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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Click on the question to display the answer below.

How many passengers are typically on a tour?

Moonraker is licensed to carry 80 passengers, however you will never see that many on any of our tours, we limit our passenger number ensuring your enjoyment is maximised. Our boat is considered fully booked at 25 swimmers, that way you have loads of room to enjoy the facilities and relax in your own space without being squished or crowded with you’re on the boat or in the water.

(School and Private charter groups can exceed 25pax)

When is the best time to see the dolphins?

September to May, when the dolphins are typically in the southern regions of Port Phillip Bay.

‘The Bay’ is home to over 120 resident Bottlenose Dolphins plus over 40 Common Dolphins who swim freely within our waters. Tours are seasonal due to the weather and not the dolphins, each year we monitor the location, species and number of dolphins encountered on each tour, hopefully building a pattern to assist us in locating the dolphins faster and on a more regular basis.

Which tour is better morning or afternoon?

We always recommend the morning departures during the peak summer holidays. This is a time when passenger numbers can be lower and the recreations boats have not come out on the water for the day. The interaction with the animals usually doesn’t differ, however the impact from recreational vessels and jet skis can be more evident in the afternoon (only during the summer school holiday period.)

How long do we get to swim with the animals?

We swim with the seals for approximately 30-40 minutes and the same with the Sea Dragons.

Our Dolphin Swims are slightly different, all licensed dolphin swim operators are permitted to conduct a maximum of 5 interactions with the dolphins and allow a maximum of 10 people into the water at any one time.

The dolphins are always moving so this regulated method ensures a reduced impact on the animals and allows them to choose whether they wish to interact or not. The amount of time you spend with the dolphins depends on the dolphins; sometimes they will glide past you for a quick look and other times they won’t leave you alone. They are wild animals and this must be respected!

Is there anything preventing us from swimming with the dolphins?

We try to offer everyone the best chance of seeing and interacting with them, however there are rules and regulations associated with doing this. The only reason you may not get to swim with the dolphins is because of the following reasons:

  1. A new born calf (baby) is present in the pod of dolphins,
  2. The dolphins are in the Ticonderoga Bay (Dolphin) Sanctuary Zone,
  3. The dolphins have not been located on the tour.

Over 120 resident Bottlenose Dolphins live in Port Phillip Bay; so quite often during the summer we encounter a pod of dolphins that has a calf. This is a great opportunity to view a newborn calf and our guides will be on hand to point it out plus give you lots of information on the animals. After we have a look at the pod and viewed the calf from the boat our tour will continue to search for another pod of dolphins in the local area, this usually results in the location of an adolescent pod of dolphins that will allow us to swim.

If the dolphins enter the Ticonderoga Bay Sanctuary Zone, this prevents us from approaching them, until they move beyond the sanctuary limits, quite often our cruise will go on with another activity until the dolphins have moved beyond the limits allowing us to interact and swim with them.

Are the tours suitable for people who cannot swim?

All guests who are travelling as swimmers or snorkelers must have low-level swimming skills and be confident in the water. Due to the environment our tours operate within (Port Phillip Bay) we cannot allow guests to enter the water if they cannot swim. We recommend they travel as sightseeing passengers this way they don’t miss out of the fun and adventure!

Please note swimming and sightseeing guests travel on the same boat, so you’re welcome to book swimming and sightseeing guests together.

If you have questions relating to swimming please contact us as we’re happy to assist 0359844211 info@moonrakercharters.com.au

What should we bring with us?

Bathers/swimwear, (have on when you arrive at the jetty) a towel, a hat, cash or card in case you wish to hire a camera or purchase something from the on-board café. We strongly recommend you bring a warm jacket or fleece, as the sea breeze can be cold even on a hot day.

How big is the boat?

Moonraker is the largest and newest dolphin swim boat in Port Phillip Bay, just over 21 metres long and 6 metres wide. With upper and lower decks, bathrooms, café and hot showers. Plus huge walk in water swim platform and large steps opening up across the back of the boat so you can walk down into the water with ease.

Do you offer floatation aids and tuition for nervous snorkelers?

Yes, we have foam pool noodles, flotation rings and flotation vests on-board. Plus in-water tuition for nervous/first time snorkelers. Wetsuits are great for floatation and are provided to you at the start of your tour.

 

Do you have prescription masks?

Yes, prescription masks are available for those who are short sighted with a range of negative strength. Underwater, objects are magnified by 25% so minimal short sightedness is not a problem. If you have contact lenses they are safe and easy to use under a mask.

I am pregnant will I still be able to participate in the activities?

Yes, we recommend you consult with your doctor or obstetrician if you are in the later stages. We have stretchy wetsuits and walk in water access making a safe, fun and relaxing experience.

I think I may suffer from seasickness. How can I avoid this?

Moonraker is the largest snorkel or dive vessel operating in Port Phillip Bay it has a very wide beam (width) making the journey comfortable and stable reducing the rocking motion you experience on smaller boats or vessels. For those unsure of if they suffer from motion sickness we have travel-calm tablets on board, however it’s always a good idea to purchase some at your local pharmacy and take the night before your departure. Prevention is always better than cure!

Moonraker only operates inside Port Phillip Bay, so you won’t encounter the same rolling motion you would if you were in the ocean. Furthermore we can ensure your tour will not operate if the weather is predicted to exceed safe and comfortable conditions. If you still have concerns you are welcome to discuss this with the reservations team prior to making a booking.

I’m worried about Sharks, what are the risks?

Rest at ease the chances of a shark encounter are extremely low, however, when you work in the ocean as often as we do there is unfortunately always a risk. To ensure the safest possible environment for our passengers and crew we use Shark Shields which generate an electric field that produces intolerable discomfort to the sharks sensory receptors known as Ampullae of Lorenzi (found on the snouts of all predatory sharks) forcing them to veer away and leave the immediate area.

To further put your mind at ease all our snorkel locations are in clear shallow water and we have never seen a shark in all the time we have operated (established in 1990)