Charter a 1961 Picnic Boat on the Delaware This Summer

Say “I do,” get your wildlife fix or savor the sunset on the water.

Delaware River Cruise

Sea Philly offers private Delaware River cruises and outings on the Schuylkill beginning this summer. Photos courtesy of Sea Philly

A Philly Mag colleague of mine coined this “the summer of boats,” and she’s not wrong. In addition to the floating tiki bar that launched over in Ocean City, we now have Sea Philly. Debuting in July, the private, restored 27-foot picnic boat offers Delaware River cruises and outings on the Schuylkill for up to six guests — that means proposals and micro-weddings (or whatever other teeny-tiny celebration you’re hosting), sunset tours, and wildlife-viewing excursions aplenty.

Sea Philly is the brainchild of Georgette Luna and Chris Stock: She works in marketing and business development, and has experience as an outdoor guide; he’s the owner of architectural preservation company Philadelphia Salvage; and they have lived on their sailboat on Pier 3 in Old City for two years. When the world shut down due to the pandemic — and the rest of us were land-locked — they found respite on the water.

Delaware River cruise

“The Delaware River and Philly waterfront were such an escape,” says Luna. Their vessel of choice: the Argonaut, the 1961 Chris Craft-built power boat that Stock had restored using reclaimed 120-year-old mahogany salvaged from buildings throughout Philly. They took out small groups of friends, and the idea took shape — they saw a need for more recreational access to the water, aside from larger outfits. They also wanted to educate folks on how much the river has improved. (The Delaware was named river of the year by the American River Association in 2020, and much work has been done throughout the Philly waterways to revive the habitat, bringing back shad, sturgeon, bald eagles.)

Stock obtained his U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton captain’s license and was ordained through the Universal Life Church, so when the Argonaut — the Sea Philly boat — hits the water this summer, he can marry you onboard, too.

Delaware River cruises

It’s a fledgling biz, but the duo is making waves. They’ve partnered with Independence Seaport Museum for pickups in Penn’s Landing and Bartram’s Garden on the Schuylkill River. They’re working with booking agent FareHarbor and will take reservations for cruises beginning in May; tours will start July 1st and run through October at least.

There are four options: sunset tours, day cruises, nature outings, and micro-weddings and private events for two to six people, plus Stock and Luna. (We can already envision the golden-hour engagements.) Pricing will be determined by the number of people and is currently available upon request.

Delaware River cruise

The couple plans to offer birding experiences in the fall. “A lot of feedback we have received … is that there are places that aren’t accessible on land to see wildlife,” says Luna. Among them: Petty Island, north of the Ben Franklin on the Jersey side, where the sunset cruises will circle. And, yep, you could hypothetically get married on one of those trips, too. “That would be an amazing wedding adventure.”

Regardless of your cruise, it’ll be a laid-back experience. “We’re going to walk you through a lot of things about the waterfront, history, and what’s currently happening,” notes Luna. “It goes back to the fact that our nation was founded on Philly’s waterfront. There’s a wealth of history in the area.”

Delaware River Cruise

As for the rest of the logistics? While light snacks and refreshments will be offered, the cruise will largely be BYO food and beverages. For a “larger” party, the couple can coordinate with a caterer. They also are working on a package for event- or wedding-related decor to accent the boat with linings and locally sourced flowers.

Guests must be 13 and up, and must wear flat-soled shoes (no heels with those wedding gowns). Masks are also required in public areas. (Both Luna and Stock are vaccinated.) And there is a composting toilet onboard.

Folks can check out the website for more information; Sea Philly will announce when bookings are live via @seaphilly on Instagram.

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