Penny Flaherty – “The Boat Lady”

Penny Flaherty runs a tight ship. She has many titles, but she is best known as, “The Boat Lady.” As founder of both Island Boat Lines and the Indian River Queen, Penny handles all of the sales and marketing, as well as the Queen’s events and onsite weddings.

“I obviously can’t do everything myself.  I am simply the knot that pulls it all together.  I am blessed with a dedicated crew and staff who make it all possible,” Penny said.

7:30 a.m. Naturally, I wake up at 7:30 a.m. My husband, John, specially prepares and brings me two cups of coffee in bed. While enjoying my coffee, I check my email and watch the morning news. This is the only time of the day I do not allow myself to feel rushed. Some days I do enjoy having breakfast but I admit I’m known for skipping it. Before my work day begins, I like to make contact with my kids.

9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. When I first arrive to the office, I filter through my emails and respond first to those who would like to plan a special event on the Indian River Queen.

When preparing an event plan, I like to imagine I’m writing a love story, which ensures there is passion infused in every plan. These detailed plans include all of the cruise highlights such as cost, menu, set up, entertainment and even the time the sun sets. I write an average of two to eight plans every day.

1:30 p.m. I typically would have worked up a pretty good appetite by now and attempt to take an hour lunch break.

2:00 p.m. I review all upcoming events and update vendors. I also make contact with clients for any last minute requests. If time allows, I’ll do my online banking and open the mail.

4:00 p.m. My schedule tends to be based around events and dockside meetings.

If we have an event booked in the evening, I head to the Queen a couple hours prior to the event, which is usually two hours prior to sunset. I set the Queen’s room with fresh linens and flowers and address any other event set up. My assistant, Debbie, always has my back and I can count on her for anything.

Master Captain Pete Flaherty and his crew arrive two hours prior to events, and we all work together to ready the ship.

Once the passengers begin boarding, I am nonstop roaming from deck to deck to ensure everything is perfect.

5:30 p.m. If no event is planned, I try to get to the gym for some exercise and weight lifting.  I average 2-3 days a week at the gym.

6:30 p.m. Dinner is very important to us and everyone claims to love eating at our home. We only cook with fresh herbs, meat, seafood and vegetables. If we are not working our table is always full with family and friends.

If I happen to be working and not able to dine at home I enjoy sampling the event menu on the Queen.  The Black Tulip is the Queen’s caterer, and it is a real treat to enjoy the cuisine.

8:30 p.m. I am guilty of checking and responding to clients’ emails in the evenings while I am watching one of my favorite shows.  I love “The Voice,” “Outlanders,” “24,” and “Grey’s Anatomy” to name a few.

10:30-11:00 p.m. Either I’m heading home from an event or turning off the TV and heading to bed.

The Indian River Queen began service in 2004 and has since become a popular venue for private charters, weddings, exclusive corporate gatherings and reunions. Located in the Historic Cocoa Village area, the Queen offers a date night cruise and a Sunday scenic and historic cruise for the public.

For more information about the Indian River Queen call (321) 454-7414 or visit

This article appears in the February 2015 issue of SpaceCoast Living.
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