Questions we get, daily
What’s the process for booking a cruise?
We are developing an updated online booking solution right now. In the interim, and because there is some logistical information to discuss, we’ve found that it makes sense to contact us by phone to make your booking. We can chat about what you would like to see, your schedule, your preferred meet-up location, any special needs, etc. The “process” is flexible, but it’s usually helpful to chat early on. Note that cruise bookings are not confirmed until payment is received.
What if we’re more than the 6 passenger maximum?
U.S. Coast Guard regulations limit us to six passengers per boat (regardless of age). Fortunately, depending on availability, you can reserve more than one vessel! At slower speeds, we can cruise closely enough to enjoy comfortable conversations between boats, and we can tie up together when on anchor, and hang out together.
Where can we start our tours?
As of the 2018 season, we have 7 public dock locations for embarkation in the greater Washington DC area (including DC, Virginia & Maryland). Note that we are not a river taxi service. We offer custom, private, sightseeing and recreational cruises, with a minimum duration of 1 hour (2 hour minimum out of National Harbor). If you’re in need of a river taxi, you’re in luck—check out our friends page for information on Potomac Riverboat Company.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME FOR A TOUR?
Many go for the classic sunset tour for a couple hours. To see the full impact of the city lights and monuments at night, we recommend planning your cruise to last 30 to 60 minutes after sunset. To minimize the probability of thunderstorms in the summer, mid-morning is usually a better time. Check out our Sights page to get a sense for what you might like to see. Washington has a long, warm, boating season, so spring and autumn cruises are usually wonderful, and we have blankets on board if there’s a chill in the air.
Can I get a discount?
Call us if you’d like a rundown of why it’s so expensive to operate charter boats, especially in Washington DC. We can talk for hours. That said, occasionally we do offer specials. Join our mailing list and we’ll let you know!
Do you offer gift cards?
We will soon, yes… here. Hard to imagine a more unique gift!
What boats do you use?
Two of our boats are 25-foot sport boats with seating aft, amidships, and in the bow (front) — plenty of space for your group of (up to) 6. Even though they are “sport” boats (and certainly can go fast), you pick the speed that’s comfortable for your party.
Can we bring our own drinks and food aboard?
Yes! Please do. We don’t want thirsty or hungry guests. Alcoholic drinks are permitted assuming you’re at least 21 years old. All types of food are welcome. Be sure to let us know if you want to grill the food (gas for the grill is included). We will need to anchor in order to light the grill, so please account for the extra time. Our locations page lists logical options for take-out food and drink purchases, prior to boarding. We have catering options for a minimal service charge (call us for details). Our cruises can typically include a stop along the river for a meal at a restaurant (docking fees may apply, and please account for the time). And, if you’re lucky (or we plan ahead) DC’s only aquatic food truck, NautiFoods, can deliver piping hot grilled food, frozen desserts, and cold (non-alcoholic) beverages directly to us while underway!
Can I bring my 2-year-old?
Yes! We have life vests for all ages. Check with your doctor regarding a newborn or very young child as they typically recommend a certain level of neck strength prior to boarding a vessel.
Will there be people I don’t know on the boat?
Not unless you invite people you don’t know, which could be awkward. This is your private cruise for you and up to 5 of your closest friends, family members, or professional colleagues (total of 6 per boat + crew). If you want to meet people you don’t know, see our Friends page, where we list suggestions for bigger cruise companies.
What if I need to use the restroom?
Our sport boats include an enclosed “head” or toilet. While it takes a little dexterity to use it, it’s private... and provides the relief you seek. Our cabin cruisers feature a stand-up head (call for details).
IS THERE MUSIC ABOARD?
Yes! We have high-end sound systems. You can listen to your own playlist or ours and/or the captain’s tour narrative.
WHERE CAN WE PARK?
Parking availability varies by each meet-up location. There may be associated fees for some locations (e.g. The Wharf Gangplank marina charges $15 for secured parking). We recommend taking a car service for maximum convenience.
What if it rains?
It does happen sometimes. For light rain, we have umbrellas, blankets, and a bimini (rain and sun protector). For heavy rain, it’s helpful to be somewhat flexible on your cruise date. We can monitor the weather and attempt to adjust our timing to fit the best weather window on the day, schedule permitting. See our Rates & Policies page for more information on weather policies.
WHAT IF IT IS HOT AND SUNNY?
Lucky you! We will be in a moving vessel over water and that typically creates a cooling effect on the boat. We also have a bimini (for shade), sunscreen, umbrellas, and coolers with ice, water and soft drinks. Guests typically report that it feels much cooler on the water than walking the streets of Washington.
Should I bring a bathing suit?
Sure! Call us to discuss the types of cruises where swimming or tubing is logical. All boats have ladders for swimming (or unintended swimming). Either way, bathing suits usually make sense on a boat in the summer!
Can I “drive” the boat myself?
Sorry. You have to let the USCG-licensed captain take the helm. Of course we can take a picture of you at the wheel when we’re not underway, while your 5 friends blow wind in your hair.
Can I act like a drunken pirate?
We are relaxed captains. We want you to enjoy yourself first and foremost. But we reserve the right to disembark any passenger(s) who may be incapacitated, intoxicated, refusing to follow the captain’s instructions or are in any way jeopardizing the safety of themselves, any other passengers or crew, or the vessel. The My Boat thing is a tagline — don’t take it literally!