SeaRayders Cruise Club Celebrates 30 years! 1989-2019
The Sea Rayders Club of Fort Myers/Naples was chartered as a non-profit power boating club in l989. It was promoted by the Gulf Wind Sea Ray dealerships in these two cities. There were similar Sea Ray clubs at dealerships along the west coast of Florida. When you purchased a boat capable of overnight cruising, you were invited to join the Sea Rayders Club cruising to various destinations. A member of the Gulf Wind staff coordinated the trips. “Miss Sea Ray” (a new model boat) captained by a service employee would accompany the trip to help with any emergency situations. Classes were held to familiarize Captains and First Mates with operating their new boat. Off the water, there was always the bus trip to the Miami Boat Show, events at the dealerships and parties. The club grew in size from a few boats to 40 at a 2000 Super Bowl/Olympic cruise at South Seas Resort.
In January 2001, members received a letter saying Marine Max had purchased Gulf Wind and had disbanded the cruise club. The boaters who had enjoyed our activities reorganized as the SOUTHWEST FLORIDA SEA RAY OWNERS CLUB. We remained a Sea Ray only club open to any Sea Ray overnight cruiser. We liked the idea of traveling at speeds common to our boats and the comradery of captains sharing their Sea Ray expertise. Cruise leaders organized our monthly trips – weekend adventures (many with clever themes) and longer cruise experiences in the Keys, Bahamas, East Coast, Carolinas, and more. Land events were General Meetings, Dine Arounds, the Big Party and the Holiday Party. In 2003, we had 74 boats on the Club roster. We continued cruising and enjoying these activities for 18 years.
As of January 2019, we have our third name: SeaRayders CRUISE CLUB. With Sea Ray’s decision in 2018 to no longer make the bigger cruisers, we needed to address the club’s future. The club membership voted to open the club to other manufacturers of cruising boats. With this change, we are looking forward to NEW BOATS, NEW MEMBERS and the same GOOD TIMES!
Brenda Miller, SeaRayder since 2000