Rainbows flew high and proud on Sunday during the area’s first-ever Pride Flotilla where 30 decorated boats sailed down the Intracoastal to celebrate the Pride.
“We were extremely pleased having almost 30 boats in attendance, and the overwhelming show of support from both the local LGBTQIA+ community, and the public in general,” said Jeremy Pettus, co-founder of a local LGBT boating club, Boys With Boats. “Everyone witnessing this impromptu event met us with cheers, whistles, waves, and boat blasts.”
Pettus said the idea of the boat parade and execution all came together in about 10 days.
“For something that went from idea to successful reality in less than ten days, that was a feat unto itself,” Pettus noted.
The boats formed a flotilla where they sailed up the New River into downtown Fort Lauderdale. Many of them are members of Boys with Boats.
The boats ranged from deep sea fishing vessels, luxury yachts and sailboats to personal watercraft.
“When our Pride parade was postponed, everyone was so disappointed,” Scott Schramm, one of the event organizers, said in a press release. “But, we realized, the pandemic couldn't stop us if we moved the parade to the water. We started putting the word out on social media and had no idea how many boats might show up.”
Two boats from the Fort Lauderdale Police Marine Unit displaying symbols of Pride escorted the boat parade.
“Their presence and service to the boating community are very much appreciated,” Pettus said.
Revelers onboard the boats danced, clacked fans and honked their horns as bystanders along the five-mile route cheered.
“Everyone had a great time. It was definitely a Pride we won’t forget anytime soon,” co-organizer Patrick Parker said in the release.
Pettus added: “We are extremely grateful to Patrick Parker for conceiving this idea, and working with Scott Schramm we were able to execute something we hope will become an annual tradition.”