As far as niche dating sites go, you can't get much more niche than SeaCaptainDate.com. It describes itself as "the only place for Sea Captains to connect with men and women who share a love of the ocean."
Now I'm willing to believe that there are niche dating sites out there, but SeaCaptainDate.com seems a little too weird to be real. Is it really just an elaborate joke?
I'm not the first to ponder this question. The site first attracted attention back in Jan 2011, when articles about it appeared on nerve.com, time.com, and howaboutwe.com (among others). These sites expressed some doubts, but overall leaned toward the site being real.
Most recently, jezebel.com weighed in on the matter -- and they too decided the site seemed to be real, since they managed to contact a spokesperson for the site who, in turn, connected them with a woman who claimed she had actually been on a date with a sea captain through the site.
Jezebel.com conceded that both the site rep and the woman could have been in on the gag, but noted, "if that's true, someone out there is trying really, really hard to make us believe that you can sign up to date sea captains on the internet. And that's a labor of love in itself."
However, I still have my doubts. Here are the things that have my hoax-sense buzzing:
1) The site is registered anonymously. This, in itself, doesn't mean anything, except that anonymity is the preferred method-of-operation of hoaxers.
2) The site was registered in 2010, but it claims that its business has existed since 2007. It explains that it used to be called AtlantisDate.com. However, I can't find any evidence that AtlantisDate.com ever existed before 2011. According to the info in the WHOIS database, atlantisdate.com was only created in Jan 2011, which is a bit odd if the site supposedly existed since 2007.
3) The gallery of sea captains who are members of the site doesn't seem to have changed at all since Jan 2011. So if the site is real, its member base is pretty static. Doesn't appear to be getting much new business.
4) Finally, check out the Sea Captain Date Song -- and listen to the lyrics:
There's a place to go
To find the lady of your dreams
And sail into the sunset
Where no one hears her screams
I'm sorry, but no real dating business would be making jokes about its members murdering women on the high seas.
The site credits the Sea Captain Date Song to "acclaimed songwriter and musician" Cole Gladis. Coincidentally, Gladis lives in Philadelphia, where Sea Captain Date also says that it has its offices. I'm guessing the entire site is a joke dreamed up by Gladis.