a blue and white boat in the water
More than 60 offshore racing powerboats registered for the 7 Mile Offshore Grand Prix in 2023. BARRY GAUKEL/Keys Weekly

Powerful offshore boats racing at high speeds near the world-famous Seven Mile Bridge will  show their muscle Friday through Sunday, April 26-28, when the 7-Mile Offshore Grand Prix roars into the Middle Keys. 

The challenge is the second annual Race World Offshore (RWO) powerboat race to take place in Marathon as part of the American Power Boat Association’s Offshore National Championship Series. It serves as the opening event for RWO’s 2024 season.

Race teams are coming from around the United States, Bermuda and as far away as the United Kingdom to compete in Marathon.

Eleven classes of boats will participate in the challenge, with the largest classes racing Sunday – including the Super Cat that can achieve speeds of up to 140 mph – on a course that provides spectators a close-up viewing experience.

A free opening event set for Friday, April 26, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters will welcome race teams and fans.

Races will take place Saturday from 1:30 to 4 p.m. with the smaller-class vessel race brackets taking to the water. Sunday will feature four races, beginning at 9:30 a.m. and ending with the 3:30 p.m. Super Cat competition. 

The pedestrian-friendly Old Seven Mile Bridge will be the primary viewing area for spectators, with 90% of the 5.6-mile counterclockwise race course viewable from the span that parallels the contemporary bridge. According to race organizers, the old bridge will be open to the public with free admission, with one section reserved for VIP viewing. 

Race World Offshore plans to set up its VIP hospitality areas on and below the Marathon end of the Old Seven Mile Bridge. VIP guests will be allowed to park at the nearby Sunset Grille and walk under the bridge.

Free general-admission parking will be available at Marathon Community Park with shuttle service to Sunset Grille. There will be no general-admission parking at Sunset Grille or on-site at the entrance to the Old Seven Mile Bridge. VIP ticket holders will receive a parking pass at will call. 

Race fans can enjoy free admission to the dry pit area at San Pablo Catholic Church to view high-speed boats and meet race teams and crew Friday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. .

Wet pits, located at Suntex Faro Blanco Marina, will be open to the public Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Events culminate Sunday evening with an award ceremony and an after-party, with the final location to be determined. Race schedules, VIP tickets and information are at raceworldoffshore.com/marathon.