- Do I have to reserve my spot(s) in advance?
Yes. Because we are a vessel with a limited capacity of 35 it is necessary to reserve your space to ensure you have a seat. Advanced reservations also allows us to staff correctly.
- If the trip I want is sold out can I get on a waiting list?
Unfortunately we do not have waiting lists for our trips. However, if your desired date and time aren’t available we suggest you choose another activity or potentially another day. We run at least two trips a day during our high season so chances are you won’t have to wait long.
- What happens if it rains?
In the case of light rain or other moderate weather conditions, our trips continue as scheduled. We have a very comfortable enclosed cabin to “escape” and we’ve found the whales and other marine animals you’re viewing don’t care if it’s raining or not. With that being said, our trips are tentative due to weather and amount of sign-ups. This means that if high winds or swell, constant rain, or other severe weather is forecasted for our time at sea ticket holders will be allowed to reschedule their charter or receive credit for a future trip.
- You say trips are tentative until enough people have signed up?
We do need at least 12 heart beats in addition to our staff to head out on our trips. If there is a chance that the trip will be canceled for this reason you will be alerted 24 hours in advance at the latest and be given credit to use on a future trip. This is more common in the winter months.
- How should I dress?
The weather on our bay can be unpredictable and can sway from sunny and warm to slightly chilly to pretty darn cold and wet. For this reason we recommend layering your clothing so you may adjust throughout your trip if needed.
During winter months we encourage a warm hat such as a beanie and gloves as the railings can get wet and cold. Regardless of time of year, no heels or leather soled shoes. This means no high heels, wedges, or heeled boots or any shoes with leather soles. Comfortable sneakers are most recommended.
- What should we bring?
- Layered clothing
- Camera with extra batteries
- Warm Hats/gloves
- Seasickness precautions if you feel you may need.
- How early should I arrive to check in before my trip?
We ask that you arrive 30 minutes prior to your scheduled trip. This ensures enough time for parking, paying for parking, signing the manifest and receiving your boarding pass. We board the vessel 10 minutes prior to scheduled departing time to ensure timely execution of the ship’s rules and safety protocols before embarking down the channel into the open sea.
- Will I get seasick?
If you feel there is a chance you may encounter some queasiness while under our care we suggest you may choose to self-medicate prior to your departure. Self-medicating can include taking over the counter Dramamine type pills, pressure point wrist bands, or ginger pills, ginger candy, or ginger ale. Ginger has been proven to be a marvelous queller of seasickness. We do have some available for purchase on board in case you forget but we have found it’s much easier to prevent nausea than to stop it.
- Are there life jackets on the boat?
The Sea Spirit is a Coast Guard licensed and inspected vessel. Among many things, this means there is a life jacket for every man, woman, and child on board as well as a life raft that will accommodate ever person on board in the slight chance it is needed. The whereabouts of these items are clearly posted and will also be explained in our pre-departure safety talk. All children 13 and under and less than 90lbs are required to wear a life jacket that we will provide.
- Do I have to wear the life jacket?
Life jackets are available for all adults over the age 13 but not mandatory. If you wish to wear one please ask a crew member know and they will get one for you.
- Is the boat safe?
Without a doubt!
As mentioned above, Sea Spirit is registered with the Coast Guard and is a licensed and annually inspected vessel. Our safety equipment is modern and up to date with items such as an EPIRB (emergency position-indicating radiobeacon station) in other words a tracking transmitter that is activated if there were to be an accident, life floats, life jackets, and life rafts. Additionally, our vessels are meticulously maintained.
- Are there bathrooms on board?
Yes, there is a head on board. However we encourage passengers to use the facilities on land prior to their trip. Our head is similar in size to one you may find on an airplane.
- How far out do you go to see whales?
The simple answer is, we go where the whales are and may be better answered as not “how far out” but rather “how far up or down the coastline.” Other factors which contribute would be the length of the scheduled trip and weather conditions.
- Is there shade on the boat?
Yes. We have a very comfortable cabin to relax in if you so choose.
- Can my well behaved dog come along?
We love dogs! However dogs on an ocean venturing vessel is not a good idea. There are many reasons for this but to name just a few include the fact that we are in somewhat of a confined space. Others may not feel the same way you and I feel about our beloved pets and can make other passengers uneasy or uncomfortable. Some people are terribly allergic to animal fur and lastly I’ll mention, though hard to believe, many dogs don’t enjoy being out on the ocean, on an unstable moving platform with strangers. They can easily suffer from motion sickness just like any of us. Encouraging a dog to vomit overboard and aim correctly in a direction away from others is equally challenging.
- Is the boat wheelchair accessible?
Wheelchair accessible by typical standards is not available. And our head (bathroom) will not accommodate the size of a wheelchair. Please call to enquirer about more specifics.
- Where does the boat depart from?
Trips depart from the Santa Cruz East lower harbor off 5th ave. We are located on dock T slip 13. A good reference point is Johhny’s Harborside restaurant located at 135 Lake ave. We will have a check-in table near the entrance to this restaurant and once everyone is checked in we will make our way down to the Sea Spirit.
- I’m pregnant. Can I go?
Due to the unpredictability of the motion of the ocean and to ensure the safety of your unborn bambino, unfortunately pregnant women aren’t allowed on our trips. Often times we are over an hour or 2 from shore, should a pregnant woman become distressed for any reason they are far from any medial attention. The risk of dehydration is also much greater for pregnant women so getting sea sick can cause more problems than just the obvious side effect which can put undue stress on both mother and child.
- What’s your policy on children?
Whale watching is an amazing adventure for families to experience together and create memories that will last a lifetime. Children 4-13 years of age are charged a discounted rate and those three and younger are free unless we sell out and then they are charged the child’s fee.
- What if I get hungry or thirsty?
Sea Spirit has snacks and beverages available for purchase and/or feel free to bring your own snacks aboard. We are licensed with the California Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or ABC which prohibits patrons from bring alcohol on board. However, we are proud pourers of some amazing local craft beers and local wines.
- Are gift certificates available?
Yes! Gift certificates make a great gift for any occasion and can be purchased by amount or activity by going to the Gift Card tab in the upper right hand corner or in our View All Availabilities button on lower right side of site.
- Can I reserve Sea Spirit for a private party or function?
Most definitely! Our boat is great for birthday parties, retirement, bachelor/ette parties, holiday celebrations, corporate retreats, family reunions, you name it, our private charters will take your special event to the next level of excellence. Call or email to inquire on pricing. [email protected] or 831-336-2244.
- Do you offer ash scatterings off your boat?
Yes we do. Please visit https://seaspiritsantacruz.com/ash-scattering/ for more details, pricing and times.
- What is your cancellation policy for private boat reservations?
Within 3 days of said charter, no refund will be given. Within 4-14 days ~ 50% refundable, 15-30 days~ 100% refundable. All cancellations are assessed a $50 admin fee if paid by credit card as well as we can’t return the credit card merchant fee of 3.1%.