Frequently Asked Questions

Read these FAQs – they might just avoid a wipe out…!

Wipe Out

Wipe Out

UPDATED Q&A as of 4/11/20:

It says you don’t accept phone calls and I tried texting you’ll but got a response that text is only for members and if we already have a reservation. I’m trying to find out how to make a reservation so how am I supposed to contact someone to do that???
You are correct that text message service is for VIP members only. Please contact us through the contact form on our website HERE.

You want us to pay up-front and yet it says you don’t offer refunds since you’re a charity so there’s a chance we won’t get the kayaks delivered and there’s no refunds? That’s pretty crazy.
No, that is not correct at all. Think about a bar or pub… They do not charge you until after you receive your drinks right? But they do require you to give them a credit card up-front right? We work the same way. We do not charge you until you complete the email waiver form that is sent after you checkout through the website and the volunteers facilitating your activity actually read through that form and make the decision whether to accept it or not. They will also check both environmental conditions like lightning as well as water conditions like bacteria levels at the location you specified. Only after all that takes place (which takes several hours) will we charge the credit card you put on hold.

I saw a post that you are offering rentals even though there’s the stay home order in Florida. I don’t want to rent through you or make a donation, but can you still tell me where the locations you launch from are located? I know all the parks are closed, so I’m confused where you’ll launch at?
We are a Federally and State licensed environmental and animal welfare agency that works with FWC and the US Coast Guard and as such, our activities have been deemed as being necessary by the Governor’s Office. Each participant who rents through our charity will receive a special State permit that covers those named in the permit for the duration of the activity on the date and time of the activity as well as travel to and from. Without that permit it is likely that a paddler (who is in effect violating the order) will receive a fine by the County Sheriff and/or face arrest. As such, we do not recommend going out on your own until the Governor’s order is lifted.

Where are you located?
We have 12 waterfront launch sites that we hold permits for in South Florida and 3 that we store our equipment at. You can view the list HERE.

Can a large dog fit in a double Kayak with my husband and me?
We do offer Vessels including Tandem Kayaks (like the bicycle) that are dog friendly from dogs weighing 5 pound to dogs over 150 lbs. and offer complimentary (free) flotation devices (life jackets) for them. We also have special stand-up paddleboards designed for dogs.

Do I have to pay for my 1 year old and do you have a life preserver that will fit her? She weighs 19 pounds.
Kids and dogs are free to join. However, we would not allow a human infant to take on such a dangerous activity. Upon the discretion of the volunteer facilitating your activity, children around the age of 5 may be required to be accompanied by an instructor. You can view the details of our legal polices on this page.

Your website is too confusing and I can’t figure out how to make a booking request. Can I just call you?
We offer text message service to VIP members or guests who already have a reservation request. If you are not yet a member you are welcome to contact us through our contact page HERE.

How much does it cost?
All prices are listed on the following page: https://saltydogpaddle.org/watersports-pricing

How do I pick the day and location?
Once you check out through our website, there will be a text box on the final checkout page near the “Total” where you can enter a note for us such as your preferred date, time, and location.

What times are you available?
Our volunteers are standing by from 7am – 8pm EST, so they can take you any time during the day. However, you must have a reservation and we will check the weather conditions prior to confirming.

How many people do you need to have a group tour or excursion? It’s just my husband and I.
Group paddles are for 3 or more paddlers including children. The private tours are for 2 paddlers. 

I signed up for a party paddle for a bachelorette party. How long does that last?
All the tours or lessons last for 1-2 hours depending on your level of endurance and stamina. If you can handle more than 2 hours of paddling you could sign up to join team Salty Dog Paddle at our next race…!

How long are the private accompaniment services  for?
The duration or length of time of your activity depends on several factors like weather, water conditions, your fitness level, stamina, and endurance levels and of course your instructor’s patience with you. Generally, Eco Tours can last for 15 minutes to 2 hours and Private Lessons can last up to an hour on land especially if you can’t balance well. It is not something that can be set in stone since there are external factors like lightning and rip currents.

What does accompaniment mean? Why don’t you just call it a private lesson like everyone else?
We try not to copy for-profit fly-by-night watersports services that pop up from unqualified seamen who don’t understand the ocean or their vessel and then shut down just as fast after their guests have drowned (It has happened several times in South Florida – email us for the store names). Accompaniment means that someone who is either former USMC, Navy, or Coast Guard, or a current Ocean Rescue, Fire Fighter, Sheriff, or Professional and Certified Paddler will accompany you (i.e. be right next to you the whole way – not watching from the beach). Within accompaniment services we do indeed offer lessons, eco tours, and several other watersports activities that are not private and include an instructor like full moon paddles, puppy paddles, etc.

I know you said the weather looks good, but the app I use shows rain tomorrow. Can I get a refund?
We have been experts in this field since 1977. All of our instructors are certified in water safety and also trained in meteorology. Many of our USMC, USN and USCG Veteran volunteers are trained in forecasting weather and do so in their full-time jobs besides volunteering for the charity. If your instructor feels that conditions will be unsafe, we will let you know. Please respect our volunteer’s professionalism by not calling their expertise into question. Both the County and local municipality you will be located in rely on those very same volunteers’ forecasts. We were the first organization to call Red Tide for the first time on the East Coast in history, 1 week before scientists at UF confirmed it and the news reported it in 2018. We WILL ensure you are safe.

I’m trying to make a reservation “request,” but the website wants me to pay the full amount up-front? How is that a request?
Although you will be inputting your credit card information we won’t charge you until the date of your activity and we accept the request. After making a reservation you will still need to fill out an email waiver form and we will need to check the conditions. A temporary hold will be placed on your card by our merchant processor until the date of your reservation and it is accepted by the volunteers facilitating your activity.

My wife and I are stuck in traffic and cannot make our reservation. Can we get a refund?
Since 100% of the funds we receive go directly towards the animals we save, we do not permit SAME-DAY guest-cancellations for any reason. You may; however, cancel at least 24 hours prior to your reservation. We do thank you for your kind donation and can send you a tax-receipt for an income tax deduction if you can no longer use our services.

How do I know who will be my tour guide or SUP instructor?
Our volunteer will text or phone you the day of the paddle with their contact information.

What’s included with a rental?
We include the stand-up paddleboard and all safety equipment with rentals or tours.

I paid, but how will I know where to go?
We will email you the details of your paddle. Please be sure to check all of our email folders including spam/junk.

Can I rent a board even if I’ve never paddled before? I’m a good kayaker.
No. We would recommend a lesson or tour if you are not a proficient paddler.

Can my kids come with me?
Yes! If they’re expert swimmers and weigh over 100 lbs they can have their own board or we can place them on a two-person board with you (one child per adult). The price is for 2 paddlers either way.

How will I know where my money is going?
We are a public charity, so our finances are public information. Rest assured that each month every penny we receive goes directly to the featured Salty Dog of the month unless we are doing a marine-life event, which will be specified in the event.

I don’t have a dog; can I still go paddling?
Yes! The name Salty Dog is a nautical term – it actually has nothing to do with our four-legged friends.

Can you teach my dog how to surf?
No. Surf lessons are for humans only who must be expert swimmers. We do offer tandem dog and owner surf lessons called “Hang Twenty,” however.

Can you find a home for my dog?
No, we are not an animal rescue.

What events do you have coming up?
Events are listed on the “Events” page on the website.

I can’t make the full moon paddle tomorrow, can I please get a refund?
We do not offer refunds since all money received is a donation per Florida State law. You may receive a credit for watersports activities. In the event of lightning or unsafe marine conditions (i.e. wind, bacteria, waves, RIP currents) you may be reimbursed the amount you paid from another account at the discretion of the charity.

If I buy a hat how much goes to the dogs?
100% of all money we receive goes directly to the animals we support. We are a volunteer-based charity with no paid employees, so regardless of whether you make a donation, attend an event, or buy some Salty Swag, all the money goes to the animals.

How do I use my Groupon for a private lesson or tour?
Groupons can only be used for events such as Full Moon Paddles, Puppy Paddles, SUP for Pups, etc. as stated in the terms of the deal.

I can’t pay for my dog’s vet bill; can you help me?
Maybe! You can apply to make your dog the Salty Dog of the month. The details are listed on our website. Your dog must have undergone emergency medical care to qualify.

I run a 501c3 rescue and can’t afford an emergency surgery on one of our dogs, can you help me?
Yes! You can apply to make your dog the Salty Dog of the month. The details are listed on our website.

My friend can’t keep her dog. Is there anything you can do for her?
Unfortunately we are not an animal rescue.

I read about a Salty Dog of the month who you saved. How do I find out about adopting her?
We are not a rescue, so we don’t adopt out dogs, but we do post updates on the dogs we help on our Facebook page. If a rescue has agreed to take over custody of the dog we are helping you would have to apply through the rescue.