Boats cram Bayard Point during Clay County’s unofficial Boater Skip Day last year | 904 Happy HourBoats cram Bayard Point during Clay County’s unofficial Boater Skip Day last year | 904 Happy Hour
Boats cram Bayard Point during Clay County’s unofficial Boater Skip Day last year | 904 Happy Hour

Boater Skip Day floats into Bayard Point on Friday

Published on June 5, 2024 at 2:51 pm

Hundreds of boaters will shuck their day jobs Friday to party at Bayard Point on the St. Johns River during Clay County’s unofficial “Boater Skip Day.”

With upwards of 1,000 boats and their passengers floating in for the event at 9 a.m., the Clay County Sheriff’s Office reminds everyone to be safe and sober.

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Deputy Abbegail Harris said safety is the department’s primary concern with a mostly sunny and very hot day predicted.

“Of course, we are there for law enforcement if needed,” she said. “And if action is needed or necessary, that is what’s going to happen. The officer will obviously use discretion, but we want everyone to have a good time, but we want it to be done safely.”

According to the North Florida Marine Association, Boater Skip Day started as an event called the Poker Run Raft Up some years ago. It evolved into a party on the water where boaters of all types “skip” work on the first Friday of every June and assemble at Marker 24 at Bayard Point, just south of the Shands Bridge, with music and more.

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The Shands Boat Ramp will be closed to civilian traffic of all kinds at midnight Friday so enforcement agencies can use it as a command center. It should reopen late Friday. For most of the day, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will join local law enforcement to patrol the point, Harris said.

“They are doing that per the county, making sure everybody has a safe experience on that day,” Harris said. “The most common things would possibly be life jackets, or maybe having too many people.”

Last year, officers also handed out 103 written warnings for various boating violations, as well as 38 boating citations, FWC said. Officers also made 18 arrests for boating under the influence, although there were no injuries during the event, the agency said.

Harris said boaters should pack lots of water to stay hydrated and “be smart and have a good time.” And boaters should be aware that Governors Creek, Knight’s Boat Ramp, Lakeshore Boat Ramp, Doctor’s Lake Boat Ramp and Williams Park were all full by 9:30 a.m. last year, the Sheriff’s Office reported.


author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.
author image Reporter, WJCT News 89.9 Dan Scanlan is a veteran journalist with almost 40 years of experience in radio, television, and print reporting. He has worked at various stations in the Northeast and Jacksonville. Prior to joining the WJCT News team, Dan spent 34 years at The Florida Times-Union as a police and current affairs reporter.

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