Swimming with Manatee Tours – Frequently Asked Questions
We love the West Indian Manatee and have learned to balance your desire to see the manatees with respect to the animal, the laws, and the local environment. We are the proud sponsors of the Manatee Fund under the guidance of the Friends of the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge. Please visit their web site and consider a donation to our local manatees. To learn more about our manatee tours and diving adventures, view our Frequently Asked Questions below.
What is the “best time” to go on a tour?
Early in the morning before King’s Bay gets crowded and during the colder periods between late fall (November & December) and winter (January thru March). Weekends tend to get crowded so weekdays tend to be the most opportune time.
What time do the tours operate?
Tours begin at 8:00 A.M. daily. Please arrive no later than 7:45 A.M.
Reservations are Required
How many people do you take out?
Our BRAND NEW boats accommodate 17 people and operate numerous tours daily.
What is the dive experience like?
In King’s Bay there is only one area where it is deep enough for scuba diving, and that is the King’s Springs. It is 75 feet in diameter, 28 feet deep in the basin and there is one cavern that reaches 50 feet. The cavern is a large, limestone rock composition and you cannot lose light as it penetrates through the two entrances. There is a large gathering of fish around the openings in the winter and a great collection of fossils in the cavern. Overall, a small dive-site and visibility in the basin can go from Crystal to 10 feet depending upon water conditions. This is a great dive for new divers and silhouette photography.
Rainbow River (in Dunnellon which is 20 miles from our location) is a beautiful location and offers a variety and abundance of freshwater gar, bass, brim and turtles. The bottom is sand, lime rock and ribbon grass.
What age is required for kids?
There are no real age limits, BUT parents remain with children at all times!
How cold is the water?
The water temperature in the spring-fed rivers ranges from 68 – 72 degrees. Average air temperature ranges from 40 – 50 degrees at night and 60-70 degrees in the day. Our boats are enclosed for comfortable sight seeing!
Where do you dive?
Crystal River diving takes place in King’s Bay which is approximately 2 miles in diameter or 600 acres which is home to the largest concentration of manatees in the world. THIS IS THE UNDERWATER, INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME IN CRYSTAL RIVER!
Are we safe swimming with the manatees?
Manatees are curious and playful when you are quiet and let them initiate interaction. We show a "manatee manners" video, before you dive, review a final manatee briefing, and get into the water to videotape and supervise your tour to ensure the best opportunity and manatee encounter for all.
Manatees are sensitive to movement and sound, so we do not allow diving into the water, as the bubbles will scare them away. You can not get underneath these surface dwellers, as it frightens them.
On tour we are in an average of 10 feet of water, and it is against the law to pursue the manatees in any way. So if they are sleeping or eating on the bottom, they should be left alone.
It is not difficult to snorkel and most people become comfortable with this diving method. We recommend you practice in our On-Site pool if you have an opportunity. This will allow you more comfort in the water.
Free manatee literature available upon request.
Got any more questions?
Call us at 352-795-5797 or Email at firstname.lastname@example.org