MILTON — Blackwater Bay Tours offers a day of culture, relaxation and natural beauty on the river by boat.  

Cruises feature Blackwater Bay sunsets, Blackwater River, Yellow River, Escribano Point and downtown Milton. Cruise packages range from $15 per person for one-hour, sunset cruises to $80 per-person full day packages including dinner and a cruise. 
 
Milton residents Ken and Cindie Ponsell created the business. Ken said that the concept behind Blackwater Bay Tours came about nearly five years ago. The idea was to give the public an opportunity to see the Blackwater River basin from the water, Ken said.

Tour passengers may also learn something new on their cruise. While customers are on the tour, Ken will present historic information and point out historic artifacts still in the water.

Part of his decision to start the boat tours came from his experience helping with the Bagdad Mill Site Park's 2016 grand opening. Ken, a member of the civic organization The Blackwater Pyrates, was part of the celebration and gave free 15-minute boat tours.

“We did almost 600 people with eight boats,” Ken said. “It amazed me how many people got on and said that they had lived here all their lives and never been on a boat.”

So, when Ken bought his home on Bain Drive, which has a canal that opens into the river, he decided this was something he wanted to do.  

“When we built the sea wall, I decided I would build a boat house and buy a pontoon,” he said.  

Ken said it took a lot of work in order to realize his vision.  

“I had to have a six-pack license and pass the Coast Guard exam and pass the drug screening and physical exam and background checks,” he said.  

Ken explained that the six-pack license is a license that allows a boat captain to carry six passengers on a boat at a time.  

In addition to giving paid tours, Ken said he will be working with the community in charitable aspects. He will be working with the Santa Rosa ARC and Forsyth House in the near future to provide tours for their programs.  

Ken said his overall goal is to give people a historic tour combined with beautiful surroundings.

“We live in such a beautiful area I wanted to give folks a tour and end it with Mother Nature doing her thing,” he said.

For more information on Blackwater Bay Tours, visit www.blackwaterbaytours.com or call 463-5943.