In any given year, Southwest Florida—from Tampa to Naples—is home to a slew of organized go-fast boating events. But with four good-time, casual happenings on the calendar to end this year and enter the next one, this week could be the best of all. And speedonthewater.com chief photographer Pete Boden will be there to capture all four of them.
This week’s performance-boating events in Southwest Florida begin Thursday with the fifth annual Munyan Run. Photos by Pete Boden copyright Shoot 2 Thrill Pix.
Four consecutive days of go-fast boating fun with the best photographer in the game handling the images? It doesn’t get much better than that.
Here’s a quick look at what’s on tap
• The Munyan Run, Thursday, December 30—Starting at 11 a.m. outside the Hyatt Sarasota Resort Basin, the Munyan Run—named in honor of local boating enthusiast Bill Munyan—will head to the Hula Bay Club in Tampa Bay for lunch. No registration is required. Would-be participants simply need to be on the water when the fleet departs for the trek, which at approximately 120 miles roundtrip is the longest run of the week.
• Run Around Longboat Key, Friday, December 31—Since 2017, Boden has brought back spectacular images from this often-picture perfect event. A photo gallery from the shoot typically goes live the following morning on speedonthewater.com, and many of them appear in the annual Speed On The Water Year In Review print edition. (Boden also sell images to individual boat owners, of course.)
Like the Munyan Run, this one has no formal entry requirements. In fact, it could be the most casual happening of the week—and that’s saying something given the laidback nature of all four events.
“There is no particular destination for this run,” wrote Ryan Beckley, the primary organizer of the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run, on the event’s Facebook page. “Some people go up the Manatee River to the many restaurants there, while others choose spots on Anna Maria Island and others go to spots in Cortez and Bradenton Beach.”
• Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run, Saturday, January 1—In 2021, the Gratton event, which departs the 10th Street boat ramp in Sarasota at noon every year, attracted 100-plus boats from all over the country and likely will again in 2022. This event also requires no registration but all participants—particularly those from out of town—should take a look at its Facebook page, as there are “dos and don’ts” they’ll want to be aware of before they head out.
Southwest Florida’s signature event this week, the Joey Gratton Memorial New Year’s Day Fun Run attracts high-quality hardware from around the country.
“Please pay attention in our local waters, no-wake zones and 25-mph zones,” Beckley wrote. “If it looks shallow, it probably is. If you find yourself passing a bunch of other boats all of the sudden, slow down. There are some very shallow areas and some very narrow areas—pay attention and please use common sense. Come enjoy our area, relax and have a good time.”
• Fort Myers Offshore Holiday Fun Run Presented By Nor-Tech, Sunday, January 2—Like all Fort Myers Offshore events, this one, which will head for lunch at the Village Brewhouse in Fishermen’s Village on Punta Gorda, begins outside the Sanibel Island Bridge at 11 a.m. Also like all Fort Myers Offshore happenings, participants must be members of the nonprofit scholarship-raising powerboat club to be part of it. But joining the organization is easy (click here if you’re interested) and inexpensive, as memberships cost as little as $60 per year.
Though this Sunday’s Fort Myers Offshore Holiday Run is the final event of the week, it is likely to see a record-setting turnout.
“You do need to be a member to participate in any of the FMO runs,” said Tim Hill, the president of Fort Myers Offshore. “Of the eight runs we do per year, six of them are free to members. With our Turkey Run and Holiday Fun Run being designated fundraising events, they also have a $100 entry fee.
“We would love as many of the Gratton participants who are interested to participate in our Holiday Fun Run,” he added. “They can sign up right on the website.”
Scenes From The Fourth Annual Munyan Run
Commentary: Remembering Joey Gratton
Fort Myers Offshore Pivoting Destinations For Holiday Run
Nor-Tech Steps Up With Trade-Focused Fort Myers Offshore Scholarship Effort