Frequently Asked Questions

The edge of the sea is a strange and beautiful place. --Rachel Carson

Keith RittmasterQ:  What is the maximum amount of passengers allowed on the boat?
A:  Max 6. Heavily preferred 4.

Q:  What is the best day of the week to have an excursion?

A:  If you are interested in seeing fewer people and fewer boats and having a more private and intimate experience, then we recommend, Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and/or Friday.

Q:  Will Captain Mark supply drinking water for all passengers?

A:  Yes. Note, as some people enjoy bringing their own bottles with them, please do so, but NO GLASS containers.

Q:  Can we bring our lunch , dinner, or a snack on board?

A:  Yes.  Just tell us when you wish to eat and Captain Mark will set up a dining table on board!

Q:  Are really well-behaved pets allowed onboard?

A:  We LOVE animals which is the reason Captain Mark is vegan, however, only our 1st Mate, Lucky the dog, will be on board.

BirdQ:  What should I bring for a fun day in the sun and on the boat?
A:  This info is located in Checklist: Ready To Cruise.


Q:  How fast can the boat go?

A:  Captain Mark will not rev it up to full open. But if you must know, under calm conditions the H2O Captain boat will go close to 45 mph at almost 6000rpm. General cruising is accomplished at approximately half that mph and rpm all the way down to idle speed. No one gets “scared” on our tours. We will go as slow as comfortable for all!

Q:  Is there a bathroom onboard?

A:  No.

Q:  What if I need to go to the bathroom during the cruise.

A:  There are facilities at our marina in Atlantic Beach, Morehead City, Beaufort, Cape Lookout Lighthouse, & on Shackleford.

Bird SandpiperQ:  Will I get seasick?

A:  So far no one has. Having an open boat (sans cabin) means ALWAYS getting fresh air. If you take medication for this syndrome, please consult your doctor.  A non-professional suggestions is to take it at bedtime the night before your excursion and approximately 1 hour prior to departure. If the waves are too large, we will change plans to go to a destination with calmer waters. We have certain drinks and light food on board to assist in alleviating your feeling of motion sickness.

Q:  What animals can we expect to see?
A:  All animals are wild.  As they are doing their own thing, as we are, there needs to be a condition of luck to see them.  That said, on both Shackleford and Rachel Carson Preserve there is a good chance of seeing the wild horses.  Furthermore, wild dolphins (bottlenose, spotted, and striped) have been sighted by Captain Mark in many areas.  Fortunately, with the ears of his 1st Mate, Lucky the dog, we are more likely to be alerted to them.  Also seen have been sea turtles, rays, and a manatee. We ALWAYS slow down for any marine animal.

Q:  Can I bring my own alcohol onboard?
A:  No.  Our insurance policy does not allow any passengers to consume any alcoholic beverages on any of our excursions.

Shackleford Banker HorsesQ:  Do I have to wear t
he PFD, Personal Flotation Device, or Life Jacket that Captain Mark has for me?

A:  We STRONGLY recommend wearing it at all times.  Captain Mark will insist on it should the inlet be “irritated” as well as if your excursion includes going out to sea, for example going to Cape Lookout via the Atlantic Ocean or the Exclusive Excursion At First Light.  Passengers under the age of 13 must wear a PFD at all times when the boat is underway in support of both Federal and State laws.

Q:  What conditions can we expect on the water?
A:  Please know that on almost all days on the water we will encounter waves up to 3 feet/1 meter, if not from Mother Nature herself, then from the wakes of other boats. This is normal for this area. Fortunately, all passengers sit on cushioned seats to absorb a lot of the bouncing, and for those that may have back issues we offer cushioned seats and backs at the stern of the boat.

Q:  What if we run into “trouble?”

A:  As Captain Mark is also the Immediate Past Flotilla Commander at the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, he has the telephone number to USCG Station Ft. Macon and carries a VHF radio on board equipped with its own GPS and DSC, which you will get introduced to in Captain Mark's safety talk prior to leaving the dock. It is built in Military Standard MIL-STD-810F.  (DSC allows the radio to transfer information digitally, not just by voice, and to instantly send a digital distress alert to the Coast Guard. Part of that alert is our Maritime Mobile Service Identity [MMSI] number that specifically identifies the H2O Captain boat).  In addition, Captain Mark monitors VHF channel 16.  Furthermore, H2O Captain is a member of a commercial towing service. The safety of the passengers comes first and decisions on the water are made with that in mind in association with Captain Mark’s local knowledge for fun and SAFE times on our waterways!

Q:  Does a trip ever get delayed, postponed, or canceled?
A:  Sometimes, an uncooperative Mother Nature can possibly delay or we may have a postponement or cancelation of our tour.  S
hould small craft advisories* be posted for the area, which your excursion is planned, then:

1.  Your cruise may be moved to another area
2.  Your cruise time of departure may be altered or day changed
3.  Your cruise may be canceled with a refund or gift certificate for a future cruise.
4.  Your cruise may go on as planned!
* A Small Craft Advisory is defined as wind speeds of 25 to 33 knots and/or seas of 6 feet or greater which are expected to produce hazardous wave conditions.

Photo top:  A bottlenose dolphin leaps in Taylor’s Creek near the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort. Photo: Keith Rittmaster