Ever since we came across the strange and fascinating SeaCaptainDate — allegedly a dating site for sea captains — we've been wondering if it's real or an elaborate joke. So have many others. We decided to do some digging, and found an actual woman who's been on a date with a sea captain through the site.
SeaCaptainDate bills itself as "the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean" and "the destination for romance on the seven seas." Its homepage features an amusing testimonial from a man named Caleb Johnson ("even my mother calls me the Captain") who says, "My mistress may be the sea, but the thing is, that's just an expression. There's really no sex involved." This line led us to believe the whole site was a gag, but a spokesperson for the site, Robert Atlas, swears it's not:
This is a real site. We currently are in the process of migrating our servers to encompass all captains. We have garnished various requests for captains in other industries to join. This year for the valentines season we have mailed out our annual boat ballast brick to our top members.
These bricks are apparently pretty much what they sound like — commemorative bricks painted with SeaCaptainDate-related images. Atlas added,
Our most popular region in the US is the South with a focus on Florida and retirees. The majority of the site tends to attract recent widows and widowers. We also are very popular abroad with a focus on the Mediterranean.
He also put me in touch with Sheila Beechum, a Toronto-area user. Beechum is a 28-year-old woman who, at least on the phone, sounds utterly normal. She told me she found out about SeaCaptainDate from a feature in the National Enquirer, thought it sounded interesting, and decided to sign up. Soon she was chatting with multiple captains. She's met one in the flesh — a captain named Daniel Yeager. They continue to keep in touch via video chat while he's on his boat (though she says the sea makes the connection choppy) and have plans to take a trip to Cuba together. She says that as with any dating site, there could be jerks or fakers on SeaCaptainDate. But she swears the site is real — "it works, there's definitely real sea captains on there."
I guess SeaCaptainDate could still be a hoax — Atlas set me up with Beechum, so maybe they faked the whole thing. But if that's true, someone out there is trying really, really hard to make us believe that you can sign up to date sea captains on the internet. And that's a labor of love in itself.