What is Floatopia?
Floatopia is a semi-organized gathering of people who come together to float on rafts in the ocean, party or relax on the beach. Today, word of the event is often spread via social media, where the goal is generally to attract as many people as possible.
Attendees often bring large floats intended for group use, while others bring home-made rafts, floats, pool noodles, etc.
Who organizes these events?
Floatopia is thought to be organized loosely by a small group of planners who undertake the event planning. The event is often promoted by local DJs and other event promoters. Although there can be some communication and coordination between the organizers, it’s thought that most Floatopia events are quasi crowd-sourced. Facebook and Instagram groups are a main organizational tool for these events; an event page is often created, and shared widely.
Floatopia events are generally attended by young people who want to have fun. Many may seek a wild “spring break” type ambiance. Police lament that many attendees are under the legal drinking age, and that underage drinking is a major problem with Floatopia parties.
Problems and Complaints
Because large numbers Floatopia attendees come to drink alcohol and often become intoxicated, problems are frequent and foreseeable.
In at least one example at the Peanut Island Floatopia event, first responders had to save Floatopia attendees from drowning. Apparently the attendees tried to swim to Peanut Island after the island’s ferry stopped running, and then became distressed mid-swim.
Incidents of violence are common, probably due to the large number of drunk and rowdy partygoers. Many Floatopia events require additional crews of officials, especially lifeguards, marine patrols, and police officers. Many news reports are filled with incidents of violence, injuries, arrests, criminal charges and jail time.
In a few isolated cases, riots and civil unrest have occurred as police try to control crowds. This is especially true of closely-associated Deltopia events.
Who Wants to Ban Floatopia? And, why?
Trash and Environmental Damage
From the earliest Floatopia events, garbage, debris and environmental damage have been problems.
Although some iterations of Floatopia have tried to use volunteers to clean up garbage, a large amount of trash winds up in the sand and water. Unfortunately, this includes large amounts of plastic and other non-biodegradable trash.
For local residents, trash and environmental damage are often cited as the main reasons for wanting to ban Floatopia events. The uncontrolled crowds of hundreds, or thousands of people, also cause local traffic impacts and other crowd-based challenges.
Floatopia Santa Barbara: The Original
The event is a derivative of Deltopia, which is said to be the “original Floatopia”.
Deltopia began in the early 2000’s, as a gathering of college students from the University of California Santa Barbara and Santa Barbara City College. Early iterations of Floatopia are said to have attracted crowds of several hundred attendees, but crowds have grown dramatically with each passing year.
As the event became more popular, other “Floatopia” events around California, and the country, were organized.
Other Floatopia Events
In Florida, Floatopia events have been organized in many areas; mostly along Florida’s east coast.
All Floatopia 2020 events should be cancelled due to social distancing requirements, and Covid-19 precautions.