FAQs

Here are some commonly asked questions about our adventures and rentals!

  • Chevron down What qualifications do your guides have to take people out on the water safely and provide accurate information?
  • Rising Tide Explorers is the only biologist owned and operated company in Southwest Florida. The majority of our guides have Master’s degrees in the Environmental Sciences or are in pursuit of one. At a minimum our guides are required to have a Master Naturalist Certification from the University of Florida Master Naturalist Program, CPR & First Aid Certification, and a certification as an American Canoe Association Kayaking Instructor. There are no certification or safety requirements to be a kayak tour guide in the state of Florida, so RTE ensures that our guides are qualified to give you the best and safest experience in the region.

  • Chevron down I've never kayaked before, is that okay?
  • Of course! Our guided kayak tours are great for experts and beginners alike. All of our guides are ACA Certified Kayaking Instructors that will give you brief instructing before cruising the calm, shallow backwaters of the estuary. It’s a great way to learn the sport!

  • Chevron down Is it common to give gratuity to my guide?
  • It is customary in the United States to give a gratuity to service staff who have done a great job, just as you would for your server at a restaurant. Our guides work very hard to give you the best experience possible! Typical gratuity ranges from 10% -20% based on your experience. It is not required, but greatly appreciated.

  • Chevron down Will we see dolphin and manatee? What kind of wildlife can I expect?
  • The areas we are going to explore are commonly used by dolphin, manatee, and lots of other wildlife. Every day is different in the estuary, so there is no telling what we might encounter on any given day. Manatee are more common during high tides in the summer months and we usually encounter them about 5-10% of the time during that time of year. Dolphin are more common and we often encounter them about 50% of the time. Low tides are the prime time to search for unique benthic creatures such as sea urchins, sea stars, giant marine snails, hermit crabs, tunicates, clams, and a plethora of other critters. You never know what you might find and it’s always an adventure in this extremely beautiful and unique natural area of Southwest Florida.

  • Chevron down What is the age limit?
  • We allow ages 3+ on our kayaking trips with children under 12 joining an adult in a tandem kayak. We usually recommend that children around 3 years old have strong communication skills so that they can fully enjoy the experience and communicate their comfort level effectively while on the water. We love helping kids discover the awesome wildlife in the estuary!

  • Chevron down Is there a weight limit?
  • Yes. A tandem kayak holds up to 500lbs and a single kayak holds up to 300lbs. We do have the option to convert a tandem kayak into a single kayak to accommodate larger paddlers if necessary. Please let us know in advance so we can accommodate.

  • Chevron down What is the cancellation policy?
  • All tours and rentals must be cancelled or changed up to 48 hours prior to the trip for a full refund. Cancellations and changes to trips made 24 hours prior to the reservation will receive a 50% refund or a voucher, and cancellations/changes within 24 hours will not receive a refund, but may ask for a voucher to use at another time.

  • Chevron down How far in advance should we make our reservations?
  • During high season, our tour book up very quickly. We usually recommend making your reservations a few says to a week in advance for high season and at least a say in advance during the summer months.

  • Chevron down Do you have single and double kayaks available?
  • Yes, we do! You have your choice of either for both kayak rentals and guided kayak tours.

  • Chevron down Do you cancel your tours for inclement weather?
  • Our guides work hard to ensure they check all weather and tide conditions prior to every tour and the guide will make the final call. During certain times of year in Southwest Florida rain can be sporadic and absolutely refreshing. Cancellations usually occur due to lightning or high winds for safety reasons and we are proactive on rescheduling if the conditions are less than optimal. We will still paddle if there is a little rain, but would be happy to help reschedule your trip if conditions are less than ideal.

  • Chevron down Can I bring my own kayak?
  • Yes. We welcome you to bring your own vessel and give a reduced tour price of $50/person if you do.

  • Chevron down What should I wear?
  • Hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen are highly recommended for exploring sunny Southwest Florida. Loose fitting, light weight outdoor clothing that will dry quickly is ideal for paddling, but any kind of clothing you would wear to the beach works well. Long sleeve and long pants are great for sun and bug protection.

  • Chevron down What kind of shoes should I wear?
  • Anything works, but here are some suggestions. The best thing to wear on your feet are any kind of water shoe. You can buy inexpensive water shoes at a local store like Walmart. If you do not have these then an old pair of sneaker work great too. If you don’t have these, many of our paddlers do fine wearing flip flops. We occasionally get out of our boats and explore shallow areas that are soft and sandy, but the more protection for your feet the better!

  • Chevron down Are the kayaks comfortable with good back support?
  • YES! All of our kayaks are new sit-on-top style kayaks with high back seats.

  • Chevron down Do people tip over often?
  • Capsizing happens only occasionally during our adventures, but not too often. Luckily the water is so shallow that we can usually just stand up and sit right back in the kayak! It is also quite refreshing. Our kayaks are very stable and provide an easy comfortable paddle.

  • Chevron down Will we see alligators? Is there anything I should worry about?
  • Alligators do not like salt water and it is very rare to see them in the areas we paddle. The most dangerous thing that we will encounter in the estuary is the sun, so as long as you have plenty of water to drink and sun protection, we will have a great adventure!

  • Chevron down What should I bring with me?
  • Always bring plenty of water to drink and sun protection.
  • Chevron down Can I bring my camera?
  • Yes. We have complimentary dry bags for you to use if you want to bring anything you want to make sure stays dry. We also take free photography for you during our guided kayak tour that we send to you for free after our adventure to download and share! So, unless you want to try some photography of your own, you can leave them in a safe dry place.

  • Chevron down Do I have to wear a life vest?
  • Yes. Florida law requires all paddlers to have a life vest in their vessel and we require all participants in our guided tours to wear their life vests at all times for safety reasons.

Still have questions?

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