Meet your Captains!
CAPTAINS JESS HAWKINS + TONY DELUZIO
Captain Hawkins grew up exploring the waters of the Pamlico River near Bath, NC. His childhood days were mostly spent fishing and boating, which sparked his desire to be a marine biologist. Capt. Hawkins received a B.S. degree in zoology from UNC-Chapel Hill and a M.S. degree from East Carolina University in biology. Upon graduation, Capt. Hawkins began a 30 year career as a marine biologist with the North Carolina Division of Marine Fisheries. He studied the ecology of many sea creatures and recommended conservation measures to protect those animals.
For his efforts in conservation Capt. Hawkins was presented the North Carolina Governor's Award for Wildlife Conservationist of the Year in 1994. He also received the Order of the Long Leaf Pine award in 2006, which is the highest civilian award for public service presented by North Carolina's Governor. In 2016, he was awarded the Steward of the Future Award, sponsored by the North Carolina Biotechnology Center, and organized by members of the scientific research community in Carteret County, including NC State University Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, UNC Institute of Marine Sciences, Duke University Marine Laboratory, & NOAA Center for Coastal Fisheries + Habitat Research.
Capt. Hawkins has boated the waters of Carteret County since 1996. He is an avid recreational fisherman, primarily fishing, crabbing and clamming the local sounds and shallow Atlantic Ocean waters, and enjoys photographing the coast and creatures that he has spent his life studying. He holds a Masters Captain's License from the U.S. Coast Guard and is certified in CPR and first aid.
Since his retirement, Capt. Hawkins been an educator at the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores as well as the North Carolina Center for the Advancement of Teachers at Ocracoke. He has taught at the Duke Marine Lab, and currently holds a position as an instructor at the NC State Marine Lab.
Capt. Hawkins has been married to Diane for 34 years, and has two daughters, Leigh and Mari, a son-in-law, Logan, and a grandson Harry.
Crystal Coast Ecotours, Inc. can use the Lucky Dog, a 20 foot center console vessel or the 24 foot cuddy cabin CheLeiMar, to take passengers on your customized nature tour. The Lucky Dog was named in honor of the Hawkins’ family beagle, Lucky and was built by Sea Ox, powered by a 200 HP Yamaha outboard motor. She is well constructed to operate safely and comfortably in the near-shore Atlantic Ocean and the backwaters of the Crystal Coast. Her shallow draft allows customers to easily get into shallow waters for exploring. The Lucky Dog also has a T-top for shade and shelter from the rain.
The CheLeiMar, built by Grady-White, was named by the grandfather of Capt. Hawkins’ daughters, Leigh and Mari in their honor, along for their cousin, Chelsea. She is powered by two 150 HP Yamaha outboard motors. The cuddy cabin provides a private bathroom facility if needed, shelter from the environment, or a space for any young ones to lie down on your family outing. Her design handles choppy sea conditions safely and with ease. She has plenty of space for moving around.
Both vessels are insured to take up to 6 passengers, excluding the Captain, and have all the required federal safety equipment. The Lucky Dog and ChelLeiMar are equipped with ample dry storage space for your possessions.
CAPTAIN TONY DELUZIO
Capt. Tony is driven by passion and love for the Crystal Coast and he thoroughly enjoys sharing his knowledge of this beautiful paradise. He has an immense desire to create unforgettable memories for his guests on every tour.
Capt. Tony has boated and fished the waters of The Crystal Coast since 1996. He is a US Coast Guard licensed master captain and is certified in CPR and first aid. He is an avid outdoorsman who has fallen in love with the North Carolina coast.
As a military brat born in Texas, he moved around some but eventually landed in Hampton, Virginia where he grew up boating and fishing the lower Chesapeake Bay and James River. These excursions as a young boy solidified his love for all things salt water. After high school, Capt Tony studied at Virginia Commonwealth University before embarking on his own 22-year military career. He later earned a B.S. in Occupational Education from Wayland Baptist University. Capt Tony’s parents eventually moved to Carteret County, NC in 1996. This move is what finally connected Capt. Tony to the Crystal Coast where he says it was love at first sight!
After retiring from the United States Air Force, Capt Tony’s love for the outdoors launched him into a career as a Texas Game Warden. This career change was short lived as he could not resist the lure of salt water and returning to live near family. He moved back east as quickly as he could and finally put down roots in Morehead City, NC.
Capt. Tony operates a Robalo Cayman 246 bay boat. She is a very stable, 24-foot platform with comfortable seating for six. She is powered by a religiously-maintained 300 horsepower Mercury Verado engine. Her shallow draft allows her to operate in very shallow waters, enabling clients to explore places many other boats cannot. Once on board, you’ll find all required safety items including life jackets, throw buoy, VHF marine radio, fire extinguishers, flares, and first aid kit. Capt. Tony is fully insured as a charter boat captain and tour operator, and is also a member of Tow Boat U.S. in the event there are any mechanical issues that arise. Crystal Coast Ecotours is authorized and permitted as tour operators for the Cape Lookout National Seashore and the Rachel Carson Nature Reserve.
Capt. Tony has been married to his beautiful bride, Sarah, since 1995 and together have two adult children, Martha and Andrew.