What's the difference between a Dolphin tour and a Sunset Cruise?
The Dolphin Ecotour is scheduled with the tides so we have the best chance of seeing dolphins. Though we often see dolphins on a Sunset Cruise, we are more focused on a relaxing end to the day rather than finding dolphins.
Can I book a private tour?
Yes, all of our tours can be booked as private tours.
When is the Gullah/Geechee tour?
Thursday. If you would like to go another day, a private Gullah/Geechee tour can be arranged. Stories and songs by island resident Sarah Burnell. (Subject to availability: meaning Sarah joins us every Thursday, but if she were to have an unforeseen conflict she would not be on the tour. This has never happened.)
Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
Tickets must be purchased in advance and cruises often sell out quickly. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please book well in advance. Tickets can only be purchased with a Visa, Mastercard or American Express.
Do I have to sign a liability waiver?
Yes. All participants must sign a liability waiver at the start of the cruise. Participants age 18 or younger must have an adult 25 years or above sign for them and participate in the ride with them.
Is a tour good for all ages?
We generally do not recommend bringing children under the age of 4, but leave it to the discretion of the parent to know what is appropriate for their child. Please keep in mind that this tour is 75 minutes long. If you choose to bring a child under 4, you will still need to purchase them a child's ticket. Sunset Cruises are for ages 12 and up. If you want to bring anyone younger, please purchase a private sunset cruise.
What type of ticket should I buy if I'm bringing a very young child?
Since the US Coast Guard counts all people the same, regardless of age or size, all children are required to have a ticket for the tour. Due to capacity there is only one free infant allowed per trip. If the infant ticket is sold out you must buy a child's ticket for the infant to attend.
What happens if it rains?
Tours runs rain or shine regardless of weather conditions. But don't worry! Some of our best tours take place in less-than-perfect weather. If you forget your rain jacket, we have ponchos available for sale at the meeting location. Umbrellas are not recommended since they won't stand up to the wind.
Where do the tours go?
The exact itinerary varies from tour to tour, but we generally explore the tidal creeks and St. Helena Sound near Edisto Beach.
What wildlife could we see on the trip?
The salt marsh is full of "hidden biodiversity" and we could see dolphin, fiddler crabs, oyster beds, egrets, herons, osprey, eagles and more!
How close will we get to the dolphins?
As an ecotour, we let the dolphins come to us. We will be close enough to hear them breathe!
Will we be able to feed, pet or touch the dolphins?
Dolphins are protected by the Marine Mammal Protection Act, therefore we do not touch, chase, pursue, harass or feed wild dolphins as it is harmful to the well-being and against the law.
What are the chances we will see dolphins on the dolphin tour?
Dolphins are wild animals, so there are no guarantees that we will see any. However, our guides have lots of experience and knowledge about the tides and the places they like to feed, so it's rare that we don't see any.
Are drinks or food served on the trip?
Food and drinks are not included with your trip and not recommended (with the exception of sunset cruises and private tours) since we will be traveling in an open boat. Food and drinks are available at the marina restaurant before or after most tours.
Will I get wet?
Usually we don't get wet. However, if it rains or if it is a windy day you may get an occasional spray from the water.
What should I wear?
Dress seasonally according to the weather. You'll want to wear comfortable soft-soled shoes or sandals. Note that the sun is much stronger on the water so we always recommend sunglasses and sunscreen. In the spring or fall, be sure to bring an extra layer such as a wind breaker, sweatshirt, jacket or fleece. For the Botany Bay Water Taxi and Island Safari your feet will get wet getting on and off of the boat.
Is there an available bathroom?
While there is no bathroom on board the boat there is one available at the meeting location. We do not have any scheduled bathroom stops along the tour, but if you need to stop, please let us know and we will try to accommodate you.
Is there any shade on the boat?
The boat is partially covered providing some shade.
What type of boat is this and is the boat stable?
We operate a 24 foot Carolina skiff for most tours that is USCG Certified for 12 passengers. The boat is very flat bottomed and very stable. We may rock a little bit but have never had any sea sickness on board. Comfortable bench seating is also provided. The boat has a sturdy railing that allows even more safety and stability for our passengers.
Will I get seasick?
Our guests usually find the tour boat to be a very steady vessel. While we have never had anyone get sick on our boat, we advise you to consult with your doctor about taking preventative measures beforehand if you are prone to motion sickness.
Is the boat handicap accessible?
There is a 2 foot step down into the boat that people must be able to make. While the boat cannot accommodate wheelchairs, if you are able to be lifted onto the boat by someone in your party and sit in a seat on board then you should be able to attend the trip. Please let us know if you need help accessing the boat.
Are life jackets available on board?
Yes, life jackets for all passengers are provided on board.
Is there parking available nearby?
Free parking is available at Bay Creek Park and across the street from the marina.
Are group discounts available?
Groups of 6 or more get 5% off.
Are gift certificates available?
Yes, gift certificates are available and they make a great gift for holidays, birthdays or any other occasion! Click on the tour you want to buy a gift certificate for and look for the gift certificate option.
How is my gift certificate delivered? Can I print it out now and give it to the recipient myself?
Yes, you can! When you purchase your gift certificate online, you will be presented immediately with your gift certificate so that you can print it out and deliver it. If you buy it over the phone, a link to your gift certificate will be emailed to you as soon as your purchase is completed.
What if I want the gift certificate emailed to the recipient instead?
That's no problem, either! When you purchase your gift certificate, just select the option to have the certificate emailed directly to the recipient and provide their email address. You'll even be able to decide whether you want the email sent immediately or if you'd prefer to schedule it to be emailed on a future date. (For instance, if you want to buy it today so you don't forget, but you don't want it emailed to the recipient until their special day!)
May I bring my well behaved dog?
Yes, with a leash and IF you can keep your dog from licking/sniffing/interacting with the passengers. Not everyone is dog friendly and some people are scared of dogs, so your dog needs to stick close to you. If you have more than 1 large dog there will not be space on a full tour for you and your dogs. No barkers.
How is Gullah pronounced?
Gullah has a soft "U" like sea gull.
Will we see dolphins?
These are wild bottlenose dolphins so we cannot guarantee their presence. If dolphins are your focus, then consider our Dolphin Ecotour.
Will we see monkeys?
The monkeys are on their own schedule so we cannot guarantee their presence on every tour. But the scenery of the ACE Basin, the opportunity to see dolphins, waterfowl, birds of prey, and the expansive marsh and maritime forest vistas, all combine to make the tour well worthwhile, monkeys or not. The tour duration is 3 hours.
What Is Not Included?
Food and beverages are not included, but feel free to bring your own.
Other Tips & Guidelines
Please arrive 15 minutes early, as our trips leave right on time.
Our trips run rain or shine but in case of severe weather we will contact you as soon as possible so you can join us at another date/time.
The vessel is not equipped with a bathroom so we recommend using the one at the meeting location before boarding the boat.
Important: Any directions or maps provided by Botany Bay Ecotours are only a rough guide. You are responsible for arriving at the activity's meeting location on time, so make sure to check with a second source that can provide specific directions from your starting point.
Detailed Directions for tours departing from Edisto Marina:
The tour leaves from dock slip D 2 at the Marina at Edisto Beach, 3702 Docksite Road, Edisto Beach (29438). We are on the water in between Bay Creek Park and Bay Creek Villas near State Rd S-15-683. The park is surrounded by a white, vinyl rail fence. Guests can park for free in the Bay Creek parking lot, then walk through the gate in the white fence leading to the marina. The sign for the marina reads "Edisto Marine Commercial District" and has signs for Edisto Marina, Botany Bay Ecotours and fishing charter businesses. Walk down the 150 yard boardwalk to the last finger dock and dock slip D-2.
From US-17/Savannah Hwy, turn onto State Hwy 174.
Continue to follow State Hwy 174 to Edisto Beach. Speed limit is 45 mph in construction zones!
Once you reach Edisto Beach, Hwy 174 will curve right and parallel the ocean.
At the 1700 block, turn right onto Lybrand St.
After the 4 way stop, Lybrand curves left and becomes Dock Site Rd.
Drive approximately 3/4 of a mile and The Marina at Edisto Beach will be on your right.
The sign is small, so look for Bay Creek Park with a white rail fence and Bay Creek Condos.
Parking is free and located across the street from the Marina.
Walk down the Marina boardwalk (about 150 yards) to dockslip D 2.
Frequently Asked Questions
Botany Bay Ecotours
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Booking Phone: (843)869-2998