FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
We often get asked a lot of questions about the trips we put on, so we’ve compiled a list below which may help answer some of your queries.
How do I get to you/where do I meet you?
We have multiple meeting points depending on what trip you’ve booked. Ensure you check your booking confirmation carefully which will tell you which meeting point you need to go to. Please see our How To Find Us section for detailed instructions on finding us including What3Words, SatNav and recommendations on parking and public transport.
How do I book?
Our preferred method is to book online via our easy to use system powered by FareHarbour. However, we can take bookings over the phone (call 0800 118 4126), plus answer any queries you have. We can also amend existing bookings over the phone. Please be patient when you call – we may be at sea! Before 10 am is usually the best time.
Any spaces on the day will be displayed at our various meeting points. We do recommend booking in advance but can take bookings on the day using contactless payment if we have spaces.
What if I need to cancel at short notice or cannot make it on the day/could be late?
Please give us a call (0800 118 4126) and we’ll see what we can do. If you know you cannot make it on the day or may be late, please let us know as soon as possible. Please be aware we can only wait a limited amount of time due to other passengers, tides and other scheduled trips throughout the day.
What happens if the weather is bad? Can I cancel? Will you have to cancel?
Please refer to our Weather & Tides section for detailed information about what weather conditions we can operate in and the expected forecast for the next few days. However, in summary, predicted wave heights 1.5m or more generally mean it is unsafe and uncomfortable for our passengers and that we’ll regretfully have to cancel. If this is the case, we will contact you as soon as the decision is known and offer you: a full refund; rebooking on a new date; or in the case of Scroby trips it may be possible to do a coastal trip instead with a partial refund. Please note that trips could be cancelled due to other reasons or weather events beyond our control, however, Harbour Tours and River Trips can generally be run in all weathers.
Will I get wet and/or cold?
This depends entirely on the weather! However, for any trip that is at sea (Coastal Sightseeing, Seal Watching) you will most likely get wet and are advised to dress accordingly. This is normally through unintentional wave spray. Even on a hot summers day, the wind chill can be surprisingly cold so we advise that you still wrap up and have layers ready to go. Be sure to check the weather forecast on the day including “feel like” temperature as well as actual temperature to aid you in deciding how much to layer up. Nobody has ever said that they wished they hadn’t added that extra layer!
How fast do you go?
Shearwater (our boat) is insured to travel at a speed no greater than 30 Knots (Approx 35 MPH) when taking passengers. This is the speed we aim to make when at sea, weather dependant. Whilst in the confines of the Port of Lowestoft, we are limited by speed limits to 4 Knots (Approx 4.6 MPH) and even slower when we are near marine wildlife or other boat users. The Broads (River Waveney, Oulton Dyke etc) have variable speed limits ranging from 3MPH to 6MPH.
Do you provide lifejackets? Do I have to wear them?
We provide lifejackets as part of your booking fee and it is a safety requirement that you wear them (including special sizes for children). Our friendly and knowledgeable crew will aid you in fitting these and ensure you know how to use them in the unlikely event that you need it!
How many seals will we see? Are we guaranteed to see seals?
With previous trips, we are often very lucky and get to see hundreds of seals at Scroby Sands. Whilst we of course cannot guarantee this, even at high water so far we have seen seals on every trip, numbers mainly varying depending on the state of the tide and the time of year. They are very friendly and will often swim quite close to the boat! If you’re lucky we sometimes see seals when travelling along the coastline!
Do you have toilets available for use?
Unfortunately, we do not have any toilet facilities for customers to use and advise you to find alternative facilities before boarding.
Can I take photos/videos?
Absolutely, we’ll encourage you to take as many photos and videos as your heart desires and we will ensure you get ample photo opportunities! We normally discourage people from taking photos whilst we’re moving at speed so that you don’t risk losing your phone or camera overboard and we can’t accept responsibility for any losses or damaged equipment.
Can I borrow/hire waterproofs from you?
Yes, of course. They aren’t fashion items but practical!
I am pregnant, can I come on a trip with you?
Unfortunately, we cannot carry anyone who is pregnant due to our Safety Policy and Insurance
Can I bring my baby?
We cannot carry babies or toddlers, or any child who weighs less than 15kg – approx 4 years old. All passengers will have their own seat and must be able to use the handholds.
Can my dog come onboard?
Yes! We do charge £5 to cover the hire of a dog bouyancy aid. We will restrict numbers of dogs on board to maintain comfort and space for all passengers. We can recommend Lowestoft Canine Creche who will look after your dog during your holiday if there are activities that you want to do. They would need to meet you and your dog before the day!
Is there a minimum/maximum age?
Unfortunately, we cannot carry anyone under the age of 4, with a minimum weight of 15kg required due to our lifejacket requirements. Anyone under the age of 16 needs to be accompanied by a responsible adult. There is no maximum age, however, we cannot carry anyone who has decreased bone strength, a history of back or spine conditions or who cannot effectively brace themselves during turns or impacts. If your mobility is restricted you may want to come and see us before booking to ensure that you can board and disembark safely.
I’ve had a drink, am I still ok to board?
We cannot accept any passengers under the influence of drink or drugs.
Can I smoke on the boat?
Smoking (including vapes/e-cigarettes’) is not permitted anywhere on our boat, due to fire safety and for other passengers comfort.
What is the mobile phone reception like at sea? Will I still be able to make/receive calls?
Reception can be hit and miss, however as we don’t travel far from land, reception is generally still accessible. This will vary from network to network and we cannot guarantee anything. We would discourage making or receiving any phone calls so as not to disrupt other passengers and so that you don’t miss all the sights! If on a seal trip we would ask that your phone remains on silent so that we don’t disturb them.
I don’t want to bring my bag on the boat, can you look after it for me?
We will happily store bags/other possessions in our van for the trip duration, free of charge, however, we can accept no responsibility for lost, stolen or damaged property. Alternatively, we do have a small amount of dry storage space on the boat.
Will I get sea sick on your trip? / I suffer from sea sickness, can I come on your trips?
Generally from our experience, people don’t experience sea sickness when travelling at speed on a small boat (like ours!). However everyone is different! If you are concerned, feel free to speak to our friendly crew before boarding or over the phone, who can advise you. We’d recommend eating some ginger biscuits/similar (seriously!) beforehand as it apparently helps combat sea sickness!
I suffer from a medical condition, can I still join you?
We cannot carry anyone who has decreased bone strength, a history of back or spine conditions or who cannot effectively brace themselves during turns or impacts. We recommend you consult your Doctor prior to joining us if you have any concerns. For anything else, give us a call and we will discuss with you.
I’d like to hire/charter your boat for a specific trip/make a group booking? Do you cater for this?
Absolutely, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. Any group booking/charter will be accompanied by our friendly and knowledgeable crew. In the case of diving trips, your own dive master is required.
Do you offer discounts for NHS / emergency services / armed forces?
Do you offer discounts/concessions for seniors and/or children?
Yes! We offer concession rates for children aged 4 – 16 and for seniors aged 65 +. When booking your trip you will have the option to select the appropriate option and the discount will be applied automatically. Please note children under 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult and we cannot take anyone under the age of 4.
Do you offer help for those with reduced mobility?
Absolutely, if you have any worries or concerns please call us and we can talk things through with you. Our friendly and knowledgable crew members will be able to assist you onto the boat with a number of safe methods of boarding. We generally require people to be able kneel down and/or sit down so we can aid you into the boat. If in doubt, just ask us!
If you do have any other questions, please do not hesitate to get in contact with us.