Capt Matt Finney
Hands on the wheel, looking to the starboard side, then to port, then below through the angled glass where the water rolls under the massive hull. The 50-tonne vessel slices through the water as its occupants enjoy a leisure time with beautiful scenery on deck.
Although being a tour boat captain may sound like a dry profession for the desert, Captain Matt does a terrific job at keeping the family business ship-shape and afloat at Lake Pleasant, Arizona. In his adolescence, he was exposed to the marina life and had the experience of building boats with his dad. Welding and grinding the sheets of steel together, Matt helped build the vessel he would later be the Captain of.
Matt completed the college route, but at the end of the day the boat-life was calling him back. Eager to take this opportunity, he returned to Arizona and completed his Captain’s license. With all his hours on the water documented, it did not take much longer for him to reach this ambitious goal.
He has now taken over the family business and runs it with the help of his sister on board. Being an Arizona residing vessel, the tour boat is appropriately named The Phoenix.
The last two summers, Captain Matt has had to overcome challenges to keep his services available. There is often the misconception that because it’s the desert, Arizona does not get extreme weather other than heat. However, the last two summers, microbursts and extreme winds have damaged the main walkway to the marina, making it difficult for new-comers to access.
With this sudden disturbance to his business, Matt shares how he was able to handle the situation. He says the first step to handling the changes is to first acknowledge that there is a problem. Nothing will change if you don’t the first register that it exists.
A small shuttle boat has been the temporary remedy for the marina to get people back and forth. However, a regularly sized crowd on the tour boat is 100+ people. Matt noticed the time sensitivity on everyone arriving before the boat was scheduled to leave. Though the damage to the marina was out of his hands, he did the best he could for his customers and notified them of the inconvenience to arrive early.
Matt caters to all age groups, but it is the little kids that bring the most excitement and fulfillment to his job. He gets to see their face light up when they realize they get to go on the big boat in front of them. Often times, the kids have to be tamed long enough to get their life jacket on and secured. Regardless of the recent difficulties at hand, the joy he gets as Captain is apparent.
Our Experience on the Phoenix
Scenery from the Phoenix Tour