Whale watching tips


Coming on your first whale watch with Capt. Bill’s? Here are some answers to our most commonly asked questions.

1. What should I bring on my whale watch?

The most important things we tell people to bring with them is sunblock and a jacket/sweatshirt.  It tends to be at least 10 degrees cooler out on the water, so even if it’s really nice out on land odd are it going to get a littler colder once your moving along on the boat.  Sunblock is also key because you are going to be in the sun for at least 3-4 hours, and although there is an inside cabin for shade, you are most likely going to be outside most of the time. Other things you may want to bring would be camera, batteries, hat, blanket, and books/magazines.  If you are traveling with children you may want to bring a game or cards to keep them occupied on the ride out to the whales, as well as for the way back in.

2. Can we bring food and drink on the boat?

Yes. You can bring your own lunch/food/beverages aboard if you’d like.  Coolers are also allowed.  The only things we prohibit on the boat is GLASS and ALCOHOL.

3. How long is the whale watch?

Typically the whale watches last about 4 hours.  However this does depend on where we end up finding whales.  If the whales are closer to shore, trips may tend to be a little shorter.  If the whales are further away, the trip may tend to be a little longer.

4. Are we guaranteed to see a whale?

At Capt. Bill’s we guarantee that you are going to see a whale. BUT keep in mind, every time we go out on that boat we are going into nature.  We have no idea what we are going to see each and every time we leave the dock and every trip is different as well as every day. If for some unfortunate reason you do not see a whale, you get a free trip to come back…that never expires.

5. When is the best time for sightings?

This is one of the most common questions we get.  Unfortunately, there is no official lunch time or play time for the humpback whales.  There is no special time of day that they are more active or less active.  We do not do anything to attract them to our boat and definitely do not feed them.  They come up to the North Atlantic for the feeding grounds located up here, in particular for us, Stellwagen Bank and Jeffreys Ledge.  As long as there is plenty of food in the area for them, they will stick around for the duration of the season.  The best time weather-wise that we recommend is July/August.

6. Do you have free parking?

Yes! We have our own private lot here on Harbor Loop.  Sometimes we do block parking but don’t worry, you’re all on the same boat.  There is additional parking as well that we can direct you to when you get here.  Also keep in mind, on Sundays all of the parking meters are FREE (in Gloucester).

7. Do we need reservations or can we just show up?

Reservations are always recommended, but not required.  With a reservation we would be able to call you ahead of time with any weather cancellations or schedule changes.  Also, with a reservation you are guaranteed a seat on our boat in case we sell out.  Typically you can make your reservations up to a few days before your trip, but if you have a particular date in mind you should make it asap to ensure your spots.

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