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On the Water Is the Place to Be: Captiva Cruises Offers Great Excursions for Rest and Rejuvenation

Nov 23, 2020 05:00PM ● By CAPT. BOB RANDO
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During 2020, when health officials were urging people that the safest place to be during the pandemic was outside, taking to the water took on a new significance. This past summer, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and boating industry’s Discover Boating brand launched their joint “Get On Board” campaign. The aim is to raise awareness about the mental health and wellness benefits of boating—including freedom, safety and escapism.

But not everyone has the patience, time or know-how to tackle boat ownership. Some people prefer to leave boat maintenance, upkeep and navigation to the experts, and instead seek out captained boat excursions that allow them to effortlessly enjoy the benefits of being on the water.

With abundant bodies of water and places to explore, boating has always been a favorite pastime in Southwest Florida. Since 1986, Captiva Cruises has shown residents and visitors alike how to experience all that the region has to offer on the water, including visiting places accessible only by boat. Experienced U.S. Coast Guard-certified captains—who have a wealth of knowledge about local history, wildlife, weather and more—provide safe, fun and enjoyable experiences for all passengers.

The Captiva Island-based company features many kinds of cruises to many destinations: 

  • Useppa Island, an exclusive private island club that can be visited by only members of the club, guests of a member of the club or as a passenger on Captiva Cruises.
  • Cabbage Key, with the Inn and Restaurant built in 1938 by American playwright Mary Roberts Rinehart on top of a Calusa Indian shell mound, is the rumored home of Jimmy Buffet’s “Cheeseburger in Paradise.”
  • Cayo Costa State Park is on an island accessible only by boat and thought to be one of the best shelling beaches in the world. With 9 miles of beach and 6 miles of trails, social distancing is easy!
  • Boca Grande on Gasparilla Island has the 100-year-old Gasparilla Inn and the Boca Grande Lighthouse that was built in 1890.
  • Tarpon Lodge on Pine Island offers lunch at the historic Tarpon Lodge and a tour of the Randell Research Center, an archaeological and historic site.
  • Dolphin and wildlife cruises are narrated by volunteers from the Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the conservation of coastal habitats. 
  • Sunset cruises allow passengers to enjoy spectacular sunsets over sparking waters. 

 During the pandemic, the Captiva Cruises expert team maintained a cruise schedule that lowered the number of guests per cruise by 50 percent and implemented social-distance seating. All boats are deep-cleaned and sanitized after every trip, with high-touch areas sanitized often while underway. Crew members wear masks and Captiva Cruises has a ticketless check-in procedure.

As much as the team ensures the safety of passengers, Captiva Cruises also has a history of caring for the natural beauty of Southwest Florida. It has become a recognized leader in the Florida ecotourism industry, winning the Chrysalis Awards’ 2016 eco-innovation honor. 

 Paul McCarthy founded Captiva Cruises in 1986 and McCarthy’s Marina in 1991, creating a legacy of environmental stewardship with respect and appreciation for the area’s water and wildlife. After McCarthy passed away in 2016, his estate sold the company and marina to the Captiva Cruises management team—to keep the traditions of the family-owned business. 

Made up of Brad and Leslie Junghans, and Bob and Jenny Rando, the hands-on team brings nearly 70 years’ combined experience serving as key managers for Captiva Cruises. The team offers passengers delightful experiences on the water.

USCG-certified Capt. Bob Rando and his wife, Jenny, co-own Captiva Cruises with USCG-certified Capt. Brad Junghans and his wife, Leslie. For more info, visit