Boat Trip FAQs
We have compiled a list of the questions you may want to ask before your boat trip!
First things first, please check availability with us before booking your trip online! Once booked and confirmed, here's what you need to know.
1. What do we need to pack for our boat trip?
Change of clothes, hat, toiletries, swimwear, beach towel, sunscreen 30+, warm jacket for the evenings (seasonal) and cash for on board purchases such as soft drinks. We also recommend taking a large bottle of water with you to take on and off the boat onto the islands when you are exploring! Fresh water will be available on board.
2. What kind of bag should we pack in?
Large suitcases will not be permitted on the boat, so please pack your belongings in a small soft overnight bag. When you check-in with your tour operator, they will discuss further requirements as most boats require a zipless bag. Re-usable shopping bags are perfect or plastic bags. You can often purchase bags at check-in for a few dollars and some boats will actually give you the required bag.
3. Where can we store the rest of our luggage?
There are several places in town to store luggage for between $5-10 per person for the duration of your trip. Best and most convenient option is your check-in office or at your accommodation.
4. Can I snorkel or dive if I can't swim?
You do need to be able to swim a little to enter the water when on the boats trips. You don't have to be a strong swimmer, but your safety is of utmost importance to the crew who will only let guests in the water if they can swim. It is always at the final discretion of the skipper or dive master in charge to determine if your ability is enough to snorkel.
5. Where can we leave our car while on our sailing trip?
There are several paid car parks in Airlie Beach and at the Marina. Expect to pay $8-10 per 24 hours. You can also leave a car at X-Base Backpacker on the main street, for $12 for the duration of the trip. The parking at X-base hostel cannot be pre-booked and is on a first come, first serve basis, so arriving a bit earlier than the rest of the crowd can pay off!
6. What does BYO mean?
Bring Your Own Alcohol. Most boats in the Whitsundays are BYO, so this means you need to purchase your alcoholic drinks prior to your departure. Be sure to only buy cans or boxed wine, as glass as well as red wine is prohibited onboard.
7. Where do we board our boat? Do we need to arrive earlier than the boat departure time?
All charter boats depart from Abell Point Marina or Port of Airlie. Please see your ticket for check-in instructions. You are required to check in at a sailing office in town prior to departure and will need to call this sailing office directly to re-confirm 24-48 hours prior. Both marinas are in walking distance of the check-in offices in the Airlie Beach main street. For overnight boats that depart in the early morning, you will need to check in the day prior to travel by 5PM. For those travelling on a boat that departs in the afternoon, you are able to check in the morning prior to departure before 11AM. In some cases you can do a late check in if your flight is arriving a bit later than check in time--please let us know so that we can inform the boat company when we book in your tour!
8. When is the stinger season?
October to May, but you can still swim, snorkel and dive. Most boats offer a complimentary stinger suit, and those that do not will offer stinger suits for hire. While some types of jelly fish can be dangerous, they are not something you need to be too worried about. By taking precautions like wearing a stinger suit and being aware of your surroundings you still take part in all activities on your holidays!
9. Where do we fly into the Whitsundays?
You can fly into Proserpine/Whitsunday Coast Airport (PPP) and we can arrange a shuttle bus to meet you and bring you to your accommodation in Airlie Beach for $20pp one way or $35pp return (two ways). Alternatively you can fly into Hamilton Island and catch a ferry over to the mainland. The Cruise Whitsundays ferries (must be booked with them) are $50pp each way and these are easily sorted at desks next to luggage collection point. It does tend to be more convenient to fly inter Proserpine Airport as it is a short 40 minute shuttle from Airlie Beach and flight times coincide better with boat departure times. Hamilton Island ferry connection can take up to two hours, and is a bit more expensive.
10. Can I fly to the Whitsundays and catch the boat on the same day?
We highly recommend you arrive the evening before your boat trip in case of unexpected flight delays etc. Though it is possible (in some instances) to make the trip if you choose to fly in the same day, we strongly recommend arriving the day prior and having travel insurance in case anything should happen. Please note, the boat cannot wait for any passengers and must depart at the scheduled time. We can arrange accommodation for you.
11. If I catch a ferry from Hamilton Island in the morning, can I go on a 1 day trip?
Logistically, it is not really possible as all day trips depart from the mainland. The first ferry of each day departing Hamilton Island, arrives in Airlie Beach at 9:30am. With most day trips departing between 7:00am and 10:00am, this does not allow enough time. The final ferry from Port of Airlie Marina to Hamilton Island departs at 3:50pm and arrives at 4:45pm. The Cruise Whitsunday timetable is subject to changes, please click here to see the latest. There are a few day trips that do depart from Hamilton Island such as the boat that goes to Reefworld at the Great Barrier Reef and the CW Full Day Whitehaven trip.
12. Can the boat pick up/ drop off passengers at Hamilton Island?
No. All boats depart and return to Airlie Beach and cannot enter the Hamilton Island marina for any reasons.
13. Will my boat depart if it's raining?
Yes! All of the overnight sailing trips here will depart rain or shine, with the exception of dangerous conditions such as cyclones where the harbour master will order all boats to stand down. Weather conditions on land can differ greatly from weather conditions at sea, so don't be too worried if you see that there could be a few showers during your trip! If your boat does get cancelled due to weather prior to departure, you will be informed immediately and we will work with you to find the best solution!
14. Can children travel on any overnight boat?
No. Most overnight boats are strictly 18 and over. If you are looking to do a private charter, you are able to take children of any age on board. Please see the list below to determine if your child is able to travel on your preferred boat.
Anaconda III-All ages, children must be in private cabin with parents (configuration possibilities: triple share cabin for 3 people, quad share cabin for 4 people, multiple twin/double cabins)
Solway Lass-Children 3 years and older, children must be in private cabin with parents (configuration possibilities:quad share cabin for 4 people, multiple twin/double cabins)
Iceberg, On Ice, Blizzard-Children 10 years and older, Children must be in private cabin (configuration possibilities:private twin or double)
All maxi Sail boats (Boomerang, British Defender, Broomstick, Condor, Hammer, Siska) and Wings-15 and older if travelling with guardian over 18
Can enquire if your child is over 12 years of age (must stay in private cabin): Waltzing Matilda, Silent night, Summertime, Kiana.
Strictly 18+: Whitsunday Getaway, Whitsunday Bliss, Whitsunday Blue, Whitsunday Adventurer, Powerplay, Tongarra, Ride to Paradise, Pride of Airlie, Atlantic Clipper, New Horizon, Samurai, Habibi, SV Whitehaven, Apollo
Please advise us before booking if any passengers are under 18 years old to ensure your preferred boat would be the most appropriate trip for you!
15. What is your cancellation policy?
All cancellations made result in 25% cancellation fee of the recommended retail price (RRP), not discounted or sale prices. All cancellations made 60-30 days prior to travel will result in a 50% cancellation fee of the total price and any cancellations made inside of 30 days to departure will result in forfeit of full trip fees. If the sailing company has to cancel the trip (prior to the boat's departure) and we cannot offer a suitable alternative, then a refund will be given minus card fees. We strongly recommend that you have travel insurance, especially during the wet season. If you would like to read our entire terms and cancellation policy please click here.