Meet the Team: Captain Pete (Returns!)

After 7 years away, Captain Pete has returned to the Wild Dolphin Project!

Captain Pete returns to the project with decades of experience, both with us and other vessels, holding a U.S. Coast Guard 1600-ton master license, open oceans. He filled in for our last two trips of the 2022 Field Season, and now he’s hard at work during our off season to get the R/V Stenella ready for next summer.

Pete got his start both in and on the water from a young age, working on boats as a deckhand and mate going back to high school growing up in South Florida. “I’ve been freediving for pennies off the bottom of the pool since first grade,” he said. He first job was taking his brother’s boat down to Key West, and he continued after that fishing and sailing with his uncle and brother starting at 16-years-old. “I’ve been on the water forever.”

Eventually, he got a job in the Bahamas on a liveaboard for diving trips and dolphin encounters off Grand Bahama Island in 1989, then joined the Wild Dolphin Project in 2000. Prior to his return, Pete was working as captain and first mate of a few different yachts based out of the Palm Beach area, ranging from 54-feet to more than 100-feet.
Pete has seen a lot in his years on the water, but his favorite experiences are when the boat is anchored and the dolphins come to the boat. During the day, he’s driving the boat, getting researchers, interns, graduate students, and passengers safely in and out of the water. His focus is on safety and research. That’s why he enjoys slipping into the water during the quiet evening encounters, when everyone else is out, prepping for dinner, downloading data and he can interact with the animals. “I just enjoy having wild animals come up to us, it’s been a real special thing having wild animals that are so cool choose to hang out.”

We are grateful to have Captain Pete back and his excellent troubleshooting and dolphin-finding skills. We know we are in capable hands.

Captain Pete is particularly excited to get back in the water next summer and is curious if some of the older dolphins recognize him, having known him for more than 20 years.