Onyx establishes a beachhead in Fort Lauderdale


Fort Lauderdale has earned the moniker “Yachting Capital of the World” and has drawn comparisons to Venice, Italy for its 165 miles of canals that crisscross affluent neighborhoods where yachts parked in front of waterfront mansions are a common sight.

The New River cuts through downtown Fort Lauderdale and the 62nd Annual Fort Lauderdale Boat Show (Oct. 27-31) is one of the industry’s premier events. This year’s show will take place at the Bahia Mar Yachting Club.

All of these are reasons Onyx committed to establishing a strong presence in Fort Lauderdale – to be well-positioned to service one of the major yachting markets in the world.

Andrew Doole, president of U.S. Boat Shows with Informa Markets, which is producing this year’s show, said, “We are excited to welcome back the global community of visitors and exhibitors to the 2021 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS). In 2020, Informa was able to host an incredibly successful event that exceeded industry expectations despite the pandemic, and we anticipate that the 2021 boat show will raise the bar even higher for boating exhibitions.”

FLIBS is a major economic driver benefitting the marine industry, the city of Fort Lauderdale, and the state of Florida with a total statewide economic impact of $1.3 billion attributed to the 2019 show and more than $714 million in products sold over the five-day event.

Onyx provides yacht boat maintenance, repair, and staffing services throughout the region, including the Bahamas and the Western Caribbean.

Strong employment base

Onyx has capitalized on the fact that the Southeast Florida region (Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, and Miami) touts a strong marine employment profile.

“The marine industry, as a legacy industry in Florida, has many multi-generational businesses, shipyards, marinas, and entrepreneurial enterprises,” says Kelly Skidmore, Marine Industries Association of South Florida (MIASF) public relations specialist.

In Broward County alone there are several marine magnet programs at the middle school and high school level, as well as marine technical services and vocational schools. One of these is Broward College, which offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science in Marine Engineering Management degree. Courses that make up this degree included marine technology, marine electricity, marine electronics, marine diesel, inboard/outboard sail drive and transmission, marine auxiliary equipment, marine corrosion and prevention, and advanced marine composites.

“It’s a well-rounded program that enables a student on graduation to be well-rounded and walk into a shipyard and be multifaceted,” says Dr. Sean Gallagan, associate dean for transportation programs. “We graduate 25 students every four to five months and most have already been in dialogue with employers since after their first semester.”

Highlighting Fort Lauderdale’s importance to yachting in the region is the recent announcement by the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Visit Lauderdale regarding a partnership to pair their nautical strengths to elevate both destinations’ desirable yachting lifestyle. Through marketing, public relations, and events, Bermuda and Greater Fort Lauderdale will be highlighted as harbors for sun-seeking visitors of all sorts—those permanently part of the jet-set crowd and travelers who enjoy a vacation setting dotted with yachts and superyachts. 

The two-year partnership, jointly signed in Bermuda and in Fort Lauderdale, is a precursor to a new “Go Where the Yachts Go” marketing campaign which will leverage key events like the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (FLIBS) in October and Bermuda Grand Prix.

“As Bermuda and Greater Fort Lauderdale engineer tourism recoveries, this kind of collaboration is particularly meaningful,” says The Hon. Premier David Burt of Bermuda. “It’s a fantastic example of two destinations finding greater success collaborating with one another rather than competing. I look forward to two years of exciting innovation as the Bermuda Tourism Authority and Visit Lauderdale bring this partnership to life.”

The two ideally located maritime destinations with non-competitive peak seasons (November through April for Greater Fort Lauderdale and May through October for Bermuda) will use the “Go Where the Yachts Go” theme to entice vessels leaving one destination to head to the other. Similarly, non-nautical visitors to each place will be acquainted with the allure and beauty of the other, both seaside, luxury lifestyle places, but with distinctly different aesthetics.

“Combining the resources and reputations of both destinations makes financial and promotional sense during this time of tourism destination recovery,” says Steve Geller, mayor of Broward County and Tourist Development Council chair. “A primary shared goal is to raise the profile of both destinations and attract a wide range of consumers who aspire to vacation in the same place as the yachting and sailing set.”

Onyx Services

To service the established yacht boat market in the Fort Lauderdale area, Onyx has invested in both workforce and equipment resources to provide electrical repairs, mechanical repairs, exterior maintenance, repair, painting, and coating services, varnishing and carpentry, and other maintenance services.

Here’s a brief overview of the Onyx menu of services:

Electrical repairs

Yachts have become more technologically sophisticated, requiring a higher level of knowledge, and understanding to diagnose and repair these systems.

At Onyx, our trained electricians install, maintain, and repair electrical/electronic systems and equipment onboard boats and vessels.

Mechanical Repairs

Our comprehensive Systems Check includes inspecting and testing the following:

  • Wiring
  • Battery
  • Alternator
  • Belts
  • Navigation Lights
  • Interior/Exterior bulbs
  • Bilge pumps
  • Instrument panels/electronics
  • Solar panels
  • Fluid levels
  • Heads
  • AC units
Hired Captain tying off line on yacht
Captain Services

Captain Services

Onyx also provides full captain and crew staffing for yacht owners needing crew for seasonal or permanent assignments as well as relocating the yacht for one-way trips. Our captains are seasoned veterans at the helm who hold USCG master’s licenses and are fully qualified to pilot your vessel. We recruit only the highest echelon of captains who have the experience and knowledge necessary to deliver your yacht safely and on schedule at the appointed time and place.

Exterior Maintenance

Detailing and maintenance include exterior boat detailing; washing; boat waxing; buffing; polishing; interior detailing, and monthly systems check.

Yacht Painting and Coating

Harsh saltwater conditions require a regular painting and coating treatment to keep your yacht sailing on clear waters.

Painting/maintenance options for your vessel include marine paint, single or two-part; gel coating, ceramic coating, bottom painting, varnishing and carpentry; and prop speed painting.

Painting and coating will breathe new life into your vessel. Painting and coating will prevent damage to the hull and arrest the growth of marine organisms that attach to fiberglass and metal.

Varnishing and Carpentry

The look of natural wood on a yacht is a classic in marine vessels. The technicians at Onyx are proficient in all aspects of wood construction, restoration, and repair. We install bulkheads, modular cabinetry, and any other wood components on board.

We can also deliver interior and exterior varnishing to make woodwork look new.

Varnish Restoration

We specialize in restoring marine woodwork that has been ruined by the sun and sea. Let us strip the existing finish and bring life back to your teak trim. Generally, this involves removing the existing finish with heat guns and scrapers, then sanding all the remaining varnish away to bring back the natural color of the wood. A minimum of 10 coats of high gloss UV varnish is applied to stand up to the sun’s UV rays and to make your boat’s trim look like it is fresh from the showroom.

Onyx Commitment

At Onyx, we understand the needs of the yacht owner. Yacht owners have made significant investments into their craft and expect the highest level of service, staffing, and maintenance when it comes to their vessels. Our strategic investment in the Fort Lauderdale market reflects our understanding of Fort Lauderdale’s role as one of yachting’s premier destinations and boating centers.