HAWAII OCEAN PROJECT

Frequently Asked Questions

BOOKING A TRIP

How do i book a trip online?

Booking online is the fastest, and easiest option. If you book your excursion from here on the website, you will save 10% over the cost of booking at a kiosk or over the phone. To book online, use the booking button at the top of the page.

What is your phone number for reservations?

Our reservation line is (808) 667-6165.

Is there a place I can book directly with you in person?

We are located near the lighthouse at the north end of the Lahaina Harbor.

Lahaina Harbor
Loading Dock Main Booth
675 Wharf Street
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

Visit our store located on Front Street across from the Banyan Tree.

Ocean Café
626 Front Street
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

Do you have any other trip-booking questions that weren’t answered here?

Please don’t hesitate to call our toll-free line: (877) 500-6284

WHERE TO FIND US

Where are you located?

We are located near the lighthouse at the north end of the Lahaina Harbor.

Lahaina Harbor
Loading Dock Main Booth
675 Wharf Street
Lahaina, Hawaii 96761

What is your toll-free telephone number?
What are your hours of operation?

Monday — Sunday
7:00 AM to 7:00 PM (HST)

WHAT TO BRING

What should I bring on a snorkel tour?
Towel

Sunglasses

Sunblock (Although we offer complimentary reef-friendly sunscreen available on-board)

Cover-up

Hat

Underwater Camera (If you own one. If not, we have underwater cameras for sale)

Cash for Souvenirs or Tipping

Seasickness Medication (If needed)

What should I bring on a dinner cruise?
Light Jacket or Sweater

Cash for Tipping

Seasickness Medication (If needed)

What should I bring on a whale watch?
Light Jacket or Sweater

Camera. The bigger the lens, the better!

Binoculars (If you brought a pair. If not, we have complimentary pairs available to use)

Cash for Tipping

Seasickness Medication (If needed)

SNORKEL Q&A

How many people can the boats hold?

Although all of our vessels are Coast Guard certified to be able to hold more passengers, we limit the number of guests that can join us for each activity in order to maintain the best experience and comfort for our guests.

Kaulana -145 maximum capacity, however, we do not go out with more than 100 passengers; often less.

Lahaina Princess – 99 maximum capacity, however, we do not go out with more than 80 passengers; often less.

Are there restrooms on-board?

Restrooms can be found on all of our boats.

What should I bring?

If you are on our morning snorkel tours, we recommend bringing towels, sunscreen, a camera, cover-ups, and your swimwear, and any medications you may need. Wearing your swimwear, underneath your clothing, is the easiest.

Are pregnant women allowed?

We welcome pregnant women on-board, as long as they are comfortable. For pregnant women, our vessels are the best, as they provide the smoothest sailing experience. We do, however, always recommend consulting your Doctor beforehand to ensure they approve.

Are children allowed?

Yes, children are welcome on all of our tours.

Do we have to bring our own snorkel gear?

No, we provide snorkel gear on all of our snorkel tours. If you would like to bring your own snorkel gear, please feel free to do so.

Do you provide prescription masks on board?

Yes, we do. Please inform the Captain or crew if you need prescription masks, as you board the vessel.

What’s the temperature of the water?

The average water temperature ranges from 75 to 80 degrees, depending on the time of year.

Do we need wetsuits or rashguards?

You don’t need one, however, if you do get cold, we have wetsuits available to rent for $15.

What happens if the weather is bad?

Our Captains thoroughly check the weather for each tour-if they determine the weather to be too bad to go out in, and need to cancel the tour, we try to contact you as soon as possible, and can offer a full refund, or, the option to reschedule. It’s important to leave a good contact number or e-mail, so we can get a hold of you if we need to.

What happens if it is raining all day?

Our captains check the weather for each tour, and determine the trip based on their reports. We often have localized passing showers, so it may seem like poor weather where you are, but won’t actually affect our trip in any way. Trust your Captain!

What is the cancellation/change policy for your tours?

You may cancel or change your reservation as long as you do it 24 hours before the time of your tour.

Is there parking at the harbor?

Yes. There is parking, across from the harbor, at the corner of Prison St. and Front St.

Can I bring a camera?

You may bring a camera on-board, but please keep in mind that by doing so, you are doing it at your own risk.

Can we smoke on the boat?

No, smoking is not allowed on any of our vessels.

Will I get seasick?

Each person is different, and we cannot predict if you will become seasick, or, not. Chances of getting seasick are higher if you are prone to motion sickness such as car sickness or air sickness. When in doubt, take preventative measures!

What can I do to prevent seasickness?

Take a seasickness preventative beforehand. While on the boat, make sure to have access to fresh air, and make sure you can see the horizon at all times. Also, avoid the lower-deck area and restrooms, if you are feeling ill. Please inform our Captain and crew if you are feeling ill.

Do you sell seasickness preventatives?

Yes, we do. We sell Anchor Bars for $5 at the check-in booth at the harbor. Anchor Bars are a more natural (whey crisps, whey protein isolate, blueberries, fiber syrup, almond butter, brown rice syrup, vegetable glycerin, vanilla extract, sea salt, and ginger) form of nausea relief. It works in 15-30 minutes, and lasts for 3-4 hours. We’ve had rave reviews about their effectiveness.

Do you sell seasickness preventatives on-board?

We do not sell Anchor Bars on-board, so if you are concerned about seasickness, please bring your own medication, or, buy an Anchor Bar before you hop on-board.

What’s the best seasickness preventative?

There is no proven preventative to be better than the other, but our captains recommend taking Bonine or Dramamine. Ask your doctor what is best for you.

Do you offer vegetarian/vegan/gluten free options?

Yes.

What are the age limits for children on each tour?

Children, of all ages, are welcome on-board.

What’s the weather like in the winter?

At times it can be rough, with strong winds, rain and large surf. At other times, during our winter season, we have wonderful weather, with little to no surf, calm winds, and beautiful sunshine. Each year is different, and conditions change frequently throughout our winter months. Our captains do a great job monitoring the weather, so each trip will be comfortable and fun.

When is your winter season?

Mid-November through mid-March, approximately.

Do you run snorkel tours every day/are you open every day?

For our snorkel trips, we run Lanai on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The only day we are closed for our dinner cruise is Halloween – October 31st.

Are we guaranteed to see dolphins?

No, as they are wild animals, we cannot guarantee this.

When are dolphins most common/best tour to see dolphins?

We, usually, see dolphins in the morning on our Lanai snorkel tour.

Can we swim with the dolphins?

No.

Will we see turtles?

We, usually, see turtles throughout the day, especially when we stop at our second snorkeling location, but we cannot guarantee them.

Can we swim with the turtles?

Yes, if we are at a designated snorkeling destination. However, please be mindful of your distance, as they are federally protected, and it is illegal to touch them.

What kind of sea life do we see?

Sea turtles, flying fish, spinner /bottlenose dolphins, humpback whales ( in season), tropical sea birds, and tropical fish.

Do we need to bring cash on board for anything?

Yes, if you would like to rent a wetsuit, camera, or leave gratuity for the crew.

Do we need to bring our own towels?

Yes.

Can we bring a bag on-board?

Yes.

Will I get service with my phone?

Typically, you will still have cellphone service for the duration of your trip, however, it does depend upon your cellphone provider.

Can I bring food/snacks on-board?

You may bring any type of food or nonalcoholic drinks on-board.

Can we bring alcoholic beverages on-board?

We do not allow passengers to bring alcohol on-board.

Will there be shade on-board?

There is a large covered cabin area, with plenty of shade, on the lower-deck of all of our vessels.

Do I need sunscreen? Can I bring spray sunscreen?

It is highly recommended to wear sunscreen on all of our tours. We have complimentary reef-friendly sunscreen available on-board, and prefer it to be used over the spray sunscreen. Reef-friendly cream sunscreens are encouraged on-board, and if you are snorkeling on your own.

We are celebrating a birthday/special occasion- can I bring cake/cupcakes on board?

If you are having a celebration, please let our office staff know. Although you may bring cupcakes or cake (the shorter the better, because of wind), our resources are limited, and we do not have candles available on-board.

Do your trips go to the island of Lanai?

Yes, we snorkel off the coast of Lanai, usually, near Sweetheart Rock, however, we do not step foot on Lanai.

Does your company do pick-ups/drop-offs/shuttle service?

No, we do not offer transportation. However, there are many alternative methods of transportation, including asking if your hotel has a shuttle that goes to Lahaina harbor, the bus that will drop you off at Wharf Cinema (across from the harbor), and Uber/Lyft.

Are there snacks before dinner?

A bread basket and garden salad will be served prior to your entree.

How long does it take to get to your harbor from South Maui?

At least 1.5 hours, but give yourself two hours for any boats that depart after 12:00 PM.

West side?

Half an hour.

Do we stop at a beach on the tour?

We do not stop at any beaches on our boat tours.

I’m not an experienced snorkeler/swimmer- do you provide instructions/assistance in water?

We do provide instruction on how to snorkel and use the snorkel gear. We also provide snorkel vests which aid in flotation, and there is always one of our crew members in the water with you at all times.

I can’t swim - can I still go?

Yes, you can still enjoy our tours even if you don’t know how to swim.

I can’t swim – can I snorkel?

If you are comfortable in water over your head with a flotation device, we may be able to get you into the water. The decision will be at the captain’s discretion.

Are you able to accommodate wheelchairs and wheelchair passengers on board?

As long as your wheelchair can be folded up/not electric, our crew will do their best to accommodate wheelchair passengers by assisting with boarding and finding seating. Depending our your mobility, seating may be limited to the lower-deck, as all of our boats require using stairs to get to the top-deck. We ask that passengers, with reduced mobility, remain seated while the boat is under-way. Please be aware that restrooms are located on a lower-deck at the bottom of a ladder. If you have any questions, please contact our office to inquire further.

I use a cane/crutches. Am I allowed to bring and use on board?

A cane or crutches can be used to assist in boarding the vessel, however once on board they cannot be used and must be stored safely. There are railings and handholds throughout the vessel. Our crew members are able to assist as well.

Are there life vests on board? Child size life vests?

All of our vessels are equipped with adult and child size life vests.

Do we have to wear life vests?

The state of Hawaii does not require you to wear life vests, but if you would like to, you may.

Are there viewing boards on board?

(Boogie boards with viewfinders?) Yes.

When do you take payment?

We take payment at the time of booking.

WHALE WATCH Q&A

When is whale watching season on Maui?

Unofficially, whale watching season runs from December 1 – April 30. But you may also see the whales before and after those dates. In 2017, for example, the whales arrived in late October, and we started up our whale watch cruises on November 6th. This year they arrived in mid-November.

When do you take payment?

We take payment at the time of booking.

Are whale sightings guaranteed?

Although we cannot guarantee whale sightings, our captains will give out “sleeping whale passes” to all of our guests that are on a rare whale watch that does not see any whales. Our sleeping whale passes allow you to go again for free.

Are children allowed?

Yes, children are welcome on all our tours.

What are the age limits for children on each tour?

Children, of all ages, are welcome on-board.

Are pregnant women allowed?

We welcome pregnant women on-board, as long as they are comfortable. For pregnant women, our vessels are the best, as they provide the smoothest sailing experience. We do, however, always recommend to consult your Doctor beforehand to ensure they approve.

What should I bring?

If you are on the whale watching tours, please bring sun protection, your camera, and any medications you may need.

What is the cancellation/change policy for your tours?

You may cancel or change your reservation as long as you do it 24 hours before the time of your tour.

How many people can the boats hold?

Although all of our vessels are Coast Guard certified to be able to hold more passengers, we limit the number of guests that can join us for each activity in order to maintain the best experience and comfort for our guests.

Kaulana -145 maximum capacity, however, we do not go out with more than 100 passengers; often less.

Lahaina Princess – 99 maximum capacity, however, we do not go out with more than 80 passengers; often less.

Maui Princess – We do not go out with more than 149 passengers.

What happens if the weather is bad?

Our Captains thoroughly check the weather for each tour-if they determine the weather to be too bad to go out in and need to cancel the tour, we try to contact you as soon as possible, and can offer a full refund or the option to reschedule. It’s important to leave a good contact number or email so we can get a hold of you if we need to.

What happens if it is raining all day?

Our captains check the weather for each tour, and determine the trip based on their reports. We often have localized passing showers, so it may seem like poor weather where you are, but won’t actually affect our trip in any way. Trust your Captain!

Is there parking at the harbor?

Yes. There is parking, across from the harbor, at the corner of Prison St. and Front St.

Can I bring a camera?

You may bring a camera on board, but please keep in mind that by doing so, you are doing it at your own risk.

Can we smoke on the boat?

No, smoking is not allowed on any of our vessels.

Will I get seasick?

Each person is different, and we cannot predict if you will become seasick or not. Chances of getting seasick are higher if you are prone to motion sickness such as car sickness or air sickness. When in doubt, take preventative measures!

What can I do to prevent seasickness?

Take a seasickness preventative beforehand. While on the boat, make sure to have access to fresh air, and make sure you can see the horizon at all times. Also avoid the lower deck area and restrooms if you are feeling ill. Please inform our Captain and crew if you are feeling ill.

Do you sell seasickness preventatives?

Yes, we do. We sell Anchor Bars for $5 at the check-in booth at the harbor. Anchor Bars are a more natural (whey crisps, whey protein isolate, blueberries, fiber syrup, almond butter, brown rice syrup, vegetable glycerin, vanilla extract, sea salt, and ginger) form of nausea relief. It works in 15-30 minutes, and lasts for 3-4 hours. We’ve had rave reviews about their effectiveness.

Do you sell seasickness preventatives on-board?

We do not sell Anchor Bars on-board, so if you are concerned about seasickness, please bring your medication, or, buy an Anchor Bar before you hop on-board.

What’s the best seasickness preventative?

There is no proven preventative to be better than the other, but our captains recommend taking Bonine or Dramamine. Ask your doctor what is best for you.

Will I get service with my phone?

Typically, you will still have cellphone service for the duration of your trip, however, it does depend upon your cellphone provider.

Can I bring food/snacks on-board?

You may bring any type of food or nonalcoholic drinks on-board.

Can we bring alcoholic beverages on-board?

We do not allow passengers to bring alcohol on-board.

Will there be shade on board?

There is a large covered cabin area, with plenty of shade, on the lower deck of all of our vessels.

We are celebrating a birthday/special occasion- can I bring cake/cupcakes on board?

If you are having a celebration, please let our office staff know. Although you may bring cupcakes or cake (the shorter the better, because of wind), our resources are limited, and we do not have candles available on-board.

Does your company do pick-ups/drop-offs/shuttle service?

No, we do not offer transportation. However, there are many alternative methods of transportation, including asking if your hotel has a shuttle that goes to Lahaina harbor, the bus that will drop you off at Wharf Cinema (across from the harbor), and Uber/Lyft.

How long does it take to get to your harbor from South Maui?

At least 1.5 hours, but give yourself two hours for any boats that depart after 12:00 PM.

West side?

Half an hour.

Are you able to accommodate wheelchairs and wheelchair passengers on board?

As long as your wheelchair can be folded up/not electric, our crew will do their best to accommodate wheelchair passengers by assisting with boarding and finding seating. Depending our your mobility, seating may be limited to the lower-deck, as all of our boats require using stairs to get to the top-deck.  We ask that passengers, with reduced mobility, remain seated while the boat is under-way. Please be aware that restrooms are located on a lower-deck at the bottom of a ladder. If you have any questions, please contact our office to inquire further.

I use a cane/crutches. Am I allowed to bring and use on board?

A cane or crutches can be used to assist in boarding the vessel, however once on board they cannot be used and must be stored safely. There are railings and handholds throughout the vessel. Our crew members are able to assist as well.

Are there life vests on board? Child size life vests?

All of our vessels are equipped with adult and child size life vests.

Do we have to wear life vests?

The state of Hawaii does not require you to wear life vests, but if you would like to, you may.

Is there a Hawaiian name for humpback whales?

Yes, the Hawaiian name is kohola. The scientific name for the humpback whale is megaptera novaeangliae, in case you were wondering.

What types of whales come through Hawaii?

North Pacific Humpback Whales

What do they look like?

They are primarily grey, with some areas of white. Oh, and they’re big. Huge, in fact. The North Pacific Humpbacks are the fifth largest whale species on the planet and can grow to 60-feet long and weigh between 25 – 40 tons.

Why do they come to Hawaii?

They come to mate, give birth and nurture their calves. Hawaii is the only state in the country where they will mate. It’s believed the humpbacks are drawn to Hawaii for its warm waters, underwater visibility, varying ocean depths and lack of natural predators.

How large are the humpbacks when they are born?

Females are pregnant for roughly 11-12 months before they give birth. The calves are 10-to-12 feet when they are born and usually weight between 1 and 1.5 tons. The calves live off their mother’s milk for about six months, drinking up to 100 pounds of milk per day.

Do they arrive in any particular order?

They do! Normally the first to arrive are the mother whales who are nursing their calves. Next up is the juveniles, then the adult males, followed by adult females. The last to arrive are the pregnant females. The pregnant whales bring up the rear because they feed and nourish themselves until the very last minute up in Alaska.

Once they get to Hawaii, where do they go?

They basically go to two different areas. A four-island cluster comprised of Maui, Molokai, Lanai and Kahoolawe make up the first area. The other area, called the Penguin Band, is a section of shallow water about 25 miles southwest of Molokai. That said, whales have been spotted by residents and visitors on the Big Island, Oahu and Kauai in recent years.

How many whales are there?

In 1993, there were an estimated 6,000 humpback whales in the North Pacific Ocean. Of those, about 4,000 came through Hawai’i. Since the signing of the Endangered Species Act and the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which banned commercial whaling, that number has increased. Scientists estimate there are now roughly 23,000 humpback whales, with about 12,000 – 14,000 of those coming through Hawai’i each year.

How long do Northern Pacific Humpback Whales live?

They live about 50 years, but there have been accounts of some living much longer.

What do they eat?

They survive mainly on small fish, plankton and tiny crustaceans. What’s interesting is they never eat in Hawai’i’s waters. They spend all summer eating in Alaska, then store up the food as blubber, which they then use to fuel their winter trips to Hawaii.

How long can the whales stay underwater?

While adults can stay underwater for up to 45 minutes, they tend to come up for air every 10-15 minutes. The calves come up about every 5 minutes.

Why do the humpback whales "sing"?

Humpback whale songs are known for the complexity of beauty. The songs were first recorded in the 1950s by researchers on Oahu using hydrophones developed by the Navy. It’s believed the humpbacks sing to attract females for mating purposes, yet the males sing during non-mating seasons, as well, putting that theory into question. Other theories say whales sing to communicate with one another, to protect their territory, and/or they use it as a type of biosonar.

Why do they jump out of the water?

Commonly called breaching, a study published in January, 2017 showed that humpbacks are more likely to breach when they are far apart (2.5 miles or more,) while tail or fin slapping occurs more frequently when they are together. This suggests that the humpbacks breach for long-range communication versus simply water slaps when they are near other whales.

Hawaii Ocean Project

TRY ONE OF OUR COMBOS!

Connect With Us #HawaiiOceanProject

This message is only visible to admins

There is no connected account for this username