Privateers hold raffle for The Skullywag

Privateers hold raffle for The Skullywag
With their ship The Skullywag in need of repairs, the AMI Privateers held a raffle at The Drift In on Bridge Street in Bradenton Beach to raise money for the endeavor. - Jason Schaffer | Sun

BRADENTON BEACH – Just about anyone who’s been on Anna Maria Island during a holiday parade or large community event has seen The Skullywag, the road-going pirate ship that almost always has plenty of pirates about, ready to serve the community they care so much for. Unfortunately in recent months, the ship has required extensive maintenance and repairs so, like they always do when other people are in need, the AMI Privateers sprang into action.

“There’s a lot of maintenance on a 65-foot pirate ship,” AMI Privateers President Kim Boyd said. “We’re always having to do extensive maintenance. After we got our transmission fixed and repaired the rear axle, there’s little things that pop up here and there. We had to pull off the rear deck because it was starting to sag and became a safety hazard. We got that fixed, but now the extra weight has caused a suspension issue. It’s not dangerous, but we want it to last us a while.”

Privateers hold raffle for The Skullywag
The Skullywag is a rolling symbol and goodwill ambassador of the AMI Privateers, seen at just about any event on the Island, like this July 4 parade where they had water battles with parade-watchers. – Jason Schaffer | Sun

The ship began life as an International school bus, and there is a limited number of people in the area who can work on it. The Privateers recently upgraded the sound system and want to continue to make the ship the best fundraising tool it can be.

“She’s 40 years old, bless her heart,” Boyd said. “Even 40-year-old people need to go see the doctor every once in a while. She’s got to get a new paint job, new suspension, new wiring and things like that. We also want to add new lighting and other things that will enhance the experience for people who want private events. This will enhance our fundraising possibilities.”

Since most fundraising events held by the Privateers are to raise funds for scholar- ships for kids in the community and events such as their Christmas Families program for children, the Privateers make sure that they are clear when an event is for The Skullywag, such as the one at The Drift In in Bradenton Beach on March 15. The fundraiser offered raffle tickets for $5 each with the prize including a lotto board that contained $100 in cash, along with $300 in scratch-off tickets and a high-end Irish spirits basket with an estimated value of $300.

There is still time to register for the Privateers’ annual schol- arships that are open to any local student who has applied to a secondary education such as a trade school, community college or state college/university. Applications must be postmarked by April 1. For more information on the Privateers and the annual scholarships, visit www.

The Anna Maria Island Privateers are a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that has been in existence for 52 years and has donated over $500,000 in scholarships to local high school students. They also contribute to many other charities, adopt families at Christmas, participate in community events and raise money for first responders, as well as promote children’s activities and reading events.