Captain’s Bios

Captain Bill Reese

Captain Bill Reese

Captain Bill Reese

Captain Bill Reese has been an avid boater since first learning to sail with his father off the coast of New Jersey. Since then he has sailed extensively in California, Mexico, the Caribbean, New Zealand, Hawaii, Japan, Canada, Washington and Alaska. He has well over twenty years of boating experience including big boat captain, sailboat master, and dive boat captain.

His whale watching background includes leading whale watching tours in Monterey Bay and off the shores of San Diego. Captain Bill has found Orcas in the San Juan Islands and humpbacks in Alaska’s romantic Inside Passage. Captain Bill has observed gray whales, finbacks and blue whales in the wild, as well as a variety of dolphins and other types of sea life. He has studied whales at the Friday Harbor Whale Museum, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Birch Aquarium and at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach.

His love of ocean mammals is exceeded only by his love of the sea, itself. Today, Captain Bill and his wife live aboard a sailboat in San Diego.

Captain Eric Gustafson

Captain Eric Gustafson

Captain Eric Gustafson

Captain Eric Gustafson’s boating experience includes Small Sail and Power Vessels, Sailing Instructor, Costal Cruising and Sailboat Racing. His licensed experience consists of Coast Guard Licensed Master of Sail and Power vessels since 1980, handling both sail and power vessels, sailing instruction, Harbor Tours, Whale Watching, Dinner Cruises, Charters, Coastal Charters, three seasons of Whale Watching with Invader Cruises, eight Seasons Whale Watching with Hornblower Cruises and management of Vessel Operations and Vessel Maintenance. Capitan Eric earned his Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Master of Arts in Environmental Geography.

Captain Richard Goben

Captain Richard Goben

Captain Richard Goben

Captain Richard Goben is Hornblower Cruises & Events Port Captain and a veteran Whale Watching expert for over 25 years!  Captain Rich taught sailing while attending the University of California, San Diego. During this time, he received his first Coast Guard license. He ran classic sail and power passenger vessels for over 30 years.  Also during his college days, Captain Rich became a writer for magazines, such as Sail, Sea, and other marine related publications.  In the 1980s, he became involved in the America’s Cup sailboat races, and was a Navigator for Dennis Conners’ “B” team during the 1983 Cup races.

In 1984, Captain Rich began crewing on the 1863 Barque Star of India for the San Diego Maritime Museum. In 1996, he served as Mate, then in 1998, became Master. The Star is the oldest active sailing ship in the world, and the only Class “A” sailing vessel known to not have an engine. Captain Rich is still Master of the ship. Richard also operates the Maritime Museum’s 1904 Steam Yacht, Medea.

Captain Rich has been operating Passenger vessels since 1978, including Whale Watching vessels.  He holds a Master’s license for power, steam and sail vessels of 1600 tons (Inland Mate) and 500 tons, (Ocean Master).  He completed the Naturalist class at the San Diego Natural History Museum, and serves as a volunteer on the Raptor Rehabilitation team for Project Wildlife.

Captain Rich serves on the San Diego Harbor Safety Committee, and on the Executive Steering Committee of the Area Maritime Security Committee. He also serves on the Safety and Security Committee for the Passenger Vessel Association of the United States. He is an instructor in CPR/AED and First Aid for the American Red Cross.

In 1998, he received the “Outstanding Leadership” award from the Naval Order of the United States. Each year, Captain Rich heads a volunteer program to have Hornblower narrators serve on Family cruises on US Navy ships. He has done this on over 50 Naval vessels.  Other awards include the 2000 “Hospitality Employee of the Year” award from HSMA San Diego, and the 2001 “Creative Innovation in Sailing Programming” Award from US Sailing. In 2002, Richard was awarded the first Annual “Roger Murphy National Safety Award” from the Passenger Vessel Association.  In October 2013, he was recently named Maritime Person of the Year by the International Propeller Club.

Video Interview with Rich Goben