COVID-19 FAQ

COVID-19 FAQ

GENERAL

Is PacWhale Eco-Adventures currently open for business?

Our PacWhale Eco-Adventures cruises and ecotours have resumed with an abbreviated schedule and safety protocols in place that strictly adhere to state- and CDC-mandated guidelines to ensure the health and well-being of all guests and vessels staff. Both our Lahaina and Ma’alaea retail stores are now open in a limited capacity that allows us to enforce safety protocols and physical distancing between customers as well as staff.

What can I do to support PacWhale Eco-Adventures?

You can support us by booking a trip or purchasing a gift card directly from our website. With Hawai‘i’s pre-arrival COVID-19 requirements now implemented for visitors to the state, PacWhale Eco-Adventures has expanded its tour and cruise offerings effective Oct. 19, 2020.  In addition, travelers who have negative COVID-19 tests prior to arriving on island and agree to a voluntary post-COVID-19 test 48 to 72 hours after arriving in Maui County will receive a special Kama‘aina First Mahalo Card worth 25% off all PacWhale Eco-Adventures’ trips. The card is valid throughout each individual’s stay in Maui County and will expire upon the date of said individual’s departure. Visit www.kamaainafirst.com for more information.

As a social enterprise, PacWhale Eco-Adventures primary purpose is to fund and support Pacific Whale Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to protecting the ocean through science and advocacy and inspiring environmental stewardship. Your tax-deductible donation to PWF allows this important work to continue. Make a donation and/or learn more about PWF’s programs and mission at pacificwhale.org.

Can I buy out the whole boat for a private trip?

Absolutely! Now that we have reopened in accordance with state and local laws and orders and are working closely with governmental agencies to provide a safe venue for our guests, we would love to provide an intimate excursion for you and your guests. We encourage you to familiarize yourself with the state-mandated COVID-19 guidelines and protocols by visiting www.hawaiicovid19.com. To take advantage of this unique opportunity, book  a private charter or our new Private Tour Shared Experience by calling 808-650-7223.

What cleaning measures are you taking on your vessels, retail and check-in locations?

I have allergies that cause me to cough and sneeze occasionally. Can I still join an ecotour?

For the comfort of our passengers in these unprecedented times, we ask that if you are experiencing a persistent cough or sneezing for any reason (beyond a quick cough to clear your throat) that you DO NOT join any group setting, including our tours and cruises.  We understand that it is allergy season, but given the heightened sensitivity to common allergy symptoms, we ask that you consider booking when pollen is not so prevalent or consider booking a private charter.

Are you going to take my temperature?

While our primary concern is keeping our passengers, captains and crew as safe as possible, we realize that running a temperature doesn’t mean you have COVID-19 and, conversely, a person can be a coronavirus carrier without an elevated temperature. We strongly advise conducting at-home health and temperature checks in the days leading up to the trip. As a precaution, all guests will have their temperature taken using a digital “no touch” thermometer prior to boarding. Anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or above will not be allowed to board the boat.

With all these guidelines and restrictions, is this trip still going to be fun?

Are you kidding? It’ll be even more fun, given the past several months. Imagine breathing in fresh ocean air, snorkeling in pristine waters or relaxing on a sunset cruise. Plus, it’s an opportunity to enjoy our spacious, comfortable boats and expert crew with a smaller number of people onboard as our naturalists intimately share their passion for ocean conservation. As we all adjust to a new way of doing things, it’s even more important to find joy where you can. And we’re confident you’ll find that with us. It’s also a chance to feel good about your purchase, which keeps our crew employed during this difficult time and funds Pacific Whale Foundation through the social enterprise. With your continued support, we’ll be ready and here for you as things return to normal.

TRAVEL

Is Hawaii  safe for me and my family?

Rest assured that we are working closely with state, county and CDC safety requirements to ensure that our guests enjoy only the safest environment and experience possible as we collectively navigate the pandemic. All travelers to the Islands should follow the state’s and CDC’s guidelines for individuals. You can familiarize yourself with these guidelines by visiting www.hawaiicovid19.com.

What is the State of Hawaii Safe Travels (pre-travel) testing program and how do I participate?

On Oct. 15, 2020, the state of Hawaii introduced the Safe Travels testing program. Domestic arrivals and arrivals from Japan (effective Nov. 6, 2020) who present a negative COVID-19 Nucleic Acid Amplification Test (NAAT) from a certified Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) lab from TRUSTED TESTING AND TRAVEL PARTNERS, within 72 hours prior to departing onthe final leg of their trip to Hawaii, will have enhanced entry. All others will be required to quarantine for 14days. Travelers are encouraged to register on the Safe Travels website. Visit  www.hawaiicovid19.com for more information.

What is the latest Hawaii Covid-19 news?

You can check for the most up-to-date information HERE.

How can I help keep island residents safe? 

Normally, we accept cancellations 48 hours prior to the scheduled date of your trip. Due to the current health crisis, we will consider late cancellations related to the COVID-19  pandemic, i.e. quarantine, isolation or flu-like symptoms.  As we do this in good faith, we deeply appreciate the earliest cancellationnotice possible.

REFUNDS

What is your cancellation policy? 

Normally, we accept cancellations 48 hours prior to the scheduled date of your trip. Due to the current health crisis, we will consider late cancellations related to the COVID-19  pandemic, i.e. quarantine, isolation or flu-like symptoms.  As we do this in good faith, we deeply appreciate the earliest cancellation notice possible.

What if I start feeling sick a week or a few days before the trip?

Call us and let’s chat. Keeping our passengers, captains and crew safe is our No. 1 priority, without compromise. Due to current extenuating circumstances, we are extremely flexible when considering refund requests.

I took my temperature and exceeded the 100.4 threshold required for joining the tour. Can I get a refund?

We ask our guests to conduct their own health and temperature checks prior to arriving, however, if you are running a temperature, even as late as the morning of the trip, please call us for a full refund. Again, we ask that you keep very close tabs on your own health and DO NOT COME IF YOU ARE SICK.

AT THE OFFICE

Is your office open? 

Yes. Our office is currently open by appointment only. We’re also available via email or phone if you’d like to make a reservation or if you have any questions.  Our email is [email protected] and our number is 808-650-7223.

Are your retail shops open to buy PacWhale swag? 

Our Lahaina  and Ma‘alaea Ocean Stores are open to the public.  In order to maintain required physical distancing and keep everyone safe, we may limit the number of guests in our retail stores. We appreciate your patience if you’re asked to wait until other shoppers have completed their shopping experience before entering the store.  Please remember that you can also shop remotely via our newly designed e-commerce site at store.pacificwhale.org.

What is an e-waiver, and why do I need to sign it? 

The new e-waiver will replace the previous physical check-in procedure. Per USCG carriage requirements and State contact tracing requirements, we are required to keep a manifest of all guests on our vessel(s) and to allow contact tracing in the event of possible COVID-19 exposure while on board. For this purpose, we now require contact information on our waivers. In addition, your confirmation email will also include our policies regarding COVID-19 and identify possible risks should you choose to join us on an Eco-tour.  Upon booking, we will send an email link for the e-waiver to the email address on file. The person who booked the reservation is responsible to forward a waiver for each adult in their party to complete. As this is a new system, we thank you in advance for your patience.

How do I check in, and can I check in early? 

To avoid large gatherings in our retail locations, we are asking guests to help by signing our required waivers using our new e-waivers prior to arriving. At the time of your booking, we’ll send you a link where you can access and sign the waiver, followed by a reminder 24 hours prior to your tour if the waiver hasn’t been signed. Once we receive the waiver, we’ll send instructions on where to meet the crew. Please be easily accessible by phone the day of the excursion in the event we need to contact you.

I signed the e-waiver. Do I need to do anything else to check in? 

The number of people allowed onboard varies with each boat and trip type. Our current policy requires a minimum separation of six feet between groups.  Most of our vessels are 65-foot double deck catamarans, which easily accommodates physical distancing while our guests enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride.  Generally, our tours will be operating at 50% capacity or less.

ON THE BOAT

How many people will be on the boat? 

The number of people allowed onboard varies with each boat and trip type. Our current policy requires a minimum separation of six feet between groups.  Most of our vessels are 65-foot double deck catamarans, which easily accommodates physical distancing while our guests enjoy a smooth, comfortable ride.  Generally, our tours will be operating at 50% capacity or less.

What is your policy on bringing your own gear vs. using the gear provided? 

Our operation has three options for your convenience: Bring, Borrow or Buy gear. We are confident in our sanitization practices onboard and will continue to offer our gear free of charge to use while onboard. Of course, you’re always welcome to bring your own gear. We also sell our industry-leading silicone masks and purge snorkels in our store and offer a 25% discount with every excursion purchase.

How is the gear sanitized? 

Following strict adherence to the manufacturer’s specifications, we submerge all masks and snorkels in commercial-grade sanitization solution. Staff members wearing gloves remove the equipment, let it dry, then safely store it. Gloves are used throughout the entire process of the guest receiving the equipment.

Can I go inside the main cabin onboard? 

Due to physical distancing requirements, we are asking all passengers not seated in the main cabin to use this area sparingly, primarily when/if you need to use the head (restroom). Our crew members will be assisting you with any needed bar and food service to help maintain physical distancing.

Do I need to wear a mask? 

We are currently requiring face-coverings for all guests throughout the tour boarding process and while onboard our vessels, as well as in our retail stores.

A friendly reminder, to help avoid COVID-19 and avoid a fine by local authorities, wear a mask or facial covering while in public. Facial coverings are required in Maui County. For more information, visit Mauicounty.gov and review the updated County of Maui Public Health Emergency Proclamation, amended October 23, 2020.

PERMITTED MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS: Rule 5 of the County of Maui, Public Health Emergency Proclamation, amended on October 23, 2020 defines permitted masks or facial coverings as masks that completely cover the nose and mouth, have two or more layers of washable breathable fabric, and fit snugly against the sides of your face without gaps. Pleated, multi-layer masks are allowed.

UNPERMITTED MASKS OR FACIAL COVERINGS: Rule 5 of the County of Maui, Public Health Emergency Proclamation, amended on October 23, 2020 defines unpermitted masks or facial coverings as masks with exposed external valves, neck gaiters, bandanas and face shields without permitted mask underneath

We also offer approved PacWhale souvenir masks for sale in our retail stores.

Will deckhands be wearing face-coverings? 

Yes, deckhands are required to wear face-coverings unless a safety concern dictates otherwise (i.e., needs to have clearer vocal communication in order to keep folks safe) or performing duties that require public speaking or in-water activities. During these times, our crew will maintain physical distancing of at least six feet from any other employee or guest.

Will captains be wearing face-coverings? 

Captains are required to wear face-coverings, but due to the nature of their duties (frequent radio and loudspeaker use that require clear vocal communications), captains may remove their face-coverings for these communications.

How can I tip the deckhand without shaking their hand? 

There will be a jar on each boat if you’d like to tip your crew. If you prefer to leave a tip by card, you can do this on the tour or inform the office – we can help.  Be sure to remember the tour and boat name so we get this to the appropriate crew.

Can I smoke onboard?

In 2006, the Hawaiʻi State Legislature passed sweeping laws under HRS328J expanding the scope of smoke-free prohibitions in various enclosed and partially enclosed areas. Effective January 1, 2016 the prohibition now includes electronic smoking devices also known as e-cigarettes. Furthermore, Maui County parks and beaches are also smoke free. [Maui County Code 13.040.20 amended by Ord 4120]. To learn more about Hawai`i’s Smoke Free Environment click HERE (include: https://health.hawaii.gov/tobacco/home/laws/)

I want to go but would rather not touch items handled by other guests/staff during the tour. What can I do?

For guests who prefer a no-touch tour, we have modified our policies to allow outside food and sealed non-alcoholic canned drinks on board. Guests may also bring their own snorkeling equipment, cups and floatation devices. Per Maui County Liquor Commission rules, we will check all coolers prior to boarding for alcohol to prevent outside alcohol from being consumed on the premises and any container that is used for alcohol may not leave the premises.

AFTER THE TRIP

Are your retail stores still offering a free gift after each tour?

Yes, our retail stores are ready to serve you and, as always, have a free gift (our way of saying “mahalo” to our guests) and will be providing these to you with gloved hands.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT! 

IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL US AT 808-650-7223.

THANK YOU ALL FOR YOUR SUPPORT!

IF YOU HAVE FURTHER QUESTIONS, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CALL US AT (808) 249-8811

Hawaii Visitor Update

Aloha, We Are Open!  Our PacWhale Eco-Adventures are open for booking as we welcome visitors back to Maui.  Quarantine restrictions were lifted on Oct. 15th for those following the state’s pre-arrival COVID-19 testing requirements.

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