Frequently Asked Questions…
Where are you located?
We serve our clients out of Snook Bight Marina located at 4765 Estero Blvd. on Fort Myers Beach. It is a great marina and there is a Publix in the front of the property to allow for picking up things you may want; drinks, sun screen, swimming and beach stuff, and food. On occasions, we can make special plans to pick up other docks, restaurants, marinas, or any public or private place accessible to our vessel but these would incur additional costs for fuel and travel time.
how is the cost of the charter determined?
As with most charter companies, Sundancer Charters takes into consideration the cost of the time of the cruise, travel, and fuel, also any extra arrangements (food, drink, equipment, and other items such as preparation time) and of course cleanup after the charter. Most of our cruises will fall into the $150/hr. (with a four hour minimum). One thing we do many charter companies do not is INCLUDE THE FUEL COST. Even when you rent a a boat locally, they still charge you for the fuel you use. For our vessel, we will burn at least $100 of fuel while out on your charter.
How many people can we have on our charter?
The Irish Wake will hold well over 12 people but USCG regulations for our vessel limit our clients aboard to (6). This number includes adults AND children. With the size of the Irish Wake there will be plenty of room for everyone. We follow all regulations and rules of the USGC. We also have documentation of our insurance and licensing aboard at all times. In order to take more than (6) people, a vessel must have been built in accordance with rigid USCG standards. Ferry boats, harbor tour boats, sailing schooners, and whale watching boats are all examples of inspected vessels. Most pleasure boats and yachts are uninspected vessels. If you charter a boat that takes more than (6), ASK FOR THEIR INSPECTION DOCUMENTATION.
what are the rules for children?
Under Florida Law, children under the age of 6 must wear a properly fitted Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) when onboard any vessel under 26’. Beauce of the size of our vessel (51’) PFDs are not mandatory but parents have the last word. If you want your children to wear them, we can tell them they are required. We have various life jackets for small children, we will make sure we have PFDs for each child. Please inform us of any children's PFD needed and the size of each child when making your reservation.
what can we do aboard?
Our vessel is yours to enjoy while on a cruise. We will board you and your items and then do a safety review of the vessel and safety equipment. After that, any questions you have can be put to Capt. Shawn or the First Mate. There is plenty of seating to enjoy in the large cockpit and on the bow a large sun pad. The sun pad can be used whenever safety allows both at slow speeds and cruising depending on water conditions. Below decks there are two staterooms and two heads for your convenience. We also have a full galley and salon, all under full air conditioning.
Where can we go?
Where you want to go is a decision up to you. Depending on where you board the vessel, the length and time of you cruise can be set to any of your expectations. Some people want to cruise around an area for a few hours, stop in somewhere for lunch or dinner, or anchor off the beach and just enjoy the time in the water. Others may want to specifically see a place or location. We make sunsets, memorials, weddings, birthdays, and any other special occasion even more special! CHECK OUT OUR “WELCOME ABOARD PAGE”
how do we reserve a charter?
Reservations are arranged through Capt. Shawn or Boat Setter. Depending on the type of charter, a deposit of $250 will be taken by credit card. Any cancellations caused by Sundancer Charters will be refunded as well as any cancellations due to adverse weather conditions. (Or we will do our best to reschedule as soon as possible.) The Irish Wake is a large open water vessel. It will be comfortable in most protected waters with up to moderate chop and open water up to 3' seas but most people will want to boat during calm days which we have so many of in Southwest Florida. We also refund any deposits with cancellations 72 hours before the day of the charter.
what can we bring?
We try to accommodate any of our client's requests. Please feel free to bring any clothes, towels, or personal items. Food and drinks are also welcomed though we request any food and drink items are in plastic or aluminum. Glass can cause safety issues aboard. Coolers with water and ice are always on board. Your First Mate will be able to provide any serving or preparation of your food or drinks. Alcohol is permitted on the vessel but the Captain reserves the final say on any issues that may arise. Under no circumstances will any drugs or their use be allowed on the vessel as well as drunken/unsafe behavior. Smoking is also prohibited on board.
can we swim?
Anyone is more than welcome to go swimming or snorkeling in the local waters. Out in the Gulf and off our beaches are very good locations. We have floats and lines available for those who want to swim. The Irish Wake has a large hydraulic operating diving platform that makes getting in and out of the water easy and safe. It should be noted that though the local waters are bath-like in the warmer months, the Gulf cools down in the colder months. Please ask for the current water temperatures in our areas.
how can weather conditions affect our charter?
We monitor the NOAA marine and land weather conditions throughout each day. These reports are issued every four hours. The Irish Wake is a large Sport Yacht and will be able to handle most conditions but that does not mean it would be enjoyable to our clients. We will keep in touch with any clients with reservations in the days before their appointments if any fronts or adverse conditions could affect their cruise. If a cruise has to be cancelled due to adverse weather conditions, you will have the choice of a refund or the rescheduling at another time, whatever is best for you.
will we see dolphins?
Every boat operator in Florida seems to promise dolphins. You will see "Dolphin" cruises advertised everywhere. The truth is there are many areas we see dolphins much of the time, probably 70% of the time we are out we will have a dolphin or two in or wake jumping or just swimming along. And everyone loves a great dolphin video to take home. If we are lucky you will see one on your cruise!
what if we have more than (6) people?
We also have occasions where people have more then the USCG limit of (6) people who want to get out on the water on their own boat not be with dozens of others on a excursion vessel. For this situation, one option is for the group to rent a boat from one of the many rental companies in the area and have Capt. Shawn be your Captain. Capt. Shawn holds a USCG Master 100 ton license. This allows him to Captain many types of vessels for up to (12) people or the allowable number for the vessel. Usually, for most local boating, the fee is $40/hr. Most local Captains hold a “six pack” license and are limited to (6) people no matter the size of the vessel, always check the documentation and insurance of any person claiming to be a “Captain”. Unfortunately, there are many “rental” and “charter” companies in the area not following the laws, not having insurance, and creating dangerous situations. Please contact us for more information.
Who can make reservations and charter the vessel?
We offer our charters to everyone but the reservations must be made by someone (25) or older and they must also be aboard for the charter.
how are cancellations handled?
The are two ways cancellations of charters are handled depending on if the reservations are with Sundancer Charters or through Boatsetter. If the cancellation is due to weather or something on our end, a full refund is processed. If the charter is cancelled prior to 72 hours, there is a full refund. If cancelled due to other reasons the $250 deposit is considered earned. We ask that before you place a reservation, you consider this is our company and we provide charters to many people from all over the world. If you have reserved a charter by the time the boat leaves for that charter, there are hours of preparation and money spend to provide the best charter we can offer. Also, if we have a charter scheduled that means we took that day off the schedule from the opportunity of other charters. Even if we do not leave that day for a cancelled charter, there is a financial loss to our company. This true for many things similar activities in our industry.