By now almost everyone in the performance-boat world knows the story of Fort Myers Offshore, but for those who don’t here’s the thumbnail version: The club, which started as an informal group of go-fast boat owners in the Fort Myers, Fla., area in 2005 was galvanized in 2007 by a boating accident that took the lives of everyone on board a solo vessel except then 16-year-old Jennifer Molter. The group raised $34,000 to send Molter to college. A year later the club was incorporated as Ft. Myers Offshore, Inc., a 501 (c) (3) charity with an all-volunteer board of directors—in fact, everyone involved with the club, including photographer Jay Nichols, is a volunteer. While fun on the water with friends remains a big part of the club’s mission, so too does its scholarship fundraising efforts.
I have to admit, I’m a sucker for performance boating groups—from Lake Racer LLC, which organizes the annual Desert Storm event in Arizona, to the Western New York Offshore Powerboat Association, which puts on the annual Buffalo Poker Run—that manage to mix the business of having fun with the pleasure of doing something for others.
(Photo courtesy/copyright Jay Nichols/Naples Image)