Frequently Asked Questions

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

Keith RittmasterQ:  How many private passengers are legally allowed on the boat?
A:  Maximum 6.

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 chilled 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:  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:  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!

Bird 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 Morehead City, plus in Beaufort, Swansboro, Cape Lookout Lighthouse, and Shackleford. 

Q:  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 suggestion is to take it at bedtime the night before your excursion and approximately 1 hour before departure.  If the waves are too large, we will change plans to go to a destination with calmer waters.  We have specific beverages and light food on board to assist in alleviating your feeling of motion sickness and settle your stomach.

The Wild Horses of Shackleford BanksQ:  Are really well-behaved pets allowed onboard?

A:  We LOVE animals which is the reason Captain Mark is vegan.  Most dogs, unless they have previous time on a boat, show signs of seasickness, which can lead to an unpleasant time for the dog, passengers, Captain, and the boat.  That said, please call Captain Mark who along with you will decide on a case-by-case basis if the dog should come.  No dogs are allowed on the cushioned seats at any time, and you MUST provide a good-fitting life preserver for your dog.  On rare occasions, our 1st Mate, Lucky the dog, will be on board.  Permission will be asked of the passengers should this rarity occur!

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 46 mph at almost 6000rpm. General cruising is accomplished at approximately half that mph and rpm down to idle speed. No one gets “scared” on our tours. We will go as slow as comfortable for all!

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 wild horses.  Furthermore, deer, black snakes, wild dolphins (bottlenose, spotted, and striped) have been sighted by Captain Mark in many areas.  Also seen have been sea turtles, rays, and a manatee. We ALWAYS slow down for any marine animal.

Bird Sandpiper 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.

Q:  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 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:  The H2O Captain boat 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 is primary and decisions on the water are made with that in mind in association with Captain Mark’s local knowledge for fun, comfortable, educational, and SAFE times on our waterways!

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

Q:  What does Captain Mark do with the photos that he may take on our excursion?
A:  Captain Mark may take photos on your excursion. Unless you ask him NOT to take photos of you, you, i.e. all passengers, may end up in some photos which you give H2O Captain LLC permission to use in all its printed and digital publications. E.g. Facebook, Instagram, website, ads, etc. Captain Mark will send you, via text, probably the night of your trip all photos he took which include you for your own use. You will not be receiving any financial compensation. Should you share any photos with Captain Mark, unless you indicate only for private use, these too may be published digitally or in print. We look forward to sharing photos of the memories we have created together!

Q: Must all passengers acknowledge risk?
A: Yes, all passengers acknowledge the risks. All passengers are aware that being on our waterways, rivers, sounds, sea, etc. or other activities such as hiking, walking, looking for the wild horses, shelling, etc, in which you are participating under the arrangement of Captain Mark and H2O Captain LLC, certain substantial risks and dangers may occur, including, but not limited to, hazards of traveling on a boat in rough conditions, hazards of walking on sand, through a maritime forest, around standing water, or voluntarily going into unfamiliar water with submerged hazards, contact with marine and terrestrial animals, sand spurs, plants, trees, and insects, allergies from plants or insects, hazards of hiking, walking, strains, fractures, death, accidents, drowning, loss or damage to personal property, illnesses, or injuries in remote places without medical facilities, hazards of entering and leaving the boat, hazards of loading or unloading people or materials from the boat, hazards of the force of nature, know that consumption of alcoholic beverages is not allowed. These risks and dangers may arise from foreseeable or unforeseeable causes including that the Captain may misjudge terrain, weather, trail or water route location, or water level. Decisions by the Captain are part of the inherent risk of adventure travel, boating, hiking, walking, swimming, etc.  All passengers will hold harmless, H2O Captain LLC, its representatives, agents, and employees, including Captain Mark and Lucky the Dog from any and all liability, actions, causes of actions, debts, claims, and demands of any kind and nature whatsoever that the passenger(s) now have, or which may arise out of or in connection with their trip or participation in any of the related activities on the water or land.

Photo top:  A bottlenose dolphin leaps in Taylor’s Creek near the Duke Marine Lab in Beaufort. Photo: Keith Rittmaster.  All other photos by Captain Mark.