This will happen at the RAFT OFF boat party on Lake St. Clair, Michigan on Saturday, August 11th, 2018.
The current record of 1,651 boats was set on August 14th, 2010 on Lake Cumberland, Kentucky.
There have been attempts before in 2004 and 2005.
The Raft Off was started by Brian Elliott and his friends:
History of the Raft Off
Social media has been on fire lately with those for and those against going for the record for the Raft Off again.
So, we decided to sit down with Micheal Droogleever, the commodore of Nautibouy and his crew at the always amazing Brownies on the Lake in St. Clair Shores the other day and ask what is going on.
“We have a crew that is completely dedicated to making this happen this year,” said Michael. “We have been planning for over a year going back and forth with the waivers from the Guinness people in England. We were going to try this last year but we just didn’t have the time logistically to do it”
Micheal is a Naval Academy graduate and served 15 years on active duty flying jets and doing move logistics in the marines.
“My background is perfectly suited for this, I have been in charge of 2 major battalion moves to Afghanistan,” said Micheal. He was stationed at Selfridge ANGB from December of 2012 to June of 2016 which is where his adventure for Lake St Clair and The Moot started.
“For this to work, all boats need to be pre-registered to be officially counted,” said Michael, “We are going to start in a couple of weeks with Raft Off registration rallies at different locations throughout the spring and up to the event. You will be able to come up to the registration, grab a beer, and register and pick up your materials at the same time.”
Just before we went live with this NautiBouy let us know the following:
A free registration will be available, given that the participant can demonstrate a membership or donation to a nautical charity.
Registration goes live this Saturday, April 28th, 2018 as planned so see www.Raftoff2018.com for all the details.
There is no comment on the cost yet but the registration and cost information will be live on Saturday.
“According to Guinness “The Event” is considered everything in between the registration flags. Every boat must be registered to tie off to each other.
There will be a Steward that is placed every 50 boats to assist with tying boats off and to make sure everyone is registered and assist with safely tying up as well.
The Steward must be a volunteer and cannot be counted as part of the official count. In addition, the NautiBouy is also going to have an official Guinness adjudicator present for the event.
“This entire effort is for the good of the community and the good press it will bring to the Lake St Clair and Michigan boating community,” said Leslie Wagner, the official ambassador for the NautiBouy.
“We regularly have this many boats out there just about every weekend! Lake St Clair should own the title” said Mike.
“There will be no same-day registration, every boat must be registered beforehand.”
When pressed about what happens when someone without a registration tries to tie up it was made clear that “you must be registered and have a flag to be part of the official record attempt“.
There are multiple lines of boats out there every year. If you want to be part of the record then you have to be pre-registered and have a flag to be part of the world record attempt and counted.
“Saftey is going to be a big deal this year,” said Micheal, “Part of my experience as a Marine officer is instilling the safety aspect of things. For this to succeed we need to make sure the tie-up is done in a safe and organized way. It is the only way it will work.”
“As we get closer more and more details are going to come out. Part of the record attempt is we are going to put a drone up in the air at a certain time. Whatever that time is, we need to make sure there is at least one person on every boat that is visible for the count,” said Michael, “It’s the only they will get counted. These are one of the hundreds of details that need to be worked out still”
One of the things we are going to try this year is to encourage a more family-friendly environment. We realize that there are a lot of boaters that will want to be part of this but don’t necessarily want to part of the melee,” said Michael “while we are not promoting this as family friendly we understand that families may be out there and everyone should be able to be part of the attempt.”
The NautiBuoy boat is 1992 Sea Ray 350 express bridge – one of the most recognizable things about the NautiBuoy is the huge mustache.
We did ask where that started. It’s actually a “bow wave” said Michael, “a couple of years ago I had a mustache hat from a bachelor party that I was wearing out in Muscamoot. It really started a lot of conversations so it just sorta stuck and has been apart of the boat ever since.”
Part of the proceeds from this year’s events will go to Save Our South Channel Lights.
Save Our South Channel Lights Organization is a non-profit all-volunteer group that was created to help raise public awareness and support for the preservation and restoration of the historic South Channel Lighthouses on Lake St. Clair.
Construction of the Old South Channel Range Lights started in 1855 and finished in 1859. These lights guided ships into the freshwater delta once known as the “Venice of America“.
You can read more about their efforts to save these historic lighthouses at http://www.soschannellights.org/
We did meet up with Gary Strobel, President of the Save Our South Channel Lights. “We are excited to be part of the GWR attempt. It is good for the boating community and it also helps us promote and take care of some of the oldest lighthouses in our state.”
The lighthouses were originally finished in 1859. To put that into context Abraham Lincoln was not even president yet.
We had such a good conversation that we are going to run another article on just the lighthouses in a couple of weeks so stay tuned.
The Jobbie Crew Captain’s personal take on NautiBuoy’s GWR attempt:
Going for the world record is not going to be an easy task.
The amount of coordination and effort that is going to have to go into this event is an incredibly large undertaking with a lot of legal/financial risks as well that Nautibouy has taken on.
As with everything on the lake, there will be people on both sides of this event who are for and against it.
Personally, as the writer of this article, I am looking forward to seeing how this plays out the next couple of months.
I am sure we will be meeting up with the NautiBouy crew for updates as we go forward.
I am excited about bringing more positive vibes to the boating community in Lake St Clair and I hope it continues to promote the event, lake, state, and everyone involved in a positive aspect and continues to be about the lake and great people that are part of Lake St Clair.
We did reach out to the St Clair County Sheriff for their thoughts/comments but we have not heard back as of yet. Should they respond we will update the article.
Official Date of the Guinness World Record Attempt
Saturday, August 11th, 2018
Muscamoot Bay, Lake St. Clair, Michigan
Registration for the world record event: