Florida on a Tankful: Riding the waves in Englewood Beach

By Scott Fais, Feature Reporter
Last Updated: Thursday, March 23, 2017, 7:29 AM EDT

"That's an indicator that I am trying to get ahold of you very fast," said Rachel Wells, while pushing a button on a Walkie Talkie creating a harsh attention-getting tone.

The Riding the Waves tour guide is loading up passengers not on one boat, but six personal watercrafts that hold two passengers each.

Riding the Waves in Englewood Beach makes getting away on the water easier than you may think.

"I am going to have you reach back and crank your engine," Wells said while helping new captains become acquainted with the controls.

This is a personalized eco-tour with personal watercraft.

"I'm going be talking about different wildlife that we see while we're out there," Wells tells the fleet of new drivers before pushing them out to practice on their catamarans. "I am going to give you a little push back as we make our way into the channel."

These two-seaters have no steering wheel. Instead, passengers use a stick to position the boat.

"Forward and backward to turn right and left," explained Conner Pressly, with Riding the Waves.

This three-hour tour begins on Lemon Bay in Charlotte County. Once on the water, everyone gets practice time before braving the channel.

"You don't have to be educated at boating at all," Pressly said with confidence.

Along the way, great blue herons right outside the back dock of Charlotte County homes, while dolphins begin to catch dinner.

"I see him!" Shavonne Linares shouts. 

"He's coming right under our boat," said Pressly, as a dolphin passed under the catamaran he was piloting.

After spending time on your own catamaran, it's time to become a "land-lubber" again and pull up on the sand of Stump Pass Beach State Park.

Here, visitors abandon ship and stretch their legs on what feels like a barrier island. This part of the Gulf coast is known for hunting for fossilized shark teeth.

There's enough time on the sand for a swim in the Gulf of Mexico before heading back to the marina and beating the setting sun.

"We got to take a lot of pictures. too," Pressly said of the day well after sunset.

Tankful on Television:
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