Story of a… Airboat Captain

For Wayne Corbitt, 38, daily tours on the Everglades headwaters in Kissimmee never get old.

Roberto Gonzales

He’s in his natural habitat. “I grew up on these lakes. I learned to swim out here, and I learned to fish out here. I just grew up out here waterskiing and fishing. In my free time, I hunt, fish—stuff like that.”

He learned a lot about Florida animals from his dad. His father autopsied livestock and wild animals at the Kissimmee Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. “I learned from my dad. That helped a lot.’’

His first career was as an equipment operator. He became an airboat captain with Boggy Creek Airboat Rides in 2000 because “it’s a lot more fun. I’d rather be on the water than sitting at a machine.”

Traffic reports? Who needs ’em? “The way I come to work is by boat. I’m 10 minutes away from the water, so I jump in my little boat and come across the lake.”

It’s never the same. “You can go on a ride and see things differently every single time. There’s about 80 different species of birds out there. We see turtles, snakes, alligators, all kinds of plant life. There’s a lot to see out there.”

He keeps a buffer between passengers and wildlife. “I’ve had people that, when you get too close to a small gator, they may reach down and try to grab one. You can tell when somebody’s going to do something, so you move away. That way they don’t have the opportunity to get bit.”

Gators get a bad rap. “There’s not been a whole lot of attacks on people since the 1950s. Most of the attacks come from people doing crazy things like feeding them that get them [alligators] used to people. We don’t feed the alligators. We give them the respect they deserve.”

Birdwatchers are his favorite passengers. “It’s fun to watch them. You can tell when you find a bird they might have been looking for their whole life, and then we have the opportunity to go show them that bird.”

Speaking of birds “One day a coot flew in front of the boat and crapped all over everybody. Everybody thought that was the funniest thing they’d ever seen.”

If you like the ride, tip the guide. Thus reads a sign on each boat seat. “You never know what they’re going to give you. I’ve had tips from a dollar to a couple of hundred dollars.”

Despite thousands of tours, he’s avoided skin cancer—so far. “I get checked every six months by the dermatologist. I wear lots of sunscreen. We try to keep ourselves as protected as possible without being too hot.”

He misses the wild Florida of his youth. “Eventually it’s all going to be houses and shopping centers. It’s really going to suck.”

Once an airboat captain “I’m going to keep doing this till I can’t keep doing it no more.”

Edit Module
Want to read the whole issue? Download and read this issue and others on Magzter.

Add your comment:
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow TagsEdit ModuleShow Tags

Guides & Resources

2018 Premier Veterinarians

The 2018 Pet Guide: Pet Resource Guide

Here are some of the places you can go in Central Florida when you need supplies, products and services for your best friends.

Premier Realtors 2018

Let Orlando's best realtors help you find your dream home!

Orlando's Best Lawyers 2018

Our annual list includes hundreds of Orlando-area attorneys in dozens of areas of practice.

Orlando's Top Dentists of 2018

Our annual list featuring 224 of the area's finest dental professionals.

Guide to Private Schools 2018

Our searchable annual database will help you chart an educational course for your family.

2017 Premier Doctors

Our annual list of over 500 doctors.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit ModuleShow Tags

MoreRecent Blog Posts

Health Hub: Cancer Care For The Body, Mind and Spirit

Treating the whole patient can improve outcomes.

Texas de Brazil Fall Feast Giveaway

Enter to win a $200 gift certificate for four to Texas de Brazil for a Fall Feast to remember!

Kid Kontributor of the Month - September 2018

Read all about why Leah's cat, Missy, is special, and learn all about our monthly feature, the "Kid Kontributor of the Month."

Orlando Burger Battle 2018 Giveaway

Enter to win VIP and General Admission tickets to our epic Orlando Burger Battle and a subscription to Orlando Magazine!

Health Hub: September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month

Research and advancements in treatment provide hope for the future
Edit Module