged more than about 10’ underwater.

Tracking Avante V with MarineTraffic mobile app

For more information about the vessel and its recent movements can be found on your smart phone as well. The easiest way to do this is to go to You will be invited to download a free app. When you do this you will be asked to use your current location. Now you will see a chart / map and your current location. All of the colored icons are vessels equipped with an Automatic Identification System or “AIS”. In the illustration above I have clicked on the icon for “Avante V” located at Bahia Mar Marina. I now see some basic information on the vessel. Avante is seen here at the dock – if she were underway, the icon would look like an arrow and there would be information on speed and direction as well.

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Water Taxi Visits Travis McGee

Have you read any of the Travis McGee novels by John MacDonald? If you have, what do think of the books and of Travis (Trav to his friends)? For the uninitiated, the Travis McGee books inspired TV shows such as “The Rockford Files” and “Magnum PI” (according to a review I read). McGee’s home base is on his houseboat named “Busted Flush”…you will have to read his first book for how it got its name. In the books, the Busted Flush is moored in slip F18 at Bahia Mar Marina in Fort Lauderdale and while some of the books take us to other places during the story, home is always at Bahia Mar, slip F18. The books follow McGee on mystery adventures filled with danger and plot twists. Spoiler alert; McGee always ends up with the girl. I am on the fourth book in the series “The Quick Red Fox”. So far, I like the books, they are short, a little over 200 pages each, and a light read; perfect for reading while hanging out on Fort Lauderdale Beach or sitting in a quiet little waterfront bar. The only draw back to the books is that they were written in the 60s and 70s and the attitude toward women does not stand the test of time; but, in a way, this also is interesting. What are your thoughts on Travis McGee” Trivia: What profession is (usually) listed as on Travs’ business card?

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This is Not Your Grandfather’s Water Taxi… But He Will Still Approve!

The Fort Lauderdale Water Taxi has undergone a fantastic transformation over the last 7 years while maintaining its core mission of being a “trolley” on the water to take guests to all the fun places in Fort Lauderdale while enjoying a tour of the waterways dubbed, “The Venice of America.” The original Water Taxis were converted yacht club launches capable of carrying 26 guests and when the current owners acquired the business in 2007, there were a total of 5 Water Taxis in service. Today the Water Taxi operates 12 vessels with a combined carrying capacity of 1,019 guests. The fleet is supported by a 6 member engineering team utilizing a 17,000 sq-ft maintenance shed and waterfront facility. A customer service desk is staffed during all operating hours and Water Taxi locations are monitored with a state-of-the-art tracking system.

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