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Frequently Asked Questions

Policies & Guidelines

Ripple Effect Ecotours Tickets/Policies:

  • I’ve booked an ecotour! Is there anything else that needs to be done prior to the tour?

Thanks for booking a tour with us! You’ll receive a confirmation email shortly after making a reservation. In that confirmation email will be your “Next Step” – completing our electronic waiver. As part of our commitment to sustainability, we now offer paperless electronic waivers that can be submitted from the comfort of your own home and right from a phone, tablet, or computer. Please complete this waiver prior to arrive to save time and get you on the water quicker.

  • Where is Ripple Effect Ecotours located?

Our headquarters is located at the Town of Marineland Marina – 101 Tolstoy Lane, St. Augustine, FL 32080. We are directly across from Marineland Dolphin Adventure on State Road A1A, 18 miles south of the Bridge of Lions in downtown St. Augustine, and 8 miles north of Palm Coast. Once you’ve made a reservation, check out your confirmation email for our “Get Directions” button, this will open up a map to take you right to our doorstep.

  • How early should I arrive to check-in before the trip?

Please arrive no later than 15 minutes before your scheduled launch time so that we can get you geared up and out on the water as soon as possible. We will only wait an additional 5 minutes after the scheduled departure time for any groups that may be running late. Please call ahead if you are having difficulties.

  • Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?

Reservations are required for all of our tours and rentals. As tickets sell out quickly, we highly recommend making your reservation as soon as you have a date in mind, well in advance.

  • How do I make a reservation?

You can make a reservation here on our website by clicking “Book A Tour Now“, select your tour and choose your date. We use a real-time reservation system that updates as groups book on. This means that a tour could be available one minute and full the next. As tickets sell out quickly, we highly recommend making your reservation as soon as you have a date in mind. You can also give us a call to book over the phone, or book a group or private event, at 904-347-1565. Once your reservation is complete, you’ll receive a confirmation email shortly after.

  • What happens if it rains?

We are constantly monitoring live weather radar to track any potential weather issues in the area. If we cancel the tour due to weather, you will receive a call from us as soon as possible to discuss rescheduling. Of course, we always encourage you to reschedule but can offer a full refund or rain check if you are unable to reschedule at that moment. We offer tours every day, so please consider another outing so that you don’t miss out on this amazing experience of the estuary!

  • Are children allowed to join a tour?

Yes! Depending on the tour, we allow children 6 years and above to join and must be accompanied by an adult.

  • What do I do if the trip I want is sold out?

Unfortunately, we do not offer a waiting list for our trips. We do maintain a strict 48 hour cancellation policy that could allow for openings, but this is rare. We recommend that you please choose another date and time for your preferred tour.

  • Do you guarantee that we see wildlife on a tour?

Please keep in mind that nature is wild and forever changing. We can only guarantee that all of our trips are in the most pristine and productive places in the area. There are plenty of opportunities to see much of the beauty that is natural Florida.

What we promise is the possibility of encountering Atlantic bottlenose dolphins, manatees, sea turtles, great blue heron, osprey, and many more species that make these wetlands their temporary or forever home. What we deliver is a great escape from the hustle-bustle of the Old City and the best natural experience you will have in St. Augustine!

  • What if I have to cancel?

As we limit the seats on our tours to ensure the best natural experience, we have to maintain a strict 48-hour cancellation policy in order for you to receive a full refund.

 

Kayak Ecotours:

  • Which tour is right for my group?

We currently are offering 2 kayak ecotour experiences – Kayak Marineland Tour and Kayak Marineland Sunset Tour. These both offer amazing experiences for an intimate look at the estuary. The Kayak Marineland Tour is our most popular tour and is engaging for both the young and young-at-heart. Our Kayak Marineland Sunset Tour is a more leisure paddle and provides great views of the sun setting over the estuary, plus a light show when the kayaks glow as the sun goes down.

Please keep in mind that we have a 40% chance for a passing shower every day during the summer from May through November. As a rule, these showers typically pass by 6 p.m., allowing for a cooler and prettier sunset tour.

  • Do I need to bring any kayaking equipment with me for my trip?

Your ticket covers all equipment you’ll need for kayaking! We’ll supply your kayak, paddle, lifejacket, and dry bag if needed. All of our equipment is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized before and after each use.

  • Can I bring my own kayak for my trip?

For our kayaking ecotours, we use Necky Looksha-T tandem kayaks. These are highly efficient 18-foot expedition kayaks equipped with a rudder steering system that allows us to cover the distance during the 2-2.5 hour tour. These kayaks don’t require coordination between partners as a traditional tandem would. We only allow our equipment to be used during tours, but it’s a unique and exciting experience for any beginner and advanced kayaker.

  • Can I request a single kayak for my tour?

As mentioned above, we use tandem kayaks for our tours. This has many benefits such as limiting our environmental impact on our precious estuary, reducing the number of boats we have on the water at one time, and provides a more safe and intimate experience on your guided tour. There are some times during a tour you may need to go single file through a narrow part of a creek, with more boats you would be further away from the guide and you won’t get the full experience.

  • What should I bring/wear on my ecotour?

As our experiences are all outdoor and water-based activities, we suggest that you wear clothing and shoes that you don’t mind potentially getting damp. You won’t be getting in the water, but you may get some water droplets on you from the paddle, small splashes, etc. Being on the water, there is always a possibility of winds and/or a slight drizzle of rain so we always recommend packing a light jacket.

If you have water shoes or strap-on sandals, those are highly recommended to wear. Footwear is required at all times during our tours.

Aside from yourself and weather appropriate attire, we always recommend bringing a hat, sunglasses, and water. If you would like to bring a camera or binoculars, those are optional.

We have drybags for you to use during your tour if you would like to keep any valuables dry when you’re out on the water, such as a phone, wallet, or keys.

  • Is there a weight limit for your kayaks?

We use the best equipment in the industry, but unfortunately even the best can have it’s limits. Our expedition kayaks can hold a combined weight of up to 475 pounds, or in other words, 475 pounds combined of both participants in the kayak. Please reach out if you have any concerns.

  • What if I’ve never been kayaking before? What can I expect?

All of our tours start out on land with detailed instruction of how to paddle, paddle efficiently, and remain safe while on your guided ecotour. Once you’re out on the water, our expert guides will show you the way through the mangrove tidal creeks and estuary system. You’ll learn about the conservation lands, wildlife, and so much more. We welcome all levels of kayaking experience on our tours!

 

Eco-Boat Tours:

  • What is an ‘Eco-Boat’?

Raising the bar for ethical and sustainable ecotourism, Ripple Effect Ecotours offers a spectacular outdoor experience in our new jet boat. Our Eco-Boat, the Ripple Effect One, is one of a kind! It is the only recycled vegetable oil-powered ecotour boat in Northeast Florida – making it a sustainable, renewable, and recycled fuel powered alternative that produces 50% fewer carbon emissions than standard fuels.

We also went the extra mile – the Ripple Effect One operates using a water-jet propulsion system. Meaning, there is no exposed propeller to harm marine mammals, other marine life, or sensitive marine habitats.

It’s an unforgettable environmental education experience and a boat tour adventure like no other. Appropriate for all ages. It is designed to take you and your family into areas that are not suitable for kayaking such as the Matanzas Inlet, which is the only natural inlet on the east coast of Florida. Boat tours are limited to six guests. There is plenty of room and comfortable seating for all. People with mobility concerns will find that this particular boat design offers a walk-in and walk-out door, making boarding effortless.

 

Have a question that hasn’t been answered here? Give us a call at 904-347-1565 or contact us here.

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