Watch: Maskless Man Overboard! Gay Party Boat Sinks in Puerto Vallarta After Being Rear-Ended

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Saturday January 2, 2021

An open bar, a "clothing-optional" beachside party, go-go boys... and a gay cruise catamaran slipping under the waves. It was all part of a New Year's Eve bash that went awry in Mexico.

American tourists and gay events organizer Jeffrey Sanker are coming under fire after a boat full of revelers went down in the ocean near Puerto Vallarta, a disaster that unfolded even as local hospitals struggled with overwhelming numbers of COVID-19 cases.

Newsweek reports that the "gay party boat" had 60 passengers and "belonged to the gay cruise company PV Delice Party Cruise".

Newsweek noted that the boating excursion "advertised an open bar aboard the boat and a clothing-optional secluded beach party, with a live DJ and go-go boys and admission running from $120 to $150."

The gay press slammed Sanker "for organizing a 'super-spreader' New Year's Eve weekend party in Puerto Vallarta," Newsweek said, reporting that social media users "called the event organizers and attendees 'COVIDIOTS!,' " and criticized them for being "selfish."

Pandemic restrictions by local government banned gatherings "of more than eight people" and bars were required to observe a 7 p.m. closing time, the news article added.

"Sanker had said he would cancel the event and offer refunds, but he later announced that the party would proceed, albeit in a nearby region," the Newsweek story said.

Local media outlet the Puerto Vallarta News called out the event a week before it happened, taking to Facebook to condemn how "foreigners come to our community and throw big parties and leave COVID while causing our businesses to close and people lose their jobs".

The boat was coming back to shore when it began sinking. Video posted online show the craft listing and half-submerged, with passengers in the water. The crisis prompted nearby boats to mount an impromptu rescue operation.

"I saw at least 10 small boats coming to help," Emilio Blanco of Chicago told Out & About Puerto Vallarta. "I jumped in a private boat whose owners were graceful enough to send their captain to help out.

"It was quite a scary situation!" Blanco added.

The incident was one of a number of controversial New Year's events in which crowds of revelers defied COVID guidelines. In another incident that made headlines, a circuit party with 2,000 participants was raided by police and shut down in Rio de Janeiro on New Year's Eve.

Watch the videos in the Twitter post embedded below.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.