'Whatever the public wants'


If a day of crabbing is what a customer wants, that can be accommodated. If they want to have a dozen crabs waiting on the boat to be eaten while they tour Delaware’s serene inland bays, that is also possible. Even if they want a trip to Seacrets in Ocean City for a couple of drinks and lunch, they will not be let down.

Coastal Point • JONATHAN STARKEY: Mike Jandzen, owner of Aquatic Marine, navigates the waters of the Little Assawoman Bay near the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge.Coastal Point • JONATHAN STARKEY
Mike Jandzen, owner of Aquatic Marine, navigates the waters of the Little Assawoman Bay near the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge.

Besides the regularly advertised trips through Delaware and Maryland waters, Aquatic Marine’s staff can customize almost any trip requested by any customer, its owner, Mike Jandzen, said.

“There’s nobody that does what we do,” Jandzen said as he navigated the Little Assawoman Bay near the mostly-untouched Assawoman Wildlife Refuge on Tuesday, adding that an environmental and historical narration of the trip is always included. “We cater to exactly what it is they want.”

The only thing Aquatic Marine can’t do, he said, is provide alcohol for its customers. Alcohol is consumed on a strictly bring-your-own-beer policy. But Jandzen said that his staff can provide a gourmet lunch, refreshments or even a nice sunset dinner, upon request. “Customized trips,” Jandzen called them.

Beside those make-your-own boating tours, though, Jandzen and his crew also provide pre-packaged tours for “families and friends,” he stressed Tuesday.

The 18-foot Boston Whaler Nautilus used by Aquatic Marine can hold up to six passengers and their pontoon boat can tote up to 12 – small enough for a personal trip, he added. “People like to be able to go out just with their family” or friends, said Jandzen, whose company is also the managing agent for the 12-man North Bethany lifeguarding crew.

Aquatic Marine’s two signature five-hour trips take visitors – Jandzen said that no locals have yet utilized the service – to Lewes and back, and to Assateague Island for a “Wild Pony Adventure.”

On the trip to Lewes, passengers on the boat ride about a mile offshore in the ocean, among dolphins and schools of blue fish, and into the Delaware Bay. In the bay, they will hear the histories of the Harbor of Refuge Light and the Lewes Breakwater Light before touring historic Lewes. And on the return trip, Jandzen or another member of his team will navigate Delaware’s Inland Bays, where osprey nests, blue herons, terrapins and bald eagles are regularly spotted.

The return is a “whole new perspective” compared to the trip out, Jandzen said, when passengers get to see the coastline from the ocean’s side.

On the pony adventure, guests will tour the Maryland portion of Assateague Island while listening to folklore about how the ponies swam ashore after a Spanish shipwreck. Those tours cost $60 per person and leave either out of the Indian River Marina or the Assawoman Wildlife Refuge and always have an environmental tone.

“We always try to talk about the bay,” Jandzen said. “We try to preserve and protect the resource.” And, he added, people “want to know about the area they’re visiting. Everybody who takes the trips loves them.”

It’s not hard to imagine. As Jandzen drove through the “pristine” and “tranquil” Little Assawoman on Tuesday, he also described tubing and water skiing tours, and boating camps for kids, as he pointed out an osprey nest perched on a post.

Water shuttles throughout the bay will be available next season, with three Aquatic Marine boats serving as water taxis to and from bars, restaurants, hotels and residences on the Delaware and Maryland bays.

Jandzen, with the love for his profession evident on Tuesday’s tour through parts of those bays, summed up his customers’ experience simply.

“We do whatever the public wants.”