The USSA Annual Meeting presented by Engineered Yacht Solutions gathered at the Bahia Mar Hotel on Friday, October 27, 2023 with a crowd of more than 350 members and industry leaders as the association celebrated 17 years of supporting the superyacht industry with highlights of the latest industry trends, industry data and global updates as well as promoting our partnerships with various regulatory agencies.

Following the passing of the gavel and introduction of the new USSA Board of Directors, new USSA Chair Bert Fowles of IGY Marinas provided his ever-popular annual data and trends presentation.  This year focused on the following topics: “Funflation”, latest year over year vessel tracking by country, media trends, carbon offset, and customer journeys. 

Dylan J. DeFrancisci, CBP Image
Chair Bert Fowles<br />

Instead of a key-note presentation this year, the USSA felt it was more important to focus on various critical topics impacting the industry and with a focus on advocacy.  To provide a first-hand account of the importance of our partnerships with the various regulatory agencies, we were happy to welcome a key representative of the Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  Dylan J. DeFrancisci, Port Director of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades Seaport and his team were able to join the meeting.

Mr. DeFrancisci is in charge of oversight of the 10th busiest international airport in the United States and Port Everglades Seaport, the number three cruise/passenger port in the world and a leading container port. He showcased those in attendance the critical nature of our partnership and how they are here to work with us and not against the yachting industry.  They want to provide the industry better tools and assistance moving forward and to be a resource.

The presentation of awards recognizing leaders is always a highlight and this year featured some amazing winners for their excellence and industry impact:  Golden Compass Award: The Kelly Family, Bradford Marine; Beacon Award: Tom McGowan and the Team from Engineered Yacht Solutions; Young Industry Leader: William Smith, Lafitte Advisors and the Gertrude Denision “Woman of the Year in Yachting” Award: Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, Total Marine Solutions.  These winners exemplify the true essence of the award they received and recognized their tremendous impact on the superyacht industry.

As with all events, it could not have been accomplished without the support of our sponsors: Engineered Yacht Solutions, Bradford Marine, IGY Marinas, Safe Harbor Marinas, Suntex Marinas, Total Marine Solutions, CBRE, Port 32 Marinas, Burger Boat Company,, Alexseal Yacht Coatings, Denison Yachting, Derecktor Shipyards, Palm Winds, SOS Yachting and Yatco/Triton News Network

We also want to acknowledge our new 2023-2024 USSA Board of Directors:

Chair Bert Fowles, IGY Marinas; Vice Chair Tom McGowan, Engineered Yacht Solutions; Past Chair Diane Byrne, Megayacht News; Advocacy Co-Chairs Joe Dargavage, Romora Bay & United Island & Yacht and Monique Webber, Pacific Yacht Management; Marketing Co-Chairs Dan Cowens, Oasis Marinas and Julie Perry, Exclusive Yachts; Membership Co-Chairs Zack Savage, Underwater Lights and Julie Berry, CBRE | The Marina Group; Treasurer Scott Walter, Shore Premiere Finance; Regional Board MembersSouthwest: Dawn Stofberg, Marine Group Boat Works; Northwest: Marty Marchant, Westport, LLC; Great Lakes: Jim Ruffolo, Burger Boat Company; Northeast: Mike Yorston, AERE Marine Group; Mid-Atlantic: Ernie D’Alto, Thunderbolt Marine; Southeast: George Whitehouse, Northrop & Johnson; At-Large Members Alexandra Anagnostis-Irons, Total Marine Solutions; Spencer Crowley, Akerman, LLP; Jason Dunbar, Vessels Value Survey; John Fitzgerald, Saunders Yachtworks; Chuck Levert; Tampa Ship/Edison Chouest Offshore; Andy Lynsky, DATUM RMS, LLC; James Maitland, West Marine Pro; Ted McCumber, Feadship; Kate Pearson, Safe Harbor Marinas and JB Turner, Front Street Shipyard.

USSA Board of Directors

Thank you to our sponsors!

Engineered Yacht Solutions logo
IGY Logo
Safe Harbor Marinas logo
Suntex logos
Total Marine Solutions logo
Burger boat
Megayacht News Logo
Alexseal logo
Denison logo
Derecktor logo
Palm Winds Logo
Yatco logo

Dylan J. DeFrancisci, Port Director of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades Seaport

Mr. Dylan J. DeFrancisci reported for duty as the Port Director of Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Port Everglades Seaport, January 7, 2018. As Port Director, Mr. DeFrancisci is charged with direct oversight of the 10th busiest international airport in the United States. Port Everglades Seaport is the gateway for international trade and cruise vacations, and is currently the number three cruise/passenger port in the world. Port Everglades is also one of Florida’s leading container ports, with more than 4,000 ship calls annually.Prior to his current position, Mr. DeFrancisci was the Area Port Director of the Miami Seaport from December 2015-2018. In this position, he had oversight of passenger cruise ship and cargo vessel operations, the Miami Seaplane Base, two foreign trade zone operations, the small vessel operations center for the State of Florida and cargo vessel arrivals on the Miami River. In addition to the Miami based seaport operations, Key West and Marathon Airport also fell within his area of responsibility.Mr. DeFrancisci served as the Director of Preclearance Operations from 2012-2015 in Washington DC. In this position, he supervised over 1500 CBP Officers, Agriculture Specialists,support staff, and dependents at 16 Preclearance ports of entry in six foreign countries, across six time zones. From 2008-2012, Mr. DeFrancisci was assigned as the Port Director of Aruba Preclearance.There he was responsible for approximately 40 employee and dependents. During this tenure, he had the distinction of being the most senior U.S. Representative on the island of Aruba and worked regularly with foreign government dignitaries and officials. Mr. DeFrancisci served within CBP Headquarters from 2003-2008 and mostly on assignment as a Field Liaison Officer at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington DC. In this position, he was responsible for directing a variety of programs and initiatives within the Office of Field Operations. Mr. DeFrancisci spearheaded programs relating to multi-year resource requests based on analysis of organizational goals, enforcement initiatives, Agency priorities and funding projections. Mr. De Francisci joined the U.S. Customs Service in 1996, as a Customs Inspector at John F.

Kennedy International Airport and then Newark-Liberty International Airport. He has directed numerous operations to include the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) for Hurricanes Matthew, Harvey, Irma, and Maria. He was the Deputy of the Emergency Operations Center for Operation Secure Line. Mr. DeFrancisci most recently served as the Deputy National Incident Commander of Operation Allies Welcome and National Incident Commander of the Southwest Border Coordination Center in Washington DC.With over twenty-seven years of progressive law enforcement experience, Mr. DeFrancisci has had the opportunity to apply a hands-on approach to a myriad of programs designed to address anti-terrorism, border security and cargo/passenger facilitation.Mr. DeFrancisci is happily married to his wife Michele and has a thirteen-year-old daughter,Daniella.