Every weekend of the year, cruises along the scenic Occoquan River. The 50-foot pontoon touring boat holds 46 passengers—all of whom can see birds of prey, get dropped off at local restaurants and receive a lesson in Occoquan history.
Meet the Captain
There's no doubt about it. One of the best decisions Captain Mark Perry ever made was buying the 16,000-pound water taxi named the "Harbor Lady" in 2004, he said. The 57-year-old Perry worked as a real estate agent since 1976, and found his calling after talking with the owner of Tim’s Rivershore Restaurant & Crabhouse in Dumfries.
"I'm a boater and spend 300 days out of the year on the water," Perry told Patch on a recent cruise. "The only time I take the boat out of the water is when it freezes. This [the boat] is my baby. It's 16 years-old and there's no reason it won't last 50 to 100 more years."
Passengers board the boat at in Lorton. Tours are offered every Saturday and Sunday from noon until one hour before dark. Tours cost $10 for adults, $5 for children ages 12 to 4 and children under 4 are admitted free. Weekday tours are by appointment.
Business is growing, Perry said. "Since 2010, we've sold 9,600 tickets. We've already pre-sold 1,500 tickets this year, and we're on track to be well in excess of 5,000 passengers this year," said Perry.
Perry, who lives in Stafford with his wife, has three sons and lives a relatively stress-free life. "I can see myself at 77 providing this service for people who enjoy it," he said. "I've been around the Occoquan River all of my life. I swim in it, fish in it, eat the crab in it. The water is pristine. It's the cleanest water in the Mid-Atlantic region, and it amazes me the number of people who come on the boat who have never heard of it."
Rivershore Charters cruises last for one hour, and the company also hosts fishing charters and weddings. A one-hour tour costs $10 per person and private charters run $350 per hour.