Dirty South

Thompson hired a captain and launched the boat last March. It travels at 2 knots (about 2 miles per hour) from Fort Lauderdale to Miami Beach and back, through the Intracoastal and along the beach. For $250, a potential advertiser gets a hundred 30-second spots (usually spread over two days) on the roving, 20-foot-wide sign. It can display anything that any computer or television can play, Thompson says, "just much, much larger." So far, he's sold ads to artists, travel agents, bars, restaurants, and an Elvis impersonator. He's also used the sign to display the photos of America's Most Wanted criminals and birthday wishes.

He says he is not concerned that the boat might distract motorists and cause accidents along A1A. "There's so much to look at along the beach already. People should go slow there anyway."

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