30 Years of the “World’s Largest Speedboat”
By Paul Bonnette
For the past three decades, the iconic bright yellow speedboat known as the Sea Screamer has been giving locals and visitors the chance to cruise the emerald waters of the Gulf of Mexico and experience the beauty of Panama City Beach on a thrilling ride like no other. Offering high speeds, dolphin encounters, and fun-filled narration, the Sea Screamer has been associated with Panama City Beach for the past thirty years and has no intention of slowing down.
Operating out of the Treasure Island Marina on Thomas Drive, the Sea Screamer has long been one of the most iconic family attractions on Panama City Beach, allowing guests to experience a 30-mile-per-hour smooth, yet thrilling ride down the beach while enjoying dolphin sightings as they jump and play in the wake of the boat. The Sightseeing and Dolphin Tours also allow families the chance to get up close and personal with other sea life as deckhands pull up crab traps while educating kids about local wildlife. Guests onboard also enjoy the chance to cool off on hot summer days as water blaster battles often ensue on board.
Built by the Bonner family in Wetumpka, Alabama, and billed as the “world’s largest speedboat,” the Sea Screamer has been owned and operated by the Redmond family since the early 1990s. The Redmond family is no stranger to Bay County and have been residents since the 1800s. After serving as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, founder Andy Redmond purchased the Sea Screamer and operated sightseeing tours in the Gulf. Today, it’s a family affair with his son Cody Redmond as boat captain for numerous types of sightseeing tours including the popular sunset dolphin cruise.
According to Cody Redmond, as Panama City Beach has changed, the Sea Screamer tours have also been updated. “Over the years, Panama City Beach has gone from just a party town to more of a family vacation town, so our trip has evolved with the town,” he explains. “In the summertime, we get so busy that we can’t accommodate everyone who wants to go, but we know these people only have one week a year to come down here, so we want to optimize it for them. So now we have two new boats, one built in 2020 and another in 2022, and both are superior to anything we have had in the past. They still look exactly the same, but the modern building materials built the most perfect version of the Sea Screamer that we have ever had.”
Although the boat itself remains a major draw, updating the activities on board also helped make sure each guest has a memorable experience including offering dolphin tattoos, water gun battles, and even allowing children to try their hand at driving the large yellow speedboat. For Cody Redmond, even though the popularity of the Sea Screamer continues to build after thirty years, it is still the same family-owned business that it has been.
“We are still a small family business, this will be our 31st season, this year. One of the things that I enjoy the most is that I get to show people my hometown in a completely unique setting. I can show them the best pieces of this town from a really cool perspective, and I love what I do because I get to show off our town.”
For more information about the Sea Screamer and to book your tour aboard the bright yellow speedboat, visit www.seascreamer.net.
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