How long is the boat ride to
Our boats are moored on the manatee refuge. This means no
long boat rides to your swim destination. You can't get any
closer than we are. This is especially important as it does
not take away from your swim time.
Do you have
an In Water Manatee Tour Guide?
Our US Coast Guard Licensed Master Captain and in water
personal Manatee Tour guide will be in the water to assist
you and your group, or family, from the beginning of your
manatee swim tour to the end, ensuring that you have a
pleasant, safe, and educational experience, and to assure
that the manatees are given the respect that they deserve as
we are a guest in their home. They also will be taking
pictures of your manatee experience both on the boat and in
any hidden fees?
Our tour price includes everything you need to swim with the
manatees. Wetsuit, Mask, Snorkel, and Fins are all included
in the advertised tour price. No Hidden Fees or upcharges
for gear! We do not charge additional fees for parking, or
upcharge for gas. A Picture CD of your snorkel with
manatee’s tour is optional to purchase at the end of your
adventure. CD's are just $16.95 and include all of the
pictures taken on your manatee tour.
Do you have
a wetsuit that will fit me?
We have wetsuits for both Children and Adults and in sizes
up to 5x. We do require that you wear a wetsuit when you
snorkel with the manatees as they help you stay warm,
buoyant, and assist you in keeping your feet near the top of
the water and not dangling, which often will stir up the
bottom and scare the manatees. You of course can choose to
bring your own gear if you would feel more comfortable. If
bringing your own gear, please remember that we are only
snorkeling in the shallow water, not diving, so advanced
diving gear is not necessary.
Where do we
We meet at our full service swim with the manatees tour and
educational facility where you will check in and enjoy a cup of
complimentary coffee or hot chocolate. We
will sit down to watch a short video on how to swim with the
manatees, then gear up for your manatee tour in our climate
controlled changing rooms. Once your swim with the manatees
tour is over, and you exit the water, you may change
immediately in our on-board changing room, or change in the
comforts of our dressing rooms when you return to prepare
for your trip back home.
boats covered, do they have bathrooms?
All of our boats are equipped with complete roof overs and
have clear vinyl glass enclosures that can be rolled down
during inclement weather. These features make for a
comfortable ride to and from the swim areas, especially
during cold winter days and during periods of rainy weather.
Each boat is also equipped with a curtained privacy area
with a flushable porta-potty. This curtained area can also
be used as a changing room for those who wish to change into
dry clothing for the short ride back to the dock.
How long is
the Manatee Swim Tour?
Our swim with manatee tours are approximately 3 hours
starting from the time the boat pulls away from the dock
until it returns. The time spent at our facility gearing up
and receiving instruction of the dos and don’ts of swimming
with the manatees does not take away from your time in the
water. Your swim with manatees tour arrival time at either
6:15 AM or 9:15 AM includes the additional time necessary to
change into your wetsuit and prepare for your manatee tour.
It is most important that you arrive at least 5 -10 minutes
early, and on time, as we can’t deviate from our scheduled
manatee tour times. Don't miss the boat ... please arrive
offer group discounts?
Yes, we offer a ten percent (10%) discount on groups of 10
or more people. Please contact us by phone to reserve
discounted group tours. You can reach us daily from 6 AM EST
until 8 PM EST by calling 877-581-8401.
your cancellation Policy?
We require five (5) days advance notification if you can't
make your scheduled tour reservation. This cancellation
policy allows us time to re-sell any seats left vacant and
helps us keep our prices reasonable for you. We pre-charge
all credit card reservations for the cost of the tour and do
not refund short-notice cancellations. This is consistent
with airline, car rental agency, hotel policies and other
swim with the manatees tour companies. Our boats are US
Coast Guard certified for a certain number of passengers,
once our boats are full then we are forced to turn others
way. Our captains are scheduled according to the number of
seats we have reserved. We take reservations so that you
will be guaranteed to have a seat available on our boat and
we would appreciate it if you make the same commitment to
arrive on time, and to keep your reservations. We can't hold
a boat for late arrivals, as this means those who did arrive
on time would have to wait, and would also make our other
scheduled tours depart at a later time than scheduled.
any age limits?
Children 2 years old and up to seniors of all ages are
welcome to swim with the manatees. You should be comfortable
in the water, and parents must stay close to their children
at all times for safety, and to help them remain quiet.
Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an
adult. Remember, wearing a wetsuit not only helps to keep
you warm, but also helps you to stay buoyant. We also carry
inflatable snorkel vests and foam swim noodles on our boats
for those who wish to have a little extra buoyancy. Even
though you are invited to swim with the manatees, we
actually just float on top of the water and snorkel with
manatees which does not require much actual swimming.
rules that we follow when we snorkel with the manatees?
Yes, manatees are protected under both the Endangered
Species Act, and the Marine Mammal Protection Act. Both the
State of Florida and the U.S. Federal Government oversee the
protection of the manatee. The Florida Fish & Wildlife
Commission (FWC) and the United States Fish & Wildlife
Service (USFWS) have laws in place to ensure the safety of
the manatees. These laws are strictly enforced and must be
followed by everyone who enters the water. Upon arrival to
our center we will have you watch a movie covering the do’s
and don’ts, and will go over the rules with you so that you
are fully aware of the guidelines when you swim with the
manatees. You can view these rules by
manatees will we see?
Please remember that manatees are an endangered species and
that our tours are conducted in their own natural
environment. The manatees are not contained to any specific
area of the refuge and are free to come and go as they
please. No two days are ever the same. Weather, tidal
influences and time of year affect the conditions daily and
it can never be predicted just how many manatees you will
see. During the colder winter months we have the largest
concentration of manatees however, because we have a unique
eco system which is a prime habitat for manatees, we have a
resident population that
stay with us year round. These resident
of manatees that make Crystal River their yearlong home are
the ones that we are able to swim with during the warmer
people do you take on your boats?
Our boats are US Coast Guard Certified, inspected, and
stability tested for your safety and are designed to
comfortably carry anywhere from 6 to 14 swimmers and
observers. Some tour companies advertise that they only take
small groups because it makes for a more personal tour.
Remember, when tour companies advertise more private or
personal tours, that you can be the only ones on the boat
BUT not the only ones in the water. Their boats visit the
same areas as ours and the same as other tour companies.
While we do our best to keep you from the crowds it is not
always possible especially during busy holiday’s and holiday
weekends. Remember we go where the manatees go. Our boats
simply transport you to those areas. The boat ride is not
what makes the tour it is the guide’s knowledge of the
manatees and their habits and the comfort and friendliness
provided by the staff and facility that you tour with. We do
always recommend the 6:15 AM tour to avoid the largest
crowds in the water and avoid the other tour companies that
get a later start as well as recreational watercraft. The
early tour simply beats the crowds and gets you in and out
while the refuge is at its quietest and the manatees are
still in their most relaxed state.
River Ventures Manatee Tour Center located?
River Ventures is located in the Town of Crystal River, on
the west coast of Florida known as the nature coast, home of
the manatee. We are approximately 1 hour north of the Tampa
International Airport and approximately 1 ½ hours northwest
of Orlando. For further driving directions and approximate
driving time click on our
link and enter the address that you will be coming from.
Can I touch
Yes, you are allowed to touch the manatees however you can
only do so with one open hand. No bear Hugs. Remember we are
a guest in the endangered manatees home. It is a privilege
to be able to view just one of these gentle and curious
animals in the wild. By following the rules that we cover
with you we can all insure that this privilege will be
shared with future generations?
Can I ride
on the boat and not swim?
Yes! We always welcome observers. You can often see the
manatees from the boat and sometimes they get close enough
to the boat that you can reach down and touch them. Bring
your cameras and binoculars and enjoy the surroundings of
Because we are on the coast, storms will often move through
quickly. Rarely do we ever have to cancel tours due to
weather however there are times when we will delay your
departure waiting for the stormy
weather to pass through. In the event of a delay, your tour
will be extended to insure that you receive the full length
that you paid for. Our boats are equipped with roof overs
and vinyl glass enclosures to protect you and your
belongings from the elements as you travel to and from the
areas where you will swim.
Crystal River Manatee Tours Conducted 7 Days a Week Year Around!
(Closed Thanksgiving & Christmas)
Reservations in advance are highly recommended.
Call or Click the Link below to Book Your Tour Today!
View Our Cancellation
Ventures Manatee Tour Center
498 S.E. Kings Bay Drive
Crystal River, FL 34429