Roar Offshore powerboat races take to the water off Fort Myers Beach

Published: October 12, 2019 9:04 PM EDT
Updated: October 13, 2019 7:13 PM EDT

After 15 years since the last powerboat spectacle in Southwest Florida, Roar Offshore hit the water off Fort Myers Beach Saturday to complete the three-day event.

Fort Myers Beach was still packed with attendees, as the races wrapped up for the day. Nothing but excitement filled the island, as spectators watched powerboats reach speeds of 180 mph. Many said they hope this won’t be the last time they get to witness these feats along our coast.

Guests told us they were only having fun at Roar Offshore. Yet it’s been almost two decades since the last powerboat championship was held in Southwest Florida. Tim Hill, the president of Roar Offshore, told us he was extremely impressed with the turnout and positive reaction to the event.

“Powerboat racing goes back almost 45, 50 years,” Hill said. “It’s been absent around 15 years, so we’re extremely happy, as residents of Fort Myers, to bring Roar Offshore back to Fort Myers Beach.”

Credit: WINK News.

Racer Steve Curtis told us excitement and fun were equally felt by all the participating powerboat racers.

“I think all the competitors are really thrilled to be back here,” Curtis said.

Racers, businesses and visitors alike were all happy the races made a comeback.

“We’re just looking forward to the business,” event attendee Carol Steier said. “It’s important to us.”

Roar Offshore business impact 

Many businesses on Fort Myers Beach were packed well into the night and after Roar Offshore powerboat races had finished. And the event itself is expected to bring in millions of dollars, but some local businesses near the event say it was not the same for them.

“The boat races have been a fantastic event for Fort Myers Beach,” said Bob Ferreria, a bar own on the island. “It’s brought a lot of revenue, brought the community together. It’s been great.”

Ferria’s restaurant and bar was busy after the main events ended for Roar Offshore, as customers stuck around.

“It’s fun to see your town and your community succeed,” Ferreria said. “And everybody making money and coming together.”

Roar Offshore organizers are hopeful busy businesses like Ferreria’s will make 2019 a banner year for Fort Myers Beach.

“The race couldn’t have come at a better time after last year’s red tide and very slow business,” Ferreria said. “So we’re extremely excited to see what those economic impacts are.”

But just across the way from businesses like Ferreria’s, not all businesses enjoyed the same good fortune.

“Because we’re off the beach, because there’s only a certain amount of time in between the races, so a lot of people stayed on the beach to eat,” said. “The parade was all down that way, so we didn’t see too many people down the stretch because they were all looking at the boats.”

Still, Roar Offshore is looking forward to a significant overall impact.

And businesses remained focused on their customers, as festivities continued for the weekend.

“We’re just trying to stay on top of things and take care of everybody,” Ferreria said.

Credit: WINK News.

Seventy boats were entered in the competition, and tens of thousands of spectators watched what they hope will be the beginning of a new tradition in Southwest Florida.

“We hope that Fort Myers Beach keeps this going because we love it,” Steier said. “It’s been a blast.”

The president of the event told us they are still waiting to learn the economic impact generated from the event. The goal was between $10 million and $15 million

“Pretty good turnout,” event attendee Matthew Mendez said. “So I think it’d be a real fun time to keep seeing them out here.”