"With all the talk about gas prices being up and boaters staying at the dock, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to this year's AquaPalooza is especially sweet," said Rob Noyes, vice president of marketing for Sea Ray, in a statement. "Clearly, people have come to see AquaPalooza as the best boating party of the summer-if not the entire year-and they won't be kept away."
AquaPalooza wrapped up festivities last weekend on rivers, lakes and other bodies of water throughout the world. This year's signature event, hosted by MarineMax Lake Ozark, MarineMax Osage Beach and MarineMax Laurie, drew thousands of revelers to a giant raft-up last Saturday on Missouri's Lake of the Ozarks. The event also included live music, food and drinks, games and giveaways and a fireworks display at night.
According to local water patrol estimates, more than 2,500 boats gathered at the signature event-nearly double the number of boats that were originally registered.
"It's really incredible that so many people would show up in one place at one time," Sea Ray president Rick Stone said in a statement. "It's a testament to the boating lifestyle.
"We're creating quite a stir with AquaPalooza, and no one else in the boating industry can replicate it because we already invite everyone who owns or uses a boat," Stone added.
In other parts of the country, Sea Ray dealers invited boaters to their own local AquaPalooza events. On Canyon Lake near San Antonio, The Sail & Ski Center organized an overnight cruise and poker run. Port Sandfield Marina in Port Sandfield, Ontario, hosted an event that featured antique boats and cars, as well as a kids coloring contest. Sea Ray of Knoxville celebrated at the company's world headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., with three bands, food, drinks, fireworks and more.
"All of our dealers do an outstanding job at coordinating AquaPalooza events in their area," said Noyes. "They have made it their goal to unite boaters from coast to coast to celebrate the excitement and satisfaction of life on the water."