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Thomas Berton

a man holding a fish in the water

Tom Berton’s New York sailing odyssey began more than two decades ago, when he discovered the joys of plying the harbor’s waters under sail aboard the legendary Petrel and its equally legendary captain, Nick van Nes, who pioneered public and charter sailing in the city. When van Nes packed up and retired to Martha’s Vineyard in 2000, Tom didn’t hesitate long (by his standards anyway). Leaving behind a successful career in real estate, Berton bought the Shearwater in early 2001 and reached out for the Petrel’s baton. The tests to his will and resilience as a new small-business owner came fast and furious: the boat, its crew and the operation barely survived the horrors of 9/11 despite having set up shop at the foot of the towers. Berton—a member of that rare breed, the born and reared Manhattanite—has, like his city, persevered and prospered since, creating New York’s most unique, personable and fun harbor-tour business. The proud father of two beautiful young girls, Berton lives with his wife Ewa in lower Manhattan.