Let us help you with some standard answers

FAQ - Eco Tours and Sunset Trips

How can I book a boat tour

We recommend you book your tickets for any number of passengers up to a maximum of 12 per trip online via our Book Now button. That way, you will see the calendar and availability straight away and your spaces are guaranteed immediately.

I can't find availability – why

We run 3 trips a day during the season from 1st May to 30th November. Our online booking system will only show availability - if in your search for a specific date nothing comes up, we are either booked up or not running any trips due to poor weather forecasts. You can always call us for cancellation spaces +353 (0)87 7961 456 or email info@aquaventures.ie

What tours do you offer & how long will we be afloat

Our boat trips include whale & dolphin watching tours, marine eco / birdlife and seascape island and offshore tours, sunset trips to the Fastnet Lighthouse and boat charter for qualified diving clubs & groups or private charter for special occasions such as marriage proposals at sunset or family reunions, hen party or stag party outings.

Our tour duration is a minimum 2.5 hours in the mornings, 3.5 hours in the afternoon and 3 hours in the evening. Often, when we venture offshore for good sightings, these could be extended free of charge by 15 to 30 minutes. The full duration of the tour is spent on the water i.e. if you wish to visit one of the islands we recommend using the ferries - as a quick stop for a tea or coffee break would not, in our opinion, be sufficient to enjoy a proper tour of Cape Clear or Sherkin Island.

Minimum age & children's discount

We accept children and toddlers of any age and will provide lifejackets to all. Children under 17 must wear these, for anyone above this age group wearing one is voluntary and we have plenty of them on board. For your baby / toddler - bring a child's buggy, baby seat or carry-sling, there is plenty of space out on the deck area or inside the cabin.

Please note however young children under the age of 8 often find more than 2.5 hours on the water too long therefore our 10am trip is more suited to them. 

We are the only local whale & dolphin watching tour operator who give a discount for children / family / group bookings.

What will we likely see

Success rate of sightings - we have an 80-85% chance of seeing marine wildlife including seals, birds and dolphins with whales during during the summer to autumn trips. In spring we have the basking sharks feeding on krill and plankton and in the height of summer also the MolaMola or sunfish. 

Commentary / Guide - we often have not only the skipper giving a commentary and doing his best to spot marine wildlife for you but also a marine mammal ecologist.

Apart from marine wildlife including birds you will also have the opportunity to see the rugged coastline, lighthouses and beacons, signal towers, islands, castle ruins, sea arches and caves - all depending of course on the route.

How close can we get to animals

We operate a strict Code of Conducts of "respect and non-interference" with the animals. We do not chase and prefer / allow animals to approach us by switching off the engines when we accidentally get too close or cross their path. We keep a safe distance from the animals and other boats whenever and where ever possible. We do not feed or allow people to swim with animals during our tours.

What do we need to bring / wear
  • Your ticket / booking confirmation which can be the email or eTicket on your smart phone.
  • Camera or smart phone to capture video or images of your trip.
  • Refreshments - any snacks or food & drink you wish to consume during the boat trip. 
  • What to wear - warm comfortable clothing, wind/rainproof jacket, sensible outdoor footwear. On warm days bring a sunhat & sunglasses plus apply sun block as the combination of wind and sunshine can cause sunburn.
Can I pay on the day

If you don't wish to pay online with a credit card or Paypal then contact us - we can send you a Revolut link or online banking transfer account details. For those wishing to pay in cash you can turn up on the day BUT accept you are taking a chance on availability. In any case give us a call beforehand to double check 353 (0)877 961 456.

Cancellation (by you or us)

If you have to cancel your ticket(s) note the Terms of Booking - give a minimum of 48 hours notice and you will get either an alternate date for your tour or a full refund. Sometimes weather and sea conditions are unsuitable even in the summer months so we will always let you know at least 48 hours beforehand if we have to cancel a tour. Also, we need minimum numbers to run the boat and will keep you informed.

Where does the boat leave from & nearby parking

Our yellow boat - The Wave Chieftain - departs from the Baltimore harbour steps and all parking in Baltimore is currently free. We always return to Baltimore harbour at the end of the tour and the full tour duration is spent on the water.

  • Our Whale & Dolphin Watching Tours - for daytime tours (when the inner harbour is very busy with ferries and rhibs) we use the North Pier also known as the commercial pier close to the RoRo slip - nearest parking close to the old railway station - use Google Maps for direction / type in P81 WT28. 
  • For the Fastnet Sunset Tours - these always leave in the evening when we depart from the Ferry Pier or the Inner Harbour Steps, close to the Harbour Master's Office & Public Toilets/Playground area. Use Google Maps for directions / type in P81 WD92 for nearest parking.
Is there a toilet on board

Yes, the Wave Chieftain is fitted with a manual flush toilet and hand sanitizer although we recommend you use the land-based public facilities at the harbour master's office before boarding the Wave Chieftain.

Wheelchair access

Unfortunately Baltimore harbour and piers do not provide access to tour company boats with a wheelchair ramp. To board the boat, even from the pier steps, there is a step up and step down although the crew are there to help you safely get onboard. The only boats with wheelchair access ramp are the island ferries (Sherkin or Cape Clear).

Guide Dogs or Pets

We welcome anyone who travels with a guide dog. 

Other dogs/pets - subject to passengers not having any fears or objections but please bring a (canine) pet lifejacket and lead or basket (please ask in advance by calling +353 (0) 877 961 456).

FAQ - Dive Boat Charter

How do I make a reservation ..... ?

You can either send us an email or give us a call, giving as many details as possible and we will email/contact you. Alternatively you can send a text / SMS message.

What is the minimum qualification needed ... ?

We strongly recommend that you are (a) used to cold water diving, are (b) "dived up" and (c) have at least 25 dives logged before diving the Kowloon and 60 for the U260. In addition you need to have at least PADI Advanced Open Water with Deep Diver Specialty or BSAC Sport Diver for Kowloon Bridge and Dive Leader for U260.

Travelling from overseas - How do I book a ferry ... ?

There are a number of routes and ferry times, so please email us your route preference and dates/times and we'll help you with your crossings between Wales and Ireland. We can offer a discount on Stena Line ferry tickets which represent approximately 15% off their online prices. However these must be booked in advance, giving full details of vehicle(s) and driver/passengers. Payment terms apply.

Please email us know if you're interested in obtaining a quotation.

Accommodation - How many people in the B&B ... ?

The Stone House B&B has four rooms (with 3 double beds and 5 single beds) and therefore group size may depend on how many couples are included, but typically Room 1 is for a single or couple, Room 2 for a couple, Room 3 for either a couple, family or 2 people as a twin and Room 4 with 4 single beds can be a mixture. All rooms have their own bathroom & showers. This means it takes normally groups of up to 10 people with overflow reserved in a nearby B&B.

When is the best time to dive ... ?

Diving the Kowloon or U260 requires slack water, which changes every day, as well as favourable weather conditions. If a group has requested either or both of these sites on separate days then we will work out the dive schedule and evaluate conditions both in advance and again on the day before confirming suitability for all the group. Because of wind and tide we cannot guarantee any dive site and also have to bear in mind experience level of everyone on the boat. The skipper has the ultimate responsibility and authority to decide what dive site is suitable.

 

Can I pay in Euro or Sterling... ?

Yes, you can pay in either Sterling or Euros (accepted cards are Visa & Mastercard, Revolut or other debit cards, cash & Paypal). Please note however that bank transfers, credit/debit cards and Paypal transactions are in Euros only at our end, but you will see these converted on your statement/credit card bill using bank rates of exchange..

Is the cost of airfills extra... ?

This depends on your chosen package, if however you have selected a package including fills we assume you arrive with a full tank and go home empty, so over a weekend / 2 day trip this means the package includes 3 airfills based on single tanks 232 bar.

Can I buy air or nitrox fills only... ?

Yes, all divers are welcome, whether just for small purchases from the shop, air and nitrox fills or perhaps advise on where to dive independently, with your own boat, club or group of friends including shore diving options. We are open year round (but give us a call beforehand to ensure we're not in/on the water and that we have nitrox available) and fill to either 232 or 300 bar.

Is there a refund ... ?

If you have paid for a full day or multiple-day diving, then there is no refund if you drop out of 1 or more dives and Aquaventures reserves the right to use that space without reimbursement to you. Similarly, if you have made a reservation but not yet paid then any dives prebooked must be paid for regardless of whether you dived. We therefore recommend that you take out travel insurance to cover illness or other eventualities that result in you cancelling one or more dives. Further details are available on terms and conditions.

Do you offer a group discount ... ?

Yes, provided you pay for full boat charter (12 diving spaces). You get the cost of 1 person's diving cost refunded against airfills, rental or shop purchases when settling the final bill. There are other special offers available from time to time, check these out or email us your group details to see what we can offer.

Do you service or test equipment ... ?

Yes, we service most makes of regulators & BCDs. Normal turn-around time is up to 10 days provided service kits are in stock. Faster turn-around available in the off season. All equipment can be couriered back to you with next day delivery.

What dive insurance ... ?

There are many insurance companies that provide good insurance cover to include travel, dive equipment, medical expenses etc. In our opinion DAN Europe Ltd. has a great range for beginner level right up to instructor / professional cover.

Responsibility for the diver's max depth, air supply, duration of the dive, safety stops etc. is down to the individual and/or buddy pair. Aquaventures cannot accept liability for in-water activities but will always give a safety briefing and on-site dive briefing with depth, tides, likely visibility etc.

Guided dives ... ?

Unfortunately we do not provide dive guides or dive masters – therefore it is important that you have a dive buddy to team up with and all divers are responsible for their own safety.

Family activities ... ?

For non-diving family & friends there's a range of activities and places to visit in and around Baltimore. These include kayaking, snorkelling, whale & dolphin trips, angling, gardens to visit, castle, heritage centre, castle, beaches, walks, cycling including bicycle hire, island trips, quad-biking etc, Check it out or let us arrange something for you beforehand.

FAQ - General Tourist Information

Family activities ... ?

For non-diving family & friends there's a range of activities and places to visit in and around Baltimore. These include kayaking, snorkelling, whale & dolphin trips, angling, gardens to visit, castle, heritage centre, castle, beaches, walks, cycling including bicycle hire, island trips, quad-biking etc, Check it out or let us arrange something for you beforehand.

Restaurants nearby ... ?

Baltimore has a great choice of restaurants including gourmet dining, fish platters or steak and roasts, family restaurants with pizza & grill or the bars and pubs for lunch and evening meals. Most are within walking distance of the Aquaventures Dive Centre and The Stone House B&B. If you wish us to make a recommendation and/or reservation on your behalf, please give us a call.

Music entertainment in the evenings ... ?

Baltimore's traditional Irish music organiser for the renowned " Fiddle Fair" is Declan McCarthy. Every May he puts together a program of gigs, master-classes and well known bands playing in a number of locations over 4 days. In addition there is regular music in Casey's on Saturday evenings, and during the summer on Wednesdays in Casey's and at the weekend in the Síbín. The Glebe Gardens & Café regularly has music sessions and concerts in the open-air amphitheater as well as drama performances and The Waterfront Bar also hosts bands mostly at weekends during the summer months but year-round on Sunday evenings between 5 and 7pm. Across the water, the Jolly Roger on Sherkin Island attracts well known bands and musicians and sessions here often go on until the small hours of the night...... Check the Baltimore website for up to date information.