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About Us

School’s Out Charters originated the Winery Cruise on Cayuga Lake in 2009. Captain Rick noticed that there was not a way to visit wineries by boat in the region. He reached out to area wineries and established the first commercial enterprise on Cayuga Lake in July of that year. He did a grand total of 6 cruises during that first summer. Most folks never thought he would succeed. However, he persevered and ran 37 cruises during the summer of 2010. This slow growth gave him the opportunity to fine tune and customize his offerings. Now firmly established, the School’s Out name and reputation blossomed. We have established partnerships with our wineries which allow our guests to enjoy VIP experiences due to the small size of our groups. We offer a true concierge service for our passengers. Our captains are knowledgeable and friendly. You will never be treated like a number. We do not operate a water taxi service. Come join us and see why we truly are the best!

a close up of a carA Wonderful Day on Cayuga Lake

Pleasure can take many forms but as you’ll know if you’ve visited this site, wine and water are two of our favorite elements of the “good life” so when you combine them with a perfect summer afternoon…well, it doesn’t get a whole lot better for Carol and me.

We got a serious dose of that on our recent visit to the New York Finger Lakes wine area. We had just become aware of the growing wine industry in that region and as we planned the trip, we knew we’d want to get a good feel for the local wine producers and sample their wares as best we could. We learned during our visit to Napa Valley that driving around to tastings can be a bit daunting considering the number of wineries available and the fact that after a few stops, driving can become an issue. So while planning our activities for this trip, I looked into bus tours, limos, and other means of getting to wineries without our car. I consider it a great stroke of luck to have found School’s Out Charters and Captain Rick Eleck. Imagine getting to wineries from the lake on a beautiful Chaparral cruiser…read more.

Your Crew

a person smiling for the camera

Captain Rick has been navigating the waters of Cayuga Lake for over 30 years and has the knowledge of the lake and the surrounding areas to help ensure that you have an enjoyable cruise aboard School’s Out.  He holds a 50 ton USCG Master Captain License.  In addition to running this business, Rick teaches music part-time at Ithaca College.  An avid scuba diver and skier, it’s sometimes tough to get him to come inside!  Ask him about “Old Greenie”:  Cayuga Lake’s resident sea serpent!

a man wearing a white shirt

Captain Scott holds a 50 ton U.S.C.G. Master’s License and has enjoyed Cayuga Lake for most of his life.  The former owner of a really fast “go fast” boat, he knows how to make sure you enjoy every aspect of your VIP Cruise with us…Scott is also a 20 year veteran of the Ithaca City Police Department.  No funny business on his boat, ya hear?

Tony Matosich – our friend and crew mate…

a man holding a baseball bat

On September, 9, 2011, the world lost a very special person. Tony was taken from us in the prime of his life.
Tony didn’t know how to say no. He was always there to help, whether it be to prepare the boat for the water, take publicity photos, crew our wine cruises, or pet sit for a friend. When we were contemplating the purchase of a second vessel, he spent countless hours helping me work up the numbers. He never asked for as much as a penny.

And, boy, was he talented, too! He was an amazing photographer and artist…heckuva musician, too. He loved to fly, sail and drive. He lived to solve problems…and he was good at it.

But, most of all, Tony was a friend. He was always there. You didn’t need to tell him what kind of day you had, he knew…and he knew the right prescription to make you feel better. When our customers would ask what Tony did for a living he would usually reply by telling them he was a Lion Tamer! Laughter was always a part of our time together. Time that will be cherished forever.

We will miss you Tony…God speed, my friend.