SANIBEL ISLAND, Fla. -- Memorial Day weekend party-goers enjoyed the Sandbar Extravaganza at a new location, Sunday, after safety concerns over the event last year.
Dan Sinclair of the Young Professionals of Fort Myers hosted the event, which attracted more than 500 boats and around 6,000 people. "It's just something we do to show off our natural resources and give our local businesses some more revenue in the off season," Sinclair said.
With crowds of that size, safety was a top priority. The event was previously held at Picnic Island. However, planners decided the old location was too dangerous. "Last year's location had a lot to do with the dangers. It was a really fast moving current, it was pretty deep water," said Philip Pitts, a boater. "Now at least we have a nice sandbar to walk on, everyone can anchor up and tie together without having to worry about being swept under, be hit by another boat, or even drowning."
Fox 4 took to the ocean and boated with a couple of guests, who offered up their biggest boating tips: "Just be aware of your surroundings obviously, I mean that's the key," said Michael Tessmer.
"Life vests are probably priority number one, you don't want to drink and drive is number two," Pitts said.
Lee County Sheriff's Office and the Coast Guard was present to assist in any hazards in the water, but the day went smoothly. "Lee County Sheriff's and the Coast Guard have always been well adapted to make sure they have plenty of people here to take care of us all," said Pitts. "They have plenty of boats floating around, guys on jet skis, helicopters, so they're always making sure that we're on our best behavior and not being stupid."
The main boat served as a stage and featured a DJ. The biggest reason for the celebration was to remember our fallen veterans. "Our boat is called The Veteran Reflection. That's the reason we've got flags there, the Army, Navy, Air force, Marines," said Michael Becker, owner of the boat.