CLEARWATER BEACH — Guinness World Records is looking into whether President Donald Trump’s supporters set a world record for the largest boat parade when they sailed through the Pinellas Intracoastal Waterway on Saturday.
The flotilla traveled from Pier 60 off Clearwater Beach to the Welch Causeway Bridge in Madeira Beach. The boat parade of enthusiastic Trump supporters was organized by the owners of Conservative Grounds, a Largo coffee shop that opened in February.
“We’re not getting paid for this, we’re donating all our time and the money we raised to political campaigns come this fall and to charity,” said Cliff Gephart, one of the parade’s organizers and a co-founder of Conservative Grounds, in a video of an Aug. 13 virtual captains’ meeting held before the flotilla set sail.
“We’re doing nothing but our best to make this the coolest Trump parade ever.”
In the video, organizers said they were just a “handful” of boats away from registering enough boats to break the old record of 1,180 boats. Gephart could not be reached for comment Tuesday. But Guinness officials said that an application for the record was submitted.
Aerial video from the flotilla shows a seemingly endless line of boats as they pass along Pinellas coastline. They were adorned with “Trump 2020” flags, “Back The Blue” flags and American flags. The lead vessel had “TRUMP” painted on its side with a bald eagle. Video from the event was widely circulated on social media, receiving millions of views and shares from Trump’s official campaign channels and from the president’s son, Eric Trump.
Similar boat parades have been held in Tampa Bay and across the country. “Trumptilla” is the Trump-branded word for the celebrations.
The president retweeted video from Saturday’s event and said he wished that he could’ve been riding in one of the boats alongside his supporters.
”I just wish I had time — I’d get on one of those boats, and I’d be carrying a flag also,” Trump said in a video released by his campaign Sunday. “I just want to thank everybody. I see that, and the whole world is watching.”
The current record for the world’s largest boat parade was set Sept. 13, 2014 in Malaysia, according to Guinness World Records. A group of 1,180 boats took part in the Malaysia Day celebrations in the Kemaman District in Terengganu, Malaysia, along the South China Sea.
However, South Carolina’s Jason Cline told The State that he believes his July 5 pro-Trump boat parade set the world record with 3,417 boats. Guinness still lists the 2014 record of 1,180.
Guinness spokeswoman Amanda Marcus told the Tampa Bay Times that an application was received from Saturday’s organizers. She said it could take 12 to 15 weeks to determine if a record was established. That process, however, will not begin until evidence is submitted.
Marcus said Guinness had not received any records as of Tuesday. Conservative Grounds’ website emphasized to prospective captains that they had to register in advance to make sure their names are included as part of the attempt to break the world record.
“We are currently awaiting evidence to review,” said Marcus in an email. “Within our application process, we provide the applicant with guidelines that are specific to that record category and must be adhered to, to qualify. These guidelines also detail the evidence that must be submitted.”
Anybody can apply to propose a new record, according to Guinness’ website. That’s when an “expertly trained Records Management Team” begins “substantial research and verification checks.”
The flotilla was attended by a number of conservative figures, including former Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor and Trump campaign spokesman Hogan Gidley. Both Bondi and Gidley tweeted that they took part in the parade.
“I attended my FIRST, EVER @realDonaldTrump boat parade this past weekend in Clearwater, FL and it did NOT disappoint,” Gidley tweeted on Sunday. “These videos and pics do not come close to doing it justice but it was amazing. Thanks to all those freedom-loving patriots who made it happen. God bless!