Brad Nettles // The Post and Courier
Boaters attending AquaPalooza took to the Wando River on Saturday afternoon trying to cool off.
Thirty-one-year-old Nikki Hughes had never been to AquaPalooza, but after hanging out with boaters on nearly 400 other boats and listening to bands playing on a barge on the Wando River, she had one thing to say.
"There should be a band playing on a barge in Charleston every weekend," said Hughes, dressed in a black bikini and a cowboy hat. "It's a great time."
The fourth annual event, presented Saturday by Sea Ray Scout of Charleston, didn't seem to suffer from a change of venue this year.
For safety reasons, it was moved from Morris Island, where it had been held the last two years, to the Wando River off of the pier at Daniel Island's children's park.
"I'm really excited with the turnout," said Jim McClellan, general manager of Sea Ray Scout of Charleston. "We have 300 to 400 boats here. We had people here at 9 o'clock this morning to get prime space. There are a lot of people with all makes and models of boats out here."
And that was the truth.
The flotilla ranged from one guy who was tooling around on what looked like a motorized surfboard to a yacht that one Sea Ray staffer estimated to cost about $1 million.
McClellan said he hopes the new location will be the permanent home for AquaPalooza, noting that the agencies involved with the event -- the city of Charleston, S.C. Department of Natural Resources and the Coast Guard -- were cooperative and helpful.
Patrols were frequent, but boaters were allowed to revel in the summertime joy of sunshine, salt water, libations and music.
Charleston Police Lt. Chip Searson reported no major incidents or injuries.
"We wrote one ticket for littering when a guy threw a beer bottle at another boat. That was it," said Searson. "For all the people out here today, it turned out very well."
There was one moment, however, when authorities had to step in for safety reasons.
Currents picked up around 3 p.m. and a few boats became un-anchored, drifting into an area near the stage designated for swimming. When the boaters were slow to respond, police on the barge called in a police boat to get the situation under control. The Blue Dogs, the second act to play after Uncle Mingo, stopped playing for about 10 minutes until the boats safely exited the swimming area.
Meanwhile, organizers also kept an eye on unexpected storm clouds, but those clouds skirted past the area for most of the afternoon.
Those attending AquaPalooza enjoyed the day and the event appears on the verge of growing even more.
Rebecca Lindstrom, 23, of Mount Pleasant, attended last year's AquaPalooza at Morris Island and used Facebook to invite as many friends as she could think of. Twelve were on her boat and other 12 came on another.
The only downfall of the new location, Lindstrom said, was that it was harder to anchor. In fact, they ended up anchoring near the shore in waist-deep water.
"It was twice as hard to anchor (than Morris Island), but 10 times the fun," said Lindstrom.
Tim and Deborah McAdams of James Island, also AquaPalooza veterans, liked the Daniel Island location because they were able to come via land and bring their 2-year-old, Hadley.
"We couldn't get a babysitter," said Deborah McAdams, noting that if AquaPalooza were held on Morris Island, they wouldn't have been able to attend. "It's a little tamer, but a lot more easy to get here."