George Outerbridge (1940-2021): Rotarian and boat captain – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

Log In

Reset Password
BERMUDA | RSS PODCAST

George Outerbridge (1940-2021): Rotarian and boat captain

George Outerbridge prepares to set off on a cruise tour in the 1980s (Photograph supplied)

A tour boat operator and former president of St George’s Rotary Club loved to highlight the sights and stories of Bermuda to visitors.

Tracy Outerbridge, the daughter of George R. Outerbridge, a lifelong East End resident, said he was “a great ambassador for Bermuda, regaling visitors with tall and short tales about his island home”.

Mr Outerbridge, who died last month, also played for the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band, including at events overseas.

He and his wife Gill acquired Bermuda’s first glass bottomed boat, the Sea Urchin, and ran the vessel as a family business through the 1970s.

Mr Outerbridge renamed the boat Aquarius after a major refit and ran popular twice-daily tours from Ordnance Island in St George out to the reefs.

Ms Outerbridge said she and her brother and sister Ben and Alison enjoyed summers working on board.

The Outerbridge’s next acquisition was a rundown Mississippi paddle steamer, the Mark Twain.

She had been brought to the island from New York by a group of local investors and had been considered for conversion to a floating restaurant.

But the steamer was put up for auction in 1980 and the Outerbridges, at first interested in the boat’s engines, ended up as the only bidder.

They paid $21,000 for a vessel that was said to have cost $500,000 to build in 1968.

The couple raised eyebrows after they turned down a $35,000 offer for her – then borrowed $200,000 from banks to remake the Mark Twain as a sightseeing and charter boat.

But the gamble paid off and, after a complete refit, the vessel emerged as the Bermuda Belle and entered service in 1983 with a glass bottom installed.

Mr Outerbridge took the 65ft Belle to Hamilton throughout the 1980s when cruise ships were lined up on Front Street.

He equipped the vessel with a powerful ship’s horn to catch attention.

His daughter said that “years of cruises for tourists and parties for locals followed”.

Mr Outerbridge retired in the 1990s to become a tour guide for the Elderhostel Programme. an educational travel package for people aged 55 and over run by what was then called the Bermuda Biological Station for Research in St George’s.

Alison Outerbridge and other family members took over the Bermuda Belle.

The boat was sunk by Hurricane Fabian in 2003, two years after it was taken over by a new owner,

Ms Outerbridge said her father had been the seventh of nine children and lost his mother when he was 5.

She added: “He grew up to be very kind, empathetic, hard-working, entertaining man loved by many – especially his three children.”

He was a member of the St George’s Rotary Club for more than 30 years and a past president and his family hosted exchange students from all over the world at their home.

• George Richardson Outerbridge, a longstanding president of St George’s Rotary Club, was born on January 19, 1940. He died on September 26, 2021, aged 81.

You must be Registered or to post comment or to vote.

Published October 23, 2021 at 7:56 am (Updated October 23, 2021 at 7:56 am)

George Outerbridge (1940-2021): Rotarian and boat captain

What you
Need to
Know
1. For a smooth experience with our commenting system we recommend that you use Internet Explorer 10 or higher, Firefox or Chrome Browsers. Additionally please clear both your browser's cache and cookies - How do I clear my cache and cookies?
2. Please respect the use of this community forum and its users.
3. Any poster that insults, threatens or verbally abuses another member, uses defamatory language, or deliberately disrupts discussions will be banned.
4. Users who violate the Terms of Service or any commenting rules will be banned.
5. Please stay on topic. "Trolling" to incite emotional responses and disrupt conversations will be deleted.
6. To understand further what is and isn't allowed and the actions we may take, please read our Terms of Service
7. To report breaches of the Terms of Service use the flag icon