What is a healthy number of times to go out to bars every week? Every month? I live within 1 mile of 15+ gay bars on Wilton Drive in Wilton Manors, Florida. I think I get to them maybe once a month. My friends ask me, "WTF is going on? You live in gay paradise. You should be out three times a week!" The bars are great and you get to meet a lot of locals, tourists, and international men, but if I live in paradise, there should be more than just gay bars in paradise, right?
Fort Lauderdale, Florida has so many positives. The great weather, beaches, gay population, better school systems and less crime than Miami, and the waterways. I love that I can just go at any day, any time and have a meal either on the ocean or the intracoastal waterway, both just two miles from my home. But as I sit there by the water, I'm not really on the water.
Sitting at restaurants like Bokampers, Shooters, Kaluz, and Flip Flops enjoying a great meal, it's an added plus to see a boat full of boys cruise on by. Then if they take the time and dock at your restaurant, even better. I have a kayak here, but that's a little different than being on the water, shirtless, with an adult beverage in hand, and having great conversations with the boys.
Well, it seems that I may be in luck to get onto one of those boats. Let's see if I can beome a member of Boys With Boats.
As of February 2017 when our friends over at SouthFloridaGayNews did a story on the group, the Boys With Boats boasted just under 600 members. In less than six months, the group’s membership has almost quadrupled, with members throughout their national chapters totaling just over 2,000 members.
“It’s a great way to meet people outside of bars and sports leagues,” club founder Jeremy Pettus told SFGN. “I am very proud of our club, I am very proud of our members.”
What would cause someone to create such a group? Boys with Boats started when Pettus’s found himself in the middle of a restoration project on a boat he had purchased. Creating a Facebook page to reach out to men with boating knowledge, he looked to swap stories and advice, but soon became a social outlet for gay men whom held a common interest.
The social media group started off with 15 members and soon became an in person gathering, not just a group in Florida, but with chapters in the Great Lakes, Atlanta, and several more across the sunshine state, with the largest in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
While the club is marketed as a group for gay guys, Pettus said that all are welcome.
“Even though it’s Boys with Boats, we are open to all,” he said. Pettus pointed out that there are many straight and lesbian couples involved in the club and events.
So I have a kayak. Can I get in? the membership is open to all. If you have a boat, watercraft of some kind, great. But if not and you're just looking to get away from whichever bar scene you frequent, this may be the group for you.
“We have members with kayaks and members with a 120-foot yacht,” said Pettus. “It doesn’t matter the size of your boat, we just want people to come and see who we are.”
“We want to take the younger guys out of bars and show them there is more to life than liquor and smoking. We want to mentor people interested in boating, to give them something meaningful.”
So I sent a message to the Boys With Boats Facebook Page. It's a closed group, so let's see if I am welcomed to join.
There's also a chance to meet with members in person. On the first Sunday of every month, members come together for a meet and greet at Flip Flops Dockside Eatery, one of my favorite eateries on the intracoastal here in Fort Lauderdale.
On the third Saturday of every month, Boys with Boats hosts a raft-up event where a member chooses a location for the club’s boats to anchor up to each other overnight.
See you soon guys! And with groups nationwide, maybe once a member, this would be a great way to meet men away from the bars in different cities and I wouldn't have to bring my boat!