Interpretive Rangers are the backbone of the educational component of Acadia National Park. The Rangers that accompany the Dive-in Theater Boat Cruise are knowledgeable in biology, geology, and history. Their programs are structured so as to tie together your experience aboard the boat with the National Park System.
Cruise with a Ranger through Frenchman Bay in search of:
- Coastal bird life
- Sea Urchins
- Sand Dollars
- Sea Cucumbers
- Hermit crabs
- Much more!
What Is Not Included?
- Food and beverages are not included, but feel free to bring your own (no coolers please).
- Gratuity is not included and greatly appreciated (we use it to feed our three Newfoundland water-rescue dogs!).
- Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
- We highly recommend you purchase tickets in advance, as cruises do sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day you prefer, please book well in advance! You can purchase your tickets with a Visa, Mastercard, or American Express.
- What is the Dive-in Theater?
- The Dive-in Theater is a marine education boat cruise developed by Diver Ed. Ed dives underwater while you watch live on the six-foot screen. He also collects sea creatures and brings them up for a hands-on show-and-tell before they go back to the sea.
- Is the Dive-in Theater for kids only?
- No. Even though Diver Ed's zany tactics may not be appealing to extremely mature people, most adults agree that they enjoy the Dive-in Theater also. For the more mature we highly recommend the Park Ranger led Dive-in Theater cruise. All children must be accompanied by an adult, however.
- What is the difference between the Diver Ed cruise and the Park Ranger cruise?
- The Diver Ed cruise is more suitable for families and children, and the Park Ranger tour is targeted towards adults. The Diver Ed cruise is more interactive and fun, while the Park Ranger tour focuses on narration and takes you to different locations in Acadia National Park, closer to the seals!
- Tell me more about Diver Ed!
- Diver Ed is an entertainer, ecologist, and extraordinary diver, with over 35,000 hours underwater, most of it off of Bar Harbor. His knowledge of local marine life is astounding. His experience as a commercial fisherman and Harbormaster in Frenchman Bay make him an excellent captain and seaman. Diver Ed has worked with kids of all ages and helped with special needs children. His love of diving and teaching really shines through.
- Tell me more about Captain Evil Edna!
- Captain Evil Edna is a licensed Coast Guard Captain with all of her experience on the Seal in Bar Harbor. Unlike her name (given to her by Diver Ed), she is incredibly sweet. She is a child psychologist and is awesome with the kids. Edna is also Ed's wife, dive tender, and topside naturalist.
- What happens if it rains?
- The tour runs rain or shine. The boat has some shelter, so you will be protected from the elements, but we still recommend that passengers dress for the weather. We meet up at the Dorr Museum (an Island Explorer bus stop) at College of the Atlantic, so you’ll be sheltered as you wait also. In the event of unsafe or severe weather, we may have to cancel the cruise, in which case you would be able to reschedule your tickets or receive credit for a future event.
- Is there a bathroom on the boat?
- Yes. We have a small bathroom on the boat without running water. We recommend that passengers use the more comfortable restrooms in the museum at the meeting location before the cruise begins, but there will be a bathroom on board in case of emergencies.
- Do we see seals on this tour?
- Yes – in fact, you have a better chance of seeing seals on the Park Ranger led Dive-in Theater cruise than on the regular Dive-in Theater cruise. The best time to see seals is around low tide, but of course we cannot guarantee that you will see any.
- Will we see whales?
- Yes and no. Often we see harbor porpoise, which are small toothed whales, like dolphins. But as far as the big whales, we only see a handful a year.
- What animals might we expect to see?
- The Park Ranger led Dive-in Theater cruise has a good chance of seeing topside wildlife such as seals, porpoises, and coastal bird life like eagles! You will also see underwater sea life, but the Park Ranger cruise is more focused on topside wildlife.
- Can I take a stroller on the boat?
- No. The Coast Guard requires that the aisles be clear on board, but you can leave a stroller safely at the dock while we're out on the boat.
- Will I get seasick?
- Probably not, the Starfish Enterprise is a very smooth boat, but the Park Ranger tour takes passengers farther out to sea and has a greater likelihood of seasickness than the Dive-in Theater with Diver Ed. If you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to consider taking preventative measures beforehand, or go on the regular Dive-In Theater cruise instead!
- What should I bring?
- Bring warm clothes, appropriate foul weather gear, binoculars, food or drink if desired, and a spirit for adventure.
- Can I bring food or drinks with me?
- Feel free to bring any food and beverages you'd like! However, we do not allow alcohol on the boat.
- What should we wear?
- Dress warm and in layers. It can be as much as 20 degrees cooler on the water than in town. Wear foul weather gear if the forecast is for rain.
- Can I bring my pet on the boat?
- No. Diver Ed has Newfoundland dogs that work on boat for water rescue and can be confined if need be. Other pets will not have that luxury.
- Are there life jackets on the boat?
- Yes, there are enough Coast Guard required life jackets available on board for each passenger, but they are stowed and prepared for an emergency. They are big and bulky and not so fun to be worn around the boat! You are welcome to bring your own life jacket if you wish.
- How big is the boat?
- The Starfish Enterprise is 54 feet long, and plenty wide. She is an extremely comfortable and stable vessel specially designed and built specifically for the Dive In Theater.
- What happened to the Seal?
- Yes, many of you who have been out with us in years past remember our beloved old boat, The Seal. Sadly, this past Thanksgiving, there was a violent winter storm which snapped her mooring and sent her crashing into Bar Island. Check out the News page for stories. But, many community gatherings later – the new boat was envisioned, named and brought into being.
- What is the best trip to go on?
- If you want calm weather, typically the morning or evening trips are the calmest. The chance of seeing the most marine life is on the evening trips. The chance of seeing the most topside wildlife is on the afternoon trip, especially the Park Ranger led Dive-in Theater cruise.
- Is the boat wheelchair accessible?
- No. Unfortunately there is no wheelchair access to the boat. Passengers with other types of handicaps should "Contact DiverEd" to ensure accessibility. Walkers cannot be brought on the boat. If you have mobility issues scheduling a cruise around high tide is the best.
- Does your boat have a glass bottom?
- No. The Dive-in Theater utilizes a LCD projector shining on to a six-foot screen to show you the picture from Diver Ed's video camera.
- Is parking free?
- Yes. You can park in the North Lot, and only the North Lot, on the College of the Atlantic campus. There is also a free shuttle available, the Island Explorer, that arrives at the college's Natural History Museum every 30 minutes. Please note that the Island Explorer shuttle will stop running for the season on Columbus Day, in mid-October.
- Can I take video or photos?
- Yes. Please feel free to bring along any camera equipment you would like. Please be considerate of other passengers and try not to disturb them if possible.
- Can I book a private charter?
- Sure! Private charters are great for any special occasion. If you're interested in chartering the boat, please click on the "Contact DiverEd" link and we will help arrange an unforgettable event for you.
- Do you offer gift certificates?
- Yes! If you're interested in a gift certificate, please click on the "Contact DiverEd" link to make a request.
- Non-refundable, cannot be rescheduled.
- Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded and cannot be rescheduled because your space is being guaranteed at the event.
- Activity may be cancelled due to severe weather.
- Activity usually runs in rain and moderate weather, but the seller may cancel the activity up to an hour before start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. In the rare situation the seller must cancel the event prior to departure, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability), receive credit for a future event, or receive a full refund.
After his first breath underwater at the age of 16, Ed knew he would be a diver. Since then he has logged over 35,000 hours diving for fun, commercially, conducting research, and hand-harvesting scallops.
Ed has worked as a fisherman, marine ecologist for the Smithsonian Institution, Harbormaster for the Town of Bar Harbor, and founded the League of Underwater Superheroes.
"Diver Ed is...a wild-haired cross between John Belushi and Jacques Cousteau whose idea of fun is kissing live sea creatures and over-inflating his scuba suit so amusing noises blow out the neck hole." -- Family Fun Magazine