Take some time to read about the naturalists who will be leading you on your next adventure! All of our guides and captains strive to provide safe, fun adventures that you will never forget. Like someone in particular? They love to be requested!
Captain Joe Lotts
Joe is the owner and operator of COA and you can frequently find him leading trips on the water. Once you meet him it is no surprise that he has been guiding since the young age of fifteen. After discovering his love and tremendous passion for the outdoors, Joe attended and graduated from Brevard College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. While living in the mountains of North Carolina, Joe sharpened his kayaking and guiding skills in whitewater rivers and steep mountainous creeks. After moving to Charleston, Joe worked in the industry mastering the skills needed to provide the best guiding service in the region. After 16 years of experience, he branched off to start Charleston Outdoor Adventures, LLC and has been running the business since 2009.
Captain Tripp Copeland III
From Winton, NC, Tripp discovered his love of the outdoors at an early age. Spending his summers in the Outer Banks, he grew an appreciation of the East Coast and especially its waters. Tripp followed his passion to Brevard College, where he graduated with a degree in Wilderness Leadership and Experiential Education. He started guiding kayak eco tours in 2003 in Beaufort, N.C. From there, he moved to Charleston where he has been guiding ever since. Living in Charleston, he has developed a great enthusiasm for the Lowcountry and a wide knowledge of its estuaries and wildlife. Tripp is excited to be working with a company that shares his views on the importance of promoting awareness about local environments and ecosystems. He is our go-to fishing captain and kayak fishing guide.
Captain Lucy Hawk
Lucy was born and raised on the creeks and salt marshes of Charleston, South Carolina which is where she found her love for the outdoors. She realized while guiding in the Florida Keys during her summer breaks from college that outdoor education was more than just a hobby – it was a passion. After a few years of gallivanting around the world, Lucy moved back to the Charleston area seasonally to pursue her dream job: working as an outdoor guide on the water where she grew up! During the cold season, Lucy travels as much as she can to tropical, warm places.
Captain Luke Levanchy
Luke is a native of New Jersey and has lived in the Lowcountry for 6 years. He left the corporate world after realizing that he wanted to enjoy his work every day and be outdoors. He is passionate about our natural world and he enjoys providing fun, educational tours for locals and visitors alike. Luke is a lover of all things water and you can frequently find him surfing on Folly Beach when he is not guiding.
Kelly brings over 20 years of kayaking experience to COA as an eco-tour guide along with a true passion for the natural world. The opportunity to help individuals increase their appreciation of and comfort in the outdoors is one that Kelly finds particularly rewarding. A native of Pennsylvania, Kelly spent 15 years in the financial services industry before deciding to pursue a career change to align his professional experiences with his personal appreciation for the environment. Kelly obtained his master’s degree in resource management and then spent 8 years working for the Pennsylvania park system as an environmental educator and interpreter, park manager and operations section chief. Kelly obtained the certified interpretive guide designation through the National Association of Interpretation and applies those skills and experiences during his tours. When not on the water, Kelly enjoys hiking, bird-watching, mountain biking, music and traveling.
Brandon is a native of Barnwell, South Carolina, born and raised on summers filled with boating, fishing and skiing on Lakes Moultrie, Murray and Marion. His childhood was spent exploring the Edisto River and camping at Hunting Island. All of these experiences have instilled a respect and love for SC wildlife. After he graduated from the University of South Carolina he traveled to Europe and Africa, and eventually moved to New York. Charleston has been his home since the summer of 2015, and he has been a member of the COA family since the Summer of 2016. Wildlife conservation and education are both passions of Brandon’s, who loves to share his knowledge while leading kayak and paddle boarding eco-tours. When he is not on the water he is taking road trips with his dog, Roscoe, and traveling out west. Brandon’s other passions include art, theatre, and photography. Just ask-he is always happy to take photos on tours!
Helen is from Darlington, Maryland, close to the tip of the Chesapeake Bay. She has been kayaking along its waters from an early age and credits the watershed for her love and respect of nature. Helen enjoys anything that will get her outside, including hiking, camping, skiing, and coaching/playing lacrosse. As of May 2017, she will be a graduate of Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, VA, with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science. She spent a semester in the cloud forest of Costa Rica as a water quality researcher, testing the health of community waterways and educating locals about the quality of their streams. From this experience she decided she wanted to pursue a career in resource conservation and sustainable agriculture. Helen plans on attending graduate school for bio-resource engineering, but for now is thoroughly enjoying being able to work outside on the water, as well as the opportunity to share her love and appreciation for the local ecosystems in Charleston, SC!
Jake grew up exploring the estuaries off Cape Cod, Mass which is where his passion for the outdoors began. He graduated from the College of Charleston in 2015 with a degree in education and a undying interest in our natural world. He has been leading tours and sharing his knowledge and love of the outdoors with others for the past few years. When he is not guiding you are bound to find him surfing on Folly Beach or fishing right off of Bowens Island.
Cade was born in South Carolina where he grew up kayaking, fishing, and exploring in the creeks and marshes of the Lowcountry. His passion carried into an educational setting, studying marine biology and ecology in high school and into higher education at the College of Charleston. Cade is our go-to guide for anything paleontological, with a depth of information on South Carolina’s rich fossil history. His passion for the ecosystem and everything in it is evident in his attitude here on Bowens Island.
Alex was born and raised in Charlotte, North Carolina. Her love of the outdoors began while attending summer camp in the Blue Ridge Mountains. While pursuing degrees in Spanish and Environmental Studies at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, she spent summers working as a camp counselor and expedition leader on the Outer Banks. She loves paddling, gardening, and anything that connects her to the natural world. After recently moving to Lowcountry, Alex is very excited about spending time on the water and expanding her knowledge of coastal ecosystems as a part of the COA team.
A South Carolina native, Josh was raised in the tidal waters of Charleston. Always being an outdoor enthusiasts, he quickly became passionate about preserving fragile ecosystems. During his time in the United States Marine Corps, Josh was fortunate to visit many exotic places where his love for conservation grew. Now, as an eco-tour guide, his desire is to instill that very same passion into others. When he is not guiding, Josh enjoys hiking and reading about American History. He can often be found at concerts – especially if his idol, Dave Matthews, is playing near Charleston!