About COVID-19 & Our Kayak Tours
Sea Quest had a Healthy 2020 with No Illness Among Guests & Guides.
We were granted permission to operate kayak tours by Washington State, the CDC, and the Federal Government on June 1, 2020. This permission has been continuous into 2021. We expected that being outdoors in warm weather would suppress transmission of the COVID virus last year – and it did. Not a single guest or guide reported any symptoms or a positive COVID test in 2020. Open marine waters and sunny beaches are a naturally safe environment during a pandemic. By taking some simple health precautions, visiting San Juan Island in 2021 will be both fun and safe!
Sea Quest is Committed to Keeping Staff and Guests Healthy and Safe.
We will continue to follow all safety and best practice guidelines recommended by the government and health organizations. We want to ensure that our guests and staff feel safe when joining or leading any of our activities.
Sea kayak tours are an excellent choice of recreational activity during the pandemic for several reasons, starting with fresh air. Scientific studies have shown that viruses have difficulty spreading in the outdoors. Naturally, our beautiful island beaches are continuously cleansed by fresh sea breezes and will supply the sweetest and cleanest air you will have the pleasure of breathing all year!
The outdoor environment of our kayak trips also provides abundant ultra-violet light. UV rays destroy viruses and bacteria very effectively. And the reflective surfaces of the sea and beach amplifies this sterilizing effect. The summer months provide the highest levels of UV spectrum, and even on cloudy days they continue to do their cleansing work.
So while the sun warms your skin’s complexion into a healthy glow, its also killing all the nasty things that can cause illness! Here’s a little known survival tip: UV light is so effective at sterilizing water, you can use it as a life-saving method of purifying your drinking water. If you don’t have a filter or iodine, just fill up a clear container with contaminated water, place it in the sun for six hours, and then drink up!
Finally, sea kayaking lends itself well to physical distancing requirements, too. Even while sharing a tandem kayak you can maintain six feet of separation. The only time we find keeping separated to be difficult is during the courtesy van ride to the beach. Depending on the beaches we use for your kayak tour, it can take between 5 and 25 minutes for transport. Our vans are cleaned between each tour and masks or facial coverings will provide excellent protection during these brief periods. We keep all the windows open during the drive to keep fresh air strongly circulating.
If you are uncomfortable using our courtesy vans, you must arrange your own transportation to the beach. On some tours you can drive yourself and park at the beach. However, some one-day tours, and the majority of multi-day camping tours, use a beach that prohibits all parking. This means you must rely on a taxi or friend to drop you off and then depart with the vehicle. We often do not know if we will use this beach until moments before departure, so anyone planning their own transportation should rule out self-driving their own vehicle and reserve a taxi in advance.
You should bring several facial coverings for your travels to the San Juan Islands and Washington state. Be aware that local laws make it mandatory to wear a mask when inside a public building, on a ferry, and whenever you are closer than 6 feet from a non-family member. These rules remain in effect until further notice. For greater comfort and safety, you should alternate your masks daily and wash them in soapy water or bleach after each day’s use. Since masks can be lost or damaged, you should bring extras to keep yourself and others near you safe. Bandanas and scarves will suffice and facial coverings can be easily made from a variety of materials you may have on hand but need to include two layers of cloth to be effective.
Unfortunately, you won’t be allowed to participate in a kayak tour or access the amenities of Friday Harbor if you fail to bring a mask. We are required by law to deny service to anyone who refuses to wear a facial covering during the shuttle rides to/from the beach, or the rare moments when we can’t keep physically separated between rides. Unfortunately, there will be no refunds granted to those that are unwilling to comply with these laws. Masks and hand sanitizer should be at the top of your trip checklist! We are also required to screen out anyone with a fever or who has any of the symptoms of COVID.
Washington state is also currently requiring travelers to bring their own pens for signing documents and asked us to remove pens from our clipboards! We suggest you sign your waiver release online before your tour. Hand sanitizer should prove handy during your travels for various similar reasons.
We hope the rules about masks are eased at some point in 2021, and we will provide updates here and via email to all guests with reservations. The pandemic situation is fluid and subject to change quickly!
Don’t hesitate to email us from our Contact page or call us at 360-378-5767. We are here to help you with your vacation planning in any way possible.
Your checklist was great and my husband was given complete and polite answers both times he phoned with additional questions. We were surprised at how stable our kayaks were as it was our first experience with this sport. We stayed perfectly dry too. Not only in the kayaks but also in our tent when it rained. The guide was outstanding…full of information about everything we saw, great sense of humor, articulate, and conscientious about everyone’s safety. This was the most fun and exciting experience our family remembers from any vacation. We’ve been raving to everyone about it. We plan to return on a longer sea kayaking trip next year! Our heartfelt thanks to you. Judy Fessenden, Camarillo, CA
COVID-19 FAQ: QUESTIONS ABOUT OUR SEA KAYAKING TOURS DURING THE PANDEMIC
CLICK ON ANY OF THE QUESTIONS BELOW TO READ THE ANSWER!
- At times, yes. And you must supply your own. Please bring several masks/facial coverings as you should have a few available in case of loss or damage while traveling.
- Washington state and San Juan County require masks/facial coverings to be worn inside all structures and buildings. Any time you are closer than 6 feet to someone unrelated you are required to wear a mask. During our tours, you must wear a mask inside the courtesy van or public transportation vehicle or whenever you are closer than 6 feet to someone unrelated. Our guides will also be following this requirement.
- We are required to deny service to anyone that does not comply with this law. No trip fees will be refunded if this occurs so either bring masks or make a facial covering that includes at least two cloth layers from a bandana, t-shirt, etc.
- We have always operated with small groups and will continue to do so. If you do not want to participate with others, you can request a private trip, although there is additional cost for this.
- Maintaining physical distancing will be easy as we operate on the sea and open beaches. The only time we must be close together is during courtesy van transportation to/from the launch site. You can opt to use a taxi at your own cost or have a friend drop you off. One of our launch beaches does not allow parking, so do not plan on self-driving and parking for the duration of your tour!
- Our tandem kayak cockpits are perfectly designed so that both paddlers are 6 feet apart from each other.
- While in our courtesy vans you must wear a facial covering or mask and you are responsible for providing this personal protection. Summer weather allows us to keep the windows wide open for full flow of fresh air!
- We strongly recommend bringing hand sanitizer for travels and that you carry it during your kayak tour. Our guides will carry their own and use it frequently.
- In addition to regular cleaning practices already in place, we will disinfect our courtesy van after each group’s use. All kayaking equipment and personally worn gear will be cleaned and sanitized, too.
- Camping kayak tours will have increased sanitation standards for cooking in the field on top of the strict protocols already in place.
- Staff will be required to stay home if they exhibit symptoms or are known to have had close contact with a person who has COVID within a 14-day period.
- We are required by law to deny service to any guest exhibiting coronavirus symptoms or are known to have had close contact with a person who has COVID within a 14-day period prior to the kayak tour.
- If a staff member or guest develops symptoms during a tour, we will isolate and evaluate the situation for evacuation if possible.
Gift cards are available for purchase online and do not expire. Please visit our website for details on purchasing gift cards. We appreciate your support.
- Please protect your vacation investment by purchasing travel insurance. We cannot insure your health or make exceptions to our refund policy. If a new government quarantine or economic shutdown is ordered for your trip date, we will reschedule your trip to a future date without a fee. However, dates for rescheduling may be complicated by space availability.
- The typical low-cost travel insurance policy only provides coverage if you get ill and does not help travelers affected by pandemic travel restrictions. You may need to obtain a premium policy for full coverage during a pandemic. Before you purchase travel insurance, make sure you select a plan that provides coverage for pandemic restrictions or quarantine. Policies differ in details, even within the same insurance company, so find a policy that includes terms such as “Trip Cancellation for Any Reason”. Be sure the policy allows you to change the dates of insurance coverage if the pandemic forces you to re-book new kayak tour dates.
We use information from the Center for Disease Control, World Health Organization, and Department of Health to give us the most accurate information on Coronavirus and COVID-19.
The following are helpful links on COVID-19 for planning and considering your trip to Washington State
- CDC: Home Page (Center for Disease Control & Prevention)
- CDC: COVID-19 for Travelers
- CDC: FAQ for Travelers
- WHO: Home Page (World Health Organization)
- WHO: Coronavirus Travel Advice
- WHO: Recommendations for International Traffic during COVID-19 outbreak
- U.S. Department of State: International Travel
- Washington State Department of Health: Coronavirus Emergency