Isles of Shoals Steamship Company

Discount – Buy one adult ticket and get a FREE ticket for one child, or buy one "Party Ship" ticket and get the second one FREE! Also, save 15% on private charter bookings!

Dollar Discount – Save $10 on a Friday party cruise! Save hundreds of dollars on a private charter!

315 Market Street, Portsmouth, NH 03801

(603) 431-5500customerservice@islesofshoals.com

Green Story

Originally founded in 1962 as Viking Cruises by Arnold Whitaker, the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company has since grown into one of the Seacoast’s most iconic institutions. While the company’s name and ownership may have changed -- it was officially given over to Whittaker’s son Bob in 1986 naming the business the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company. Present day owners Captain Jeremy Bell and Captain Jerod Blanchette inherited the company as a sole proprietorship in 2013, and have maintained what makes the company so great: a variety of tours to New Hampshire’s historic Isles of Shoals and throughout Portsmouth Harbor and the Greater Piscataqua Region, and it is still thoroughly committed to preserving the amazing history and heritage of the Seacoast. 

The Isles of Shoals Steamship Company offers 6 kinds of tours to its historic namesake: one that includes a 45 minute guided tour around the historically important Star island, and another which lets tourists and sightseers roam around the hallowed grounds for close to 5 hours. Beyond its iconic tours of the Isles of Shoals, Star Island, and Portsmouth Harbor, the company also charters the famous Thomas Laighton “party ship”, where during the summer hundreds pack the vessel to hear the best in local music -- everything from rock cover bands to reggae to Djs -- all while taking in the crisp evening air of summertime on the Seacoast. In fact, the company anticipates offering 3 or 4 of the “party cruises” a week this summer, in the process partnering with radio stations including The Shark, WOKQ, as well as fellow GA Business Partner 92.5 The River.The company also still offers an array of private tours for companies, family gatherings and functions, and organizations of all kinds.

While the company has always been committed to all things local -- they’ve routinely hired undergrads from UNH as interns, giving students with backgrounds in everything from business to recreation management to history real world experience -- the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company has recently become equally dedicated to greening their operations. Among other things, they’re looking closely at using biodiesel in their ships, switching from plastic to corn-based, biodegradable cups on board the ships, as well as instituting a more effective, and cheaper, recycling program (being on state land, IOS currently has to pay another company to remove their recyclables).

“We heard about the GA a while back and really liked what they offered,” says Rich Ryzman, director of marketing for IOS. “We wanted to make a conscious effort to be more green, which is something that not a lot of boat tourism companies out there can do. But we think we’re in a good position to do a lot of the little things that lots of companies overlook.”

The IOS Steamship Company might admit to being “new” to green, but their enthusiasm is a hallmark they’ve exhibited ever since their founding nearly 50 years ago. As the first tourism-based company in the Green Alliance, IOS is in a unique position to raise the bar for others in their industry, along the way making their own company the next piece in the Seacoast's ever-growing green puzzle.

Check out Isles of Shoals Steamship Company on Facebook!


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Report Card Score

What makes us green?

  • Exploring using biodiesel during the warmer months
  • Switching to corn-based, biodegradable cups
  • Instituted comprehensive recycling program
  • Educational efforts emphasize heavily the importance of maintaining the Seacoast's ecological diversity
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