It’s known as the Mardi Gras of the Midwest and the title is well earned. With thousands of revelers congregating on Gull Island every year, this wild event is a Detroit favorite.
Let’s start by saying that most veteran Lake St. Clair boaters have a love-hate relationship with Jobbie. The biggest gripe about it is that inexperienced boaters go out to Gull Island, they drink too much and don’t pay much attention to the rules of the water.
Learn more about Jobbie Nooner’s history, stay safe and have a blast with our insider tips.
What is Jobbie Nooner? The event was started in the 80’s by some of Detroit’s auto industry employees looking for a summer getaway. The workers would typically go out on the Friday following the summer solstice. Gull Island on Lake St. Clair served as a perfect venue. It’s grown in popularity ever since and according to the Detroit Free Press, the 2010 event attracted approximately 10,000 people.
You won’t find Gull Island on Google maps. It was created by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers while drudging the canals for ship traffic. They dumped all the sand in one spot at the end of Harsens Island and it eventually became an island. The Army Corps currently manages the island.
There is no bridge so you won’t be able to drive there. If you don’t own a boat or know someone with a boat you’re options are limited. Make sure you have a GPS device unless you really know your way around. The latitude and longitude coordinates are 42.53037,-82.680509.
If you’re experienced or just feeling spry you could try a non-motorized craft like a kayak or a wind-surfer. A good place to depart would be Metro Beach. Try this at your own risk, because it’s about 6 miles across the lake. The water is likely to be rough and traffic will be heavy.
Things To Bring (And Not To Bring)
Don’t bring your kids. Okay, I know they’re not “things,” but please leave the youngsters at home.
Trash bags are a must. Help keep the island clean! There will likely be trash cans around the beach, but it’s better to keep your trash on your boat. Hey, an enterprising individual could probably make some good money collecting bottles and cans from Jobbie.
Don’t bring glass bottles. If you absolutely have to bring glass bottles, KEEP THEM ON YOUR BOAT! There’s always somebody limping around with a cut foot from broken glass on the beach.
Sunscreen – Water amplifies the UV rays. You’ll be paying for it all weekend if you don’t protect yourself from the sun.
Beads – In the spirit of the Mardi Gras theme — beaded necklaces may come in handy for a trade.
GPS – Punch in the lat/long and you’ll find the island much easier. 42.53037,-82.680509
Refreshments – Stock up the cooler with plenty of water, food and your favorite beverages. There’s no electricity on the island, let alone a store.
Camera – You’re going to want to share this spectacle with your friends. Nowadays everybody has a camera phone, and it’s great to be able to share instantly, but a good camera will capture Jobbie in all its glory.
Water shoes or flip flops – You’re going to want to explore the island. Protect your feet from the odd sharp rock or broken bottle.
Know Before You Go
Designate a sober captain! Driving a boat drunk is just as dangerous and illegal as driving a car drunk. In some ways the water is even less forgiving than the road.
Use the Buddy System and stay safe! It sounds silly, but every year, people get separated from their groups and then spend hours trying to find them. Keep an eye on your buddy.
Underage drinkers beware! Authorities from the US Coast Guard as well as police from the U.S. and Canadian sides of the border will be out in force. If you’re under 21, don’t think that Jobbie Nooner is a safe haven for drinking.
Anchor toward the outer edge of the boats unless you want to stay ’til the end. If you park near the island you’ll end up getting trapped by other boats.
What’s your favorite thing about Jobbie? People watching is a hoot!
What’s the best time to go? It’s best to coordinate with boating friends and arrive with people you know. Some people will be out there the night before, but they’re hardcore.
What do you think about Jobbie Nooner? Leave a comment and let us know.