FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Question: Are there manatees in the area?
Answer: Yes! Manatee season runs from November 15th through March 31st each year. The colder the water gets, the more manatees come into the area. Our waters in the area are 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 21 degrees Celcius year-round and manatees have to come to survive when the gulf water is colder than that. During other parts of the year, there are roughly 30-50 resident manatees that live here on any given year.
Question: Can I paddle my kayak or paddleboard into Three Sisters Springs?
Answer: Yes, you can paddle into Three Sisters Springs from April 1st through November 14th each year. During manatee season, which runs from November 15th through March 31st however, Three Sisters Springs is closed to all paddle craft and boats. So take advantage of the spring and summer months if you want to paddle into Three Sisters Springs.
Question: When is Manatee Season?
Answer: Official Manatee Season is from November 15th through March 31st each year.
Question: Are you pet-friendly?
Answer: Of course we are :) There are a couple of rules that go along with bringing your pet along though. They can come on the kayak or paddleboard with you but can not swim inside Three Sisters Springs. They must remain in the kayak. Also, there are no dogs allowed at Hunter Springs Park where we launch so they must go directly into the kayaks or paddleboards when we arrive.
Question: Do we pick up our kayak from you or do you take to the launch area?
Answer: We have a VERY simple process. You come to Paddles Outdoor Rentals at 469 NE 1st Street in Crystal River, pay for your rental or tour, watch a video from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife, then take our shuttle van to the launch point where your equipment will be waiting for you. Your vehicle is safe in our parking lot and you can leave your keys in our lockbox so you do not lose them in the water.
Question: Do you rent waterproof phone cases?
Answer: Yes we do. Waterproof phone cases are $7.00 to rent for the day.
Question: Do you rent dry bags?
Answer: Yes we do. Dry bags are $10.00 to rent for the day.
Question: What do I need to bring with me?
Answer: We recommend a bathing suit or comfortable clothing, sunscreen, hat, polarized sunglasses, a towel, and dry clothes.
Question: What types of kayaks or paddleboards do you rent?
Answer: We rent Crescent sit on top kayaks and YOLO paddleboards.
Question: Can I swim with manatees?
Answer: YES! You must first watch two videos from U.S. Fish and Wildlife, wear a wetsuit, snorkel, and mask which we rent. Our swim package is $20.00 and includes that equipment for the entire day.
Question: What are the weight restrictions for your kayaks?
Answer: Our single kayaks can hold 275 pounds plus equipment, our tandem kayaks hold 450 pounds plus equipment, our 11' YOLO paddleboards hold 225 pounds, and our 12' YOLO paddleboards can hold up to 275 pounds.
Question: How far is Three Sisters Springs away from the launch point?
Answer: Three Sisters Springs by kayak or paddleboard will take anywhere from 20 to 35 minutes from our launch point depending on skill level and conditions.
Question: Do you have an age requirement?
Answer: We do not have age restrictions as long the child is accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, signs a waiver, and supervises the child the entire time. We love when families join us so we try to accommodate the best that we can.
Question: How long are your tours?
Answer: Our tours are roughly three hours, depending on the weather or what type of tour it is. If it a swim with manatees tour, we try our hardest to find them even when it is difficult some days and that might take a little longer than normal. For the most part, our tours are roughly 2:45 to 3:15 long.
Question: Are there extra fees for the tours?
Answer: No :) Our tours are priced as an all-inclusive event. Our swim with manatee tour includes your choice of kayak or paddleboard, wetsuit, snorkel, mask, and one of our amazing guides. Gratuities are not included but appreciated for our hard-working staff though.
Question: Do you offer group discounts?
Answer: Yes we give a 10% discount with groups of 10 or more. Call personally before booking online and we will handle the booking for you to make it easier.
Question: What is your cancellation policy?
Answer: THE BEST IN CRYSTAL RIVER! We have no cancellation penalties ever if booked through our website. If you book with a third-party source such as Tripadvisor or Expedia, the cancellation policy is 24 hours. That is their policy, not ours. We understand that problems arise and we do not penalize our guests for canceling if you book directly with us. We do not feel it is fair to charge a customer that never had a chance to enjoy the day with us.
Question: Do we use fins on the swim with manatee tour?
Answer: No, we do not encourage the use of fins on our Swim With Manatees tour. You are floating near manatees and not actually swimming with them. The fins tend to stir up the bottom and limit visibility. Most of the water in the area is under 6 feet deep so there are really not necessary.
Question: Are the manatees protected?
Answer: Yes, they are protected by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services and this link explains everything there is to know about manatees.