Captain Dan Platt is the perfect example of a Mendocino Coast entrepreneur who is using his extensive background in one of the coast’s mainstay industries, fishing, and leveraging it into an entirely new business. Originally from Point Arena, Platt started fishing with his father when he was fifteen. When he graduated from high school, he moved to Fort Bragg, where the fishing action was, to work on commercial fishing boats. “I was told if you want a job on a good boat you have to go to Fort Bragg,” explained Platt.

Fast-forward a few decades, and some family came to town to visit. “They really wanted to go out on the ocean, but it was simply too rough that day. So I took them for a ride in my Boston Whaler just around the harbor, showed them the sights, and they had a really great time.” With that, an idea was born.

Captain Dan spent some time mulling over the idea of giving paid tours of the Noyo Harbor, and started doing research on various touring boats. “I was thinking about it and developing the idea for quite a while, and at the same time I was busy with my fishing business. Then I took a few workshops through West and they really inspired me to move forward,” said Platt.

West helped Dan look at costs to start the business, as well as the potential income upside. Platt took several workshops at West, including the Marketing Boot-Camp for Startups, because advertising and marketing for his business was one of his biggest concerns.

“I learned in my workshops with West that you can have the best idea in the world, but if you don’t advertise and market it right you are just not going to go anywhere,” said Platt.

Knowing he would need to market to out-of-towners for his tours, Platt invested in a business website,, expanding into social media, such as Facebook and Yelp, and outreach to local hotels with marketing brochures.

Noyo Harbor Tours with Captain Dan now gives people a unique opportunity to learn about the Mendocino Coast’s local fishing culture, history and harbor wildlife, all from a comfortable eco-friendly electric boat, the Noyo Star.

Platt plans to continue working as a commercial fisherman and diver for as long he can, and is grateful for establishing a new business that uses the knowledge he has acquired over many decades. “The last three weeks of summer we have gotten really busy and we started doing three or four tours a day for four or five days a week, which was really encouraging,” said Platt

“Because of the restrictions in the fishing business, never really knowing what is going to happen next or if you will be allowed to fish or not, it is nice having alternate income. And I love the water so much that I need to be around it, so this is the perfect way I can use my background in a new way, and keep being out in the water,” said Platt.

For more information or to book a tour, go to or call (707) 734-0044.