Captain Frank Rizzo and his crew draw on 35 years of navigation experience to pilot the Freeport Princess along the placid waters of Freeport’s Nautical Mile. On the night of their dinner cruise, passengers stroll up the gangplank of the 105-foot Coast Guard–certified yacht to wave kerchiefs at land-bound friends or don mermaid costumes and clamber onto the prow for luck. Once at sail, patrons can settle into plush stools and couches lining the main deck’s sumptuous windowed lounge, and slide past the cash bar for libations (not included in the dinner cruise) to toast the luxurious evening. The steaming buffet tempts diners with four gourmet appetizers and entrees in the formal dining area on the lower deck ringed with clear lucite tables to protect guests from having their shoelaces tied together while eating. Passengers can mount the elegant glassed-in stairs to the upper level, where DJs spin tunes on a large dance floor sparkling with disco lights and an outer deck lets passengers relish ocean breezes and peaceful views of the Nautical Mile’s cozy harbors.
As he steers the Freeport Water Taxi, Captain Rick Cohen safely transports passengers around local South Shore areas between Freeport and Point Lookout. As passengers hop on his floating taxi, they’re often seen in the company of a bike or pet, both welcome on water-taxi trips. A ride on the water taxi also makes it easy to visit several waterfront landmarks and eateries, including seafood haven Fisherman’s Catch and Crow’s Nest Mini Golf.
Wednesday through Sunday, Captain Cohen tours the bay with passengers on 60- and 90-minute daytime and sunset cruises. As the blazing sun begins to hide behind the horizon, passengers breathe in the salty sea air and draw close to their companions or ask a seagull to hold hands with them. The boat can also be chartered for bird- and harbor-seal-watching tours based on the season, as well as fishing trips.
Captain Lou gives his guests two ways to explore the South Bay, but both are by boat. For the outdoorsman, he and his staff lead fishing tours out on the bay. Each boat is equipped with contemporary fish-tracking and navigational equipment, so it's easy to locate the best spots to anchor. Social butterflies, however, might opt for moonlight party cruises across the water in cruising yachts, which can each hold up to 149 guests.
Every summer, Angler Fishing Fleet's Captain Ken welcomes youngsters aboard his fishing boat for a weeklong fishing camp. He schools campers in fishing techniques, conservation, and boat safety in a demonstration of the company’s initiatives to empower budding fishermen in exploring local waters. In addition to camps, staff captains host frequent lectures that cover subjects such as anchoring techniques, bait, and which fish are the likeliest to grant wishes.
On private charters, the crew seeks schools with onboard sonar equipment and supplies passengers with fishing gear and bait. The Angler II ferries up to 39 passengers on fishing trips in the western Long Island Sound. It is a 50-foot Coast Guard–inspected vessel. The sleek Angler III, another 50-foot Coast Guard–inspected vessel, also escorts passengers through the sound, but it can hold up to 49 passengers and includes a cozy cabin with a galley that serves snacks and beverages. Plus, it offers both indoor and outdoor seating. The smallest member of the fleet, the Angler Express, is designed to hold up to six passengers on private charters. All three vessels in the fleet are equipped with state-of-the-art safety and fish-finding equipment.
Atlantic Outfitters facilitates maritime excursions with its stable of paddle-propelled vessels. From the fiberglass-ensconced safety of two sleek kayaks, or from the commanding view afforded by two standup paddleboards, seafaring friends can spend two hours exploring the watery expanses, tributaries, and wooded shorelines of the pristine Manhasset Bay. During the journey, paddlers can picnic on the open water, use their feet as anchors in the shallows along sandy beaches, or reenact favorite scenes from a documentary about waterfowl. Numerous kayak launch sites along the coast provide easy access to the bay.
North Star II Fishing & Charter Boat's crew has learned to analyze the weather, tides, and times of day to deduce when fish will come out of hiding. To supplement their instincts, the crew also gleans wisdom from a fish-detecting GPS radar and a local grizzly bear. The company's fiberglass-coated Northstar 2 meets the standards of the USCG's annual inspections, and can accommodate up to 100 passengers on each chartered trip. Extensive seating options and a sound system with Sirius radio make fishing trips comfortable. The company's newest vessel, Nautic Star, fosters a more intimate brand of fish-storytelling on its 40-person capacity boat. Fluke, flounder, bass, and live eels are among the species hauled in from the deep, whether by fishing line or polite invitations to hop onboard.