Boca Bash 2022: Revelers start planning for all-day party on the water

BOCA RATON — The Boca Bash, the celebration on the water that attracts thousands of revelers each year, is poised to return this Sunday.

The Boca Bash’s Facebook page touts the prediction that “this year will have a bigger turnout!” And preparations have begun: Some boat rental companies began advertising weeks ago on social media, while others have boycotted the event.

The celebration, which isn’t sanctioned by the city, each year draws public safety concerns, given that a person drowned in 2018.

“It’s something we never look forward to but the city takes great care to keep everyone safe,” said City Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke. “Our police are out there, the Coast Guard is out there, the Sheriff’s Office is out there to maintain a safe environment.”

The celebration lures boaters to Lake Boca on the last Sunday of every April. Lake Boca is a stretch of the Intracoastal Waterway that’s north of Camino Real, south of Palmetto Park Road and west of State Road A1A.

The boat ramp at Silver Palms Park will be closed due to construction, so attendees would need to find another place to drop their boats in the water. In the past, boaters have used the Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Boynton Beach inlets.

‘It’s just a big cluster’: Thousands of boaters at Boca Bash, but not everyone is a fan ]

Despite being wildly popular among younger people and boaters, many neighboring residents in past years have bemoaned the noise, trash left in the water and drunken attendees and boaters. It’s become a point of contention between those residents and a city that says the state government, not the city, has jurisdiction over the Intracoastal Waterway.

In 2018, Francis Roselin, 32, of West Palm Beach, drowned while swimming at that year’s Boca Bash. Calls for more safety in the wake of Roselin’s death led to an increased presence of first responders in subsequent years.

“‘Boca Bash’ is not a city event so we wouldn’t know details or plans,” Boca Police spokesman Mark Economou said in a statement. “If it does happen, we don’t discuss operational procedures but the plan/response would be similar to what it has been in past years. If there are any closures etc. we will announce them prior to the date.”

Even some business owners have started refusing to participate in the event.

“We don’t do Boca Bash,” said Holly Sauer, president of Palm Breeze Charters, located at the Boca Resort. “It’s not safe and it’s not a good thing to do.”

Sauer said boats have gotten stuck in the middle of the action at Boca Bash and unable to return in a timely manner and that the number of people partying on the water can create an unsafe atmosphere. And she said she knows of several other boat rental and charter companies that have started similar boycotts.

“We’ll still book charters that day, but if someone asks us to take them there, we’ll say ‘no,’” she said.

Other businesses, however, have embraced the Boca Bash, advertising boat rentals or other services specifically centered around the event.

Sunday’s forecast calls for a mostly sunny day, with a high near 83 and a 30% chance of showers.

An earlier version of this news article misspelled the name of a Boca Raton Council member. She is Andrea O’Rourke.

Austen Erblat can be reached at, 954-599-8709 or on Twitter @AustenErblat.

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