Do I have to purchase tickets in advance?
Advance purchase is strongly recommended. To maximize your chances of getting the day and time you prefer, please buy your tickets well in advance. All major credit cards are accepted. PLEASE ARRIVE 30 MINUTES PRIOR TO DEPARTURE.
What happens if it rains?
The Captains monitor weather forecasts closely and want to ensure your cruise is a safe, enjoyable, memorable experience. If we must cancel, in the event of severe or unsafe conditions, ticket-holders will be allowed to reschedule tickets (subject to availability) or receive credit for a future event.
Are children allowed to attend?
Children are more than welcome! We have a discounted price for children ages 2-11. Children under 2 can come for free.
What type boats do you have? What boat will you take out?
The Island Queen and the SS Pelican are both US Coast Guard inspected vessels. The Island Queen is 45 ft. long and can accommodate 40 passengers. The SS Pelican is 26 ft and can accommodate 16 passengers. Our captains and mates are all professionals and have been with the company for several years. Both boats are diesel powered. Please note: If less than 16 people are booked on a tour, we may use the smaller SS Pelican. If there are more than 16 people on the tour, we will use the Island Queen.
Who are you and how long have you been doing this?
Sonny C Charters Inc. started in 1985. Sonny and his wife own the company.
What do you do on your trips?
We cruise down Broad Creek looking for dolphins, birds, and animals. We talk about tides, marshes, the history of the area and of course dolphins. We also point out beautiful homes as we cruise by Long Cove, Wexford and Spanish Wells plantations.
Where are you located?
We are located in the middle of Hilton Head Island on Broad Creek at Broad Creek Marina. Additional parking and meeting location details will be provided immediately upon purchase of tickets.
How should we dress or what should we bring?
You will be on the water so please dress according to the weather. It is usually 10 degrees cooler on the water so in the spring you might want to wear a sweater, long pants, hat and a jacket as the water temp is still in the 50 and 60’s. In the summer, the air temp and water temp are much warmer, so shorts and t-shirt are appropriate. Both boats are covered. Please bring a video or camera with you to catch those special photos of family, friends, animals, the birds and of course, the dolphins.
Can we bring food and drinks on the boat?
You may bring your own food and beverages. We do have water, soda, adult beverages and snacks available for purchase on board.
How far out do you go?
We stay in the protected water of Broad Creek and Calibogue Sound. We don’t go out to the ocean and we are never more than 1000 ft. from shore.
Does the tour include any stops?
No, we will be on the water, cruising the entire time, stopping only temporarily to view dolphins, birds, animals, and homes. If you would like to explore the areas that we pass on the tour, just ask your guide or captain. They'll be happy to point you in the right direction after the tour.
Are there restrooms on the boat?
Since it's not guaranteed which boat we will take out, we recommend using the restroom before the cruise. The Island Queen is equipped with a bathroom that is accessible at all times. We call it a "marine head" and it is unlike the bathroom you use at home. It is an electronic head with instructions and easy to use. The SS Pelican does not have a restroom on board, but we have restrooms on the dock that we recommend using before the trip.
Can I stow anything during the tour?
You can bring any items that you would like to enjoy on the tour, but we do have limited storage space, so please try to keep large items to a minimum. Please keep in mind that while the captain will always be on board, we cannot take responsibility for any broken, lost or missing items.
Are the boats handicapped/wheelchair accessible?
There is one step up to board the Island Queen, but once on board there is plenty of space. We also have a ramp which can accommodate a wheelchair up to 600 lbs. for anyone who will not be able to manage the step. If you need assistance please include a "Message to the Seller" during your purchase, so that we can prepare for your accommodations. If you do have any questions or concerns, please click on the “Contact Us" button below to inquire.
Are the boats safe?
Your safety is our number one priority. Both boats are stable gentle vessels run by USCG certified Captains. Our captains and mates are all professionals and have been with the company for several years. We provide life jackets for every passenger on board and our crew is there to help you in any way.
Where does the tour finish?
Our tour will end at the same pier from which it departed.
Do you feed the dolphins?
NO, we watch them catch their own fish! Dolphins are experts at catching live fish and it is very exciting to watch. NEVER FEED A WILD DOLPHIN! Not only is it illegal but it puts the dolphins in danger. The dolphin's natural curiosity and intelligence is what makes them interested in humans. Feeding them is unnecessary, careless and could ultimately be fatal to wild dolphin populations. Report any wild dolphin feeding to your local Marine Patrol.
Can we touch, pet or ride on the dolphins?
Absolutely not! We provide the opportunity to visit wild dolphins in the open waters behaving as they do naturally. Dorsal towing is a learned behavior that captive dolphins are taught to do in return for fish. Touching or pursuing a dolphin in the wild is considered harassment and is illegal. Under no circumstance do we touch, chase, pursue, harass or feed the dolphins.
Are the dolphins more active in the morning or afternoon?
Because we visit wild dolphins and they have no schedule, we find that they are very spontaneous. There is no predictable time when they are more active.
When there are so many other dolphin tours to choose from, why should we go with your company?
Our company has been around since 1985 which means the dolphins know us and our boat and that's important to the dolphins. Our professional captains and crew have been involved in dolphin research in various places throughout the world, know the local pod like family, and have the knowledge to make your trip an educational and memorable one. There are approximately 300 dolphins that stay in this area year round. This means that we know the dolphins and can find them-we guarantee it!
Are dogs allowed on board?
No dogs are allowed on board except service dogs.
Can we plan our own trip?
Yes, if you want your own event group, we will provide the boat and crew, you can provide the food and drinks. We can arrange to cater your trip if you don’t want to do it yourself.
What type cruises do we offer? Do you offer private group cruises?
We offer a variety of eco-education, historical, party related and sightseeing trips. Since we are a private charter company we can work with each group and make every trip unique to your group. We offer private weddings, rehearsal dinners, church groups, company parties, school field trips, family reunions, birthdays, anniversaries, class reunions, fireworks and theme parties. If you are interested in a private cruise, please click on the "Contact " button to send us a request. Please include your group size, preferred date and time.
Are gift certificates available for the trip?
Yes! Gift certificates for Dolphin/nature trips are great for any occasion. To purchase a gift certificate, click on the "Contact Us" link or button to send an inquiry.