|A Road Flotilla – Try It!|
Guest editorial by Van W. Snider, Jr., CAE
In my previous position I managed the Marine Industries Association of South Florida in Fort Lauderdale. I had the opportunity to work with the Bahamas Tourism Office on what was called “Bahamas Boating Flings.”
Boating Flings are the Bahamian equivalent of a road trip, but instead of cars, folks use boats. A lead boat and captain leads the way for a flotilla of pleasure craft on a journey from Florida across the Gulf Stream to beautiful Bahamian islands. After the simple crossing, everyone can relax on white powder beaches or enjoy an itinerary filled with exciting activities and still have enough time to snorkel, scuba dive and fish. Flings start on Wednesday and end on Sunday during the summer from June through August.
The Association provided the lead boat with captain and also coordinated the voyage across the Gulf Stream, while the Bahamas Tourism Office coordinated activities in port and on the island. Someone, of course, had to make the trip representing the Association so, only out of the goodness of my heart, I volunteered and sacrificed the time. And yes, I tried not to miss one.
So why do I want to tell the Bahamas Boating Fling story? I am convinced a large number of boaters are not experiencing the variety of boating opportunities available to them.
With the start of the boating season, I suggest boaters plan their boating season with the intent of experiencing other boating destinations and experiences. Marinas, boat dealers, boat manufacturers, boat clubs and yacht clubs often schedule rendezvous to difference marinas or ports of call. Many manufacturers work together with their dealer representatives and plan wonderful cruises to fun destinations. Make a few calls or check out the web for potential boat trips to take advantage of these opportunities.
I have always wondered why rendezvous are directed to only larger boats that have accommodations for living aboard. Why don’t dealers, who represent trailerable boat lines, also offer destination trips for a group of trailerable boat owners (their customers) and do a road flotilla to a far away and new boating destination?
Another option is to get eight or 10 boat owners together, plan a road trip trailering their boats to a specific location for a two- or three-day boat outing, and meet at one central location to start the trip together on the highway. Coordinate motel or hotel reservations at your destination and parking for boats with boat trailers. Each day everyone launches for a full day of boating activities in that location, experiencing a new location and fun things to do. It may be possible to arrange for dockage at a harbor or commercial marina in the area so each of you don’t have to launch and retrieve every day. Your road flotilla might consist of personal watercraft and jet boat owners, ski boat owners, fishermen and women, day-sailors, run-abouts, or a mix. In Michigan you’ll have a hard time deciding on a destination because Michigan has so many to choose from.
When you hear rendezvous or flotilla cruise, you’re not excluded just because you don’t have a 42-footer. Pick your boating destination and coordinate with friends for a road flotilla to a new boating experience.
Try it; I think you’ll enjoy visiting other fresh-water Michigan boating opportunities and creating fond memories.