What is a typical cruise like? That is a tough question to answer as no two trips are the same. We don’t have a set destination or typical route that we sail repeatedly. That would make it dull for people returning to Jade Lady and mind numbing for the captain and crew. We go where the winds and currents allow us to optimize sailing the schooner and not running the motor. The boat and your enjoyment make the trip. You and your friends will have plenty of room to spread out, relax and enjoy the sail. It is our hope that you have an enjoyable and memorable sail, have fun, perhaps make a new friend or two, and take in the scenery and beauty of our wonderful Great Lakes coastline aboard the traditional schooner Jade Lady.
What to wear/bring? Soft soled shoes such as sneakers or boat shoes are fine. No black soles (which can scuff the decks). Our beautiful lakes and peninsulas can have erratic weather, so bring something for both the sun and cool weather. You’d be surprised at how much cooler being on the water can be. Windbreakers, sweaters, hats, and comfortable shoes are recommended. You may also want a camera and binoculars for sightseeing.
Do you take credit cards? Reservations are encouraged as times are first come, first served; we take a credit card # (either VISA, or MC) to secure your reservation. When you come for a sail, you can pay by cash, check, traveler's check, or credit card. You may cancel or change reservations 48 hours before your sail is scheduled. We will only charge your credit card if you don’t show up. If you do not call us 48 hours ahead for a change or cancellation, you will be charged for your trip. We think that these reservation requirements are fair and appreciate your cooperation.
Who decides whether a trip will be cancelled? Trip cancellation is at the discretion of the Captain. We will sail in light rain and in winds up to 20-25 knots. These conditions make for a fun and exciting sailing day. In the event of stormy weather, heavy rains, or mechanical issues, the Captain will cancel the sailing day, and the charterers will be allowed a refund, or the option of rescheduling for another day. If the Captain decides a day in advance, a phone call will be made to the contact person for a charter group. If it's a decision that is made the morning of the charter, a 9 a.m. call will be made to the contact person for the charter group, discussing the options for cancellation or rescheduling. Your enjoyment and safety are the first and foremost considerations regarding cancelling a trip.
Can I bring a cooler with wine or beer? You may bring alcoholic beverages, beer and wine, if you wish, in your own soft-sided cooler, smaller coolers only, please. It is, however, the Captain's discretion to disallow drinking of alcoholic beverages if any passenger behaves in a manner that is unseemly or dangerous to him/herself or others.
Can I help sail Jade Lady? Absolutely! It is always helpful, and more fun for people to be involved. Feel free to help hoist the sails, tack the boat (change direction of travel) or steer Jade Lady. Kids love to get the opportunity to captain a “pirate ship.” If you would rather sit back, have a drink, and enjoy the sail, the choice is yours.
Do I have to tip the captain/crew, and if so, what's the normal amount? Tipping is purely voluntary. If you do decide that you want to tip the captain / crew, then it's customary to tip 10% to 20%. Again, it is not expected or required, but simply a way of saying thank you for being professional, helpful and gracious and for making the trip enjoyable.
What about motion sickness? Seasickness is unlikely and uncommon. Also, Jade Lady is a stable, full-keeled boat with a sea kindly motion; however, some people are prone to motion sickness. If you think you may get queasy, consider using a pressure wrist band or taking a small dose of medicine such as Bonine or Less Drowsy Formula Dramamine ahead of time, according to directions.
What about toilet facilities? There is a marine head (toilet) aboard in a separate and private compartment. There are special instructions as to its use, and these are provided when you are aboard.
Can I smoke on board? Smoking is permitted on deck only.
Does an infant or small child count as one of the six people allowed on the charter? Yes. Coast Guard regulations allow up to six people to charter this boat, and that includes small children and infants. Every child must be included in our head count, no exceptions.
A note on children and infants: Michigan law requires all children six years and under to wear a personal flotation device (PFD), which will be provided. The kind we have onboard are the stiff orange hold-your-head-above-water-in-case-of-emergency type. They are not terribly comfortable for a child (or anybody) to wear for a long period of time. If you have a life-vest that your child normally wears when you are out boating, by all means, please feel free to bring it along.
We are often asked about our policy on having children aboard. We welcome children of all ages. Per Coast Guard regulations, every child is included in our headcount, and there is a charge for every child. If you are trying to decide whether or not to bring your young children, our advice is this: Our trips are generally quiet and relaxing. Children are not allowed to roam the vessel unattended. While we sail, you will need to stay with them. You know your children best. If you think your child won’t be able to handle the length of the trip, you are probably right. Lots of young children have sailed with us and loved it, and we love having them on board. On the other hand, to be honest, some parents who have brought their young children have wished they hadn’t. There is nowhere to go with a screaming, unhappy child. The brig for the criminally naughty child or adult is located in the forward cabin (yes that is a joke). A backpack full of snacks, books, etc. can be helpful.If your child is at the age where he/she can’t do one to two hours of quiet relaxing, you might want to schedule a fun private kids’ outing, maybe with a pirate theme.
Is the boat wheelchair and handicap accessible? No, unfortunately the boat is not wheelchair accessible; therefore, we don't recommend our sails for those in wheelchairs. If there is someone in your group that can board with your assistance, they may be able to participate. If you have further questions, please call or e-mail to discuss. Please note, the restroom is located below decks and requires the use of stairs to access the toilet facilities.
Is the sail narrated? We think that having someone talking into a microphone for the duration of the trip both detracts from the smaller, intimate sailing experience we provide and ruins the tranquility: the wind in the sails and the sound that the vessel makes as she glides through the water. Therefore, the short answer is that the sail is not narrated. However, the Captain is knowledgeable about the boat, the area and landmarks that you will see and loves discussing these and many other topics with his guests aboard Jade Lady.
Can I bring medical marijuana on board with my prescription? Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 controlled substance by the federal government. Therefore, we have a ZERO TOLERANCE DRUG POLICY in accordance with U.S. Coast Guard regulations and our operation on federal waters. (Medical Marijuana Cards do not allow use or possession of these substances on charter boats). Do not bring any drugs or paraphernalia on the boat. Even possession of these items will result in the trip being immediately terminated with no refunds if this policy is violated.