Captain Ed Rice provides a different look at Maine's beauty

June 2011 News
For one's viewing pleasure, Maine has plenty to offer.

Rivers. Lakes. Wildlife. Sunrises and sunsets. Miles of coastline. Picturesque villages. Mountains. Trees ... and more trees. The list is seemingly endless.

Most of us take in these pleasing settings by way of car, by walking or even by hopping onto a bicycle or motorcycle.

But there is another way. By boat.

One person who offers this service with a unique view is Captain Ed Rice, the owner of River Run Tours out of Bath.

"You cannot see `The Real Maine' from the road ... period," said Rice, who grew up in West Bath. "There are stretches of water ... where we will cruise for great distances and see nothing man-made."

The Times Record recently spent time with Rice to learn more about his boat and the business he loves, what people see on his cruises, and how your schedule is his schedule.

Ed, please recall for us how your business, River Run Tours, got started and when? What does your commercial captain's license entitle you to do?

A. After returning from a vacation trip to Aruba in 2004, where Marianne and I could not find a private and personal boat tour, I decided that there may be a market. Business associates, friends and family had always said I would make a great tour boat guide.

My wife, Marianne, is an artist, so while at one of her shows in Cape Elizabeth, I used the leisure time on a beautiful sunny day to sit at a picnic table with my laptop and put together a business plan.

I made arrangements to go through the Boatwise Captains Course for a Six-Pack (OUPV) license in November of 2005. I spent a lot of time researching and ordered a brand-new boat perfect for the task, took delivery in February of 2006 and started making all of the arrangements.

My first season as River Run Tours was 2006. I returned to Boatwise in 2008 and received my master captain's license for a 50-ton vessel on inland waters. I will be upgraded to 100-ton vessels in 2013.

The master license allows me to operate larger "inspected" vessels with more than six passengers, and deliver new boats from boatbuilders to owners.

Beyond the USCG license, I have current certification in CPR, AED and first aid as required. Captains also have to have a rigorous background check through the TSA (Transportation Safety Administration) and carry a TWIC (Transportation Workers Identification Card). Captains also need to be a member of an ongoing random drug testing program.

Q. You said growing up you were on boats before bikes. What is it about being on the water that so attracts you?

A. I grew up on Fosters Point in West Bath, and the New Meadows River was our life as kids. Boating, swimming, you name it.

My older brother and his friends always had boats. My parents had a boat. All my friends had boats. So I was always in a boat.

I loved it!

Q. On your website it says, "Our only schedule is your schedule." Talk about that and the fact that most of your cruises and tours are customized to your client's wishes.

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