Everything to Know About Raft-Ups
We do everything a little bit differently in Bermuda. From our unique accents and pink-sand beaches to our local culture and celebrations. One of the authentic Bermudian traditions you’ll find around the island in the summertime is raft-ups, an unforgettable on-the-water party that you happen upon. We don’t plan for them. They happen at all hours of the day and show our hospitality, who we are. Great vibes, local food, and cocktails that keep flowing.
Here’s everything you need to know about this must-do island ritual where the good times are always happening.
- On the Beach,
- People & Culture
What is a Raft-Up?
Raft-ups are parties on the water where a group of boats toss a line to connect to each other or drop an anchor along a sandbar. Partygoers hop from one vessel to another to sip on someone’s take on the Bermudian swizzle, jam out to Reggae music, and float along those turquoise blue waters on an inflatable device.
The hot spots for raft-ups around the island are Paradise Lakes, Mangrove Bay, and Admiralty House, but you can really celebrate this tradition wherever you choose as long as you have a boat and a group of friends to enjoy the beautiful weather with.
When Do They Happen?
Raft-ups are hosted all summer long around the island. Sundays in the summer are known as “boat days” in Bermuda — you can find both locals and visitors alike celebrating another day in paradise with a swizzle in hand because everyone is a friend here when you’re on the water.
But we really go all out for raft-ups during major special events on the island, such as:
The Non-Mariners Raft-Up over Cup Match weekend
The biggest raft-up party of the year, the Non-Mariners began as a race — after all, everybody knows Bermuda takes its sailing very seriously! But over the years, the event became less about winning and more about losing in the most spectacular fashion possible! “Racers” would compete in non-seafaring vessels, including refrigerators, musical instrument cases, and even antique beds. And who would win? Well, whichever vessel sunk the fastest, of course! Eventually, the race portion of the raft-up was quietly retired. Now the party takes center stage, with nearly every boat registered in Bermuda anchoring in Mangrove Bay to join in on the fun.
One of Bermuda’s biggest celebrations simply must include a raft-up! During Carnival, revellers will make their way to Mangrove Bay for an afternoon on the water, complete with music, laughter, and delicious drinks!
A celebration of our island nation’s heritage, Bermuda Day is filled with parades, music, dancing, and, of course, raft-ups! Hundreds of people and dozens of boats celebrate together in our vibrant waters with DJs on deck and sometimes even a floating platform to bring the party to the next level.
How Can I Join the Party?
In some locations, you can swim, paddle, or float your way into the raft-up action. If you’re looking at joining a raft-up that is accessible by boat only, reserve your spot on a chartered party boat like the MV Longtail or go all out and book a private vessel with Sail Bermuda or Restless Native Catamaran.
Plan Your Island Getaway
Fun is always in the forecast out here. Get a taste of our island flavour with Bermuda’s top events and experiences to start planning your trip.