If you don’t already have your plane tickets booked, now is the time to schedule a trip to Florida from October 29 through November 2 for the 2009 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. More than $3 billion worth of boats are expected to be on display. The queen of the show, Trident, a 214-foot Feadship is making her international show debut.

The Feadship Trident is making her boatshow debut.

The 214 foot Feadship Trident will be making her international debut.

Tours of Trident will be by appointment only at the show’s Hilton Fort Lauderdale location, and it sounds to me like it’s worth trying to finagle a look at this Donald Starkey design. If you manage to get only a few seconds aboard, be sure to get a lift up to the sundeck in the yacht’s elevator. The ride reportedly makes you feel as though you are traveling through a solid block of marble.

A good number of other rides are expected to be available at this year’s show, too, as organizers introduce “Demo Docks” at the Pier 66 location. You will be able to test drive as many as 40 models ranging from center consoles up to the 130-foot motoryacht range, cruising south toward Port Everglades. These rides, too, are by appointment only. You can make yours any day that you visit the show by visiting the exhibitor of your choice.

The Fort Lauderdale boat show covers every square inch of waterfront and is a great opportunity to check out what's new.

The Fort Lauderdale show covers every square inch of waterfront and is a great opportunity to check out what's new.

Last but not least, this year’s show will include an Exotic Car Showcase at the Hall of Fame marina location. You may not be able to develop much speed during a test drive along the crowded streets surrounding the boat show, but the cars on display are expected to include models from Aston Martin, Porsche, Ferrari, Maybach, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Land Rover, Maserati, and Audi.

Even if you can’t find time to get behind the wheel of these monsters after spending an entire day at various helms, you can certainly send your heart racing a bit by simply taking a look.

Editor's Note: Kim Kavin is an award-winning writer, editor and photographer who specializes in marine travel. She is the author of six books including Dream Cruises: The Insider’s Guide to Private Yacht Vacations, is editor of the online yacht vacation magazine www.CharterWave.com.