Please select your home edition
Edition
April May June Leaderboard Q2 2023

A gathering of epic proportions - Ultimate Grady-White raft up

by Grady-White 22 Nov 2022 20:11 UTC
Ultimate Grady-White Raft Up - 61 boats © Grady-White

Bill Burleson grew up in Puerto Rico on the small island of Vieques, but like many people born there, he left for professional opportunities when he was young.

Now retired, Bill has a dream of improving the lives of those who still live on the island by helping to brand it as a tourist destination. He set out to do this using every network available. One of those unexpected networks was a local Grady-White Boats owners' club that his friend, David Soler, was starting. David was born and raised in Puerto Rico and together with his wife, they do some wonderful philanthropy. David owns an Express 370 and really enjoys the quality and performance of this vessel.

While working to create the Grady-White club, Bill suggested that they have a family day on the island of Vieques with the triple purpose of raising money to help the islanders with medical expenses, getting the group together, and stimulating the local economy. David loved the idea and supported moving forward.

From there, what started as a fun, family-focused day became a weekend-long event as David and Bill coordinated the biggest raft up in Grady-White history to take place in Sun Bay. The safety of the people attending, as well as protecting the natural habitat, was a top priority for the planners, who worked with the local government to oversee the anchoring during the raft up process. They acquired the proper permits for the event which made way for an amazing weekend with food vendors, live music, and tours around the island.

Rafting up 61 boats is not an easy task, so Bill and David knew they needed a solid plan in place to make it work. Rafting the boats by size would not work because certain boats would want to be grouped together, and some boats would not be staying for the night. To address these concerns, they asked everyone in the group chat to tell them what boats they wanted to be rafted alongside and positioned them in the lineup accordingly. They also kept track of the boats that would be leaving early and placed them on either end of the line, so they could easily depart.

David and Bill had the boats prepare in two groups, and wait outside the bay, until Bill called for each boat on the radio. In the bay at the raft up location, they had a crew that moved from boat to boat as each came in to raft up. David managed the west end from a Fisherman 180 and Bill managed the east end from his Express 370. By noon all the boats were set, and everyone was able to gather in the water, visit the food vendors on the beach, and take part in island tours.

Initially, the group presented a check to FundaciĆ³n Vieques En Rescate for $10,000, but as news spread throughout the day, more money came in from not only people attending the raft up but also vendors who were selling goods and services on the beach. "By the end of the weekend we had raised more than $25,000. The Mayor of Vieques and other community members showed their support and appreciation and officially requested that we make this a recurrent annual event, which we gladly accepted," said Bill.

Creating a community environment among Grady-White owners was David's initial goal when he created the group, but it has turned out to be so much more. "This is what it's all about," says Bill. "We've created a true Grady Life experience!" They plan to do it again next year, and hope it will be even bigger and better.

To learn more about the beautiful attractions on Vieques Island visit Vieques.com

Related Articles

Grady-White ocean crossing surpasses expectations
When the going gets rough this Grady gets going David Poston has enjoyed every Grady-White he's ever owned starting in 2005 when he purchased a Freedom 205. Posted on 24 May
Tilt and Trim: There is a difference
Here's some information to get you started If you think it's enough to just tilt the motors down, accelerate, and leave them in the same position all day, you're missing out on a better ride and overall performance from your boat. Here's some information to get you started. Posted on 27 Apr
Rough weather no problem for this Grady enthusiast
Karen Smith started her own boating endeavors with small boats Karen Smith always loved being in and on the water as a child. Even when it was cold and rough, you could find her surfing, snorkeling, fishing or exploring. Posted on 25 Apr
Walk through new Grady-White models
281 Coastal Explorer and Adventure 218 walkthrough videos led by Bill Hackett There's been a lot of excitement at the Grady-White booth during this year's boat shows. In the fall, we introduced the Adventure 218, and our 281 Coastal Explorer made its debut at the spring shows. Posted on 29 Mar
Center consoles can do double duty
Is a dual console really a fishing boat? You've been dreaming of owning a center console fishing boat all your life, but with a growing family, you're not sure that's the best model for you - at least not right now. Think again! Posted on 28 Mar
Grady family soaks up precious moments
The boat is where everyone wants to be For the St. Denis family, spending time together on their Grady-White Freedom 275 pretty much takes precedence over any other activity. Posted on 28 Feb
Three generations loving the Grady life
Boats that bring families together It's more than just a boat. For the Kulakowsky family, it's a way to connect, pass down traditions, and instill confidence on the water. Posted on 27 Nov 2022
The thinking behind Grady-White's boat designs
World-class customer satisfaction doesn't just happen From an engineering and design perspective, it's not just about our vision for an exceptional finished product, but also our customer's vision for their overall experience on their new boat. Posted on 25 Nov 2022
Boating in rough seas
Always be weather aware, file a float plan, and review a safety check list While we all prefer to be on the water when the seas are nice and calm, we sometimes find ourselves traveling in rough waters. Conditions can change quickly while you're out on the water, but these handy tips will help you get back to the dock easily. Posted on 23 Nov 2022
Conservation: Protecting the future of fishing
Grady-White Boats supports many conservation efforts Grady-White Boats supports many conservation efforts. Recently two organizations, the Tagging of Pelagic Predators Program and the Dolphinfish Research Program, Beyond our Shores, announced exciting discoveries. Posted on 3 Nov 2022