You know you want to come sailing but you have just a few questions… here are some of the answers to your burning questions! This is a collection of the most common questions we hear…
Do you put the sails up or do you really sail?
Whether you chose a Day Sail, Sunset Sail, or a Full Moon Sail, we can promise you one thing – we will sail our pants off! The Freedom is a traditionally rigged schooner and we take extreme pride in sailing her and sailing her well. We hate the hum of the engine and we won’t use it if it’s humanly possible, plus it makes Captain John cranky to have to turn it on. We burn a gallon of diesel an hour and we average less than 3/4 of a tank per trip = we are lean, green sailing machines!
Can we help?
Of course! We always ask for volunteers when we raise the sails. Our crew especially loves getting kids involved. We do allow passengers to take the helm, but it is at the captain’s discretion, as there may be times when conditions will not allow it.
Are there any extra or hidden costs?
Once you have paid and checked in at the office, everything on board is included. Our online and office shops have T-Shirts, Hats, SPF Shirts, Magnets, Postcards and more for sale. We do recommend you bring some additional cash to tip the crew for their service. Think of it like tipping your bartender!
Where do we go?
Since our objective is sailing, we don’t have a set path – it depends entirely on the wind, weather, and current at the time of the sail.
Is this a narrated tour?
No, in the sense that we do not have someone reading from a script into a microphone. What we do have is a captain and crew that love getting to know their passengers and enjoy nothing more than discussing everything from maritime history and sailing to sports and marine wildlife. We have had trips where the entire boat talks together like a big extended family and others where romantic couples snuggle under blankets and whisper sweet nothings.
Is there a bathroom onboard?
Yes, we do have a head (that’s a bathroom for you landlubbers) on board. It is below decks, accessible by a set of stairs that are used as you would a ladder.
Do you have life jackets/is it safe?
Yes! We are the only United States Coast Guard certified sailing charter in St. Augustine. This means that every year the Coast Guard comes and inspects our vessel from the hull to the rigging and everything in between. They count our life jackets, check the expiration dates on our flares, and test our crew on man overboard drills. We are always more than happy to answer any and all safety questions.
What should we bring?
We always recommend bringing:
A jacket or sweatshirt – it’s better to have it and not need it than the other way around
A camera and/or binoculars
Snacks or a picnic
We will see any wildlife?
Yes! We always see a multitude of birds (egrets, herons, spoonbills, gulls, pelicans, sometimes even bald eagles), we almost always see dolphins, and we sometimes see sea turtles, rays, manatees, and jellyfish.
How may we pay?
Yes, we did take your credit card when you made your reservation, but we have not charged you yet, we accept Visa, Master Card, Discover, or American Express. We usually charge your card up to three days in advance and we will send you a reciept. We do pay sales tax, so you can expect your fare to be plus 6.5% Florida State Sales Tax. Please bring additional cash to tip the crew.
What is your cancellation policy?
Cancellation is 24 hours in advance to avoid being charged. We have limited seating onboard the Schooner Freedom, so when you make your reservation with a credit card, your seat is saved and we will not give it away. Once we reach our maximum capacity, we close that sail and we turn away parties. If you cancel within the 24-hour window and we are able to fill your seats, we will waive the charge. However, if you cancel and we are unable to fill your seats, your card will be charged full price. Cancellation 24 hours or more in advance will result in no charge.
Where do we park?
We do not have a municipal lot at the Marina; therefore, all passengers must find his or her own parking – please leave extra time to do so. Parking can be extremely challenging, more so on weekends and holidays. As a historic city, the narrow, one-way streets and lift bridges can cause severe traffic backups, especially coming from A1A north and south. Please leave time to navigate traffic as well. We highly recommend walking when possible. Taxi cabs. Uber/Lyft drivers and pedicabs are also plentiful and reasonably priced.
Historic Downtown Parking Garage at the Visitor’s Info. Center
-The parking garage is accessible from both Orange St. and Castillo Dr. (near Ripley’s Believe It Or Not)
-Parking is $15 per day
-They have a bus loading zone and parking for motorcoaches, RVs, and buses
-It takes about 10 minutes to walk to the Marina. Head south, past the Castillo de San Marco. We are 2 buildings south of the Bridge of Lions.
On the Street Parking
-There are meters on the waterfront; you can feed quarters to the meters or use the pay boxes to pay cash or credit. Three hours max
Paid or Metered Lots:
-Bank of America on Cathedral Street – Paid
-Oldest House on St. Francis Street – Paid
-Behind Lightner Museum on Cordova or Granada Street – Metered
-Castillo de San Marcos – Metered
Train and Trolley Parking
-Old Town Trolley on San Marcos Street – Free with purchase of Trolley tickets
-Sightseeing Trains on San Marcos Street – Free with purchase of Train tickets
-Both companies have drop-offs near the Marina
*Trains and trolleys depart from their respective depots on their last run at 4:30 p.m.
There are also select private lots that open up for paid parking during the busy season. To see a list of dates and a map, please visit parkstaug.com/