New owner plans to expand Captain Ed’s Charters

Andrea Stetson
Special to Coastal Life

There’s a new man at the helm of Captain Ed’s Charters and he’s bringing back some traditions while adding a huge new menu of things to do on the water.

Taylor Masiero, owner of Sweetwater Adventures in Bonita Springs, recently purchased Captain Ed’s Charters of Bonita Bay. He’s the third owner of the business that was established in 1992 by Ed Fischel and later taken over by Gregg Bedell.

Masiero plans to add a new fleet of boats to the three large pontoons already there and open up to the public many of the charter trips previously reserved for Bonita Bay residents.

He has ordered a 40-foot-long by 14-foot-wide boat on which he hopes to hold dinner cruises. He plans to use that boat and also the pontoon boats for wine cruises.

In the past, the monthly wine cruises were only for residents of Bonita Bay, but now everyone can come along. He also has a new bay boat for fishing trips.

“Gregg did a phenomenal job,” Masiero began. “I want to bring it to the next level.”

Masiero is also looking at running boat shuttles from his Sweetwater location to the Backwater Jacks restaurant in Bonita Bay. That restaurant is open only to Bonita Bay residents or the public that comes by boat, so the boat shuttle would give people who don’t own their own vessel a chance to dine at that waterfront restaurant.

Steve Dall is the operations manager for Captain Ed’s. He says he has lots of creative ideas to add to the business.

“We will do a ton of different themes starting in the fall,” Dall explained. “We will have karaoke nights, wine and cheese cruises, we will be offering catering on board. There will be theme nights like a dance to the oldies evening. We have a pretty full schedule.

“We will still keep the three pontoons,” said Dall, “that is what our customers know. But we are bringing a little more to it.”


While Masiero is looking to grow the business, he is also hanging on to some traditions. Capt. Ed named his boats after family members. Miss Pam was named after Ed Fischel’s daughter and Miss Kayla after his granddaughter. Masiero is naming his new large boat after his wife. It will be called the Miss Danielle.

“I have continued the legacy of what Ed did,” Masiero said. “So I am going to go down the list of my family. I have three daughters and a son so I will have to buy a lot of boats.”

Masiero also plans to return to the tradition of entering the Imperial River Boat Parade at Christmas.

When Fischel owned the business, he was known for his elaborate boat decorations and music. Masiero said he wants to continue that ritual.

Masiero said he knew the time was right to expand.

“It is a perfect fit,” he explained. “I have had so many opportunities for companies for sale but it wasn’t the right time. When this one came around I just had to figure out a way to do it. I could not let this opportunity pass by.”

It was also a business transfer between friends.

“I have been friends with Gregg for years,” Masiero said. “He always said when I get old I am going to sell it to you. He called and said, ‘It’s time.’ ”

More information

Captain Ed’s Charters, 27598 Marina Pointe Drive, Bonita Springs, call 239-293-4133.