Got Questions?

Clear communication and knowing what to expect are key to the success of a charter cruise. While here are factors that we cannot predict or control – such as weather or Harbour conditions – we can promise to do everything possible to ensure you enjoy your time aboard.

Here are the answers to some commonly asked questions that you may have when booking a private charter with Sydney by Boat. Please read our full terms and conditions or contact us if you require further information.

HOW DO I PAY?

A 20% deposit is required to secure your boat hire booking for your chosen date and time. Full payment is required 7 days prior to your charter. We accept bank transfers, cash or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard and Amex).

IS THERE A MAX/MIN LENGTH OF CHARTER?

There is a two-hour minimum vessel hire. While we have no maximum hire period, private charters over six hours are subject to availability and may not be possible during weekdays (Mon-Thurs). All cruises are charged on an hourly basis unless part of a package. 

HOW EARLY/LATE IN THE DAY CAN I BOOK A CHARTER?

From Friday to Sunday our charter cruises are available anytime between 10am and 10pm. During the week (Mon-Thurs) we offer afternoon/evening cruises between 2pm and 10pm. Please contact us if you wish to book a cruise outside of these times.

HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN I BRING?

AMBER has a maximum passenger limit of 12 people (not including crew). Although the manufacturer states the capacity is almost double, we limit the number to ensure passengers have enough room to feel comfortable and really enjoy their time aboard. There is no minimum number of people required when booking a cruise with Sydney by Boat – you can have the boat all to yourself if you choose.

ARE CREW INCLUDED IN THE BOAT HIRE PRICE?

A skipper and deckhand are included in every boat hire rate. They are there to make your cruise comfortable and enjoyable, but without being intrusive. Our skippers have many years experience handling boats on Sydney waterways and will ensure you have a smooth, comfortable cruise. They can recommend the best places to see, swim and photograph and will even cook the BBQ!

CAN I CHOOSE THE CRUISE ITINERARY, OR IS IT SET?

Our dedicated crew has a wealth of knowledge about Sydney Harbour and can recommend an itinerary to show you all the best sights, or the calmest places to drop anchor for a BBQ and swim. Of course this is your cruise, so if there are particular locations you would like to visit then the skipper will tailor the cruise to meet your requirements.

IS SWIMMING PERMITTED?

Absolutely – we encourage swimming and can suggest the best locations where the water is calm and inviting. With typically mild winters, swimming in Sydney is possible most of the year and AMBER has a spacious swim board with ladder for easy access in and out of the water. Our aqua mat is very popular with kids and adults alike and a fresh water shower is available on the back deck for you to rinse off afterwards. Please note we do not allow jumping off the flybridge.

DO YOU RUN CRUISES FOR HEN'S/BUCK'S PARTIES?

Sydney by Boat has hosted many pre and post-wedding groups who have acted responsibly and considerately while still enjoying the celebration at hand. We pride ourselves on being professional and family-friendly, and as such we do not accept bookings for events that invite unsafe drinking practices and poor behaviour. We have a strict no nudity policy which extends to all passengers and crew, and we are obliged to comply with NSW liquor laws in regard to the responsible service of alcohol.

IF IT RAINS DOES THE CRUISE GO AHEAD?

Weather is definitely one of the few factors that we cannot control, however our cruises will still go ahead in most conditions. Fortunately, AMBER is classed as an all-weather vessel and has spacious and comfortable indoor areas should things turn unpleasant outside. The large forward windscreen and wall-to-wall saloon windows mean you still get to enjoy the view while being protected from the elements, and there is plenty of seating and table space for your group to continue their celebration. In the unlikely event of the weather being dangerous, we will postpone and reschedule the charter.

HOW MUCH TIME IS ALLOWED FOR BOARDING

The skipper will notify the group contact once the boat is approaching the agreed pick-up location, and will confirm that all members of the group are present. Once at the wharf we allow up to 10 minutes for all passengers to board the boat. Please note that this is part of your booked time so we advise your group to be early to the wharf to ensure an efficient boarding and departure.
The same amount of time is given for passengers to disembark at the drop-off location.

WHAT PICK-UP/DROP-OFF LOCATIONS ARE AVAILABLE?

We can pick up your group from a number wharves around Sydney Harbour, however these need to be pre-booked so that people can embark and disembark with minimal wait times. View our map and list of locations. Some of the city wharves are in high demand and are not always available, so if you book your charter early we can give you a much wider choice of pick up locations. If you have a pick-up/drop-off point that is not included in our list, please contact us to discuss.

CAN I BRING CHILDREN?

AMBER is a great boat for kids, with large indoor/outdoor spaces and safety rails where needed. The generous swim board and ladder offer easy access for swimming, and our aqua mat provides endless fun for all ages. The main rules are that children should be good swimmers and not go too far from the boat. Children under 12 years old are required by law to wear lifejackets when on the outside areas of the vessel. Younger children should be supervised at all times and there can be no running anywhere on the boat.

IS THE BOAT ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WITH LIMITED MOBILITY?

A certain degree of mobility is required when boarding the boat, and to move around the different indoor/outdoor spaces. The toilet is located below deck and is accessed via two small sets of steps. Unfortunately AMBER does not have wheelchair access.

ANY SUGGESTIONS ON WHAT TO BRING FOR THE CRUISE?

We recommend packing sunglasses, a hat, swimmers, towel and sunscreen (we do provide a 30+ SPF sunscreen on board, but please bring your own if you have sensitive skin). As it can sometimes get a little breezy when out on the water, it’s a good idea to bring a light jacket or shawl even on warmer days. We do have fresh drinking water available on the boat, so no need to bring your own bottles.

WHAT TYPE OF FOOTWEAR IS APPROPRIATE?

Thongs, sandals, low heels, sneakers, sandshoes are the best choices for maximum comfort and safety while boarding and during the cruise. If you are wearing high heels it is advisable to remove them once you board the vessel to prevent tripping or stumbling when the boat is underway. Stilettos and black-soled shoes may damage the decking so we do ask that these are not worn for the cruise.

IS THERE A FRIDGE/ESKY ON THE BOAT?

AMBER has a good-sized fridge to keep your BYO drinks and food chilled, along with a large esky with complimentary ice. See our page about ‘The Boat’ for a full description and photos of AMBER’s many features.

CAN I DECORATE THE BOAT BEFORE MY CHARTER?

We can allow one or two people aboard to decorate before the cruise, however this needs to be arranged well in advance to ensure the boat is accessible in the event of another charter beforehand. We are also happy to provide and put up a few simple decorations for you. We do ask that scattering decorations such as glitter and confetti are not part of your celebration as the small pieces can find their way into every small gap and are difficult to clean up.

IS THERE A WAY TO PLAY MY OWN MUSIC?

There are a few ways to play your music aboard AMBER, the simplest being to connect your smartphone to our portable Bluetooth speakers. We also have a stereo system with AUX capability that is connected to two Bose speakers on the rear deck. The third option is to create a playlist in Spotify and use our onboard tablet to customise your tunes on the go.

WHAT AUDIO VISUAL EQUIPMENT IS AVAILABLE?

A TV monitor is available to display photo and video presentations, and can play avi or mp4 files from a USB drive. A Chromecast is also available for streaming YouTube videos.

DO WE NEED TO BRING PLATES AND CUPS?

AMBER’s galley is stocked with an assortment of plates, bowls, platters, tumblers, wine glasses, cutlery, serving utensils and food preparation/storage equipment. If there is something specific you require, please contact us to check whether it is already onboard or whether we can procure it for you.

WHAT FOOD OPTIONS ARE AVAILABLE?

We have put together a simple catering menu, with delicious morsels suitable for all types of cruises. Cheese and nibbles, grazing platters, dessert boards and a variety of BBQ and salad options can be customised for any sized group. Alternatively, you are welcome to bring your own food* and use the equipment on the boat for preparation and serving. Our crew are happy to assist, so please contact us to discuss your requirements.

*A $100 BYO surcharge will apply.

CAN YOU CATER FOR PARTICULAR DIETARY REQUIREMENTS?

If you have requested a catering package we will do our best to accommodate all dietary requirements and allergies, but we do need prior warning to prepare and order the correct items. Our menu items can be  adjusted to include vegetarian options and we can provide gluten-free or plant-based alternatives.

IS ALCOHOL AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE DURING THE CRUISE?

Any alcohol must be either BYO or pre-booked using our drinks concierge service. We do not offer a consumption bar while cruising and do not keep stocks of any alcohol on board. A small supply of complimentary soft drinks are available.

IS SMOKING PERMITTED ON BOARD?

Smoking is permitted on the back deck when underway, and on the bow when the boat is anchored. We can provide ashtrays to ensure that ash does not spill onto the deck surface. Please be considerate of non-smoking passengers and crew, and dispose of your butts in the bins provided.