The picturesque Bay St. Louis harbor is now home port to two vessels offering scenic cruise experiences.
- by Lisa Monti
“It’s been my dream to make money doing what I love,” he said of his lifelong love of sailing and his new venture.
Carson has a master 25-ton license with a sailing endorsement and a towing endorsement from the Coast Guard. While the sailboat is undergoing a rigorous Coast Guard inspection, he can take six passengers at a time. When he passes final inspection, he will be allowed to take up to 12 passengers on the water.
Blackwater Voyages offers sunset cruises, day sailing and brunch cruises aboard a 38-foot Beneteau Oceanis sailing yacht made in France. The craft is sleek, spotless and comfortable, with covered seating for guests.
Carson said the sunset and brunch cruises are the most popular. The sunset cruise departs the harbor around 6:30 p.m. and cruises for 45 to 60 minutes to get to the best spot to anchor and watch the sun go down. The cruise returns to the harbor around 9 p.m.
Depending on the wind direction, the boat will sail in the Sound or the Gulf, where the wide-open space provides a beautiful view of the city beachfront. If the winds favor the Bay, passengers get to view sunset over the Jourdan River.
Either way, it’s a memorable way to see the sun setting. The brunch cruise takes similar routes “chasing the wind,” he said.
Passengers can bring their own champagne and snacks but Captain Carson always has some snacks and wine and champagne on hand too. The boat is even equipped with a swim platform for anyone who wants to take a dip when conditions are right.
So far it’s been tourists booking the most spots for cruises, but some locals have been making reservations for brunch too, Captain Carson said.
The daily sunset cruise is $100 per person and the brunch cruise on Saturday and Sunday is $75.
Black Water Voyages
100 Jody Compretta Drive
Bay St. Louis Municipal Harbor
River Runner Boat Tours
Sklyar Bush, owner of River Runner Boat Tours, started taking passengers aboard his pontoon/party barge for tours and special events about a month ago.
The first catered event was a ladies’ night for guests 18 and older. Another followed - a jazz night catered event where passengers picked their favorites to listen to while cruising.
“Right before school opened, we offered a discounted event for students, teachers and their parents to introduce them to being aboard a boat. A lot of people who grew up in the area have never been on a boat,” he said.
Bush has passed the Coast Guard captain’s test and his pontoon meets all the Coast Guard requirements. Growing up in Bay St. Louis, Bush spent a lot of time on the water and said he wants more people to have that experience.
“I grew up on boats my whole life and worked in the charter business. I’ve always loved fishing and being on boats and want to give other people the experience of being on the water. This gives them an amazing opportunity,” he said.
The tours, which run about two hours, leave the harbor and head toward the Jourdan River. Passengers can enjoy the views and take in the waterfront houses along with gulls, pelicans and occasional dolphins.
The River Runner pontoon is available for private parties, business groups and bachelor/bachelorette trips. There is room to accommodate 13 passengers.
Tours are now departing the harbor only on Saturday and Sunday at 11 am, 2 pm and 4 pm. Bush said the tour schedule will be extended when weather permits. The cost is $40 for adults and $20 for children 12 and under. The price includes snacks, soda and water, and passengers are welcome to bring their own favorites to snack and sip on while cruising.
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