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About Us

Wilmington Water Tours

Moved by their love for the Cape Fear River, the owners decided to found Wilmington Water Tours in order to share with others the history and beauty of this region. Their passion then created “The Wilmington,” a state-of-the-art, fully enclosed and handicapped accessible motorized catamaran, which can accommodate up to 49 passengers. Wilmington Water Tours is based in Historic Downtown Wilmington, North Carolina. We are here to serve the city and the exciting, always changing riverfront. We offer daily narrated cruises and private charters. Passengers board the vessel to explore the waters of the mysterious Cape Fear River, while also learning about the history, wildlife, and ecology of this waterway and surrounding area. A new addition to Wilmington Water Tours is the Bizzy Bee Water Taxi which now transports passengers from three stops on the Wilmington side of the river to the USS North Carolina Battleship. Come downtown and visit us… hop on the Bee or take a cruise on the Cat. Guaranteed it makes for a great time on the river!

a bridge over a body of water

The Wilmington

The Wilmington is the first and finest state-of-the-art catamaran to serve Historic Downtown Wilmington, NC. She has a wake cancelling design and is fully enclosed (heat if needed). She is handicap accessible and offers a flexible layout for comfortable seating up to 49 guests. All ABC permits and spacious restroom complete our package. Come downtown and visit us, you’ll be impressed with our 46′ catamaran, the Wilmington.

a small boat in a large body of water

The Owners

Captain Doug Springer and his wife Diane Upton returned to Wilmington in 2004 to pursue their dream of life on the water. Doug graduated in Marine Technology from Cape Fear Technical Institute in the early 1970s. After working in the Gulf of Mexico, and on the waterways of South Carolina for about six years, he joined the U.S. Air Force as a computer specialist and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from the University of West Florida. After many years in the computer industry, and their children well on their own, Doug and Diane returned to their favorite city and back with their family of friends. They soon formed NE Cape Fear Charters and Exploration and put their beloved 36′ Wilard Vega Trawler to work. After three years of running a successful charter business, a large number of returning and enthusiastic customers provided the confidence in the belief that a water based tour company designed to serve the Cape Fear River basin at large was needed and thus “Wilmington Water Tours, Inc.” was born.

Doug is also deeply committed to Cape Fear River Watch, a local grass roots organization with a mission to improve and protect the water quality of the Cape Fear River Basin. He served as the Executive Director for Cape Fear River Watch, Inc. from July of 2007 to January of 2010 while also doing duty as the Cape Fear RIVERKEEPER. The organization has grown to allow for a dedicated ED allowing Doug to focus on the duties of the RIVERKEEPER.

Garland Valentine and Mary DeLollo have joined Doug and Diane to make this vision a reality. Garland has southern roots with a mother who was born in Pilot, NC while Mary has a similar connection with the south, with a mother raised in Georgia. So, they both found Wilmington to be a perfect place to relocate and call home. Now they can combine their love for all things southern, their passion for the water and their level headedness for business.

For many years, Garland enjoyed boating on the Hudson River while successfully operating a family-owned adult care facility. Mary owned and operated an embroidery business and retail shop along the Hudson River. They both have a strong affinity for Wilmington, its people, the waterways and the city’s southern charm. Long-time experience as successful independent business owners makes them both important assets to Wilmington Water Tours. Their commitment to the future of Wilmington is reflected by their civic minded pursuits and strong interest in environmental issues, and promoting the waterways benefits and historical charm.

Captain Ed Oeters grew up in Raleigh, NC and has been an avid boater since high school. After graduating from NC State with a BS in Electrical Engineering, Ed worked in the oil fields out west before returning to North Carolina to pursue a career in computers. Eventually, Ed and his wife Maureen moved to Wilmington to be closer to their boat, Ceili. Ed’s love of boating proved useful when he ventured into the areas of marine service and sales. Ed first met Capt. Doug when Doug made a presentation as the Cape Fear River Keeper. Ed joined the company in May 2012 after working over a year as part-time relief captain. Maureen often accompanies him on his cruises and helps as needed. Ed and Maureen are members of the Cape Fear Sail and Power Squadron and Cape Fear River Watch.

Bill Saffo et al. posing for a photo
a group of people standing in front of a crowd
a small boat in a large body of water in front of a building