Over the years we have found that we get asked many of the same questions time and time again. Particularly with the most common-place types of tours and charters such as Deep Sea Fishing, Whale Watching and short cruises. Many questions relate to how and when to make payments, or what happens with regards to refunds etc. To assist our potential customers, we have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions ( FAQ’s ) here for your reference. Of course, if you have a more specific question, or one not found in this list,  please contact us and we will be more than happy to assist!

Bookings and Reservations

The payment of a deposit, or indeed the full fare, constitutes a confirmed booking and the full acceptance of all related terms and conditions. Once paid, any cancellation, in the case of individuals,including Gift Certificate Bookings, must be advised a minimum of 3 full days (72 hours) ahead of your scheduled tour to be eligible for a full refund. If advising within the 72 hours you will be charged either the full fare or the 20% deposit, depending on whether or not the individuals place has been able to be filled by the departure time. There are no refunds for cancellations within 24 hours of your tour, or if you decide not to show up, regardless of the reason(s) given for such.

In the case of groups and for any 18 hour (overnight) fishing charter bookings, a cancellation must be advised a minimum of 7 days (168 hours) ahead of your scheduled tour to be eligible for a full refund. If advising within the 7 days you will be charged either the full fare or the 20% deposit, depending on whether or not the groups place has been able to be filled by the departure time. There are no refunds for cancellations within 72 hours of your tour in the case of groups, or if one or more decide not to show up, regardless of the reason(s) given for such.

Gift-vouchers are considered to have been redeemed in full should the applicable notice not be provided.

Same day bookings are always non-refundable. If cash payment on day of service is the chosen method of payment a credit card number must be provided to secure such a booking. Sunshine Coast Afloat reserves the right to charge the full fee to the credit card supplied as a pre-authorisation to ensure the information provided is valid and correct. Such amount will only be deducted from the card in the case of non-payment, regardless of the reasons for such.

Credit card fees (aka Credit card surcharge) are a bank fee, not a fee by Sunshine Coast Afloat. As such this component is not refunded under any circumstance. Credit Card fees are calculated at 1.5% of the amount paid.

Most of Sunshine Coast Afloat’s activities operate in an outdoor / offshore marine environment. As such trips may change or be cancelled due to weather conditions.Sunshine Coast Afloat reserves the right to cancel services due to inclement weather (generally defined as heavy precipitation creating visibility issues, extreme wind and extreme swell conditions, determined as dangerous by Sunshine Coast Afloat). Such determination is not subject to passenger input. In the event this occurs rescheduling to an alternative date will be organised for a convenient time.

All bookings for rides which are considered able to proceed (including all types of gift certificates) are non-refundable.

For more details information on our refund and cancellation policy please see our Terms & Conditions.

Yes. Bookings are required for guaranteed spots on all activities. Minimum passengers numbers are required for all activities, and bookings allow us to know exactly how many passengers are aboard. This in turn helps us determine the number of crew needed to ensure that our groups remain manageable and enjoyable, and they allow us to notify you of changes to the tour due to weather or anything else that could affect the tours.

Yes. Reservations are required for guaranteed spots on all tours. Reservations help us determine the number of guides we need to ensure that our groups remain manageable and enjoyable, and they allow us to notify you of changes to the tour due to weather or anything that could disturb the tours.

All activities are subject to 2 things.

Suitable Weather Conditions & Sufficient Passenger Numbers.


Obviously nobody wants to head out on the ocean, rivers or canals if the weather conditions are not suitable to do so. We would all love to be able to predict the weather well ahead of time, but reality dictates that we have to wait until 24 hours before departure to be anywhere near confident of the forecasts (and even than on the odd occasion the BOM will still get it wrong!). Rain is generally not a reason for cancellation. There are 2 key factors we need to consider. Wind and swell. Depending on how these 2 factors are impacting together will determine if we are able to head out or not on the day. Of course the type of activity you have booked makes a massive difference to this. Some activities are actually more fun in poor conditions!


As anyone can imagine, we do need a certain number of passengers to make it viable for us to head out on a given day. This will vary from activity to activity. Exact numbers can be found in our Terms & Conditions for each activity. We do at times head out with slightly less, but this all hinges on the conditions, trip type and other cost factors in play at the time.

Weekends are seldom lacking in passenger numbers. Unfortunately mid week trips, especially outside school holidays are much less regular. At this point in time the Sunshine Coast is still very much a weekend and holiday period destination. The volume of people drops off dramatically outside of those periods, which impacts the mid week charters. Please keep this in mind when looking at departure dates. As a rule we also find that the months of February (Due to weather) through to May are by far the quietest. Of course the Easter Holidays which fall in this period are normally very busy for the duration of the school holidays. June through to January is the key period for all activities offered by Sunshine Coast Afloat.

In the event of your activity being cancelled prior to departure, you can either choose to go on an alternative future date, exchange the amount for a gift voucher, or request the amount paid to be refunded should either of the other 2 options not be suitable/possible.

There can of course also be other unforeseen impacts. Regardless of any impact we will always do our utmost to get our guests out on the water if at all possible, provided it is indeed safe and comfortable to do so.


As with all gift voucher bookings, it is at the sole discretion of the company to determine an alternative date if the gift voucher is not valid after the date of the booked trip. Such date will always be within 30 days of the expiry of the voucher.

Sunshine Coast Afloat has a very strict procedure that is followed with every booking, regardless of how is is generated – Be it by agent, online, phone or in person.

1. We create a customer record for each actual booking (not for enquiries). This will have your contact details including email address, as well as method of payment etc noted on it.

2. This system subsequently ensures that you will always receive a confirmation email, which will give you the full details of the trip you have booked including departure time, date, directions, amounts paid / due and other relevant information relating to your charter.

3. We will always contact you the evening (usually between 4PM and 6PM) prior to the trip to advise that the charter is indeed proceeding, or that the trip needs to be rescheduled. This is why we always request a contact phone number (ideally a mobile) to ensure we can indeed contact you. This contact is normally via an SMS to the mobile phone number you have provided, and it will give you not only the confirmation of the trip but also directions and times again. Should the tour be cancelled, we will phone you personally to enable us to work with you to find the best solution in such cases.

Fishing Charter Specific Questions

No, we are not able to always offer the Spanner Crabbing as part of the tour. Certain restrictions apply.

For example, each year the Spanner Crabbing has a closure period. Generally this closure starts on the early November, and finishes mid to late December. The exact dates vary from year to year. Nobody can do any Spanner Crabbing during that time.

We also do not offer spanner crabbing on our 9 hour, 11 hour, 12 hour, 18 hour overnight and Sunset charters. Any length of charter is actually very long for Spanner traps to be down, but any longer than 5 hours and its simply not worthwhile.

Hauling spanner traps after sunset takes too long and impacts too much on the overall charter experience to make it a worthwhile component as well.

Finally, there are times when a group books the entire boat to themselves for a fishing charter. In such cases they can make the decision to not do any Spanner Crabbing if they so wish.

For more information on the Spanner Crabbing closure, and Spanner Crabbing in general, visit Fisheries Queensland on: https://www.daf.qld.gov.au/our-organisation/news-and-updates/fisheries/news/changes-to-spanner-crab-closures


Although this is a rather complex question and will vary depending on the geographical location, time of year and even moon phase (all of which are often near impossible to combine to an actual workable date and time for most people), An hour before and after both high tide and low tide are generally considered primary fishing periods. Furthermore, you will usually also find great fishing shortly after the sunrise and the sunset.

Falling tide: A falling tide occurs when a tide changes from high tide to low tide and is the best time of the day to fish. Generally the best time to take advantage of a falling tide is two hours before actual low tide.

Rising tide: A rising tide occurs when the tide is changing from low to high tide. Although it is generally considered slightly less favorable to fish in a rising tide as compared to fishing in a falling tide, thanks to the movement of the water and the feeding activity of the game fish fishing is almost always still substantially better than at many other times. As with a falling tide, try to time your rising tide fishing about two hours before full high tide to make the most of fishing in a rising tide.

There are 2 different types of free rod and reels we offer our guests. Each suited to a particular activity.

Deep Sea Fishing: We offer a free rod and reel combo to the organiser of a group consisting of 7 or more people. Social clubs, Bucks parties, Birthday parties etc. are the sort of groups this is ideal for. The manner in which the rod and reel is used on the day is at the sole discretion of the organiser. Be it for the main person the celebration is for, or perhaps offered as a prize or incentive on the day. The rod and reel are presented to the organiser at the conclusion of the charter. This particular combo is subject to change from time to time depending on stock availability from suppliers at the time of ordering.

Kayak Fishing: Any person booking a guided kayak fishing tour with us is provided with a brand new kayak fishing specific rod and reel combo at the start of the tour. This is the tackle they will use during the tour. They are then able to take that same rod and reel with them at the end of the tour.

Please note that due to costs we cannot offer either of these to people making a booking via a 3rd party such as a booking agent. This is only possible if booking direct with Sunshine Coast Afloat.

Absolutely not. Our highly skilled and experienced crew are more than happy and able to give you all the help and hints you need to achieve an excellent fishing technique. If needed the crew might even hand you a rod that they have hooked a big fish on themselves! First timers are made to feel just as welcome as regulars. We do recommend shorter trips for beginners as it can be a lot more taxing than it seems if you have not experienced fishing before!

Unfortunately we cannot make any such guarantee. Although it is not common, for anyone, to not catch any fish at all, it can happen.

We will do everything we possibly can to give you the best possible chance to catch fish, but in the end fishing is not only an often fickle endeavour, but also relies much on the person doing the fishing itself.

It is our job to take you out to, and to put you “over the fish”. We do so in comfort, safety and a fun filled enjoyable atmosphere.

From there the remainder is up to you to hook the fish and ensure you land it. Our crew will often hook fish and hand over the rod to the less fortunate people onboard. Even then it is not totally uncommon for the fish to escape before being hauled aboard. There is definitely a considerable level of skill and experience in fishing that is directly apportion-able to fishing success.

Please understand, you are booking a charter to head out to fishing locations and use the vessel and fishing tackle to ATTEMPT to catch fish.

You are NOT booking a charter to be supplied with fish (or crabs for that matter).

As such it should be clear NO REFUNDS of any form are applicable should you not be successful in catching any fish.

There is definitely a large amount of skill involved in fishing. We recommend you simply try again as practice makes perfect.

Yes and No. As long as the fish is of legal size and within the normal “bag limits”, both as set by government regulations, you can choose to either keep or share your fish. We will tag each fish accordingly. Of course if you prefer you can release your fish.

All fish that are kept are “Gutted & gilled” by our crew and placed on ice. We also bag your fish at the end of the day for you to take home to cook and eat.

In general this question relates more to people that have been on charters that enforce the sharing of the catch. We do not operate in that manner. We understand that for those less experienced (or lucky), walking away with a good fish that someone else has caught might be a good thing. We are pretty sure that the person(s) that caught the fish that not as happy about it however. Life is an adventure, and comes with the highs and lows, and rewards and losses that keep in interesting. Fishing is no different. So we don’t force sharing of any catch. Like in life, it’s your decision to make.

No, sorry but we are simply both not allowed to – whilst out at sea – nor will we have the time to do so once back at the dock.

Having said that, any fish caught on our trolling or other specialty rigs are considered “Shared Fish” and these will be cut up or filleted by the crew when back at the dock to enable sharing of those between all interested passengers.

When you book a Fish n Crab Deep Sea Charter with Sunshine Coast Afloat, we supply all bait, quality fishing rods and reels, all tackle, Soft drink, Water, Snacks, and full assistance from our expert crew.

A fresh lunch is also included on all 9 and 11 hour charters.

Evening charters, and some winter charters, have a BBQ lunch or dinner included, and overnight charters have a hot Breakfast as well.

You can of course BYO food on any trip, or we can arrange catering for you at a small additional charge. (Superstitions have it as a general rule to not bring bananas!)

For our fishing equipment we work closely with Okuma, Shimano and Penn in Particular. We also work with Finn Nor. These are the brands of reels we carry. Okuma is almost exclusively the only overhead reel we use on board. Extremely high end high quality reels with up to 50lb drag! For spin reels we use a range of Penn, Finn Nor and Shimano. All brands have high end reels with 25 to 30lbs drag designed purely for deep sea fishing conditions.

By all means! As much as we prefer you to use our fishing gear you can bring your own. However, if the crew find that the difference in your gear to ours is creating issues for other passengers on the day, they will ask you to stop using your gear and switch to ours to ensure everyone has an enjoyable day. Specialty gear such as snapper winches etc are permitted but use will again be at the sole discretion of the skipper on the day. After all, in the end its all about having EVERYONE aboard enjoying themselves.

General and Weather related Questions

We do head out in the rain and wind on some of our activities. After all, we’re going on adventures! However, if the weather makes for unsafe conditions for any reason, the trip will be changed or postponed. Rain is seldom an issue, but wind often creates swell, which will combine to unsuitable and unsafe conditions at sea. You will be notified the day before your trip if there are changes due to weather. As much as we would like to give more notice, marine weather is fickle at best, and forecasts change on a daily (sometime hourly) basis. You can always keep an eye on the forecasts weather on our weather page.

No, absolutely not. We try to respond to each and every email we get, but as you may be aware, spam fikters sometimes put the wrong emails into the spam folder and we may miss it. Also our system rejects any email that it finds vulgar or inappropriate language in.

So if you have not heard back please try to contact us again.

Gift Vouchers

As with all companies offering gift vouchers, there are a number of areas that differ for a direct purchase.


At no time are refunds for gift vouchers available. This is done for multiple reasons, but the main issue being that a gift vouchers has in almost every case been purchased by a different party/person than the person to whom the voucher has been provided. As such a refund would be to a different person than who had actually paid for the voucher. Experience has also indicated that refund requests are in most cases received due to the person not making use of the voucher within the lifespan of the gift voucher. Again this is not a valid reason for a refund.


At times vouchers provided to a person may be for charters that are not available at the time of the voucher recipient wishing to make use of the voucher. This happens most commonly for less common or popular activities. To avoid this issue we highly recommend booking well in advance where possible. This will allow us to start and build the required activity to provide the best chance of being able to proceed as desired. In cases where this is not possible, Sunshine Coast Afloat will offer alternative solutions and options to best accommodate the voucher recipient. This may include a slightly different duration or departure time to match the voucher as closely as possible. In cases where such activities have a higher cost attached the difference will be payable on the day of the departure.


All gift vouchers have an expiry date clearly marked on them. Booking requests AFTER the voucher expiry date will not be accepted unless special circumstances have made it impossible for the voucher recipient to have used the voucher within its validity period. Sunshine Coast Afloat reserves the right to determine what exactly constitutes such special circumstances on a case by case situation. Sunshine Coast Afloat reserves the right to offer any such case an alternative. This is normally done by discussion and multiple offers where possible. If such alternatives are considered unsuitable by the voucher recipient, the voucher will be again deemed expired and no longer able to be used. If an alternative offer has been accepted by the voucher recipient and weather or guest/passenger numbers prevent the alternative activity from proceeding, Sunshine Coast Afloat may at their discretion offer another alternative or alternatives. If such alternative(s) are considered unsuitable by the voucher recipient, the voucher will be again deemed expired and no longer able to be used. Please note that Sunshine Coast Afloat will work with voucher recipients to the best of their abilities to enable the recipient to make use of their gift voucher. TO enable this cooperation and understanding from the voucher recipient is essential.

Prior to purchasing a gift Voucher we highly recommend you read the terms and conditions on this site to avoid misunderstandings.

In short, YES. We Absolutely do sell gift vouchers – aka Gift Cards!

Our Gift Vouchers are a very high quality pre-printed tri-fold card which is designed to impress when given as a gift. Any marine based experience provided by Sunshine Coast Afloat can be purchased as a gift voucher.

You can order them online HERE (Just click on the “GIFT CARDS” tab- in RED along the top), or call or email us to arrange them. Whichever you find easiest. Or you can look on our website for the experience you like, and when you go to book online it will give you an option to purchase the experience as a gift voucher instead.

How Sunshine Coast Afloat operate with Gift Vouchers is that once ordered, your information is printed (not hand written) on them. That is the name of the person you are purchasing the gift for, and a message (up to about 3 lines of text) to personalise it. We then scan the voucher (before it is folded), and email that scan to you so that you have an instant record should the original get lost. We then post the original gift voucher to you. There is a small additional charge for postage (to cover the cost of the stamp).

You are able to order them as an online version only, in which case you can print them at home yourself and save the cost of the postage.

Our Gift Vouchers are valid for 1 year from date of purchase. They can also be used as a part payment for a higher value tour is so desired.

Booking using a gift voucher is simple. You can do so by booking online, calling us or emailing us. Whichever is your preference.

We do recommend you read this section about our gift vouchers as well: GIFT VOUCHER CONDITIONS

Payment Questions

To secure a booking a minimum of 20% deposit, of the total fee, is required for any booking.

This can be done via credit (or Debit) Card, either by phone or our online booking system.

If you don’t have a Credit or Debit card we can provide you our account details and you can deposit the funds directly into our account. We will provide you with a reference number to ensure we are able to match the payment with your booking. These funds are required a minimum of 21 days prior to the departure date. This time frame is needed because of the time it can take to clear funds, the delay which happens from time to time between booking and payment and our need to be able to be confident we have the numbers to assist of passengers on such charters.

Please note that in the case of payment of any booking via a direct deposit, your booking is not secured until the funds have indeed been received.

The balance is payable prior to boarding for individuals or small groups of up to a maximum of 3 people. This balance can be paid in cash or credit card.

Groups of 4 or more MUST pay the balance 7, 14 or 21 days  before the actual departure date. The time frames depend on the size of the group and are clearly outlined in our Terms & Conditions.

The reasons for the different time frames are purely to allow us enough time to find other passengers to replace your spots on the vessel. The more people that need to be replaced the longer time is required to cover that.

Conditions and time frames for payments other than credit card are applicable and can be found in our Terms & Conditions.

The listed price is the price you pay. Including tax.

We understand that you may not have a printer handy when you’re traveling so it is not necessary to have a printed copy. However, we may require that you show ID matching your reservation should there be any question about the booking. You will also receive an SMS confirmation on your mobile phone, which will be able to assist in the case of any issues.

As all services vary based on the type of activity, vessel, and number of passengers able to participate, this varies greatly for each activity Sunshine Coast Afloat has to offer.

In general you would pay the amount for a single person multiplied by the maximum number of passengers able to normally be accommodated. Of course private trips are often customised to better suit the group. This can add additional costs if for example food is requested to be added to the trip.

A group discount might be applicable as well.

The easiest way to determine this is to contact us to get the exact information on your desired trip.

We charge a corkage fee for a number of reasons.

  • It allows us to have RSA qualified staff aboard to serve our customers.
  • Its covers the costs of cleaning up and the disposal of empty bottles and boxes.
  • It enables us to accept the drinks (and food) in advance and get them cold, and then put them aboard in advance of the trip.

No, we do not charge any extra fees or fuel surcharges. The listed price is the price you pay. Including tax.

If paying by credit card there is a 1.5% credit card surcharge. Please note this surcharge is not refundable as it is a bank fee payable to the applicable financial institution regardless of the trip proceeding or not.

We understand that you may not have a printer handy when you’re traveling so it is not necessary to have a printed copy. However, we require that you show ID matching your reservation and also the Order # that is immediately emailed to you after you make your reservation.

We accept Bartercard as a form of payment.  Terms and conditions apply.  Please contact the office directly for such bookings.


Unfortunately this is not possible. We do understand that this places a large amount of responsibility on the person taking on such a role. As such, for organisers of larger groups we have special offers in place.  Groups discounts may also apply to ensure further incentive for the group organiser to be able to secure the funds more easily from the persons in their group in advance. This requires a single contact person to takes full responsibility of that booking. That includes all financial aspects as clearly outlined in our Terms & Conditions under Group Booking Specific terms and conditions.

Another advantage of a group booking is that the entire group knows their places are secured, and that nobody in the group will miss out. If a group insists on paying individually the booking WILL NOT be considered a group booking, and each person would be considered a separate individual. As such we cannot hold spaces for such individuals and this may in turn mean that those slow to contact us might find the charter has received other bookings which make their booking impossible causing them to miss out.

Preparation Questions

Wear whatever is comfortable given the activity you have chosen to participate in. It is recommended to have a comfortable pair of shoes, boots, or sneakers. It is preferable to dress in layers and wear clothing that will wick away perspiration and keep you dry and comfortable. If kayaking please ensure your clothing is suitable to be wet as the likelihood of remaining dry on a kayak is very small for most people. If swimming is included in your activity please bring both swimwear and a towel.

Not much, remember our trips are all inclusive. We do suggest you bring appropriate clothing to fit the activity and season and in some instances a day pack to carry any special dietary requirements you may have. Any trips/tours over 1 hour in length have water and snacks supplied. longer duration activities have a greater selection of refreshments included. The exact inclusions are listed with the activity on this site.