Charleston Boat Captain Dave Gugliotti Tells His Story

Captain Dave holds a 200 ton USCG Master License for over 20 years. He also teaches boat handling and close quarter maneuvering. He is both a NASBLA and Safe Boating Council certified instructor for both in classroom and on the water training. Safety and comfort is his first priority.


Welcome to my site! People ask all the time how I got into boating and what I do. This is my story.

I have been infatuated with boats ever since I can remember. I don’t know why I am the only one in my family that is a boater and a huge fan of the sea. When I was young my families summer vacation was always to Cape Cod Massachusetts. There I would spend every day asking to go see the boats in the harbor. I was mesmerized by all the old wooden fishing boats. These were relics that still exist and wander the sea in search of what I was not quite sure. Free to come and go as they wished with such anonymity.

I was a smart kid, just underachieving as I was told. Back then they did not know what to do with kids that have ADHD! I always thought that I could design and build my own boat just by studying the construction and design of them sitting at the docks. I figured that I could come up with the money for the wood and other things I would need to build a boat. However, as a kid how was I going to pay for the radar? So every year I would ask for radar for Christmas. As one would think I never got my radar and I never built the boat, but that did not stop my fascination with boats and boating. The Titanic captivated my attention long enough to read a book or two. The year was 1912, in the North Atlantic on an ill-fated maiden voyage from England to New York. It was a marvel of technology at the time and just made me more intrigued by ships and the sea.

Both my grandfathers were in WW2 and were tool and die makers at a factory in Connecticut all their lives. I think that is where I got my knack and understanding of tools, machine, and the mind to look at something and just know how it works. That being said I also could not resist myself from ripping it apart to find out exactly how it worked. I thought “if someone can build it then I can fix it”, now, I can’t spell my own name but, I can fix or build you anything you want. This philosophy lends itself well to boating, everything breaks on a boat and I mean everything (this is foreshadowing for my first boat so … keep reading)

When I was old enough I would go to the lake and use, borrow, and steal my uncles 18ft Hobie Cat with my twin brother. This was where I really got my first taste of boating. Rig the mast, hoist the sails and off we would go. Free from any limitations, no direction (of course ADHD), no one to guide you. Just you and the wind and the water, until we riffed the sails till the boat capsized. We would laugh and do it all over again! What the hell was my family thinking letting two idiots out on the water alone at like 13 years old! I really can’t believe I’m still alive for many reasons.

I actually made it to college and found myself excelling with not much effort. By this time I have already owned a few different business. In college, I owned a lighting and sound company that I had started in High school. This afforded me a lot of money from doing gigs at all the local bars and frat parties. I even had my own pager and cell phone at the time. Ya, I was living good! During college, my twin and I started a landscaping business that did quite well. After college, I bought him out and grew the business to a full construction company. By my senior year, I had enough money to fulfill my dream of being broke the rest of my life so I bought my first boat. Why not, I had just turned 21, seemed like a good thing to do before I graduated College.

I wanted to know everything I could about boating so I took a night class and pass my CT safe boating course. The teacher was not so good and the class was out of date. Within the next 6 months, I was the youngest Boating Instructor the State had ever had. I loved it! I loved teaching other people stuff I had so much passion for and my friends didn’t want to hear. So it was a great release for me to teach. Within a year the director of the department told me I should start my own company teaching, so I did. Fresh out of college I started yet another business teaching boating, Connecticut Boating Education was born. I taught in the classroom NASBLA certified boating course as well as navigation. I expanded my business to on the water training and seamanship after I got my Masters license.

So my first boat sucked, but it was mine, and it taught me a lot. It was older and had a lot of problems with the motor and other things. This gave me an opportunity to understand boats and how they work, and in most cases don’t work. I gained a lot of knowledge from that experience including the first time I picked it up to bring it to the marina. Driving down the highway, not even 20 minutes after I picked it up, the front hatch flew open and smashed all over the boat. Thats when I learned that B.O.A.T. stands for Break Out Another Thousand. After having that for a few years I traded in for a new boat right out of the showroom. I went farther and did more in that boat and it really opened my eyes to more destinations, but the goal was always owning a Hatteras.

When I was in middle and High school one of my best friends was fortunate enough to have grown up on large yachts, Hatteras Yachts. I was always invited down and every chance I could I went. I loved everything about them, I had to have one. It was never about the money, I just loved boats and I found my brand. I don’t know why I just connected with them, Hatteras fit me. I had a 5 stage plan for getting a Hatteras. In the end, I skipped a few steps and bought a 36’ Hatteras Sportfish in Florida. It was a sound boat but needed a lot of updating, well and a lot of work. I thought, “I’ll keep it for a few years and sell it and upgrade”. I still have not sold it and have renovated it twice, it’s part of the family now. In Connecticut, I used it for both Charter fishing and pleasure. When I started Carolina Marine Group and moved to Charleston it got another makeover including the fighting lady yellow hull. It is now the flagship of my charter business.

Charleston afforded me the opportunity to do more work on more boats and follow my career 12 months out of the year. I am the captain on several boats and manage a few more. In 2017 Carolina Marine Group expanded and purchased a 61 foot Hatteras MotorYacht. No way! right, a Hatteras? This was an existing “bed and breakfast” directly across the dock form me. As usual, it needed a lot of work and I was just the person to do it. After over 6 months of renovations and system repairs, Motor Yacht Southern Comfort is back running to her former glory.

I also expanded the fleet with a party boat “Ship of Fools” and may expand the fleet again in the future. Who knows? One thing I do know is I will continue to provide the best service and tours in the Charleston area! I love what I do so it is not a job no matter if I’m doing a tour, teaching, or fixing a plumbing pipe or motor. A day on the water is always a better day than in an office.