Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?

Booking in advance is highly recommended.  It will also maximize your chances of getting the tour day and time you prefer. Please book early during your time on Kaua’i, as tours are operated on a weather permitting basis and the information you learn on the tours will be useful for the rest of your Kauai vacation.

Are there taxes and fees?

Tax collected includes state tax and a state harbor fee. 7.016% Tax collected includes 4.016% state tax, and a 3.0% state harbor fee.

Is Captain Tara, the Marine Biologist on every Charter?

Captain Tara periodically has research and marine disentanglement’s to attend to, but she is on most charters!  All of our Captains are licensed and our Crew are certified, knowledgeable Divemasters.  All Sea Riders Team members have been trained by Captain Tara for professionalism, providing a high quality tour, and customer safety.  If you request her presence on a trip, we will surely try to accommodate you!

How many people can you take on each Zodiac?

Sea Riders operates two rigid hull inflatable Zodiacs – one is 25′ and can accommodate 14 passengers plus captain and crew, the other is a 20′ which can accommodate 6 passengers plus captain and crew. We need @ least 6 passengers for each charter, if it looks like there are fewer people or if weather is poor for snorkeling, we would contact you to reschedule within 24 hours.

Is the tour suitable for families with small children and/or seniors?

YES! This is a great opportunity to experience the ocean as a family with children 5 years and up!  Our “Kupuna” (definition: “wise ones”) are welcome if they feel they can handle the bounce of the Zodiac ride and climb the ladder after snorkeling.  We recommend that people with chronic back or heart conditions enjoy a tour on a larger, catamaran-type boat.

What happens if it rains?

Our snorkel tours usually runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but Sea Riders may cancel the activity up to an hour before (usually the evening before) the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. We will always maintain the Safety and Integrity of the charter and if Sea Riders cancels the event, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit.

Do you offer discounts?

We offer a reduced price ticket for children ages 5-12 and we offer a “Teen” discount for the Summer Na Pali Eco-Adventure.   We also offer discounts for guests wishing to experience multiple tours.  We also provide discounted gift certificates to customers who want to give the gift of a Sea Riders Tour to someone who will be visiting the Island.  Discounts are also available for local Kama`aina and for research purposes.  Check our tour pages for discount pricing or contact us for more details.

What is Sea Riders cancellation policy?

Once purchased, tickets cannot be refunded. You may reschedule your tickets (subject to availability) only if you do so at least 24 hours in advance.

Is gratuity included in the ticket price?

Tips or gratuity for our captain and crew are not included in the price and are not mandatory, but are always appreciated.

Is the tour suitable for pregnant women?

Our Zodiac tours are NOT recommended for pregnant women and those with chronic back or heart conditions.  We recommend a tour on a larger catamaran-type vessel instead.

Are Exclusive/Private charters available?

Yes, we often run exclusive charters for families, wedding parties, celebrations of Life, small or large groups wanting the boat to themselves.  To inquire about booking a private tour, please contact us.

What type of boat will we be on and will there be shade?

We have two rigid hull inflatable Zodiacs (the kind of boats used by Navy Seals and Coast Guard Rescue).  One is 25′ and the other is 20′.  Our 25′ vessel does NOT have a cover/or top for shade, which is by design for best coastline viewing.  Hats, sunscreen and/or sun shirts are recommended.  Our 20′ vessel does have partial shade.

Do you offer a ride along ticket for those who don’t want to snorkel?

Space is limited as we keep our groups small. Non-snorkelers are welcome on the trip, but there is no reduced ticket price if you choose not to snorkel.

How long does it take to get to the South Shore snorkel sites?

The day’s weather and reef conditions will dictate where exactly we snorkel, but we’ll spend more time in the water than on the boat!  Normally,we will travel under 10 minutes to get to the snorkeling site. If we encounter Spinner Dolphin in the AM and Whales in Winter it may be longer. Usually our passengers don’t mind the exciting diversions!

How long does it take to get to the Na Pali Coast?
Our Na Pali Eco Adventure Tours departs from Kekaha from Kikialoa Harbor which is the closest Harbor to the Na Pali Coast, which means you get to the fun and beauty faster!  Generally it takes about an hour to reach the coast once we leave the harbor.  Leaving from Kauai’s west side shaves off one hour of travel time to the Na Pali Coast, so you’ll enjoy more time on the NaPali Coast and in the water snorkeling at fabulous, uncrowded snorkeling sites.
What types of marine life will we see?

The south and north shores are home to beautiful reefs that provide a home for some 200 or so indigenous Hawaiian marine species. You will have the opportunity to spot wonderful coral reefs, colorful reef fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and on occasion Monk Seals, rays, and rare whales!

Can we touch the animals?

We maintain a respectful distance from Humpback Whales and do not swim with the Spinner Dolphin.  For your safety and for the safety of the animals, you are not allowed to touch the wildlife we encounter.  Turtle are vulnerable to drowning when approached aggressively by humans. But, more importantly we don’t want to be the reason they would change their behavior.  This better preserves the natural habitats for the marine life and for future snorkelers, like yourself.

Will I see sharks in the water?

We typically do not see sharks on our trips and if we do see them, we maintain a safe distance. The types of sharks we see on the trips are reef sharks and are quite shy of humans and harmless.

Is the snorkeling gear included? Can I bring my own gear?

Yes, all of the gear is included in the price of your ticket. You are welcome to bring your own equipment, but there will be no discount on the ticket price. If you would like to bring your own gear, Sea Riders Crew can supplement what you may need and we always carry on board spare masks and snorkels.  Wet suit tops are available during the winter months.

Are prescription masks available?

Yes, we have a few near-sided masks available. (-2.0—5.0) Usually a far-sighted or astigmatism passenger is fine with a regular mask.

Where do you stop to snorkel on the South Shore Adventure Tour?

On the South Shore Snorkel Adventure we visit two (2) different snorkel sites. The captain will choose the best place to snorkel at, in respect to the ocean conditions and water clarity for that day.

Where do you stop to snorkel on the Na Pali Eco-Adventure?

We usually do a swim stop when we reach the coast.  Then we proceed on to check out the beautiful cliffs, tour some sea caves and then choose one of our favorite, uncrowded, secluded snorkeling spots for guided snorkeling with our on-board Divemaster.  And then lunch is served.

Are floatation devices provided?

We do have boogie boards to hold onto and wet suit tops are provided on our winter snorkel tours.  Saltwater is very buoyant which also helps us float while snorkeling.  There will be a certified Dive Master in the water guiding your snorkel experience, should you need any assistance or have questions.  Please Contact Sea Riders if you have any special needs or requirements.

How long will we be in the water?

Because our boats are fast we spend more time in the water than most other tours.  We let nature rule the show, but will often spend 45 minutes or more at each snorkel site on South Shore Tours and an hour on our Na Pali Coast Tours.

What does the lunch include?

A gourmet lunch is included : choice of Turkey, Ham, Roast Beef, Veggie, Peanut Butter & Jelly, or Gluten Free, Homemade Brownies; Hawaiian Juices, Bottled Water and Ginger Ale.  If you have special diet restrictions, please let us know! You are welcome to bring your own and we will keep it cool. Please let us know what type of sandwich you prefer at booking.  Our lunches are catered daily by Shipwreck Subs in Kalaheo.

Can I bring food or drink on the trip?

A gourmet lunch is included but feel free to bring additional food and drinks.   For everyone’s safety Alcohol is strictly prohibited on the trip.

What should I wear/bring?

We recommend wearing a bathing suit with a couple of extra layers on for the ride over to the snorkeling or whale watching sites. We provide a dry bag for your personal belongings; just bring whatever you would need at the beach! Don’t forget a towel, sunglasses, a rain jacket, a hat and sunscreen!  We provide wet suit tops for the Winter South Shore Tours.

Is a “Hydrophone” available on the Charter?

During the winter months of whale season, on both the South Shore Snorkel and Whale Watch charters, we listen to the Humpback Whale “Songs” with an underwater microphone. It is an amazing way to experience the songs and vocalizations of the Humpback whales.

Will I get seasick?

We hope not, but if you are prone to motion sickness, you may want to take the necessary precautions.  We also have some ginger ale on-board to soothe your stomach.

Do I need to know how to swim?

It is recommended that you have the desire to float and view marine life, we cannot create the desire to snorkel. Relaxing is the most important snorkel tip of all time!   You will also have personalized instruction via our certified Divemasters in the water with you.  Captain Tara is trained in passengers with  “Special Needs” on the boat and in the water.  Contact SeaRiders to discuss any special requirements.

Will there be a restroom available during the tour?

There is no restroom on our boats.  It is preferred that you use the restrooms at the meeting spot before the start of the tour, as there will not be a bathroom to use once the tour begins.

Do I have to wear a life vest?

You are not required to wear life jackets while on board, but we have them available should you want to wear one.

Can I stow anything on the boat?

Yes, we provide dry bags for your personal belongings, but there is a limited amount of room, so please only bring what you need.

Do you recommend an underwater camera?

Although they are not provided, you are welcome to bring a camera with you on your snorkeling adventure.  There is an abundance of life in the waters we explore on our adventure tours and you never know what you’re going to see!

Is smoking permitted on the boat?

No, Kauai Sea Riders vessels are non-smoking.

Is there public parking available at the meeting location?

Yes, parking is available at the meeting location.  Specific parking directions will be included in the meeting location details after you have purchased your tour.

Do you offer gift certificates?

Yes! Gift certificates are available for purchase and make great gifts for family and friends. If you have any questions about purchasing or redeeming gift certificates, please Contact Kauai SeaRiders.