Capt. Rick and JoAnn Winters

Our founder, Capt. Rick Winters is a U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain, (Master) certified P.A.D.I Divemaster, Florida Notary, and a member of the Key Largo Chamber of Commerce.

Capt. Rick hails from the Philadelphia- South Jersey area. He worked as an ironworker. (Structural steel erection, Philadelphia Ironworkers Local #401). After many years of building highrise buildings and bridges he decided on a better life in a warmer climate and in 1984 sailed Morning Star down the coast to Key Largo and created Morning Star Sailing Charters. Capt. Rick has extensive experience (40 years+) sailing the waters between Key West and as far north as New Jersey. His love and respect for the water and the creatures that live in it is reflected in every trip.

One of the first things customers always ask me is “Have you ever had a real job, or is this all that you do??”

Well, yes, I’ve had a “real job”, in fact a few. While in high school I worked in a machine shop for my father in the evenings and weekends. It was a great learning experience but the pay just wasn’t enough.

Right out of high school I was given the opportunity to become an ironworker. I had no idea what an Ironworker was or what I was getting into. If I had known how dangerous the work was, and how hard you had to work to make the big bucks I may not not have made the move. But I’m glad I did and learned the business of steel erection quickly thanks to a great bunch of ironworkers from local #401 in Philadelphia especially my mentors; Charley, George, Joe Bakely, and Charley Schomber. They took me under their wings and taught me how to stay alive while performing my duties. I will never forget the fantastic guys that I worked with, the comradery is dearly missed.

A lot of people confuse an ironworker with a steel worker.

There is a huge difference, A Steel worker makes the steel in a steel mill. An Ironworker erects structural steel in the air for skyscrapers and bridges. An ironworker is a highly skilled craftsmen who puts his life on the line every day. He must be proficient in steel erection, cranes of all types, rigging, welding, climbing iron and certainly can’t be afraid of heights.

I have spent most of my years with Cornell and Company, but in my early years worked for Bethlehem Steel and American Bridge.

I’ve dug up a few old pictures from my ironworking years.

Looks like fun….right?

Capt. Rick’s Early Days