Crews prepare for 2014 Ship Island Excursion season - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Crews prepare for 2014 Ship Island Excursion season

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GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) -

The Ship Island Excursions dock is a busy place these days as workers prepare to open for the 2014 season. Crews are bringing in equipment and stocking the snack shelves inside the cruise boats.

All those involved are predicting a successful season.

"We're hoping for good weather; we're hoping for a great season," said Kevin Buckle, Director of Sales and Marketing. "We've expanded our Saturday schedule to accommodate more passengers that want to visit Ship Island."

The island is 12 miles offshore. Buckle said this is the kind of trip families should look forward to, once the weather warms up.

"It just gets you in the mood to start ferrying passengers out to Ship Island," Buckle said.

Owner and Captain Steven Skrmetta said every sunny day is a good day in the island ferry business.

"We try to provide a safe environment for families that don't have their own boats, to come to Ship Island. Our little niche is affordable, even when families can't afford a big vacation," he said.

Family is big to Skrmetta. After all, Ship Island Excursions has been in his family for more than 80 years.

"It feels good. It's nice. Not only is it a good work environment, but it keeps our family close. Most families aren't together except for Thanksgiving. We see each other every day," he said.

And this family business is ready to continue ferrying families to an island of adventure.

The National Park Service will provide tours of Ft. Massachusetts and special island programs throughout the season.

The first excursion departs Saturday, March 15th at 9am. The second departure will be at noon. See more at http://www.msshipisland.com/

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