SMALL — only six passengers, no crowds. FAST — more time with the wildlife & scenery. OPEN — enjoy fresh air, bird sounds, and no diesel fumes. PERSONAL — each trip is tailored to those on board. STABLE — far less likelihood of seasickness. QUIET — 4-stroke gasoline outboards don’t roar, they purr.
We are permitted for up to six passengers and two paid crew, so with a maximum of eight persons on a 33-foot boat, the Fast Raft is never crowded.
Tickets are $150 per person for standard 3-hour trips, $185 for 4-hours, and $225 for all-day excursions. See the schedule including seats available, length, and cost by clicking the "BOOK NOW" button. Children aged 8 and up are allowed at the same ticket price.
Yes. With only six tickets per trip, tours often sell out (but are never crowded). Book as far in advance as you can to guarantee your desired day and time.
Most are three (3) hours, with occasional all-day tours. Trip length and price are shown under the "BOOK NOW" button.
Whales are active all day long. The weather changes: in Summer we often see fog and calm seas in the morning, and after noon the wind may blow away the fog and make the sea choppy.
We add afternoon trips as morning trips fill, and sometimes will add trips on days none is scheduled as we get closer to the date. We keep some time slots set aside days for boat maintenance and captain's rest. It's best to check again closer to the date.
Not necessarily. It’s worth checking our calendar for the days you’re thinking about.
Our whale watching pickup location is *not* where the other whale watching boats dock (near the Moss Landing Harbor Office), and it is not in Monterey -- Moss Landing is a tiny town on Route 1 twelve miles (a 25-minute drive) north of Monterey and halfway to Santa Cruz. Look for the boat at the Moss Landing Public Boat Launch Ramp, directly off Highway 1, just north of the huge power plant smokestacks. Enter the large parking lot between the Sea Harvest Restaurant and Monterey Bay Kayaks, behind the Pot Stop garden shop. Look toward the sand dunes and you'll see three parallel floating docks and two boat ramps. Be sure to pay for parking, visit the public rest rooms up near the kayak shop, and get all your layers on, to be ready to board 15 minutes prior to our start time. GPS location is 420 California 1, Moss Landing, CA 95039 (does not work in all units). See you there!
We allow children 8 and up on all trips. Children must wear life jackets assigned by the Captain at all times and follow Captain's instructions. Older folks are welcome as long as they can step into and out of the boat, sit comfortably on a straddle seat, and are not fragile enough to be worried by bouncing and rocking.
No. Due to the possibility of bumpy conditions and the possbility of seasickness, this is not suitable for pregnant women and those with chronic neck or back problems. This activity is also not recommended for frail elderly people.
The dock is wheelchair and walker accessible, but one must be able to step down from the pontoon into the boat and straddle a jockey seat for the tour duration (see photo gallery). Please contact us in advance if you have mobility limitations.
The tour runs in light rain and other moderate weather conditions, but Fast Raft may cancel the activity up to the start time in the event of severe or unsafe weather conditions. IIf we cancel the event, ticket holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability), convert their tickets to Gift Certificates for use in the future, or receive a full refund.
There is a possibility of getting wet when it’s windy and choppy since our vessel is open and low to the water. We provide Patagonia waterproof jackets and pants that fit over your warm layers and provide wind and water protection.The captain will endeavor to keep you as dry as possible, but in some conditions spray is inevitable.
We have emergency accommodations on board for folks who are comfortable peeing outdoors, but recommend that everyone use the public restroom at the dock before boarding.
Our whale watching cruises leave from Moss Landing and goes out into Monterey Bay, part of the Pacific Ocean. We go where the best sightings are likely, usually within 10 miles from the harbor, but sometimes farther. On clear days we can always see land.
During the summer feeding season, May through November, we may see humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales, and minke whales. From December to April, gray whales are migrating along our coast. Orcas (killer whales) and several species of dolphins and porpoises are possible any time of year. Killer whales are seen most from mid-April to mid-May.
We follow the federal whale watching guidelines that apply to all boats, including kayaks: stopping the boat at least 300 ft (91 m) away from the whales, not pursuing or blocking them, and driving slowly when we are near them. We allow the whales or dolphins to approach us if they choose.
Monterey Bay is a phenomenally productive ecosystem that attracts seabirds, seals, whales, dolphins, sea turtles, migratory fish, and many types of jelly organisms. We enjoy all the forms of life out there and will happily tell you all we know about whatever we see.
Whales are wild animals, so there are no guarantees that we will see them. However, our guides have lots of experience and knowledge about the area and the places they like to feed, so it's rare that we don't see any. All the whale watching captains on Monterey Bay stay in touch to share information about sightings, which helps everyone have a chance to see whales.
No, for your safety and the safety of other animals, we do not touch, chase, pursue, harass or feed wildlife.
Food and drinks are not included with your trip. We have a cooler on board that can accommodate light snacks and beverages. There are restaurants nearby. We do not recommend bringing full carry-out meals or picnics on board.
We encourage passengers to bring their own reusable water bottles, and we consciously do not offer single-use plastic water bottles. We do offer purified water from a jug and clean stainless steel cups to drink from. As ocean stewards we support alternatives to "disposable" plastics because we've seen the destructive effects it has on the sea life we love. We might even stop to pick up some plastic trash or a deflated helium balloon during your trip, and celebrate saving the life of a sea turtle or whale that will not eat that one piece of plastic by accident.
We recommend that you bring warm clothing and dress in layers. That means long pants, long sleeves, closed shoes, sweater and/or jacket, hat that stays on in the wind, and, in winter, scarf and gloves. The weather on Monterey Bay is notorious for changing in very short periods of time. What seems like a hot and sunny day can become quite chilly once out on the ocean. We provide Patagonia wind/waterproof pants and jackets that provide extra wind and water protection.
Fine leather that could be damaged by salt; high-heeled shoes or loose sandals; skirts (the seats are like motorcycle saddles); full meals; crumbly or messy snacks; fragile glassware.
The boat is not covered so there will be no shade on the boat. Sunscreen is recommended every day, but usually the challenge is staying warm, not staying cool.
Ranger is a RIB, or Rigid-hull Inflatable Boat, with a hard fiberglass hull surrounded by inflated pontoons for extra stability. RIBs are popular for whale-watching in Hawaii, the Pacific Northwest, Europe, the Azores, and many other parts of the world. Ours is the first offering tours in Monterey Bay. Ranger was designed for military patrol use and is built to the highest standards of safety and reliability.
It’s not as likely as on large whale-watching boats, since "Ranger" is low to the water and does not roll as much. There will be constant motion depending on the sea conditions. Be sure to eat at least a light meal. Consider taking precautions if you know you are sensitive.
1. Book a morning trip rather than afternoon, for smoother seas. 2. Take over-the-counter medication (Dramamine, Bonine) an hour before the trip, or get a prescription for medication from your doctor. Ask about the patch (Scopolamine) or newer drugs like oral Zofran. 3. Choose the rear seats, as the front goes up and down more. 4. Tell your captain that you’re sensitive at the start of the trip, and give her updates if you start to feel queasy. Usually she can adjust the motion of the boat to help you feel better.
There is limited waterproof storage space aboard "Ranger," enough for each person to bring a small bag or purse plus camera gear. We provide waterproof roll-top drybags to keep small items or DSLR cameras handy at your seats. There is a cooler at the back for stashing extra bags/jackets.
Yes! We are photographers ourselves and provide waterproof roll-top drybags that will hold up to a 400mm/f4 lens attached to a DSLR body. We can also loan you an extra waterproof jacket to use as spray cover.
A zoom lens is best, such as 70-200, 70-300, or 100-400. Next best would be a fixed 200 or 300. A 1.4x telextender will add flexibility if you own one and if your camera body will autofocus with it attached. It's great to have a wide-angle too when the action is close to the boat.
Yes, life jackets for children and adults are provided. Ours are high quality and comfortable to wear.
Yes, there is ample parking just steps away from the dock.
We have one vessel, “Ranger,” that holds six passengers. If you have a larger group, we can schedule consecutive tours. We can help you plan your group’s day with other excellent activities and restaurants nearby.
Our captain may give you a taste of Ranger’s maneuverability and speed at her discretion and far away from whales, but our primary focus is the experience of closeness to nature. We always operate within safe parameters for the sea’s changing conditions and with utmost respect for the wildlife of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Many people report that hearing dolphins breathing when the engines were at idle, or listening to birds and whales with the engines off, is as exciting as speeding over the waves.
No. We never go as fast as the boat is capable (40+ knots), and only as fast as our customers like, when away from wildlife. The real advantage of a fast boat is being able to reach good sightings in half the time it takes larger boats, even going half the speed the boat could go.
Yes! We do offer private charters. To inquire further, please click on the "Contact FastRaft" link for more information.
Yes! Gift certificates are great for any occasion. To purchase a gift certificate, click the “Gift Certificates” tab at the top of this Zerve page.
Please contact us with as much advance notice as possible to reschedule or cancel your booking. We will refund your tickets with 48 hours notice if you are not able to reschedule. Cancellations made less than 48 hours before a tour will be handled at our discretion. If Fast Raft cancels your tour due to weather or other reasons we will reschedule your tour if possible, and if not possible we will initiate a 100% refund. No-shows will be charged the full price. Tours without enough passengers booked may be rescheduled or cancelled at our discretion.