Tour-boat consolidations’ pare number of companies

End-of-year mergers and acquisitions in the island’s tour-boat industry have effectively reduced the number of companies from 28 to 25.

There are 28 companies listed in the 2003 yellow pages under “boat charters.”

The number of companies operating out of Port Allen Small Boat Harbor will shrink at even greater proportions, as Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures has in place paperwork calling for it to merge with Captain Zodiac Raft Expeditions and A Na Pali Eco Adventures.

Also, Holo Holo Charters has acquired Bluewater Sailing, The Garden Island has learned. Kevin Millett, president of Holo Holo Charters, was not available for comment yesterday.

Steve Cole, owner of A Na Pali Eco Adventure, will be named vice president of marketing for Captain Andy’s Sailing Adventures, in a deal effective Jan. 1, said Andy Evans, owner of Captain Andy’s.

The merger will give Captain Andy’s three vessels, including two, 55-foot sailing catamarans, and a 34-foot inflatable raft A Na Pali had been operating under a license from Captain Zodiac, Evans explained.

A Na Pali had also operated two smaller power catamarans, which Cole is in the process of selling, Evans said.

“Our thought is that it’s diversifying our market,” Evans said of having both an inflatable boat and sailing catamarans in the Captain Andy’s fleet.

The surviving entity, Captain Andy’s, becomes even stronger, taking experienced workers from A Na Pali, even though the merger will result in fewer available seats out of Port Allen Small Boat Harbor, he said.

Captain Andy’s since 1984 has been operating out of Kukui’ula Small Boat Harbor on the South Shore, and out of Port Allen since 1993.

Rick Marvin, former owner of and captain for Bluewater Sailing, has gone to work for Captain Andy’s, as a captain, Evans said.

So far, Captain Andy’s has been able to absorb some, but not all, of the former A Na Pali Eco Adventures staff, said Evans.

Captain Andy’s has healthy advanced reservations for the rest of this month and early next year, and Evans said nearly half of the company’s business is repeat business from visitors who book their sea tours in advance of arriving on the island.

Customer satisfaction is key, and Captain Andy’s has been successful in marketing its tours as “sailing with friends,” he said. Part of the reason the company got rid of a double-decker sailing catamaran that could accommodate lots of passengers was that it “became too much of a bus ride,” with passengers in rows of seats on both decks of the catamaran, he said.

Personalized sailing adventures have served both the company and visitors well, he noted.

The company also has lots of employees who have been with the company for many years, and has survived two hurricanes “and several governors,” Evans added.

Evans said he began in the tour-boat industry on Kaua’i in the 1970s, working for Clancey Greff of Captain Zodiac. When Evans left Captain Zodiac to start his own company, Cole replaced him at Captain Zodiac, Evans said.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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