GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. – Many people hit the St. Johns River on Friday for “Boater Skip Day,” an unofficial annual holiday where people play hooky for a day on the water.
The event has seemingly gotten bigger and bigger each year, and some boaters told News4JAX that they’ve been participating in the tradition for about 10 years.
An aerial look from the Sky 4 helicopter around noon showed a large crowd of boaters at Bayard Point off Green Cove Springs in Clay County.
Law enforcement was also out on the water, keeping a watchful eye to ensure boaters weren’t putting themselves in danger and monitoring for anyone operating a vessel while intoxicated. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission was making sure people were having fun safely, and News4JAX went out with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, which was also on patrol.
“It’s a lot of people in one small space,” said Marine Deputy Bill Maher, who has been with the Sheriff’s Office for seven years. “I am looking for people operating boats in and out of the area, making sure they are still going slow. There are a lot of boats anchored and people swimming around.”
Earlier in the day, just after 10:30 a.m., the Sheriff’s Office tweeted that the Knight’s, Main Street, Old Ferry, Governors Creek, Lakeshore and Doctors Lake Marina boat ramps were full.
The Sheriff’s Office said it had issued five citations for illegal parking at Knight’s Boat Ramp.