LAKE ST. CLAIR (WXYZ) — The event is almost 50 years old: Jobbie Nooner. It’s the summertime day to play hooky from work that was started by autoworkers on Lake St. Clair at Gull Island.
It usually attracts thousands of boaters. This year, rain caused it to be a washout for most people.
Two years ago, a heavy storm may have really changed the minds of many boaters to stay off the lake today.
Last year a big crowd gathered even with COVID. Today we found all the boats buttoned up in the marinas and getting drenched with rain in the Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores.
We talked with Greg Wall at Ken’s Gas Dock. We asked, “who’s going out on the lake?” His answer, “Nobody. The ones that did came back in.”
“I called it off. I did. Didn’t want to, but hey.” says Captain Andre Watkins on his boat with 4 others.
They decided to hunker down on the boat and stay off the big lake. His wife Candace said they were at Jobbie Nooner last year during COVID but kept their distance.
“We anchored and we were kind of off by ourselves but near others,” Candace said.
Last year there was a lot of drinking, smell of weed, partying, and a lot of Sheriff’s Deputies and Coast Guard, but no reports of big outbreaks of COVID in the following weeks. There was a concern the event could become a super spreader of COVID.
Today, we saw one lonely Coast Guard boat heading out to an almost empty rainy lake.
“It gets nasty quick. And then most of them have to come all the way across the lake to get home,” says Greg Wall.
Cell phone videos of the 2019 storm show boaters trying to keep from crashing into each other during heavy rain, strong winds, and big waves.
Facebook posts today said only a few people were out there. They are also talking about plan B, a big raft-off next weekend during the 4th of July.