About Us

Southport Paddle and Sail is owned and operated by George and Marybeth Ray. Both are USCG licensed captains who enjoy being on the water and sharing that with the public.

George-and-Mary-Beth-RayLeft to Right

George Ray: Co-Owner, Head of Facilities and Support

Marybeth Ray: Managing Owner, Senior Guide and Instructor



Marybeth Ray:

Captain Marybeth Ray, owner, instructor and guide for Southport Paddle and Sail –
Marybeth has been playing and working on the water for most of her life. These days
she’s working every other week as the master on the M/V SOUTHPORT, one of our
local car ferries. When she’s not running the ferry boat, she’s back on the water standup
paddling, sailing or running around on “the whaler”.

Twenty three years on Andros Island in the Bahamas, set the course for Marybeth’s love of all
things “water”. When not on the job offshore, play time was filled with sailing,
windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, kayaking and exploring with the whaler.
Life in Southport has allowed that love of the water to continue to flourish. Coastal North
Carolina has so many opportunities for fun afloat!

“The first time I spotted a standup paddleboard, it was in a truck on the deck of my ferry
boat. I was intrigued and even more so after talking to the boards owner. It wasn’t long
before I bought a paddleboard. My first time paddling, I was totally taken with the whole
concept and feel of standup paddling. The simplicity of it is so appealing. It’s you, the
board, your paddle (PFD and whistle too!) and go! Standing on a board, paddling and
gliding across the water is an awesome feeling! And fun! It’s easy as a beginner, but
challenging as you advance to continuously dial in your paddling strokes. Standup
paddling can be a relaxing glide or a strenuous workout – your choice. You can keep it
easy going. You can push your limits racing. You can try your skill with surfing. It’s a
wonderful way to spend time on the water for almost everyone! I love it!”

License and certifications:
USGG licensed Master, 1600 tons, Oceans
WPA Standup Paddle Instructor
US Sailing Instructor
USWFA Water Fitness Instructor
American Red Cross, CPR and First Aid
Padi, Scuba diver








George Ray:

When asked what he wants to do after attending university and studying for degrees in Mathematics, Physics and Computer Engineering, George’s response is that he desires to work on and around the water. He dreams of being able to work across a variety of shop crafts, nautical arts, and engineering disciplines with a variety of materials and interacting with a interesting people.

After 10 years working as a contract engineer in the nuclear power industry (process computer replacements), he devotes his time to his multi disciplinary dream shop and to things nautical, including several boat projects ( 7′ to 57′) and to Southport Paddle and Sail.

Licenses, certifications and achievements:

USGG licensed Master, 50 tons, Near Costal

American Red Cross, CPR and First Aid

Padi, Scuba diver

10,000+ miles offshore voyaging in N & S Atlantic Oceans ( 2005 to present )

MSEE Computer Engineering (Clemson Univ. 1990)

BS, Applied Math & Physics (College of Charleston 1985)

USCG Certified Welder (1980’s)

Red Cross: Water Safety Instructor (1970’s)

Red Cross: Small Boat Rowing/Sailing Instructor (1970’s)


Captain April Potter, Instructor/ Guide for Southport Paddle and Sail

April grew up in an Army family, moving place to place often throughout her childhood. She was exposed to a wide variety of cultures and fascinating places, but never felt “home” until she moved to Southport after Joining the Coast Guard in 2001.
Since moving here, she’s utilized many opportunities to work and learn about several maritime industries. She’s married to a local shrimp boat captain, and they own a seafood shop in Southport. She stands by to work on several commercial boats in town whenever the need arises: Tow Boat US, Scuba South (and crew boat), Southport Federal Pilots, CG Station Oak Island (reserve now), Cape Point (Shrimp boat)…as well as running her own skiff, fishing and crabbing for retail.

Licenses and Certifications:
WPA Stand Up Paddleboard instructor
USCG licensed Master, 100 ton near coastal
USCG certified coxswain
American Red Cross CPR and First Aide
IDEA rec diver
PADI Nitrox certified