In an average year, securing dockage and lodging for 200-plus Florida Powerboat Club members in advance of the organization’s signature Key West Poker Run, set this for year for November 10-14, presents challenges. The city at the end of the road is a fine place to be in the late fall and winter. Between visiting vessels and those kept full-time in Key West dock, that makes dock space as coveted as it is limited.
Regardless of the final number, the Florida Powerboat Club’s Key West event will be the largest poker run of the year. Photo by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
But on the heels of 2020 when the pandemic literally shut down the Florida Keys for much of the year, 2021 is no average year for Florida Powerboat Club head Stu Jones and his team. So the club has paused—at least for now—new sign-ups for the event.
“There is a different climate in Key West for this season and it has to do with large number of boaters who have chosen not to venture off to the Bahamas or the Caribbean due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Jones explained “They have relocated and are doing seasonal rentals at all of the marinas that we visit in Key West, putting a much higher demand on facilities
“We will be able to accommodate those who are registered but we cannot compound our problem and create false hope, and give people the impression that we are able to accommodate new registrations,” he continued. “There is no longer any hope, in my opinion, that we can find more docking for new sign-ups.”
Though Jones said that reaching the 300-boat mark would have been significant, “it was never a goal or objective.” He emphasized that his top priority remains completing current logistics and delivering a great experience the club’s members.
“My goal is—as always—to have a good-running event and happy customers,” he said. “The overcrowding and frustration that comes with maxed-out marinas is not worth the extra 50 registrations.”