Wednesday, June 12, 2024

New Seaplane Business Takes Flight

Coastal Seaplanes is a new business that is literally taking off in Yorktown. (Coastal Seaplanes)

YORKTOWN — Sam Riggs moved to the Historic Triangle in December after discovering that this may be the place to launch his latest business venture: Coastal Seaplanes.

Coastal Seaplanes is an on-demand flight service and air tour business that offers private and small group tours. It is the first of its kind in the Hampton Roads area and Yorktown’s Legasea Marine is the first official seaplane dock on the Virginia coast.

“I really wanted to get into a market that needed this. The last place on the United States coastline that has yet to receive a viable seaplane service company is coastal Virginia and coastal North Carolina,” Riggs explained.

Sam Riggs touching down in a local waterway. (Coastal Seaplanes)

As an on-demand flight service, Riggs and the crew hope to establish scheduled service in June or July to and from the Outer Banks. Currently, Coastal Seaplanes is constructing docks at Cape Charles and Portsmouth and offers service to Nags Head, Manteo, Rodanthe, Avon, Fresco, and Ocracoke.

“There are so many remote areas that take hours to reach by car, up and down our eastern shore. It’s something that is so new here but having flown in Alaska where seaplanes are such a staple in the community, it was such a blessing to be able to do that and to gain the insight to see what we really can offer the region here,” Riggs said.

Sam Riggs, captain of Coastal Seaplanes, takes care of the plane fleet with washing and upkeep. (Coastal Seaplanes)

The seaplanes are amphibious, so Riggs also has access to not only land on water, but also at any public airport across the country.

When it comes to tours, Riggs and his crew currently offer a battleship tour, a James River tour, and a Virginia Beach tour.

On the battleship tour, Riggs takes guests to Norfolk, where they can get views of the U.S. Navy’s warships and aircraft carriers. On the James River Tour, guests can enjoy the various coastlines and historical landmarks from the air. On the Virginia Beach tour, guests can see Navy ships, the Cape Henry lighthouse, the Virginia Beach oceanfront and more.

Tours run from $195 to $295 per person.

“Seaplanes lend themselves well to this area because of all there is to see here. It’s just a beautiful area. There’s a lot of tall pines and it’s hard to see the horizon until you get out to the coast. From a seaplane, you can see so much and really enjoy this gorgeous place,” Riggs said.

After holding a public information meeting on his business venture, Riggs said that the outpouring of support for his company has been mind-blowing.

Sam Riggs piloting a seaplane (Coastal Seaplanes)

“So many people are just thrilled with the idea. York County was just open arms and ready to bring in seaplanes. Not only does it have so much to offer to see from the air, York County just loves seaplanes,” Riggs said.

Riggs hopes to grow the business by adding an additional aircraft to the fleet each year. He also hopes to establish more landing areas on the Elizabeth River, Annapolis, Chesapeake Bay, Richmond, Portsmouth, and the Outer Banks.

Riggs is glad he can combine his passion with his job.

“I’m an aviator, I love to fly. It’s a huge passion of mine. There is nothing more magical than taking off and landing on the water. The freedom of flight, all that you get to see, what’s more historically romantic than taking off from a harbor in a seaplane?” Riggs said.

Private charters are available by calling Riggs to discuss guests’ needs. To book tours and for more information on Coastal Seaplanes, visit coastalseaplanes.com.

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