Hawaii snorkeling boat
swimming with dolphins oahu
whale watching hawaii

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Frequently Asked Questions

Dolphin Encounters




How do I make reservations?

Best bet is to purchase online (secure site) as often we are on the water and by booking online we will both have written records, or email us at reservations@sailhawaii.com with your availability, or call 808-306-7273. It is best to reserve as early as possible, as last minute bookings are hard to get and/or plan for. We suggest a couple weeks ahead of time, but will accept bookings up to the night before - if space available. Our cancellation policy guarantees you won't be charged anything if you cancel at least 10 days prior to your departure day. Gift certificates are available, and a great idea for honeymooners, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, etc.

What do I need to bring and what are the rates?

We provide food, drinks, and snacks - these items are listed on the tour descriptions. You can bring anything you'd like, especially if picky eaters or special diets.

Be fully prepared to guard against sunburn, the sun in the tropics is very intense. There is shade on the boat, but glare reflects right on in .Sunglasses (polarized will give you the optimal experience), hats, towels and cover-ups are needed, even in the shade. It is usually best to put SPF 30+ sunscreen on before you leave your hotel room, and again while on your adventure. No spray-on sunscreens please! They over-spray all over the boat becoming a safety hazard, or land on others who may not be appreciative!

We supply snorkel gear, but our supply of fins are geared for "average" adult sizes. Its fine to bring your own equipment if you have, ensuring you a good fit. If you would like to rent equipment while on the islands, we suggest AquaZone - Scuba Diving and Water sports Center 808-923-343 Outrigger Reef Hotel, bottom floor or Waikiki Beach Marriott Shops.

If bringing your own, pack your mask between your clothes so the lens won’t take a beating by the airline's luggage handlers. If you are bringing fins, pack them near the outside of your bag. Fins are tough and will help protect the more delicate things in the center.

Catamarans are known for their smooth "cut-through-the water" rides. But if there is any possibility for sea-sickness, you may want to start popping ginger pills about a week before the charter date, and/or use sea-bands. Sea bands are elastic wrist bands that work by acupressure, usually available where you would find other motion sickness remedies. They take about 45 minutes to work so put them on ahead of time...

For those who are prone to sea-sickness, always stay out on the deck, looking at the horizon. Avoid going below deck. Here is an excellent article with lots of alternative suggestions to combat or prevent sea sickness.

Black soles make major scuff marks on boat decks :-( But barefeet are fine!

See Rates page for our prices, and please be aware that on top of the quoted price is State tax and harbor fees, and a $5 per person fuel surcharge .

Where are you located and how do we get there?

Find driving directions on our map page.

Due to the limited number of passengers that we take out, we do not provide a shuttle service which would drive up costs for all and force us to go for quantity of passengers vs. the quality of care for our guests and respect for the wildlife realized with small groups.

Our solution,TheBus! We have found the total transportation time to be similar to, or better than the shuttles spending over an hour on hotel pick-ups. Driving time to our Waianae location is about an hour; time on TheBus (from Ala Moana Shopping Center), is about an hour and a half. We can also help form car pools if do-able, especially for the trip back.

TheBus world-class public transit system costs only $5 round-trip (kids are cheaper or free) to anywhere on Oahu, including Diamond Head, Pearl Harbor, Hanauma Bay, and the Aloha Swap Meet. A month-long pass is only $60 per person.

While we do know that you can make it to us on time using TheBus, we also have different departure times and different charters. Please get detailed information on your specific bus departure by calling TheBus Information desk at (808) 848-5555 open daily from 5:30 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., or inquire by email at custserv@thebus.org,

You will need to provide the following information:

  • Location you are starting from (we suggest a $10 taxi to the Ala Moana Shopping Center hub- to eliminate transfer and any waiting time between hotel bus and the "C" Express leaving from Ala Moana ).
  • Your intended destination - the Waianae (said "Y-N-I") Intermediate School it's across the street from the Waianae Boat Harbor.
  • Day and Time you need to get there
  • There is also a DaBus Oahu app, check it out, especially if you opt for the month pass! Try this Bus tool also.

If you plan to ride the bus,please let us know, if your arrival time is very similar to our check-in time. We can give you extra leeway to walk the 5-10 minutes or so it takes to cross the street and get to the boat.

Here's an invaluable review on why you should always rent a car while on Oahu, along with other great information on things to do Check discount rates and reservations for rental cars here or here (it may be worthwhile to make a comparison). We have found that rental prices tend to drop anywhere from 1-4 weeks before travel. The theory is that most people make reservations when they book air and hotel, i.e. months in advance, and never look back. Hence the high rates for advance bookings (this is also true for airfares these days). So I have often found very good prices as trip dates approach. Of course it is always wise to lock a fully-cancelable rate...

What time do we leave and what is the approximate return time?

Half days average 3.5 hours (however long it takes) and check-in for both charters is 8 am

Due to the nature of our tours (optimal time based on the behaviors of the animals), and courtesy to other guests, it is very important that you are on time .

What if something comes up and we can't make it, and are there other policies I should be aware of?

Our Terms and Agreements in full Cancellations can be made up to 10 days ahead of time with no charge. If we cancel due to weather, safety precautions or any other reason, there is no charge. Cancellations made within the 10 day period before departure and "no shows" will be held responsible for the full price.

If we cancel, we will either reschedule or you will be refunded in full. Our first concern is for passenger and vessel safety. Our decisions to go out, cancel, put people in the water (or not), or return to the dock are all carefully considered on an ongoing basis for each and every charter. We will always make our decisions based on "safety first", and then what is in the best interest of our guests and the marine life.here are occasional instances when the ocean seems okay at the start of the day and then worsens while on the water. If we return to the dock early, a fair compensation will be provided, or we may opt to travel to a area where conditions are better.

Any requests to be changed from a confirmed date will be subject to a 15% fee of your total rate.

What is the weather like there and what should I wear?

The weather is usually moderate year-round, typically ranging from the low 70s to upper 80s. Evenings can be cool and breezy, so you may want to bring a sweater or windbreaker. Summer-type clothing, such as shorts, t-shirts, casual pants and sundresses or sarongs are appropriate almost everywhere in Hawaii.

A hat and polarized sunglasses are also a good idea to protect your face from the sun. And, of course, bring your swimsuit, towel, sunscreen and cameras! No spray-on sunscreen onboard please, overspray can create a safety hazard.

This would be our last day on the island, where can we store our luggage?

You can ask for a late check-out, or if your hotel will let you store it there. Otherwise, Honolulu Baggage Storage stores luggage from a few hours to several weeks, they pick up and deliver in Waikiki, the Honolulu Airport, the Honolulu Harbor or you can drop off and pick up your luggage from their warehouse near the Honolulu Airport. 808-447-9096.


Bananas are considered bad luck on boats all over the world. Please leave them at home!

Although not in any way necessary, if you have a good day on the water, tipping of the crew is appropriate. (10% to 15% is standard)

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