Solomons Island Heritage Tours

Captains Dale “Simon” Dean and Captain Rachel Dean

Our Goal
By observing and engaging in a variety of harvesting methods for blue crabs, finfish, and oysters on a working fishing vessel, visitors will be given an opportunity to experience estuarine life up close through the eyes of a Chesapeake Bay waterman. 

Despite increasing regulations, declining populations, sedimentation, historic overharvesting, and pollution threatening their way of life, watermen continue to work the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. These men and women play an integral part in Maryland’s history and economy.  Solomons Island Heritage Tours hopes to promote an understanding of environmental impacts and regulation changes that challenge commercial watermen as they strive to maintain their way of life. Ultimately, our goal is to promote a healthy Chesapeake Bay where we can pursue educational, recreational, cultural, and commercial opportunities.

Meet the Crew
As watermen, Captain Dale “Simon” Dean and Captain Rachel Dean, know what it is like to build a business “from the water up.”  In 1993, Simon began working for “Bunky” Connor in the waters of the Patuxent River using various harvesting methods. While working on the Miss Teri, Kathy C., and Aldor, Simon earned his United States Coast Guard Captain’s License and a Commercial Tidal Fish License.  

Captain Rachel Dean acquired her Commercial Tidal Fish license and United States Coast Guard Credentials in 2004 after working on various vessels including the Elizabeth S., Bay King, Sandra Marie, and Chesapeake Charm

In the fall of 2001, Captains Simon and Rachel were brought together by fate. At a benefit auction for a fellow waterman, who had suffered a tragic accident, Simon was auctioned off, bought by his long time mentor, Bunky Connor, and given (without a return receipt) to Rachel. The two were married in 2008 and are the owners and operators of Patuxent River Seafood.  Together, in 2009, Simon and Rachel purchased the Roughwater in hopes of expanding their business. Simon and Rachel spent two years preparing the vessel, and the finished product is a 40’ working Chesapeake Baybuilt. Today, Patuxent River Seafood harvests and sells oysters, rockfish (striped bass), soft crabs, and hard crabs to various local restaurants and markets.

Rachel and Simon are active members of the Calvert County Watermen's Association where Rachel serves as the association's secretary and Simon is a member of the board of directors.

So often, Rachel and Simon hear people say "I'd like to see that," and that is what inspired Solomons Island Heritage Tours.  

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