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With over 15 years of experience, we’ve answered all sorts of questions from the curious to the most organised of travellers.  Below we’ve compiled a list of the top questions people have asked about their pending sailing adventure in the Whitsundays.

Is there phone coverage around the Whitsunday Islands?

If you are good with a compass (and we hope you are), you will get some mobile phone coverage on the western side of the main island group and whenever in sight of Hamilton Island. Anywhere to the north of Hayman, and Hook Islands is ‘out of range’. Anywhere east of the main island group is ‘out of range’. If you take up a mooring or anchorage in a deep cove or inlet, many of these are often also ‘out of range’.  In short, if you need mobile coverage, it is never more than 2 hours away.

Is there internet or WiFi on board?

Thankfully, NO!  It’s time to step off the world for a while and find yourself in Whitsunday’s time. Your social media and scrolling sessions can take a back seat.  Work will wait!

Is there really no internet?

If you wish to Hotspot your phone to get your fix of work, or connection with the outside world, you can get some sneaky internet updates in some places around the islands. (see phone coverage above)

What is Bareboating?

Bareboat simply means BARE!
You’ll be hiring a boat from our local, Aussie team here at Portland Roads Sailing the Whitsundays.  It’s now up to you who you invite on board, who is going to be your nominated skipper for your adventure and how you wish to provision the boat.  We’ll have loads of things on board to help make life easy, however the rest is up to you and your adventurous spirit.
Bareboat simply means – Your boat is bare of skipper and bare of food.
You’ll be self-skippering & self-catering for this extraordinary experience through the Ngaro Sea Country of the wonderful Whitsundays.

Do I need a license or experience to charter your boats?

You DO NOT need a licence or experience.  We are so excited and very committed to helping anyone new to sailing get out and onto the water.
Adventure Still Lives
We are passionate – We are professional.
In our caring hands, anyone can respectfully learn to handle any of our extraordinary sailing vessels.

There is no guarantee that we’ll get the sails up every time, with every crew who join us. Additional Sail Training is available to anyone new or anyone wishing for a refresher.

I see that they’re all sailing boats! Do we have to sail or can we just motor?

Yes, you can just motor around Ngaro Sea Country if you wish to do so.
However, we like to ask this question – Why?
There is nothing more magical than the wind in your sails and we would love to show you how. The choice is yours – Additional Sail training is an option on your first day of charter.

Is there any training / briefing?

We love our boats too much to let them go out without training the crew. Being a World Heritage area; And a natural wonder of the world, we also need to look after our Great Barrier Reef. To this end, regardless of your experience, ALL CREW will undergo our Great Barrier Reef Marine Park briefing. Boat Awareness, Boat Handling, Safety, Emergency Responses and Navigation all form part of the briefing. It’s pretty hands on, with everyone involved. When you complete your briefing, you’ll be good and ready to set sail.

Is navigation hard? Will I get lost?

Regardless of your compass prowess, we will give you loads of tools, plenty of advice and training.
If you can bring along common sense, we reckon we can help you find your way around the Ngaro Sea Country of the wonderful Whitsundays.

Are tides an issue?

Knowing your tides and how to read them is all part of the fun.
If you can work with the tides, you will add to the pleasure of this adventure.
And don’t worry, it is easy.
All you need to remember is one thing!
Check and know your tides each day.

Should I learn to sail before I take out one of your boats?

If you have experience, great.  If not, we’d prefer that you don’t take a crash course in sailing.
If you are learning from scratch, it’s far better to learn on the boat you are going to be sailing on.
Many arrive with a few days of training and quickly lose confidence as they do not recognise or understand anything.
Our normal briefing will get you out and about.
Our extra sail training will take things to the next level in your adventure, if you choose to add this to your experience.

Is there electricity on the boats?

Well, yes (and no).
Most charter boats throughout the Whitsundays have 12 Volt appliances (Fridge, TV, Instruments etc).
Most boats will also have an invertor to give you ‘some’ 240V outlets to charge telephones etc. This power cannot be used for things like toasters, kettles, hair dryers and hair straighteners. It will simply overload the system and shut down.

Some of our high-end vessels do however have a generator. ‘Whitsunday Freedom’, ‘Portland Roads’ and LUCY’
On these boats, if you need electricity, you can turn on the generator to manage your electrical appliances.

NOTE: If you have a sleep-apnoea machine, please tell your briefer and she/he will instruct you on good battery / power management to ensure you get a great night’s sleep.

When is 'stinger season' in the Whitsundays?

Like you, stingers love the tropics, and they love the Whitsundays.
Unlike you, they don’t really come and go, checking out other tropical locations around the world. They visit, fall in love with the place and stay.
And whilst many will have you believe there is a defined ‘season’, this may also be slightly misleading.
In short, yes! There are stingers in our waters. And yes, stingers have been seen all year round.
The chance of an interaction with stingers is low, however such is the veracity of the sting, any interaction is fraught with danger (and a fair degree of Ouch!)
The best way to avoid stings is to wear a marine suite (stinger suit) when ever you are venturing into the water for plenty of quality dwell time beneath the waves (or on the surface snorkelling). Don’t rely on a calendar of when and where not to swim, rely on nature.

Are there other benefits when wearing a 'stinger suit'?

Full disclosure, we never get asked this question, but we really want someone to ask us one day!

Wearing a sexy marine suit helps in these ways:

  1. They saves you money on lashings of sunscreen
  2. They protects you from the sun
  3. They aid you in floating (huge bonus when snorkelling)
  4. They save the reef from harmful body oils
  5. They saves the coral from sunscreen contamination
  6. They are very figure hugging
  7. They keep you warmer longer when snorkelling and watching your fav sea creatures
  8. They protect the reef from damage
  9. They protects you from the scratchy parts of the reef and ocean floor
  10. They come in an assortment of colours, black and maybe blue
  11. Oh; and we almost forgot – They will protect you from marine stings

When is the best time to sail the Whitsundays?

You’d love a simple answer, something like June 12 th
Aahhh – It’s not that easy!

There is no real ‘official’ answer.
It’s horses for courses and seasons for sailors.

Here’s our snapshot!
May – June – July = Drone and Photography perfection / 24oC water temps / mild nights, warm, clear, and dry days and our sunsets in overdrive

July – August = Whales and as an added bonus, all of the above May – June – July stuff too

September, October, November, December, and January = Our tropical heat starts to kick in, with magnificent winds for sailing.

*February – March = No-one seems to take holidays, so you can have
the Whitsundays all to yourself (although we’ll be out on the water too)

April = Usually Easter and everyone is back on the water
*NOTE: If you do not like humidity, avoid February and March
OR If you wish to be out on the water, Book one of our vessels that have Airconditioning.

Catering - How and When?

  • We recommend Click & Collect at Coles Cannonvale, with a pickup time AFTER you have boarded your vessel. In this manner you will not be waiting around in the sun. You will also by then have access to the trolleys, marina and vessel making the loading of your provisions as hassle free as possible.
  • Ask if they can box (rather than bag) your order – NOTE: Do Not use Coles Delivery service, they will not deliver to your vessel. They will simply leave your provisions up in the carpark.
  • If wishing for even more hassle free delivery directly to your boat, choose the services of Whitsunday Provisioning: Please organise this for drop off at 7:00 am on the day of your briefing. Deliver to your vessel will be to berths Q3 Q4 Coral Sea Marina.
  • We do suggest buying your drinks elsewhere (cheaper). No-one does morning delivery to vessels at the marina, so best to organise this the night before boarding.
  • Please purchase beer and mixed drinks in cans only –Wine bottles are acceptable; beer bottles and stubbies ARE NOT.
  • Remember the boats are BARE – This means bare of skipper and bare of all provisions.
  • PLEASE create (and shop) to a menu – Too many over cater. Please help us stop food waste.
  • Cater for everything you require, not listed below, to help you whip up a storm in the galley (kitchen).
  • We provide Tea towels, Dish cloths, Eco detergent, Eco pump hand soaps, Hand sanitiser, Salt, Pepper, Foil, Tupperware, Baking paper, all Cutlery, Crockery, Pots, Pans, Bathroom towels, Sheets, Pillows, Pillow slips, Blankets, Pillow protectors, Mattress protectors and stainless-steel clothes pegs.
  • Sunscreen, hats, sunglasses, bathers, beach towels, insect repellent, and a spirit of adventure are great additions to your BYO list.
  • FOOTNOTE: We have no commercial association with any of the businesses listed above.


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