ARE THERE ALLIGATORS?
Yes, there are alligators on our trips. On average, you can expect to see anywhere from 15-50 alligators on a good day, depending on which trip you choose. They range anywhere from 6 inches long, to 14 feet long, with the majority being 3-7 feet long. Alligators are naturally reclusive animals that don't want anything to do with humans. They are very calm, docile animals for the most part, however, they are still wild animals. In almost 30 years of business, everyone has made it off the water. That includes us spending 400-500 man hours per year doing river maintenance. With any and all outdoor adventures, you should always weigh the risks and rewards for you and your family and make an informed decision.
If you get too close to an alligator on the bank or on a log, it may go in the water. This is because it wants to get away from you, not because it wants to hurt you. If you get close to an alligator that is already in the water, it may sink down in the water. Again, just to get away from you. Statistically speaking, you have a better chance at winning the lottery than having a negative encounter with an alligator. These amazing animals only enhance one of the best experiences you'll ever have on the water.
DO I HAVE TO WEAR A LIFE JACKET?
No, you are not required to wear a life jacket as long as you are a good swimmer and over the age of 6. However, the Coast Guard suggests that everyone should wear a life jacket. If you or someone in your party cannot swim, or are under the age of 6, they MUST wear a life jacket. Although you may not have to wear a life jacket, you are required to have one life jacket in the appropriate size for each person in the boat. These rules are in accordance to Coast Guard regulation.
DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO SWIM TO GO ON ANY OF YOUR CANOE ADVENTURES?
No, you do not need to be able to swim. However, if you cannot swim, you are required to wear a life jacket on the trip at all times, for your safety.
CAN I SWIM ON ANY OF YOUR TRIPS?
No, swimming is not allowed on any of our trips, nor is it allowed at any place Hillsborough County has not specifically designated for swimming. Our trips are geared toward bird watching and nature appreciation because of the abundance of wildlife that may be seen in this riverine swamp.
WILL I GET WET?
Hopefully not! The Hillsborough river is a very calm, slow moving river. It would be very unlikely that you get wet because of the river. The rain however, is a different story. We always encourage you to check the weather before you come so you can stay dry and have the best experience possible. If you decide not to come, please call to cancel your reservation. You may have some drips off the paddle blade itself, but that will dry up by the end of your trip. Since one person may have to get their feet wet at the end of the trip to pull the boat up, wear shoes you don't mind getting wet.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS BAD WEATHER?
We are in Florida and that comes with sudden storms out of seemingly nowhere. Please check the weather for our location before you come. If there is light wind or rain, you will be able to go out on the water, but not if there is heavy rain, thunder, or lightning within 20 minutes of your time to be launched. The staff reserves the right to cancel any trip if they believe the conditions to be unsafe. Our customer's safety is our number one priority above all else. Please notice that we judge the weather by our location, not necessarily yours. Oftentimes in Florida it rains on one side of the street and not the other. So if you are 10 minutes or more away from us, your weather may be completely different than ours.
CAN THE BOATS TIP OVER?
Yes, but it is hard to do as long as you follow our guidelines. If you do not stand up in the boat and you keep your head between the gunwales of the boat, our boats are very tough to tip. If you do tip, do not panic. The average water depth is 2-3 feet deep depending on the time of year. The best thing to do is try to stand up, gather your paddling equipment, walk your boat to the river bank, dump out as much water as you can, get back in the boat, and continue your trip.
IS FISHING ALLOWED?
Yes, fishing is allowed, but you must have a Florida freshwater fishing license. You can catch anything from large mouth bass, long nose and spotted gar, to armored catfish and bowfins. To get a Florida Freshwater Fishing License, click here.
IS GRATUITY INCLUDED?
No, gratuity is not included but it is permitted. We know you'll love the river, and our staff works very hard to make sure that you have the best experience possible. A nice gratuity shows them how much you appreciate their hard work and dedication to give you outstanding customer service.
WHAT IS YOUR REFUND POLICY?
Individual Reservations- You can call us or go online to cancel/reschedule your individual reservation, up until 30 minutes prior to your scheduled reservation time. We understand that life happens and sometimes things pop up. We try to be as flexible as we can with all of our customers to get them out on the river, within reason.
Group Reservations (8 or more boats)- Rescheduling/cancellation of group reservations must be done at least 48 hours prior to your reservation.
No-Shows- If you do not show up for your reservation and do not call to reschedule or cancel, no refund will be given. When a reservation is made, we set a boat aside to make sure that you have a boat upon arrival. This means that boat is taken out of our rentable inventory and we could be turning people away to hold your boat.
Weather- If we deem the weather to be unsafe for paddling, you may wait until it clears up, request a refund, or reschedule for another day. Please notice that we judge the weather by our location, not necessarily yours. Oftentimes in Florida it rains on one side of the street and not the other. So if you are 10 minutes or more away from us, your weather may be completely different than ours.. Florida has unique weather patterns that are tough predict, even for the local weatherman.
CAN I COME IF I'VE NEVER PADDLED BEFORED?
Yes, or course you can! Most of our customers are first time or novice paddlers. Click here, to go to the "First Time Paddler" page to learn more information.