Q:What can I expect?
A: This is the most asked question. I am proud of the way the boat is part thrill ride and part eco tour. We always have a blast and just being on the ocean, experiencing the wind, feeling the ocean swell, searching for sea life; it all combines to create a memorable experience to share with your small group.
Just like every safari doesn’t get to see a cheetah run down a gazelle, I cannot guarantee all trips get close to whales and dolphins. For me, the trips are exciting because we just might get one of those cheetah moments. A breaching Humpback, a pod of Risso dolphins, a Blue whale swimming right under the boat. These experiences happen often and when they do, they can leave a memory like nothing else in San Diego.
I hope you will give Xplore Offshore a try.
Q: What do I need to bring?
A: The clothing and gear varies with the season. Regardless, a boat traveling at high rates of speed will always be 10 degrees cooler than standing on land.
- Dress in layers, bring a suit and sunscreen.
- Snacks to full picnics are completely appropriate.
- Cameras, towels, just about anything that you can think that might help you enjoy the day.
99% of the guests on the Xplore Vessel do not experience sea-sickness. That being said, if you have a history or experience sea sickness looking at a fish tank or watching Deadliest Catch, then pre-medicate with your favorite sea-sickness medicine. I suggest Bonine over Dramamine or non-narcotic solutions like Ginger pills and Sea-Bands.
Q: How much will my trip cost?
A: Price is variable. For details on our Adventure Menu and custom trips, see our Reservations Page.
Different seasons are prone to different length trips and hence higher costs. In Winter, technically late Fall-early Spring, the trips are $300-$400 on average. In Summer, the trips are often longer and prices slightly higher. The point is, you set the price by the length of the trip and how many people might be sharing the costs.
Keep in mind that often the variables are just beyond our control. Some days the whales and dolphin are everywhere and other days, we work a lot harder and need more time to find the cool stuff. Some trips are fixed price and some guests are more comfortable with the flexibility. I want to create an experience on a budget that works for you, not me.
Q: What makes Xplore Offshore different from other providers?
A: There are lots of ways to get out to the ocean. As a general rule, the larger the vessel, the cheaper the cost. I like San Diego Whale Watch and the vessel Privateer. They do a great job and offer great value. The other small boat companies offer similar experiences to mine, but do not operate in a Coast Guard certified boat.
My custom built boat features a bathroom, a hot shower system and Coast Guard mandated safety features along with a 23 degree dead rise hull shape that optimizes ride quality. When combined with hydraulically dampened seating the guest comfort and safety is maximized.
These differences sound small, but they can add up to a safer and more enjoyable trip in significant ways. The bottom line is that regardless of your budget or style preferences, you really should try to get out on the water. San Diego has incredible natural beauty and amazing wildlife. Find a trip that fits your budget and go Xploring.
You can read more about the owner and captain here.
Q: Is this safe?
A: Safety is the number one priority with Xplore Offshore.
This is important because these tours can travel at high rates of speed and do so in a dynamic ocean environment.
I specifically designed the business around a custom-built Coast Guard certifies vessel. We are the only rigid-inflatable business in San Diego utilizing a Coast Guard certified vessel. Period. This extra margin of safety mandates that we have an EPIRB, electronic position-indicating radio beacon, fuel vapor detector, a certified VHF radio and more features which are inspected annually to ensure proper operation.
Xplore Offshore is operated by the owner and I am a 100 ton USCG Master. I am randomly drug-tested to ensure your safety. All guests wear lifejackets for warmth and safety and the design of the vessel is optimized for a smooth and dry ride.
Xplore Offshore is the gold standard in safety.
Q: What if there's bad weather?
A: Weather is the most important variable of your trip. When conditions are smooth, we can travel at high rates of speed and see lots of ocean. When we see lots of ocean, then we usually find cool stuff. The wildlife that is out there on any given day is also more visible in smooth conditions. This is why weather, and most importantly wind, or lack of it, is critical.
For this reason, we look to initiate trips in the morning whenever possible and avoid trips in the afternoon unless the conditions are suitable. We try to plan any outing to maximize the conditions and there is a never a financial penalty due to a weather cancellation.
See our Weather Forecast Page to see what’s happening right now in San Diego, CA.
Q: Do The Seasons Make Any Difference?
A: They sure do. We adjust our pricing accordingly.
The trips are not less fun in the Winter, but they are often simpler. The gray whales are usually in-shore and trips remain closer to the Coast and local harbors. Prices go up slightly in the summer months as demand increases and the trips are often more complicated, sometimes traveling 30 to 40 miles in search of pelagic mammals and the amazing Blue Whales. Guests determine the prices based on how many people are aboard and how long the trip lasts. All trips get cheaper on an hourly basis, with more time. These discounts are offered to encourage guests to commit to longer outings and make the day special with time to see and do a range of activities. Its a big ocean and sometimes we need time to find the cool stuff and make the day special. Amazing things often happen, but its tough to schedule when.
Q: What qualifies your Gold standard of expertise?
A: Xplore Offshore began operations in 2004 with a custom build resulting in a Coast Guard certified boat. Since then Russell and his Xtreme RIB have logged over 45,000 ocean miles. Sure it would have been easier and cheaper to buy off -the-shelf vessels or used Navy equipment, but you cannot provide the gold standard of vessel and operational safety with this type of equipment. Xplore Offshore is dedicated to doing it right. From America’s Cup campaigns to Red Bull Air Races, from Homeland Security to James Cameron’s Deep Challenge, Xplore Offshore is the company that marine professionals trust when lives are at risk and safety is a no-compromise mission. When you bring your precious cargo to Xplore Offshore you can rest assured that you are with San Diego’s first and best RIB- based experience. There is a difference.
Q: What if I have to go to the bathroom?
We’ve got you covered.
Not to worry. You will not be forced to pee in a bucket or sit through your trip in discomfort!
My custom built boat features a bathroom and a hot shower system. It doesn’t sound like much, but tell that to a guest after a stop at Starbucks on the way to boat with their entire family. Trust me, a bathroom can mean the difference between a pleasant trip or an agonizing one.
Did I mention the hot shower system…?