Frequently Asked Questions

Are Tips Included

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.

What is your cancellation policy?

We require 7 days notice to cancel or change reservations.  Book with confidence – We offer optional Trip Protection that will allow changes or refunds up until the afternoon preceding a tour.

Why choose Crystal River Watersports?

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. Our in-water guides are trained SCUBA PROFESSIONALS and we adhere to the Save the Manatee Club Guardian Guide principals.  Crystal River Watersports is the ONLY tour company with that combination of SAFETY and ECO FRIENDLY.

Am I guaranteed to see a manatee?

Manatees are currently listed as threatened 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.)

Can I interact with the manatees?

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.

When is the best time to see manatees?

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 Sighting Quick Guide

Cold = More Manatees
Weekday = Fewer people on the water
Mornings = Manatees more active

What else will I see on the tour?

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.

Is there a parking fee at your location?

No. Parking is free if you have booked a tour with us, and 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.

Are there bathrooms on the boats?

All 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.

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

Snorkeling gear is provided.  We have a full line of wetsuits to fit 4 year olds to adult sizes (up to 350lbs). We also have masks, snorkels and personal flotation vests. Snorkel and scuba rentals are also available for those using private boats or enjoying the local springs.

What are the qualifications of your captains?

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

What kind of boats are they?

Four of our pontoon boats hold six passengers each, one of which is a house boat.  We have a Carolina Skiff that can hold 10 guests.  We primarily use it for larger families and groups.

What time are the manatee tours?

The Crystal River Manatee morning tour meets at 7:00am, leaving around 7:30am and returning around 10:30am. The second tour meets at 11:00am leaving around 11:30am, and returning around 2:30pm. NOTE: Special times can be arranged for Private Tours. Call for details.

Where do you meet for the manatee tours?

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.

Do I need a reservation

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

Is my credit card charged at the time of the reservation?

Yes, we charge at the time of reservation.  Any reservation may be modified or cancelled with 7 days notice.  Optional Trip Protection may be purchased that will allow changes up until 2:30 pm Eastern the day before a trip.

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