FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: Can I book a private charter? A: Yes! Tortuga Sailing Adventures provides only all-inclusive, private charters – you and your friends/family are the only guests aboard. We do not offer mixed group charters. See our calendar under RESERVATIONS for availability and then secured your charter with our online booking feature.
Q: How far in advance do I need to book? A: It varies. Holidays and high season are booked early by the prudent traveler. We make it easy for you to see our availability with secure online booking and our calendar right on our website.
Q: How many people can you take? A: We are licensed and can easily accommodate up to six (6) people for our Day Adventures. Our two (2) private cabins are limited to 2 guests each for our Overnight Escapes and Dry Tortugas Getaways.
Q. Where do we go? A: It depends on how much time you will be on board and what the weather and seas are doing. We will advise you of top locations based on what your activity preference is. See our map of our most common destinations on our website.
Q: What equipment can I use? A: Based on your request and time allowed, you can use following: Snorkel mask & snorkel, fins & vests (Women sizes 5-10 Men sizes 7-13), Paddle Boards: 2 available (a 10' and 11') with paddles, Kayaks: 2 - 2 persons kayak w/paddles, Aqua Lily Pad: A 12'x8' floating pad.
Q: Is there parking at the marina? A: Yes, and it is free.
Q: Is there a shuttle? A: Yes, there is a Stock Island Village Marina shuttle van that runs every few hours from the marina to the waterfront just outside the Half Shell Raw Bar. It is free but it based on availability. If your near the airport or can't arrange a shuttle, let us know and we'll look to help you schedule a pickup.
Q: What times are available for charting? A: For our day adventure guests, regardless of the amount of time you choose to charter, you can expect that the captain and crew will be docking the vessel back at her home port at least 45 minutes prior to dark-thirty. We have much to do when we return and without the magic of the sky, we will be challenged. Our overnight guests will need to be boarded and their belongings settled in their sleeping quarters prior to departure. If you intend to be at anchor the first night, you will need to be at the yacht as early as 2 pm. Times will vary slightly based on the amount of daylight we will have.
Q: What time should I be there? A: About 15 minutes before departure.
Q: What should I bring?
- Skin protection ~ Non-spraying, waterproof, reef-friendly sunscreen. Zinc Titanium Oxides are our favorites. We endorse Rubber Ducky or SolRx brand sunscreens which you can purchase from our retail stop or order from our online store. PLEASE do not bring self-tanning, oil based or spray-on sunscreens.
- Sunglasses ~ Polarized will provide you with the best eye protection and visibility into the water. We suggest using retainers so you don’t lose them as well.
- Clothing ~ We advise you to review the expected weather conditions prior to your arrival. Most guests will bring a variety of layers in addition to their swimwear. Light jacket/sweatshirt may be needed during cooler months. During summer months, we encourage long sleeved Rash Guards or cover ups for those inclined to sunburns. Our Retail Stop has a variety of adult sized Tortuga logo tees, tanks, rash guards and dry hoodie shirts – you can shop our store online.
- Towels – at least 1 per person for our day charter guest. We supply our overnight guests all that they will need.
- Camera ~ Waterproof or underwater suggested
- Any specialty snorkel gear (we carry many sizes for men & women, children sizes are limited)
- BYOBooze – Our insurance says we can’t supply it for you but we can keep it cold with a supply an ice in our cooler. Cans and glass bottles are welcomed on the yacht. We will gladly provide you with a koozie for any glass bottles while you drink from it and will stow remaining bottles in a manor to prevent breakage. For safety reasons, incapacitated guests are not allowed in the water. Drinking of adult beverages is permitted after your water activity have ended for that day.
What NOT to bring
- Self-tanning, oil based or spray on sunscreens
- Cigarettes (including E-Cigs), cigars, pipes or items that you burn & inhale
- Hard or case luggage due to stowage challenges
- Blow dryers, curling irons
- Flammables & weapons of any type
Q: What do I do on the Yacht? A: Most people spend their time enjoying the scenery of the ocean, the uninhabited islands, and the marine animals that can often be spotted in the water. We are happy to provide an orientation talk on the Florida Keys. There are plenty of spots on deck at which to sit and socialise, play games, read, and relax or just enjoy sailing.
Q: What are the meals and snacks like? A: Your meals and snacks will be customised for your group. Diet restrictions, allergies and tastes are all accounted for when we select your menu. We strive to select organic, non-GMO foods including a variety of fresh seafood, fruit & veggies. Chips, dips and non-alcoholic beverages are available as well. We place emphasis on foods that are locally sourced (within 100 miles) or grown ourselves. Because of this, our menu is constantly changing. We prefer to serve all natural sparkling waters, still waters, low sugar sports drinks & fruit juices. Your welcome to bring your own specialty foods, drinks and alcoholic beverages on board that can be stowed in our large on-deck cooler and you are welcome to bring glass bottles onboard..
Q: Is there a bathroom on the yacht? A: Yes, there is a head (bathroom) on board for your use as well as a changing area.
Q: Will my cell phone work? A: Yes and No. Current cell phone towers provide a range of about 10 miles from shore. Once past that point, there will be little or no cell phone use. Pretend it is the 'olden days' and talk to each other.
Q: How do I prevent sea sickness? A: An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! It's fairly uncommon that guests get seasick during our outings, but if you are pre-disposed to motion sickness we suggest eating a hearty breakfast and take any preventative OTC motion sickness medication at least 3 hours before arrival. Once motion sickness sets in, there are minimal deterrents and it can ruin an otherwise fine day.
Q: How fast does the Tortuga go? A: Our average speed is 6 knots with a max of about 10 knots.
Q: Is the yacht safe? A: Yes, and fully licensed, insured and documented with the Coast Guard. The Tortuga and her crew comply with all US Coast Guard requirements for safety and have life jackets and life-saving equipment onboard for every passenger.
Q: Can children go on the sail? A: As of Aug 1, 2016 children 13 and over are welcome. There are many areas that are hazardous to smaller children, both in the water and aboard the yacht. Any group looking to make reservation that will include children under the age of 12, must call for management approval prior to booking.
Q: What happens in bad weather? A: The Tortuga will run in all light weather conditions (a little rain never hurt anyone!). In the event that we have to cancel a sail due to severe weather or high winds, you will have the opportunity to reschedule for a future event or get a full refund.
Q: What is the cancellation policy? A: We encourage you to reschedule your trip to another time within 1 year of the originally booked date. Fully paid reservations are refundable, less 30% when you provide a cancellation notice directly to our email address (TortugaSailingCat@gmail.com) at least 30 days prior to your scheduled trip. All other refund requests are subject to approval by our management. When approved, refunds are issued usually within 4 business days.
Q: What happens in an emergency? A: The Tortuga is a 42’ long catamaran built for ocean crossing and it is equipped to handle rough conditions. The crew is skilled is basic life-saving techniques. We have communication links with the Coast Guard and Key West medical facilities. In a medical emergency we will make haste to return back to the dock or take whatever appropriate actions are needed to ensure the safety of guests and/or crew.
Q: Should I tip the crew? A: Gratuities are not mandatory but greatly appreciated! Your crew works very hard to ensure that your sail is a superior experience. If you enjoyed your experience, please tip the crew accordingly between 15 - 20%.
Additional Safety, Etiquette & Expectations
The use, transportation, or possession of illegal drugs or narcotics or of any other contraband, or the participation in any other unlawful activity is strictly prohibited.
Over consumption of alcoholic beverages that impairs physical and/or emotional capabilities and creates a safety concern is prohibited. Safety takes priority above all
Exercise care when utilising Equipment and Supplies. Items damaged or lost due to guest's negligence will be replaced or repaired at GUEST expense.
The CAPTAIN will continuously monitor water and weather conditions. These factors will play a significant role in our destinations and activities at sea. The CAPTAIN makes all final decisions in these matters.
Additional info for our Overnight Guests -
- Bring a change of dry clothes
- Use a backpacks or collapsible luggage for your gear & clothes (stowage is limited)
- Bring any specialty health & hygiene products. We will provide towels, wash clothes, eco-friendly shampoo & body soap.
A courteous guest will:
o be conservative of tank water and ice (drinking water is always plentiful)
o be aware that the CREW is available from sun up to sun down and during any emergency.
o decrease noise levels after dark.
o know to maintain their private quarters in a clean and usable state, keeping passageways clear at all times. CREW will conduct light housekeeping in Guest head and hallway.