Terms & Conditions

Terms and Conditions – All Tours

Individuals and Small Groups

(under 10 individuals or as specified by E-Ko) 

Booker’s Responsibility

In the event you are booking for yourself AND/OR others (e.g. your family, tour group etc.) it is your responsibility to ensure all members of your party are familiar with these terms and conditions.

Bookings 

Bookings can be made via phone, email, our website or authorized booking agency. Full payment will be taken on booking and all bookings are conditional on your compliance with our terms and conditions. Failure to comply will result in you and anyone you have booked for being excluded from your tour without the entitlement to a refund.

Cancellation Policy

You may cancel your trip and be entitled to a full refund by providing no less than 24 hours’ notice prior to your scheduled tour departure. Any customer who fails to comply with this cancellation policy will not be entitled to a refund.

Minimum Numbers 

All trips require a minimum equivalent number of 6 full fare adults to cover minimum operating costs. If the Tour is cancelled as we do not meet minimum numbers, you will receive a full refund. 

Weather

Trips may be cancelled due to poor weather conditions. If a trip is cancelled before the scheduled departure time you will receive a full refund.

Check In 

Call E-Ko tours 24 hours’ prior departure to confirm your booking.

On the day of your tour you must report to our office located at The Waterfront, 1 Wellington Street, Picton, NZ at least 45 minutes before your scheduled tour departure. Failure to do so may result in you not being able to go on your tour and not being entitled to a refund. 

What to Bring

For all tours excluding The E-Ko Dolphin Swim and View Tour, you will need to bring, warm cloths (just in case), a water bottle, sun screen and a camera (optional but highly recommended!).

 

The E-Ko Dolphin Swim and View Tour

Additional Term and Conditions

Trip Duration

The E-Ko Dolphin Swim and Viewing Tour will last between 2-4 hours depending on where the Dolphins are. 

Permit Conditions

Dolphin swimming commercial operators in New Zealand are subject to a permit system administered by the Department of Conservation (DOC). DOC regulations are structured in a way that may mean that even though we come across a pod of dolphins, we might not be allowed to swim with them. We will assess the pod for suitability for swimming. Swimmers are also restricted to a maximum of 4 drops in the water within 300m of dolphins. It is also not permitted for swimmers to touch the dolphins.

Dolphin Behavior

It is important to understand that the dolphins of the Marlborough Sounds are wild animals and as such, we cannot control their behavior. Most of the time dolphins are incredibly curious and playful but, just like humans, sometimes they are not in the mood to play and interact with you. If when swimming with dolphins they swim away from you, please, do not take it personally or try to chase after them.

Success Rate

Our success rate is calculated using actual figures gathered over the duration of the previous season. For viewing dolphins our success rate is currently 95%. For swimming with dolphins it is 80%. Please keep in mind that like all dolphin swimming tours in New Zealand, there is always the chance that you will not be able to get in the water with wild dolphins.

Equipment Rental

The cost of your equipment rental is included in your tour and is valued at $16. This covers the costs associate with fitting you with the gear, wear and tear, cleaning/hygiene requirements and other equipment maintenance. Upon renting equipment, you agree that you are personally responsible for this equipment while it is in your possession and any loss or damage of equipment will be billed to at the rate it will cost us to repair or replace said equipment. Replacement costs are listed below:

Wetsuits: $300   Mask: $35   Snorkel: $20   Booties: $50   Hoods: $45

Refund Policy Dolphin Swim – No Swim

If you have paid for a dolphin swim and we are unable to deliver the product due to our permit conditions, you will be entitled to a partial refund. This refund is calculated by taking difference in price between a dolphin swim and a dolphin view tour less the cost of your equipment rental.

Adult: $165 - $99 = $66 - equipment $16 = total refund $50

Child: $110 - $55 = $55 - equipment $16 = total refund $39

Refund Policy Dolphin Swim – No Swim or View

If you have paid for a dolphin swim and we are unable to deliver the product due to us not spotting any dolphins, you will be entitled to a partial refund. This refund is calculated by taking difference in price between a dolphin swim and a basic cruise less the cost of your equipment rental.

Adult: $165 - $75 = $90 - equipment $16 = total refund $74

Child: $110 - $38 = $72 - equipment $16 = total refund $56

Refund Policy Dolphin View – No View

If you have paid for a dolphin view tour and we are unable to deliver the product due to us not spotting any dolphins, you will be entitled to a partial refund. This refund is calculated by taking difference in price between a dolphin view tour and a basic cruise.

Adult: $99 - $75 = total refund $24

Child: $55 - $38 = total refund $17

Infant: N/A

Minimum Age Requirements

Children under 8 years of age are not legally permitted to swim with the dolphins. Children between 8 and 12 (inclusive) may be permitted to swim with the dolphins but this decision is entirely at the skipper’s discretion and each inpidual child in this situation MUST be accompanied in the water by their own supervisor who must be 18 years of age or older.

Viewing children must be accompanied under 8 years of age.

Minimum Swimming Experience

Even though we operate in the calm sheltered waters of the Queen Charlotte Sound, it is preferable that you have some degree of swimming experience or are comfortable in the water. We have extremely warm buoyant full length wetsuits and extra floatation devices to ensure your comfort and safety. Your interaction does not require you to swim after the animals, they come to you and then you sing to attract the animals. This requires you to be breathing calmly in the water. If you are nervous we will ensure you are comfortable or recommend to view

What to Bring for your Dolphin Swim

For Dolphin swimming you will need to bring your swimwear, towel, warm cloths, sun screen, water bottle and a camera (cameras are optional but highly recommended!)

Medical Conditions

You must be fit and healthy, mentally and physically. Dolphin swimming is considered a strenuous activity and any medical condition which impairs your physical or mental ability must be brought to our attention. Swimming involves the contact with cold water which can affect conditions that are triggered by heightened stress. It is your personal responsibility to be honest when you will fill in our Pre-Swim questionnaire at check in time. This reduces your risk of harm occurring.

You are obligated to notify us then of any medical condition affecting your general health or mental ability before the activity. Email us before hand to discuss if unsure of medical conditions not considered eligible.

Those considered not medically able to be safely involved in a strenuous activity will be deemed ineligible for this activity. This is a legal requirement under New Zealand Maritime law.

Swimming with dolphins is an incredible experience and in New Zealand our company is the safest operation with our sheltered calm waters, specialized swim ladders and methods. Our intention is for you to have the best possible interaction with the dolphins so come prepared.

You will then have one the most memorable experiences of your life, the dolphins are looking forward to meeting you.