When Claire Hutchinson of the Five-Star boat charter company, AquaBlue Adventures, was setting up her profile on Match.com, she checked an item that read “Love Boating/Water Activities”. Having grown up on boats and lakes in Mississippi, this was an easy box to tick. Claire had always wanted to live near the water and pursue business opportunities that involved boating in some way. This specification she made on her online dating profile would be a small, but profound move that connected her to the people and places that would make this dream a reality.
Claire met her fellow “Loves Boating/Water Activities” relationship and business partner, Captain Charlie Filipes, on that dating site and became a part-time resident here in Islamorada where Charlie resides and runs Key Largo Adventures, a similar Five-Star charter excursion business. She began assisting Charlie with the online elements of the business such as website management, online marketing and sales efforts. Claire’s corporate and tech-savvy background lent itself well to this arrangement that allowed her to learn valuable on-the-water skills while the business continued to grow.
In a short amount of time, Claire’s digital skills paid off and the specialty charter business was continuously booked. The next focus was converting those would-be turned away reservation requests into new business which is how Claire came to own and operate AquaBlue Adventures. Claire leveraged relationships with additional local charter businesses and other highly rated Captains to help fill their schedules for All Day/Half-day, All-Inclusive, Simple Sandbar charters and 3 hour excursions such as Snorkel, Sightseeing and Sunsets.
“I LOVE keeping my captains gainfully employed. I have seen so many friends have to leave the area to find employment opportunities when disaster hits the Keys, and it feels great when I can help them. I also love our awesome tourists. The expression of joy on their faces when they first see the color of our ocean fills me with gratitude,” says Claire. The business model is a win-win; Claire’s success in her other ventures has given her the opportunity to help local captains do just the same.
With so many charter options in the Keys, AquaBlue Adventures stands out by not only reaching their target audience online but offering a variety of options that help the customer achieve their desired experience. In addition to fishing charters, the 4 to 6 hour Simple Sandbar charter or a combination of Sandbar plus Snorkeling, Sightseeing, or Water Taxi have proven to be some of the most popular excursions. The “Bring Your Own” option is also popular with guests as it is cost-effective and gives them the flexibility to stock the boat with their own favorite food and beverages.
Despite the challenging times we have been living in, the future for AquaBlue Adventures looks as clear and as bright as the waters on which they operate. Future plans include partnering with more top-notch captains in the area and possibly pursuing business opportunities closer to the Florida Panhandle, to be a little closer to Claire’s Southern roots.
Future guests can find AquaBlue Adventures at https://www.aquablueadventures.com, on Facebook and Instagram, and rated as a FIVE-STAR company on TripAdvisor and Yelp. You can also call/text us at 305-900-7350.