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Raft Off on Lake St. Clair defies ban on gatherings of 250-plus people

Sam Jones
The Detroit News

Jobbie Crew, the adult-oriented, boat-party club, hosted its 16th annual Raft Off event Saturday at Muscamoot Bay, Lake St. Clair, in spite of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's latest executive order prohibiting gatherings of over 250 people.

"There's a lot of people and boats here," said George Rose, Clay Township fire chief. "It is an unsanctioned event. But we're just here to make sure people are safe."

Rose added there has been no indication of police intervention, even though Clay Township police officers are onsite at the Raft Off. 

Jobbie Crew received hundreds of RSVPs for the event and has made no effort in hiding the unsanctioned gathering, promoting it on their Facebook page and website

"Some 60,000-100,000+ people attend RAFT OFF," Jobbie Crew wrote on their website. "Boats line up side by side and tie-off together, forming an arena called 'The Gauntlet' in shallow water where people can walk around or cruise around on floats in. The Gauntlet stretches for about 2-4 miles long."

The sun was out and the temperatures were in the 80s.

The event also claims to be the "World's Longest Raft-Off."

The Crew has listed general guidelines for the event, such as reminding participants to pick up trash and encouraging designated drivers. However, no mention of social distancing or other COVID-related guidelines have been published on the website

According to the governor's latest executive order, gatherings of over 250 people are strictly prohibited in Michigan. The Raft Off, according to their website, is well over the limit. 

But that hasn't stopped Jobbie Crew for past 2020 events. 

One of the Crew's other popular events, the Jobbie Nooner, was hosted back in June, with vast participation, regardless of the coronavirus. 

St. Clair Shores Sheriff's deputies patrol the area.