Observing and Preserving Nature Above, In and Under Water
Call Us:
352-795-7033

FAQ

Below is a list of questions that will help you learn more about your manatee tour experience. If you have further questions, please feel free to call us  (352)795-7033 or contact us.  We will make your experience with the manatees, a fun and exciting trip for the young and young at heart.

Q?

Are Tips Included?

A.

Tips are not included in the listed price. Like any service industry, between 10% - 20% is standard depending on the service provided. You are encouraged to tip more or less depending upon the service you feel you received. Tips are distributed evenly between the crew.

Q?

What is your Cancellation Policy

A.

We request 3 days notice to cancel or change reservations for tours.  Otherwise you will be charged for the tour because it does not provide us adequate time to re-book it.

Q?

Why choose Crystal River Watersports?

A.

We understand that you have options when it comes to exploring Florida, however, not all locations or Eco-Tourism operations are the same.  Crystal River Watersports is one of the most experienced and established tour companies in Crystal River - the Gem of Florida's Nature Coast.  Learn More

Q?

Am I guaranteed to see a manatee?

A.

Manatees are wild animals that are currently on the endangered species list.    Our goal is to give our guests a chance to see and interact with  these amazing mammals  while ensuring that all FWS guidelines are followed to protect the health and well being of the manatees.

While a small population of manatees live year round in Kings Bay, most live in the Gulf and come to Kings Bay in the winter months for our warm natural springs.   These manatees move freely throughout the bay and to and from the Gulf of Mexico looking for food,  fresh water and protection from the cold.   Since the manatees are wild animals, we cannot control where they go.  The manatees choose where they want to swim, eat, play  and whether or not they want to interact with the people they encounter.  Some sections of Kings Bay  have crystal clear water, other parts are less clear and it is up to the manatees where they want to be on any given day.     Our Captains will try to get you in the water with the best visibility to see and interact with the manatees, but the location is totally  dependent on the manatees.

It is rare that we don't see any manatees on a trip.     The amount of interaction is always totally up to the manatees.    However if you don't SEE any manatees on your trip, then we will be happy to reschedule you for a rain check on us. (Raincheck applies to 7:30 Manatee tour only.)

Q?

Can I interact with the manatees?

A.

Crystal River Water Sports embraces Passive Observation .    This means that our guests are allowed to snorkle and observe the manatees  in their natural habitat.  Some manatees enjoy interacting with people while others prefer to eat, sleep and swim while being left alone.   It is our responsibility to treat the manatees and their home with respect.   If a manatee chooses to initiate contact, then  our guests  have the opportunity to interact with them in a way that is unique in the United States.   We have all of our guests watch the FWS  "Manatee Manners" video  so you know the proper way to react if a manatee chooses to get up close and personal.

Q?

When is the best time to see manatees?

A.

Our early morning tours  tend to be the best time to find manatees that want to interact  and we often find the manatees near one of the many of the natural springs where the water tends to be more clear.     Your chances of seeing manatees is best when it is cold and decreases when it is warmer.    It is rare that we don't see any manatees on a trip.     The amount of interaction is always totally up to the manatees.

manatee-all-black

Manatee Sighting Quick Guide:

Cold = More manatees

Weekday = Fewer people on the water

Mornings = Manatees more active

Q?

What else will I see on the tour?

A.

Crystal River Watersports is delighted to be located near the Crystal River Archaeology Park and the Crystal River Preserve State Park.   The boat ride taking our guests to Kings Bay passes through these Parks and gives our guests the opportunity to see a wide variety of wildlife and natural beauty.    These include:  otters,  dolphins, bald eagles,  wild pigs, cormorants,  alligators,  and numerous other birds.     You will also see one of the temple mounds from a pre-Columbian site  which served as a ceremonial center for Native Americans for 1,600 years.   It is estimated that as many as 7,500 Native Americans may have visited the complex every year, and it was one of the longest continuously occupied sites in Florida.

Q?

Is there a parking fee at your location?

A.

No. Parking is free if you have booked a tour with us, we have ample parking even for commercial tour buses, school buses and motor homes. You will not need to park on the side of the highway.. Board the boat at our store, just outside your room at Days Inn Hotel.

Q?

Are the boats heated?

A.

Our boats are heated by the sun, it is unlawful to use propane or any other flammable liquid on a coastguard inspected boat. There are those operators who advertise heated boats to get your business, but it is not a safe practice . We serve  hot chocolate to help warm you up.

Q?

Are there bathrooms on the boats?

A.

Some of our 4 passenger boats are not.  One boat has a bathroom.These boats have marina access on the river and can dock for public bathroom use as needed. Anyone with special bathroom requirements should notify one of our representatives when booking a tour.

Q?

Can you rent the equipment needed to snorkel with the manatees?

A.

Snorkeling Gear is  Provided. We have a full line of wet suits to fit 4 year olds to adult sizes (up to 350lbs). We also have masks, fins, snorkels and personal flotation vests. Scuba rental are also available for those individuals booked with us.

Q?

Why will I be charged a fee for canceling?

A.

Our cancellation policies and fees are consistent with those imposed by airlines, car rental companies, and hotels. Because our fees are determined by space reserved on our boats, we require a minimum of seven (7) days notice to cancel in an effort to fill the vacant spot.

Q?

What are the qualifications of your captains?

A.

All tours are led by a U.S. Coast Guard Certified Captain.

Q?

What kind of boats are they?

A.

Our boats  hold six passengers each.  Three are 24 ft  pontoon boats and one is a  24 ft Carolina Skiff.

Q?

What time are the manatee tours?

A.

The Crystal River Manatee morning tour meets at 7:00am, leaving around 7:30am and returning around 11:30am. The second tour meets at 11:00am leaving around 11:30am and returning around 3:30pm. NOTE: Special times can be arranged for Private Tours. Call for details.

Q?

Where do you meet for the manatee tours?

A.

Meet at our marina located behind the DAYS INN RESORT in Crystal River

2380 N. Suncoast Blvd.
Crystal River, FL 34428.

Free parking at our location. We also have parking for buses, motor homes and 18 wheelers.

Q?

Do I need a reservation?

A.

Yes. Reservations are required and can be made with a credit card along with name, address and phone number. Call us (352)795-7033