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Our Story


The Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center was founded in 1987 by Captain Ron Robbins. Capt. Ron made the switch from head boat fishing to eco-tourism and sightseeing due to the large abundance of marine mammal life seen off Cape May. Captain Ron and his family owned and operated the CMWWRC with a strong passion for research and education to passengers onboard. After 20 years of success, Capt. Ron retired and passed the torch to Captain Jim Cicchitti and his wife Tracie who took ownership of the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center in 2007. Jim and Tracie remained steadfast to the unique, hands-on educational experience that the Research Center always offered.

Captain Matt Remuzzi joined the team as the Captain of the American Star in 2011 and further sought to expand the research aspect of the operation by founding our undergraduate Research Internship Program. Captain Melissa Laurino began her career with the Research Center in 2013, now serving as our Research and Education Director. 

Melissa laid the foundation for partnerships with researchers all over the world through our data collection and photo-identification work. In 2023, now husband and wife duo, Captains Matt & Melissa are the new owners of the Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center. They pledge to only further expand Captain Ron and Captain Jim’s legacy and will offer the most educational, family-friendly eco-tourism experience in the area.

Today onboard the American Star, you will not only experience breathtaking wildlife sightings, but also interactive hands-on learning activities like our touch tank and onboard marine biologists and research interns to interact with. Book your eco tour with Cape May Whale Watch & Research Center today to meet the team and experience the beauty of our seas!

a man standing in front of water