To assure fantastic seafaring on Charleston's waterways, Captains Source assembled a team of top-notch captains, each as unique and diverse as the tours they charter. Every captain boasts a U.S. Coast Guard 6-Pack license and is certified by USOBE or Clemson for the specific excursions they lead, assuring expertise piloting the ship and in the field of harbor history, fishing, or wildlife. Captains who are great with kids and families ferry them out onto the bay and estuaries for dolphin sightings and insight into the region's marine life, and harbor history tours reveal Charleston's close connections to the American Revolution and Civil War. Like the captains, the aquatic company's boats are also suited specifically for the tour, including sailboats, yachts, and offshore fishing boats. Wanting to make the glistening waterways available to the public for all occasions, they accommodate charters for business meetings, birthdays, reunions, and searches for runaway sea legs.
Captain Howard, the man at the helm of Adventure Harbor Tours, has an inherent attraction to the water. The second he steps out onto his boat he finds less dread, more excitement, and a desire to share this joy with others. As the voices of Jimmy Buffett and Bob Marley sing from his boat's onboard stereo, Captain Howard ferries groups of up to 12 out into Charleston Harbor, where Atlantic bottlenose dolphins swim beneath the surface and one lonely scuba diver guards the harbor's flush valve. The captain's expeditions can take the form of private charters, fishing charters, or his most popular trip: a tour of Morris Island.
Untouched by cars or roads, Morris Island welcomes visitors onto secluded beaches filled with shells, sand dollars, and conchs. The 4-mile barrier island allows ample room for visitors to pick these shells, play in the sand, or run alongside their dogs—which Captain Howard welcomes onto his tours.
The custom-built Gause Built 26 is an all-water fishing boat, designed to shuttle anglers from foot-deep water to offshore pods of dolphins. Owner and captain Chuck Griffin designed his boat to cater to the varied needs of the fishing community, outfitting it with a tower to spot schools in the distance and allow guests better views. He commands his boat armed with more than 25 years of experience, and he assists guests in snagging an array of fishy specimen such as inshore seatrout, nearshore barracudas, and offshore king mackerel. When not angling or fly-fishing, Captain Chuck glides with guests to the open water in pursuit of frolicking pods of dolphins that may or may not know the secret to holding your breath for a really long time.
From Charleston’s sandy shores to its grassy marshes, Captain Bret Curlett explores every natural environment he can aboard a 23-foot Sea Pro Bay boat. As owner of Harborview Charters, the captain regularly loads up to six passengers into his vessel for watery voyages, including sea-bass fishing in the harbor. He shows his guests some of the wonders of the natural world on expeditions to the Lowcountry marshes to search for wildlife such as great blue herons, dolphins, and gators. For even more interaction with nature, Captain Curlett ferries groups to a beach on secluded Morris Island, where they can gather seashells or replace their own molars with shark teeth.
Helmed by local biologist and US Coast Guard?certified captain Meg Hoyle, Botany Bay Ecotours leverages scientific expertise while exposing Edisto Island's natural beauty through leisurely boat tours and educational kayak excursions. Dolphin eco tours set off in pursuit of clear, memorable glimpses of the bottle-nosed creatures, while sunset tours showcase the exquisite colors of the sun setting over the beach and birds heading to their marshland roosts. Guests looking for a similar experience on dry land can observe turtles on the beach or head off on a private island safari. Guides augment the sightseeing experiences with rich explanations of the history and biology of local wildlife, as well as the region's low-country and Gullah culture.
The midday sun beats down on the hat-clad heads of the passengers, but they barely feel the heat. The rapt crowd has gathered on the top deck of the Holiday, their eyes collectively glued to the waters below them where a glossy fin emerged and disappeared a second ago. The onlookers’ silence suddenly dissolves into a symphony of awed whispers and camera clicks as a trio of playful bottlenose dolphins breaks through the water and splashes about near the ship. Creating moments such as this between humans and nature has been Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch Cruise’s mission since setting sail on its inaugural excursion in 1983.
Based out of Shelter Cove Harbour, Captain Mark's Dolphin Watch Cruise's experienced crew introduces visitors to area wildlife via two varieties of aquatic adventures. Daytime and sunset dolphin watch nature cruises glide past numerous scenic points of interest including Wexford Plantation, marine creatures, oyster beds, and oyster laundry piles. Alternatively, Let’s Go Crabbing trips ferry kids and adults away aboard the Crabber J II for a lively session of crustacean catching.