General Questions

What about safety issues…I’m not really a boater?

As part of our schedule, we will start our cruise at the dock with a brief safety orientation. The Captain will go over basic safety procedures and familiarize your group with the safety features of the boat, including life preservers and fire equipment.  Safety is THE most important consideration of our company when providing a wonderful and safe day on the water. Please be patient with this United States Coast Guard requirement. It is for the safety and well being of everyone on board.

What if I and others know nothing about sailing?

Whether you have never sailed before or you are very experienced, we want you to have a fun and memorable cruise.  If you wish to participate in the sailing, learn about sailing, or just sit back and relax, it is your choice. The Captain and crew are fully capable of handling the boat.

How qualified is the crew?

Your Captain and crew are experienced sailors and are fully capable of handling the boat.  The skipper is a U.S. Coast Guard credentialed charter boat Captain who holds a Master level 100 gross ton vessel rating including power, sail and tow. He brings over forty years of boating experience to your cruise.

What kind of shoes are acceptable on board?

We ask that everyone remove their shoes before boarding. This is both a safety issue and to keep shoes from marking or damaging the boat’s finish. We recommend that people wear tennis or deck shoes to the boat. High heels are definitely not advisable on or around a marina since the docks move from wave action.

What supplies should we bring with us?

Following is a list of things you may want to bring to make your sail more enjoyable:

  • Towels - we do NOT supply towels
  • Food & drinks, water & ice (no red-dyed drinks including red wine or Big Red type sodas)
  • Sunscreen & suntan lotion (NO OILS!)
  • Paper & plastic products (paper towels, napkins, paper plates, plastic knives, forks, spoons)
  • A hat for each person
  • Shoes for the dock. Shoes must be removed before boarding the boat. High-heeled shoes are dangerous on a dock. The best shoes are marine deck shoes or tennis shoes.
  • Bathing suit, dry clothes
  • Your choice of music (you can plug your iPod or phone into the stereo system)
  • Camera
  • Phone

Are young children permitted?

Children are welcome! However, all children under the age of thirteen (13) are required to wear a life vest from the time they board the boat until they depart the boat – except when they are below deck (inside the cabins of the boat).  No exceptions will be made to this policy, so please do not ask. Also, it is the responsibility of the parent or guardian to manage the younger children while aboard. Young children tend to want to roam and investigate the yacht and this can be difficult to control. The parent or guardian has the responsibility to keep the child from getting into risk situations. If you intend to bring children under the age of two, it is acceptable to do so. However, if you want to truly enjoy the experience, we highly recommend leaving the child at home with a caregiver. You also need to understand that the cruise may be very slow with a level ride or it may be fast and exciting with a lot of leaning - it depends on the wind.

Can I bring my pet along?

Sorry, but for the safety of your special family member, no pets are allowed on board. (We are also leaving ours at home, Sparky, a 17 year old Jack Russell Terrier. Don't worry about him, though. Since he's blind and deaf, he probably doesn't know we left! )

Do you sail year round?

Hello? Helloooo? Of course! We absolutely sail year round! Austin’s weather is pretty wonderful all year. And, even when cold, sailing is a great experience.  So, come out whenever you like and we will work to ensure your cruise is memorable!

The yacht

What about life vests?

We are required to have an appropriate Coast Guard Approved life vest on board for each person. We have vests for a wide range of sizes of guest including children and toddlers. However, if you have a vest that you want to bring, we are happy for you to do that - especially ones that have been acquired specifically for your children that you know fit them well. Also, if anyone in your party is unusually large, please bring that to our attention before the charter so that we can ensure a proper fitting vest will be available. If in doubt and you have one, please bring one that you know fits the person. This is a safety issue.

What's with the NO SHOES policy?

We require that everyone is barefoot while on the yacht for two reasons. First, it is safer. The boat moves and leans and people simply have better footing with bare feet. Second, we get a lot of people on the yacht each year and in order to minimize wear and tear, we do not allow ANY TYPE of shoes to be worn on board. And that is correct, we do not even allow yachting or deck shoes on board. If you have a medical issue for which this would cause a problem, please bring it to our attention prior to the cruise and we will consider the specifics of your situation. Also, socks are dangerous since they typically have no grip, so they come off also.

Is there a bathroom on board?

In fact, there are two bathrooms (or “heads” in nautical terms) on board.

What about music?

We have a sound system both inside and outside the yacht. We also have about 3,500 Spotify (tm) tracks downloaded to a tablet representing some 28 genres from which you can select. Or, if you have your own music, you are welcome to plug into our stereo.

Is there a safe place to store my valuables?

While Sail Austin assumes NO RESPONSIBILITY for your valuables, there is an on-board safe where valuables may be locked up during the cruise. Please see the Captain if you would like to use this convenience. There is no charge for this service.

What things do and do not come with the charter fee?

The charter fee includes:

  • bottled water and
  • light snacks including crackers, chips and cookies.
  • complimentary photography - we are the only ones on the lake who do this!

The charter does NOT include:

  • ice (although you may request to have it ready on board for a fee)
  • food and drinks other than listed above, unless you arrange for us to cater the sail
  • paper plates and cups
  • towels
  • other personal items (sunscreen, hats, etc - BTW, floppy hats are not the best idea - they simply do not stay on in a breeze and they end up lost in the lake)

Is smoking permitted on board?

NO.

Some guests have smoked in the water while we have been anchored in a cove. However, smoking is NEVER permitted on board. That includes sitting on the very back of the boat, and, that also includes electronic cigarettes. So, in respect to the crew and the yacht, please do not ask. The answer will be NO.

Do you have blankets on board for cooler weather?

Yes, we have a few that guests may use.

Is the yacht handicap accessible?

In general, the answer is no. Each passenger must be able to board the vessel on their own which is comprised of climbing about 5 steps and then stepping across a small space onto the deck of the yacht. We have had a few guests who were carried onto the yacht by someone in their party. Once aboard they are able to sit in the cockpit and enjoy the cruise. However, each situation requires the agreement of the Captain after reviewing the abilities of the passengers involved. The Captain has the final decision on appropriateness of a person being aboard given that person's limitations.

The Cruise

How many guests can I bring with me?

Your charter fee is based on a maximum of ten (10) people total in your group. If you exceed that number, an additional fee of ten percent (10%) of the Basic Charter Fee per person will be added.

Who will be on board the boat?

When you charter the yacht  privately for your group, only the Captain, possibly one crew member (depending on the needs of the charter), and the members of your party will be on board. You have the vessel completely to yourselves.  We do also offer weekly sunset sails where passengers can individually pay to go on a sunset sail.  When that is the case, you will be sharing the yacht with others who are doing the same depending on how many sign up for that day's sail.

What will we do on our cruise?

The itinerary of the cruise is up to you. We can sail the entire time, or motor, or anchor and swim. You can watch the sunset or float and enjoy drinks and visit with your friends. It is completely your choice. Usually our charter groups choose a mix of these options. You and your guests make the decision. Please take a look at our Typical Charter Experience page.

What if I decide, on the day of the charter, to delay or cancel after I have paid the charter fee?

Weather is never guaranteed! Mother nature has her own mind and we can not control her. Also, you may have other reasons out of our control for needing or wanting to either delay or cancel your cruise.  If the charter is cancelled by the Chartering Party (you) on the day of the charter, then the full Charter Fee will be forfeited. If we are able to re-book the charter to another party, we will be happy to apply your charter fee to a future cruise - less a $100 charge for the rescheduling. Either way, the charter will be charged on the original sail date as scheduled at the full (credit) rate.

What if the Captain cancels the cruise because of weather or safety issues?

The Captain has the final decision on whether or not it is safe to cruise. If the Captain decides it is not prudent to sail, then all fees will be refunded or you may apply them to a future cruise. The choice is yours.

What happens if I think the weather is questionable?

THEN WE SUGGEST YOU STOP WATCHING THE WEATHER FORECASTS!! First, we can never guarantee the weather! And forget weather forecasts! They change many times a day. Mother Nature has her own mind and so we never know what she will provide. The only weather that will definitely cancel a cruise is lightning. So, you can count on the yacht leaving the dock when your cruise is scheduled. We typically do not really look at the forecast until the last few hours before a cruise simply because Texas weather changes too quickly. Having stated that as our policy, we do not want our guests to be unhappy with their charters. If WE believe the weather is sufficiently bad to warrant offering cancellation without charge, we will make that offer. But, we do not do that simply because it is overcast or their is a 75% chance of rain. We use our judgement based on our experience. The vast majority of time the cruise will sail.

What about the photography?

Our primary reason for doing the photography is to differentiate our services from those of our competitors by providing something unique that they do not provide. We want you to leave with a memory of your experience with us. And, candidly, we hope it will encourage you to write a review about your experience which we always work hard to ensure is wonderful for each passenger. Along with the link to the photography which we send you after your cruise, we send you links to some of the key websites which list our services in order to facilitate your writing a review. If you choose to do so, we will love you forever!! If you have anything constructive to share with us about how we might improve our services, please let us know directly so that we may have the opportunity to assess it and improve our services for customers in the future - including you when you return!

Administrative Arrangements

What is required to guarantee your charter date and time?

Your credit card, acceptance of a Google Calendar Invitation, plus the signed Charter Agreement guarantees your charter reservation. All credit card information must be provided by telephone. Please call 817.909.2378 or we will call you after you submit a reservation request on this web site.

What are the costs and when do they have to be paid?

To hold a charter date, you can simply provide a credit card, accept our Google Calendar invitation, and email a photo of your signed Charter Agreement. Even if you are planning to pay cash to take advantage of the cash discount, a credit card is required as guarantee of payment for the charter and for any damages to the boat. Beginning 45 days prior to the charter date you become fully responsible for the Total Charter Fee. If the charter reservation is made within 45 days of the charter date, the charter fee is committed in full at the time of the reservation. Cancellations or changes to the reservation date made prior to the 45 day non-cancellation period will be charged a $100 fee.

What forms of payment do you accept?

We accept credit cards or cash. We do have the ability to process a credit card at the boat. Isn’t technology great?! But if you want to save, you do earn a 4% discount if you pay in cash!

What documents must be signed?

There is a 2 page Charter Agreement which must be signed by the person who is responsible for the charter party (typically the one who makes the reservation). Additionally, when you and your guests arrive at the yacht, each person in the group must sign a Hold Harmless Agreement prior to boarding.  Minors, under the age of eighteen, must be signed for by their parent or legal guardian.

What if we are having a good time and want to extend our cruise?

As long as there is not a previously scheduled charter following yours on the same day, you are welcome to extend the cruise at the standard hourly rate. Just let the Captain know what you would like to do.

What about tipping?

Our responsibility is to provide the best service and experience and to make this a memorable event for you and your guests. That is our commitment as a result of you paying the charter fee. Gratuities beyond the cost of the charter are never expected, but are certainly always greatly appreciated!

What are the cancellation and refund policies?

If the cruise is cancelled more than forty-five (45) days prior to the charter date, all charter fees are refunded less a $100 cancellation fee. No refunds are provided within forty-five (45) days of the charter date. However, if the charter is more than fourteen (14) days out, we will reschedule the charter for a fee of $100. Please note that once you ACCEPT the calendar invitation which we send to confirm your acceptance of the charter and the charter terms, you are committing to a minimum charge of $100 and authorizing us to charge your credit card for at least that amount regardless of why you might decide to cancel or change your charter date. If you do not agree with that, do not accept the calendar invitation.

What is the Frequent Floater program and how does it work?

We LOVE our repeat guests! So, in order to reward them, we offer the opportunity to freeze our charter rates for those who come back for more sailing fun with us. As long as you charter 1 time anytime within the calendar year (365 succeeding days) following your last charter, your charter rate will not change....ever ! So, just keep it rolling and we will keep you sailing! That's our way of thanking you for your continued business.

Getting To The Boat

What are the transportation options?

Our locations are approximately 35-45 minutes from downtown depending on your selected departure point. Most charter guests who do not have cars use either a car service like ExecuCar or Ride Austin. Others have hired large limos and party buses like 4Leaf Limo to carry groups of 10 or more. When getting quotes, give them the address of your sailing location - either our South Shore location at 1499 Graveyard Point Road, Lakeway, TX 78734 - or our North Shore location at 6612 Lantern View Drive, Jonestown, TX 78645. If you do use something like Ride Austin, please make sure you have arrangements to be picked up at the end of the charter. We recommend that you discuss those arrangements with us so that we are sure to have you back to your pick up location on time. Also, some services like 4Leaf Limo will give you a 15% discount if you mention that you were referred by Sail Austin.

This all sounds GREAT! What are the directions to the yacht?

Click here to see the detailed directions to either our South Shore or our North Shore location.

Food & Drinks

Are there any restrictions on foods and wines?

No red wine or red-dyed liquids (e.g. Big Red, cranberry juice) or red colored foods are permitted on board. These will stain the boat if spilled. And, because sailboats lean when the wind is good, food and drinks do get spilled!

Can we bring alcohol on the cruise?

Feel free to bring whatever you want to drink with the exception of red wine or anything which has red dye in it (e.g. Big Red, cranberry juice, etc). This includes beer and hard liquor.

What about an ice chest?

It is fine to bring 1 or even 2 ice chests. Smaller ice chests are preferable for handling up and down the stairs of the boat. The maximum size of ice chest is limited to 36 quart. There is a large ice chest secured on the deck which you can use. Most guests transfer their drinks into that chest to have them readily available.

Are food and drinks provided?

Sail Austin Charters provides bottled water and light snacks usually including packaged chips, cookies, crackers and breakfast bars as part of the charter. However, we will be pleased to provide full catering service for your cruise. Simply let our staff know what your preferred food and drink selections are and we will provide a quote for a full service cruise. Otherwise, if you prefer to bring your own food and beverages, you are welcome to do so. Alternatively, there are restaurants located on the water where we can pull in and eat if that is your preference. Restaurants currently available on the water include Ernie's On The LakeThe Gnarly Gar,Sundancer Grill, and The Grill At Rough Hollow.

Can I grill food on board?

Grilling is only available for overnight charters. However, you can prepare food on the stove, in the oven or microwave.

What about glass vs. cans?

Your choice.  Just remember that all containers must come home with us. No trash may end up in the water! We care about Lake Travis and the environment and want to make sure we maintain the quality of our waters.