Below you will find answers to some of the general questions we get asked on a regular basis. If you don't find an answer to your question or would like more information, don't hesitate to contact us and fire away!
Questions about registration and such
What is included in my registration?
Each course or adventure has specific information about what food and/or accommodation is included since it varies between trip types- please read your course or adventure information page thoroughly. In addition the following is included in registration: use of a sailing yacht meeting Transport Canada's Recreational Boating School safety standards and that has successfully passed a rigorous annual Royal Yachting Association inspection, all safety equipment, instruction and guidance by a highly experienced skipper, yacht liability insurance, moorage, fuel, entry fees if racing.
What is NOT included in my registration?
Your own trip insurance is not included (see below, we recommend having trip cancellation insurance at a minimum). Also, any on shore costs are not included. These are generally optional purchases such as alcoholic drinks or restaurant meals, or they may be costs outside of the scope of the sailing trip or course such as transportation to/from the boat or accommodation on shore.
What if I need to cancel my course or trip?
Please read our Cancellation Policy here. We recommend having trip cancellation insurance or similar coverage.
Do I need travel insurance?
Please read our full Terms & Conditions for further information on insurance requirements- these are outlined in section 4. If you are getting travel insurance, make sure that sailing is covered by your policy. Some companies consider it an 'extreme' sport requiring a policy beyond standard travel insurance.
What methods of payment do you accept?
We accept bookings directly through our website where you use your Visa, Mastercard or American Express to book using our secure online payment gateway provided by Stripe. We also accept payment from existing clients by e-interac transfer. To book using e-interac transfer, please contact us. All payments are made in Canadian dollars.
Questions about what to bring and what to expect
What do I need to bring on a day sailing course or trip?
Check the details of your specific course or trip for information on what food may or may not be included. Most day sailing trips do not include food, so you should bring your own lunch and snacks. Other required and recommended things to bring:
Waterproof jacket and pants
Closed-toe, non-marking shoes or boots.
Layers to keep warm
Sun protection: sunglasses, sunscreen, hat, etc.
Camera / smartphone... take lots of pictures and tag @seatoskysailing on Facebook or Instagram!
What do I need to bring on a liveaboard trip?
Check the details of your specific course or trip for information on what food is included. Other required and recommended things to bring in addition to the day sailing items listed above:
Pack ONE soft sided bag with all your things- there is limited storage space on board and no room for hard sided suitcases
Sleeping bag and pillow
Towel and toiletries
Layers to keep warm for the whole trip
Wet wipes (see section below on fresh water)
Battery pack (see section below on electricity)
Coins (quarters and loonies) for showers
Cash for optional on shore purchases- some small coastal communities don't always have credit or debit card machines
Sleeping eye mask
What is life like on a liveaboard sailing trip with Sea to Sky?
Our liveaboard courses and trips are very much in the category of adventure travel. This means you can expect a lot of fun and new experiences with a rustic level of comfort. Think of it like staying in a floating hostel as we travel through the beautiful BC wilderness!
Please be prepared to share close quarters with your fellow crew members and be respectful of others at all times.
Your professional skipper is tasked with keeping you and the yacht safe and sailing well. They are not hosts or stewardesses, so please do not expect them to clean up after you or wait on you like staff in a hotel or on a luxury cruise ship. As members of the crew you are part of a team and need to work together to accomplish not only sailing tasks but also tasks related to day to day life on board.
We prepare all meals family style, meaning everyone takes turns pitching in with cooking and cleaning up.
Adventure cruising is a bit like summer camp. We have an amazing time, but your privacy will be limited. This may include sharing a cabin... i.e. bunking together with your fellow crew. You will be allocated a berth by your skipper.
Most nights we aim to spend 'on the hook' (anchored in a protected bay) to give you a true sailing experience. We have limited fresh water, a toilet and a sink on board all our boats, but we cannot provide showers when we are anchored.
Some nights we may find ourselves docked at a marina or as guests at a yacht club. These facilities almost all have full washroom facilities including showers which are often coin operated.
Fresh water is extremely limited on board and often also on shore. Some of the communities we visit during our courses and cruises have water rationing in place, meaning we will not be able to refill the boat's water tanks at every single stop. Please do not run the tap like you would at home- this will quickly drain the boat's water tanks and mean that we will not be able to flush the toilet, wash hands, etc. Gross. This is also why we cannot provide showers on board. Sponge baths using wet wipes or swimming off the boat are both options to get you through between shore stops where showers will be available.
Electricity is also very limited on board and is largely reserved for running critical systems on the boat (navigation equipment, lights, flushing the toilet, etc). Part of the joy of sailing is escaping from the hectic pace of shore life, so we recommend going off grid and turning off phones and other electronics while on board. However, we also understand that not everyone can do that or would want to. If recharging is important to you, we strongly recommend bringing a battery pack of your own so you are not dependent on the boat's limited electricity supply.
If you are going to rely on the boat's supply, here is an explanation of when it may be possible to recharge. While the engine is running, we have one USB port that is available for crew. Since we are a sailing boat, the engine should only be running for a short period of time each day. Charging time is not very long and you may need to share with other crew members. At most docks we are able to plug in to shore power, which activates the boat's AC plug outlets so you can charge electronics through a wall outlet as you would at home. When we are anchored you will not be able to charge anything.
Can you accommodate my food allergies or dietary requirements?
You must inform us of any food restrictions as early as possible. On courses and trips where we are providing food, we can easily plan a menu around common food allergies or dietary restrictions. Vegetarian, dairy intolerance, seafood allergies and mild nut allergies are all very manageable for us to accommodate. If you have a life threatening food allergy or extremely restrictive diet, please contact us to discuss.
How fit or strong do I need to be to go sailing?
A modest level of fitness and mobility is recommended for all courses and trips. Balance, flexibility and mobility are more critical to most introductory sailing adventures than being extremely strong or Ironman-fit. If you can comfortably climb two flights of stairs, carry a full load of groceries out of a car, and have sufficient flexibility to crouch, duck, kneel, twist and lunge repeatedly then you should be fine. However, the more fit and mobile you are, the more you will be able to enjoy your course or trip. Having a strong core and upper body in particular will greatly increase your comfort on board and ability to be a really active member of the crew.
To participate in our more active and fast-paced racing events, you do need to have a higher degree of fitness and mobility than the minimum level described here. Please contact us if you are concerned about your fitness level.
What if I get sea sick?
Sea sickness is basically a disagreement between what your inner ear is feeling and what your eyes are seeing. This can cause a variety of symptoms usually including drowsiness and nausea- if left un checked this can quickly lead to vomiting. It can happen to anyone, even the saltiest and most experienced sailors. There is no shame in getting sea sick- it's not a weakness or personal failing, it is simply the way the inner ear works in the human body.
For most people under most conditions sea sickness is quite manageable by staying on deck and keeping your eyes on the horizon so your inner ear has a point of reference. Your skipper will have other suggestions on how to help you prevent sea sickness on board. It is really, really important that you notify your skipper right away if you start to feel ill as they can help you manage it.
However, it is still possible that you may get sea sick as some people are very sensitive to the motion of the boat or if you are sailing in rougher conditions. If you know this already about yourself or if you have never been on a boat before and are not sure whether you will be susceptible to sea sickness, we do recommend that you talk to your doctor or pharmacist and bring appropriate sea sickness medication.
What if I have a medical condition?
You should consult with your doctor before booking a course or trip with us if you have any concerns about your health. If you are taking medication, please bring enough with you for the duration of your trip as we often will not be visiting any areas where you could refill a prescription. If you have severe allergies (such as an allergy to bee stings) or a chronic condition like asthma, please be sure to bring suitable medication.
Please take into consideration that sailing is an activity that takes you to remote wilderness areas, away from advanced medical care. Our skippers are required to hold basic first aid certification- they are not trained as doctors or paramedics. Our yachts are equipped with first aid supplies- not with advanced life saving or life support equipment. While we do have the ability to call for help, professional rescue and medical services could take a considerable length of time to reach the boat depending on where we are sailing (think in hours, not minutes).
I really want to visit a specific place during my trip. Do you guarantee your itineraries?
Have you heard the saying "Time and tide wait for no man"? They also do not pay much attention to plans and itineraries. The tide and weather conditions dictate our itineraries for any sailing course or trip. You will have a fantastic time on any sailing trip and visit many beautiful and interesting places, but we cannot guarantee that we will be able to deliver a specific itinerary.
Questions about other stuff
Do you offer private instruction or private charters?
Yes! We can offer private lessons to cover specific skills you want to learn or to suit your own schedule. We can also offer private charters if you have a particular trip you would like to do or want to go sailing on your own schedule. Please contact us to discuss.
Can you teach me to sail or race on my own boat?
I need to get my boat from A to B... can you deliver it for me?
Again... yes! You can book one of our skippers for yacht delivery work. Please contact us to discuss your needs.