Manatee Tours: Precautionary Measures in the Time of COVID-19

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We know times are tough. The Coronavirus is still unrelenting across the globe, creating fear and anxiety almost everywhere. But you can still have a good time during this pandemic. Manatee tours have reopened after the COVID-19 shutdown. Today you can get in the water and enjoy a delightful and refreshing time with Florida’s slow-moving aquatic giants in their natural habitat.

Improved conditions

Captain Mike’s has always earned high marks for cleanliness and customer service. But now with COVID-19, we have raised our standards even higher. We have taken these changes seriously and tailored our services to exceed required standards. Our standards include continuous disinfection, clean shop and water vessels, social distancing, and adequate personal protection.

Screening of guests

Precautionary Measures in the Time of COVID-19There is no gateway for Coronavirus in our personalized and private manatee tours. For now, due to COVID-19, we recommend tours for members of the same household. We believe this practice minimizes the possibility of a guest coming into contact with a contagious person.

Before we can approve your booking and allow you to embark on a tour, we will ask you a few screening questions. This process ensures that you enjoy your tour with people in good health who have not been in environments where Coronavirus is most likely to spread.

Once we screen for possible contact with the virus, we will check your temperature using a no-contact, touch-free infrared thermometer. A prospective passenger with a body temperature above 99.0 degrees will be advised to seek medical attention and return another day. Anyone who refuses the temperature check will not be allowed on board.

Personal protection equipment

Personal protection equipment (PPE) is any equipment designed to protect the body from infection. Examples are surgical masks, gloves and goggles. To minimize the risk of infection, we have PPE for guests, but we strongly recommend that you bring and wear your own PPE. As a rule, you must wear a mask at all times—in the shop, in the bus and on the boat. You must wear PPE to go on the tour.

We believe that bringing and wearing your own mask makes you proactive and smart about protecting yourself and others. And because our captains and guides will also bring and wear their PPEs at all times, we can all do our part to save lives, not get sick, and get back to normal sooner.

Social distancing

At this time, our boats have a 6-guest maximum with plenty of room to sit comfortably and maintain social distance. With this safety precaution in place, you can relax and enjoy your manatee tour in Crystal River. Our captains and guides will strictly follow social distancing rules by always remaining at least 6 feet away from guests.

At Captain Mike’s, you will be required to respect everyone’s space. For instance, you should understand that captains or staff will refrain from assisting you in and out of your wetsuit, in and out of the water, or in and out of the boat.

Swimming gear

We strongly advise that you bring your own snorkel, wetsuit and mask, although we can provide you with sanitized snorkel sets and masks if needed. We won’t insist that you wear a wetsuit if you are swimming with manatees between July and October. But if you do need to wear one, we will provide it.

You are expected to wear masks and gloves at all times during the tour except when in the water. Just before you enter the water, you will place the mask in a safe place and put on your dive mask and snorkel. Gloves are not removed and you will have to keep them on throughout. At the end of your swim, you will remove and hold onto your dive mask and snorkel and put on your surgical mask.


Though we would like to continue providing snacks to our visitors, we have suspended that for now for your protection. The usual snacks, toasted bagels, hot coffee or tea that our guests have always liked will be available in the future when restrictions have eased. For now, we ask you to come prepared with enough food and drink to sustain you for the 3 or more hours of manatee tour.

Handling equipment after the tour

At the end of your tour, you will place the dive mask and snorkel we provided in a 5-gallon plastic pail. The pail is filled with water and 15 ounces of bleach and carried onto the boat. Items used during the tour will soak in chlorinated water for at least 20 minutes.

You will also be asked to turn the wetsuit provided by the shop right side out before placing it in a container for sanitation. The wetsuit will soak in a solution of water and OdoBan for at least 20 minutes, while your own personal gear must be either onboard with you or kept in your vehicle. You may not leave any of your items at the shop.

Meticulous disinfection

All snorkel gear and wetsuits used during private tours are disinfected after each use. They are soaked with OdoBan for at least 20 minutes followed by thorough rinsing and drying. While the daily cleaning and disinfection of equipment has always been standard operating procedure at Captain Mike’s, we are now taking extra steps to ensure the highest degree of disinfection.

The entire boat surface, and every part that guests may come into contact with, is disinfected before and after every tour, and during the tour if necessary. When inside our premises, in the bus and on the boats, everyone must wear PPEs and maintain social distancing. No one is allowed to touch anything that another person has touched, including drinks and food. We also ventilate the shop immediately after opening and wipe it down with bleach solution just before closing.

At Captain Mike’s, manatee tours are being conducted daily. If you would like to enjoy a private tour in Crystal River, Florida, let us know so we can find the best option for your group size, departure time and budget.

We recognize that life is different now than it was before, and we are happy to offer you a safe way to have a good time with manatees and explore all that Florida’s natural beauty offers. For more information on manatee tours with Coronavirus precautions, visit the Captain Mike’s Swimming with the Manatees website.

Swimming with the Manatees boasts the best water adventure in Crystal River, Florida with lots of things to do for you and your family. For more information, contact us online, or call us at (352) 571-1888.

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