This Summer, Have a Fling!
Skip Allen, Sr., the founder of Southern Boating, was widely recognized in boating circles and the marine industry as a pioneer for encouraging, training and leading dozens of cruisers across the Gulf Stream to The Bahamas in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. (With more than 700 islands, one would be hard-pressed to visit most of them in a lifetime, though Skip did his best to do just that.) Since then, a few boat dealerships, brokerage companies and boating clubs have organized their own group boating excursions. But if you’re not familiar with one, there’s another option.
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism has for many years organized and facilitated boating “flings” across the Gulf Stream to The Bahamas on scheduled weekends in June and July. Here’s how it works:
All flings depart for The Bahamas on Thursdays. Pre-registered boats ($75 per boat, per fling for boats a minimum of 22 feet LOA) arrive at the Bahia Mar Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, prior to or on Wednesday, the day before the fling. Captains of the participating boats participate in a mandatory captain’s meeting that afternoon or evening. On Thursday morning, a designated boat leads a caravan of up to 30 boats across the Gulf Stream to the designated destination at a marina in The Bahamas. (Dockage is on a first-come, first-served basis.) On Sunday, the boats return as a group to the U.S.
8 – 12
15 – 19
22 – 26
6 – 17
Extended Fling to Exuma
20 – 24
24 – 27
*Dates subject to change
Bahia Mar Yachting Center
801 Seabreeze Boulevard
Ft. Lauderdale, FL 33316
Ph: (800) 755-9558
or (954) 627-6309
Register at bahamas.com/faq/boating-flings.
Registration fees are submitted to:
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism
1200 South Pine Island Rd., Suite 450
Plantation, FL 33324
Attn: Vertical Markets Department
Sounds like a great idea, especially for first timers like us. One question, what happens if the weather is questionable on the scheduled crossing day. I wouldnt want to bash my way over.