Tampa Bay Ferry
Captain Wilson Hubbard was a colorful carnival worker turned fisherman and nautical legend. Wilson founded Hubbard’s Marina when he was a young angler, and he was known for cooking up interesting ways to entertain visitors and get people on his boats.
Once, he even trained a pair of dolphins to perform for tourists. Back in the 1950’s, just after he got home from WWII, Wilson ran a ferry to Mullet Key, today’s Fort Desoto. And everybody thought he was crazy.
Mark Hubbard, his son, started running dolphin watching trips out of John’s Pass back in the 1980’s long before dolphin watching was a popular concept. Mark descended from a fisherman but he knew there were people who also liked to go cruising. And everybody thought he was crazy.
In the early 2000’s, Mark founded Tampa Bay Ferry to run ferry routes to Egmont Key and Shell Key. At the same time he was working alongside local government to support the vision of ferry transportation and the way it could move people north and south county along our waterways.
Again, everybody thought he was crazy.
14 years ago Tampa Bay Ferry was awarded the contract to operate out of Fort Desoto and transport guests to Egmont Key, in partnership with Pinellas County.
The ferry from Fort Desoto to Egmont Key carries thousands of folks per year out into the clear blue water of the Gulf of Mexico to snorkel the ruins of abandoned forts and grass flats full of fish and to explore the white sand beaches of an island that was a battleground during the Spanish American war.
Today, Tampa Bay Ferry made another crazy idea come to life, a passenger ferry service inside Madeira Beach and Treasure Island. These cities have been home to Hubbard’s Marina and Tampa Bay Ferry for almost forty years.
The Madeira Beach ferry picks up and drops off from local restaurants, bars, hotels, and attractions, connecting cities on a marine highway system that runs inside the barrier islands.
Waterborne transportation is catching on in our community and we are thrilled for the opportunity to be a part of the future, even if it makes us crazy!
See you on the water.