Watermen’s Heritage Tours needs boat captains

Virginia Watermen’s Heritage Tours is looking for traditional watermen, charter captains and oyster growers in the Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

Interested captains would be joining its team of watermen who offer on-the-water and land-based tours and demonstrations to area visitors, as well as in-school presentations, reported program coordinator Jaik Henderson.  With the help of a grant from Dominion Power, the group is presenting training sessions in Westmoreland, October 10 through 12; Mathews, December 5 through 7; and Lancaster/Middlesex, January 30 through February 1.

The program, established in 2012 by the Virginia Waterman’s Association, Rappahannock Community College and Chesapeake Environmental Communications, offers those who make a living on the water an opportunity to earn additional income by conducting tours for visitors, explained Henderson.

Participating watermen provide an authentic, hands-on experience of the waterman’s way of life and oyster growers offer an inside view of their operations. These watermen in turn become vocal stewards of the Chesapeake Bay, providing through their own stories, their perspective on the area’s history and culture, and the environmental impact of human activity on the water.

The training sessions furnish the watermen with the knowledge and tools to set up their own profitable water-based tourism businesses, covering such topics as heritage tourism, business planning, marketing, customer relations, licensing and regulations.

Members of the program describe their own experience and demonstrate how to quickly turn a profit, in spite of the startup costs associated with obtaining a license and complying with regulations. Virginia Watermen’s Heritage Tours provides its watermen with valuable marketing and consulting services throughout the year at watermentours.com, on social media and through tourism programs and regional media outlets.

To register for the training, contact Henderson at 694-9124, or jaik@watermentours.com.