"Voted #1 Best Boat Tour on the Island"
Ride along with Barnacle Bill as he tells stories of his time as a Saltwater Cowboy in Pony Penning Events. Let him tell you all about the famous Misty of Chincoteague!
What sets Barnacle Bill apart from the rest is that he was born and raised on the island. Learn the meaning and history of Chincoteague & Assateague Islands and a few comical stories from a true "Teaguer"!
Tour the island with Barnacle Bill. Witness what our island has to offer! Wild Ponies, Rockets, Birds, Shellfish, and more hidden treasures!
Hear tales of our World Famous Pony Swim!
Need an adventure? -
A breath of fresh air?
Want to learn some local history?
Photo Credit: Nathan Speidel
**The Spring Roundup in this video is only an event that happens once a year. However, you may still see many wild ponies on your boat tour.
Captains of Barnacle Bill's Boat Tours
Bill Melvin "Barnacle Bill"
Barnacle Bill was born and raised on Chincoteague Island. He & his family are famous around town for owning and operating the old shop Barnacle Bill's Bait & Tackle Shop on Main Street.
Bill is known by all the locals as one of the best story-tellers there is around- he is comical and will always keep a smile on your face. He is extremely knowledgeable in local history, ponies, wildlife, and anything to do with the water.
About Your Captain
Bill Melvin, "Barnacle Bill"
Taking a boat tour with Barnacle Bill is a special experience because unlike the rest, he captivates your attention and imagination. The stories he tells include some things from his past experiences. His experience as a Saltwater Cowboy, as a waterman, and of growing up on this beautiful island of Chincoteague that he calls home.
Bill also lived in the time of the infamous Flood of '62 and during the time of the true story, "Misty of Chincoteague". He would love to tell you all about it!
Barnacle Bill with his beloved Palomino Horse named Prince.
Age 20, taken around 1960.
Billy Melvin is a true native of Chincoteague Island.
He and his siblings were raised here by their mom & Barnacle Bill himself!
Like his father, Billy is extremely knowledgeable of the islands and wildlife. His career as a waterman has brought him the most joy throughout his life, and he loves to tell stories on his boat tours. Billy definitely inherited Barnacle's humor. He will keep you smiling and laughing on your tour for sure.
About Your Captain
Billy takes pride in his family and his home.
He has a son, 3 grandchildren, and 6 siblings, who all live on the island. At times, he will bring his nephew, Noah or grandson, Nathan to be his first mate.
Taking a boat tour with him is unique! Because he knows the water so well, he loves to drive the boat to get riders very close to the wildlife. Sometimes you will see dolphins or eagles, and maybe catch a glimpse of the Famous Chincoteague Ponies!
Billy (bottom right) with my dad, John, and 2 of his brothers, Mel & Larry going fishing.
What our Guests are Saying:
Shadawn: "The best.. I mean the best tour I have been on in a long time... he is full of stories and history of the island.... I definitely will be bringing my family back.. they have got to meet him."
Wayne: "Was very informative and knowledgeable. He knew where to find a bunch of different wildlife. Have never been so close to dolphins in the wild. He let my girl drive the boat."
Dana: "Went out on Barnacle Bill's Pony Boat Tours with my 80 yr old mama and my sister... He let my mama sit in the drivers seat, which made us all laugh. The ride was fantastic.... Great trip all around would do it again in a heartbeat."
Robin: "Of all the boat tours to pick from, we're so glad we went with Barnacle Bill! While the other tour boats quickly passed us by, Bill was busy tracking down dolphins he had spotted... if you want a tour of the area by a born and raised Chincoteague resident who really knows his stuff, then you will be very pleased with Barnacle Bill!"