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Pompano's Ice Cream Float Boat Delivers Summer Joy One Dock At A Time

Amy McGill, left, hands a strawberry shortcake pop to Renny Nava on Lake Santa Barbara in South Pompano as the two, respectively, stand and sit on a boat.
Caitie Switalski Munoz
/
WLRN
Amy McGill, left, hands a strawberry shortcake pop to Renny Nava on Lake Santa Barbara in South Pompano.

The McGills in Pompano Beach spend their weekends going around the Lake Santa Barbara area and the surrounding canals on a pontoon boat full of nostalgic frozen treats. They call it: the ice cream float, boat.

If you've ever spent a day out on the water and wished you had some ice cream — a floating ice cream boat might just answer your prayers on a hot day.

"It really is funny how much people want the music. Like, I can't get over how many times we get asked for the music," said Amy McGill, about the signature ice cream truck jingle.

McGill is the woman behind the Ice Cream Float. It's like an ice cream truck, but made for South Florida's waterways. It's got freezers, big flags, umbrellas — and it's painted with pink and white stripes.

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A lot of people take notice from their own boats and wave the ice cream float down — or from their docks behind their homes. Like Jacqui and Dean Bland. They were in their pool when the float was going by, and they said yes to some ice cream from afar.

"Let me do the Razzleberry's Oreo special," Jacqui Bland said.

"We had all my nieces and nephews over here, it was, like, 20 kids ... I was like, man we should have called them," Dean Bland said.

"We didn't know," Jacqui Bland told Mcgill. "I follow you on Facebook now, so now I know."

Other times, people call ahead and text. Renny Nava was hanging out on Lake Santa Barbara with some friends, and their Yorkie named Tito, when they called the Ice Cream Float to come and meet them. They really wanted strawberry shortcake pops.

"We're old school," boater Nava said when McGill pulled up. "It's hot out here and there's nothin' better on a hot day than some ice cream."

McGill is kind of like a flash in these moments. She's running from one end of the pontoon boat to tie up to a dock — or searching through her freezers for the perfect Spongebob pop.

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Caitie Switalski Munoz
Amy and her husband, Greg McGill pull up next to a boat to sell ice cream bars to a family on Lake Santa Barbara Aug. 1, 2021.

"Originally we were talking about how great it would be to have a coffee boat," she said.

But ultimately the idea for Starbucks on the water was going to be too expensive and hard to run.

So after a lengthy permitting process in the middle of the pandemic, Mcgill got the Ice Cream Float out on the water in April.

Four months later now she caters to birthday parties, corporate meetings — or just the typical Sunday afternoon canal loops around her neighborhood. McGill already has a local favorite as a vendor — Razzleberry's Ice Cream in Pompano — but soon hopes to work with them on specialty orders soon for things like gender reveal parties and kids flavors with fun sea-themed names.

In her careers before this, McGill's been a teacher's assistant and real estate agent. This was a way for her to start something, well, purely fun.

"Everybody says that, they're like, 'What better job would you have been driving a boat, being on the water and actually making some money?' So it's really nice," McGill said.

The man behind the steering wheel on the boat is Greg McGill, Amy's husband. "Captain" Greg insists he just drives and lets Amy handle the rest.

Occasionally their two kids join them when they need extra hands. Especially for events like Boca Bash, the Air and Sea Show and sometimes their neighbors come aboard, too — like Tracey Stringos. She and her husband said they've actually met so many more of their neighbors when they join the McGills for a day on the Ice Cream Float.

"It's fun, and people love it. The people around here just love it," said Stringos. "And you get a big neighborhood of people just coming out."

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Caitie Switalski Munoz
Amy McGill gets ready to tie the Ice Cream Float to a dock in a canal neighborhood just east of Lake Santa Barbara in Pompano Beach.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Jacqui Bland's name. We regret the error.