Captains

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2006-2010  Captain Blackwater Bones

Tom Scott (aka Blackwater Bones) joined with six other friends in 2006 and thought it would be fun to organize a small group and call the group “pyrates”.  After they formed they decided it would be good thing to establish a purpose.  Since they all spent so much time on the river it seemed natural that the river would be that focus.  The most pressing need to address on the river was trash and derelict boats.  As the pyrates set about eliminating those items their visibility in the community and popularity grew.  This prompted them to incorporate, charge dues and provide for their membership.  Captain Bones served from 2006 through 2010 and many of the practices that the pyrates perform today began within that small group of pyrates led by Captain Bones in those early days. The mission of the Blackwater Pyrates eventually evolved into “River Cleanup, Boater Safety & Maritime Preservation”.

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2010-2012  Captain Hook 'em Dano

Captain Hook'm Dano (aka Danny Kelek) led the Blackwater Pyrates from 2010 through 2012.

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2012-2014  Captain Fin's Up

Captain Fins Up (aka Ken Ponsell) was born and raised in Jacksonville Florida in 1955.  He was a member of the Florida Army National Guard from 1976 through 1992 and obtained the rank of Captain.  In 1983, Captain Fins Up graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor in Business Administration.  Not one to rest on his laurels, the Captain moved to Milton Florida and joined the Blackwater Pyrates serving in the technical crew, lighted boat parade, membership, Coxswain and Blackwater Pyrates Captain.  Fins Up was Captain of the Pyrates from2012-2014.  In 2011, Fins Up married the former Miss Cynthia Johnson.  He has two children and 3 grandchildren.  Always on the go, Fins Up like to sail, boat, listen to music, fish, golf, carpentry and watch Jacksonville Jaguar Football.  

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2014-2015  Captain Whitebeard 

Captain White Beard (aka Walt Schumann) stood watch over the salty crew of the Blackwater Pyrates from January 2014 to January 2015.   He has brought to the crew a wealth of experience sailing with the U.S. Navy flying off Carriers and Amphibious ships.  White Beard continues sharing his naval experience acting as a contracted in­structor with the Navy.  Educated in Aviation Management from Embry Riddle Univ. and M.S. from Univ. of Arkansas.  White Beard also volunteers in the local community contributing his time to support the Blackwater Heritage trail CSO, Bagdad Water Fronts and Leadership Santa Rosa.  He is supported by his wife and fellow pyrate Sirocco (aka Sue Schumann)  Now retiring the helm to a most competent fellow pyrate, he will enjoy the leisure time off spending it with family, his children and grandchildren and watching the sun set from under the bimini of the La Bodega!.

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2015-2017  Captain Dragon

Captain Dragon (aka Ralph Palmer) led the Blackwater Pyrates from January 2015 to January 2017.  He took on the challenges as Captain of the Blackwater Pyrates and charged the crew to set sail to ports of call along the Blackwater River to reap the bountiful booty.  He brings to the crew a vast experience sailing with the U.S. Navy as an Medium Attack Carrier Pilot, Advance Pilot Flight Instructor and later repairing naval aircraft as the Fixed Wing Branch Head at the Depot.  Educated and degreed with a B.S. Aerospace Engineering from NC State Un.  He has accrued over 38 years of service in the military and as a civil servant for the Navy.  Dragon also volunteers with the Bagdad Waterfronts Foundation contributing his time to help in the development of special project in the Blackwater River basin area and towns.  He is supported by his wife and fellow pyrate Wicked Pam Flint (aka Pamela Palmer).

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2017-2019  Captain Boot 

Captain Boot (aka Carl Whitson) Led the crew of the Blackwater Pyrates from January 2017 to January 2019   He has brought to the crew a great number of Pyrates and they have heeded the call to get involved. His firm belief and pride in the Blackwater Pyrates has increased our stellar reputation for all the things we do in the community, From Boater Safety and Education to River clean ups and Maritime Historic Preservation and the many other community service events. The crew has once again sailed the Blackwater Pearl on and through many wonderful adventures.

As Captain Boot says we are

“Pyrates with a Purpose!” 

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2019-2021 Captain Murky 

Captain Murky (aka Mark Flores) is ready to take on the challenges as Captain of the Blackwater Pyrates and charge the crew to set sail to ports of call along the Blackwater River to reap the bountiful booty. He brings to the crew a vast experience with all the mission statements, i.e., Maritime History, River Cleanup and Boater’s Safety.  Murky is educated and degreed with an A.S. in Electronic Engineering Technology from Pensacola Junior College and has accrued over 36 years of service as a civil servant for the Department of Defense.  Murky also volunteers with numerous organizations in Santa Rosa County. Captain Murky is supported by his wife and fellow Pyrate Sandy Bottom, (aka Patty Flores).

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2021— Captain Lucky
Captain Lucky, aka Larry McKee is ready to take on the challenges as Captain of the Blackwater Pyrates and charge the crew to set sail to ports of call along the Blackwater River to reap the bountiful booty.  Educated and degreed with a Bachelor of Arts from Doane College in Lincoln, Ne. He brings to the crew in excess of 35 years of federal government service including 10 years with the U.S. Navy and over 25 years with the U.S. Postal Service before retiring in 2019.
Now, as a United States Coast Guard licensed boat captain, Captain Lucky enjoys providing guided tours of the Blackwater Bay and associated river areas.
Captain Lucky has been actively involved with every BWP event as Technical Team Leader and Merchandising Chair. He is supported by his wife and current Duck Diva SasSea (Vicki McKee)
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