KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — For 60 years, boaters have gathered to party and cheer on the big orange from the water. Floating fans with the Vol Navy have docked ahead of Saturday's game.
Paul Kelly is a boat owner whose been a member of the fleet since the 80s. He said things are different from back in the day.
“You've got more people and the size of the boats has just enormously expanded,” Kelly said.
Kelly has one of the largest boats at the dock. It's called the Dot.Calm II and is a 63-foot-long boat.
The boat is big enough to host about 35 people, at least that's how many Kelly said he welcomed on his boat when the Vols played Alabama.
On Saturday, he opened his boat for a sneak peek at how they were planning to watch the game against Kentucky.
A pillow in the living room had "Home to be Where the Anchor Drops," written on it. Kelly said on the boat the living room is called the "salon." This is a long rectangular shape in the back side of his boat that nests both the living room and an off-white dining table.
A few slides of mirrors on one of the walls give the illusion that this space is even bigger. Candy is sitting on almost every table reminding both the game and Halloween. This is the space where Kelly will watch the game with his friends and family.
While passing through the kitchen Paul gave a warning.
"It's a mess right now because we’re cooking," Kelly said.
A fully equipped kitchen with a regular-size refrigerator, dishwasher and cabinets sat in the heart of the boat, close to serving everyone around it.
Downstairs, four bedrooms, four bathrooms, a sewing room, an office and a bathtub were all there for more comfort.
But the skipper is always aware of his surroundings.
“Of course I know you can’t see it," Kelly said. "But right over your shoulder, there’s actually a Kentucky boat going by.”
Kelly said the average size of the boats that were docked in the front row was about 50 feet long. On one of those boats, his neighbors Gary and Julie Moffatt had Smokey standing out on top of their deck.
This Smokey figure had a few signatures on him.
“We’ve got Phil Fulmer, Pat Summitt, Bruce pearl,” Gary said. "Come on down Josh [Heupel], we need you to sign our big Smokey."
Vol Navy boat owners said celebrating on the Tennessee River is special.
“There's nothing like it, to be able to park here and walk to the stadium," Julie said. "And then when you get out of the stadium after a big win, hopefully, you get to come back and celebrate the win with all your friends.”