Ship Island Excursions returns to Biloxi
Ship Island Excursions is finally back where everything began: in Biloxi. The Ship Island boat will officially begin services tomorrow.
It was the sound of history returning to Biloxi as Ship Island Excursions left from the Mississippi Sound from the Point Cadet Marina. Biloxi resident Celeste Lancon said, “To see this come back to Biloxi is absolutely amazing. I remember it as a child and being back on this boat has just been amazing.”
Mayor Andrew ‘FoFo’ Gilich was a deck-hand on the Ship Island boat before the service cut ties with Biloxi. “From the ninth grade until I was a junior in college! So, I made two trips a day to Ship Island for a long, long time.’
Friday, the mayor was back on deck and even took a turn at the wheel during a special VIP cruise kicking off the ship’s return to Biloxi. Ship Island Excursion stopped services in Biloxi in the 1990s. “When the casinos came to Biloxi they took over all the waterfront.”
This weekend marks the official return of the Ship Island boat to where the business originated in 1926. Captain Louis Skrmetta said, “My grandfather began transporting people out to the Barrier Islands on an old converted schooner. It has evolved obviously. We have two locations, Biloxi and Gulfport.”
The ship fits around 300 people. It takes about an hour to get to the island and if you’re lucky you might just see a dolphin. “Beautiful clear water, it is a national park. Of course, we have Fort Massachusetts, the old historic brick fortification that is maintained by the park service,” said Captain Skrmetta.
Now visitors have another way to get there. “Brings back a lot of memories and it’s going to create a lot of memories for people who are going to be riding on it.”
The boat departs from Margaritaville every day at 10 a.m. It leaves the island at 3:30 and is back at port at 4:30 p.m. Tickets can be brought on msshipisland.com.