In January of this year we wrote an article on Boys With Boats, an aptly named social group made up predominantly of gay men with boats and gay men who like boats.
At the time the group 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.”
Boys with Boats started from Pettus’s own restoration project on a boat he had purchased. He created a page on Facebook for men with boating knowledge to swap stories and advice, and ultimately to serve as a social outlet for gay men with a common interest.
What was initially a club of 15 members has become a social force spanning multiple states with chapters in the Great Lakes and Atlanta, as well as multiple chapters in Florida, the largest chapter being in Fort Lauderdale with 1,420 members.
“People have approached me saying that this club is filling a void,” Pettus said. “I told them that the club was all about ‘you,’ I want to hear ‘your’ story.”
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.
People with boats aren’t the only ones allowed to join, either. Anyone interested in boating or just wanting a break from the bar and club culture of the LGBT community are welcome to join a safe and welcoming social atmosphere.
“We have members with kayaks and members with a 120-foot yacht,” Jeremy Pettus, the club’s founder told SFGN. “It doesn’t matter the size of your boat, we just want people to come and see who we are.”
Pettus continued, “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.”
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. The club also hosts meet and greets as well as larger scale events.
On the first Sunday of every month, members come together for a meet and greet at Flip Flops Dockside Eatery. Other events can be found on their Facebook page or on the club’s website, boyswithboats.club.
For anyone interested in boating, or just want to get involved and meet some guys, Boys with Boats is always open to new faces.
To find out more about Boys with Boats, check their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/groups/941083335987328/.