Three boat charter groups in Marina del Rey provided an overview of their services during a presentation to the Marina Affairs Committee Wednesday, April 21st at the Marina del Rey Hotel.


Capt. Alex Balian, owner of Paradise Bound Yacht Charters, has one of his boats, the Silver Eagle, anchored at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

Balian said that one of the important aspects of his business is that all of the charter boat companies get along well, sharing business and referring clients to one another. Balian offers private charters for smaller size groups with motor and sail boats.

Paradise Bound includes a variety of cruises: marriage proposals (on a sail boat for two); honeymoon; sunset, harbor; Catalina Island; anniversary dinner; weddings at sea; coastal cruises and surprise birthday cruises. For much larger special events, he refers clients to Hornblower Cruises & Events, or Fantasea Yachts.

He also offers day sailing for fishing adventures; whale watching; bed (yacht) and breakfast; business meetings; two-man submarine; film making; commercials; camera boats and support vessels; photo shoots and media support.

Balian noted that his fishing boats hold small groups of up to 12 people, either on a 44-foot boat or a more luxurious 60-footer. Larger fishing trips are referred to Marina del Rey Sportsfishing, he said.

Balian also conducts burials at sea and is licensed and registered with the state of California — CRV (cremated remains disposal).

The cost for a cremation at sea is $680 for two hours with six people that includes a ministry service.

Balian said that after 20 years in business, he has continuous repeat business, and the secret is “to love what you do and treat your customers well.”

He said he’s been on boats his whole life, has a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, has commanded US Navy war ships, served in Vietnam, and received a Purple Heart and the Silver Star.

Balian says his customers love to hear stories about his background when they’re out on the water. Every charter and every person is unique, said Balian.

For information, (310) 578-7963, or


Director of Marketing Chuck Tennin made the presentation for Marina del Rey Sportsfishing on behalf of owner Rick Oefinger.

Tennin said that charter boat fishing, parties, special and sponsored events are available year round.

A new boat, the Del Mar, is the “Admiral of the Fleet,” with half-day trips from 7:30 a.m. to noon and from 12:30 to 5 p.m. Night fishing is available every night during summer, he said.

The Del Mar is licensed to carry 120 people and has a full galley.

The Del Mar is referred to as the “Ghost Ship” because it’s made entirely of stainless aluminum, and it can look purple on the water or not be seen at all, said Tennin.

The other boats are the Spitfire, the Betty-O, the Mona Lisa (day boat) and the charter boat Tortuga, which carries from one to 20 people.

Every Friday and Saturday night, twilight trips run from 6 p.m. to midnight.

The Betty-O runs from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Spitfire runs three-quarter days from 6:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. targeting a longer run for different species of fish. In the winter, the target is rockfish, red snapper, ling cod, bottom fish, sand bass and sculpin, he said. In the summer, the target is bass, halibut yellowtail and barracuda (which starts in May), he said.

The Del Mar is the only licensed, approved vendor for the City of Los Angeles, and provides trips for Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and various City Council districts, said Tennin.

City Councilwoman Janice Hahn arranged to have 140 kids from her district go fishing on the boat, and Tennin said it was an amazing experience because the youths had never seen the ocean or boats, or gone fishing. Tennin said the company welcomes kids, families, beginners and experts on their boats, and it does a lot of fishing in the heart of Santa Monica Bay.

A new nature excursion for youngsters from different council districts has been started, and Tennin said the mayor’s office is pleased that a nature specialist is on board, taking the kids out and showing them what the ocean and sea life is all about.

Marina del Rey Sportsfishing also conducts burials at sea. Tennin said in addition, the company has started a “Bless the Fish Day” out on the boats, and that a church recently had Sunday services on the boat and then fished.

Weddings are also performed, and the boat is licensed to carry 120 people, with a full galley for wedding receptions. The company provides all of the tackle and fishing licenses, and has its own bait boat to service the bait wells.

Marina del Rey Sportsfishing is at Dock 52, 13509 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey.

For information, (310) 822-3625, or


Mia Falkenstein, director of sales for Hornblower Cruises & Events, told the audience that the Hornblower is based in Fisherman’s Village, but is also in Newport Beach and Long Beach.

“We try to get the public out on the water and we’re constantly trying to think how to do it better to involve everyone,” said Falkenstein.

She said that this summer, Hornblower will be operating the county’s water bus, with seven stops in Marina del Rey, beginning in late June. The water bus will run all summer until Labor Day. Over 45,000 people used the water bus during the summer last year, she noted.

Four new pontoon boats to service the public for the water bus, plus an additional boat, will be available, she told the audience.

The company’s 45-minute narrated harbor tour will be back and is expected to begin on June 1st.

The “Sights and Sips” cocktail cruises on Wednesday nights will begin in June as a spectator cruise to see finishing boats come in from California Yacht Club sailboat races, giving people a chance to view the event from the water.

The Friday Night Blues Cruise, held every Friday night, is returning for its fourth year. A nationally acclaimed blues band that won the B.B. King Blues Award, will provide live entertainment, and a buffet dinner will be available, Falkenstein said.

The weekend cruises includes the Saturday night dinner dance cruise with a DJ.

Sunday Brunch is offered all year round from noon to 2 p.m. rain or shine. Saturday Brunch begins in June, said Falkenstein.

Special event cruises include St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish band, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Easter, Fourth of July, and the Holiday Boat Parade.

Hornblower also provides private charter group events, such as corporate meetings, weddings for a small group of ten up to 1,000, birthdays and engagements. Anniversaries are celebrated on the Lady Hornblower with roses, champagne and other amenities.

Falkenstein said Hornblower works with nonprofit groups to raise money for associations, inner-city kids, and environmental groups such as Heal the Bay, noted Falkenstein.

Pontoon boats are also available for charter when not being used for the water bus, and she compared the experience to being on a river, but in the Marina. Customers can bring their own food and beverages.

Falkenstein said that Hornblower has created a new division, the Respect Our Planet environmental management and education program, to promote best practices throughout the business, and to encourage guests to adopt such practices in their lives.

She said that Hornblower has become involved with the environment and clean-ups, and recently held a clean-up in Marina del Rey using the pontoon boats. She said the company is looking forward to doing more with the public to keep the environment clean.

Hornblower Yachts & Cruises is in Fisherman’s Village at 13755 Fiji Way, Marina del Rey.

Information, (310) 301-6000,

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