Families and Whale sharks

Take your Family Swimming with Whale Sharks

Taking families out to share the experience of swimming with a whale shark is often one of the most enjoyable parts of the job.  Seeing parents and children meet the challenge together, encourage each other, and just share quality time and create new memories makes us all feel pretty good :-)
We do ask parents to take special care and full supervision of their children at all times, as you will have a better idea of their needs and capabilities than we will.  Having said that, if we can help out just let us know how, and we will do what we can.  (Sometimes though, if we are flat out delivering the tour, we may need you to cope until we are free – and then please grab us for a hand as needed.)

In recognition of taking a family out to swim with a whale shark, we offer the best family discount we can. For families of four or more, we offer an 11% discount on the overall price of the tour.  This is bookable online, or contact us to book over the phone if you have additional queries.

What age is a Child when we book?

Until a child becomes a legal adult, they are a child not an adult! So we will only ever charge you for a child.  (How the airlines get away with anything else is beyond us!)  So to make things as clear as possible:

  • If a child is under 6, and is not going to swim with a whale shark, they come out on the tour for just $25.  
  • Children from 4-17 who are wanting to swim with a whale shark can book on as Child Whale shark Swimmers.  We do reserve the right to ask for photo ID if a child does look suspiciously over the age of 17, so if this may happen please come prepared with Photo ID for them.
  • Children 6 or over who do not want to swim with a whale shark come on-board as Child Observers.  They can do everything during a tour, including snorkel the reef and snorkel with the manta rays, just not swim with a whale shark.

Can we leave our children on-board whilst we swim with a whale shark?

All Children aged under 12 need to be under the direct supervision of their parent or legal guardian at all times, whilst onboard or in the water, during a tour.  It is illegal to leave children unsupervised on-board a vessel whilst on tour, or to have children under 12 enter the water with direct adult supervision.
Our crew do not have Police Clearance for Working With Children so may not legally supervise children during a tour.  (Their duties during a tour require them to be ready to respond to an emergency at any time, which they cannot do if supervising children.)

What this means is you may need to tag team with your partner so one of you is always supervising your children onboard.  One of you swims with a whale shark, gets back onboard after your swim, then the partner gets to swim with a whale shark etc.

This also unfortunately makes it impossible for a single parent to bring children with them onboard one of our whale shark tours unless all of them are going to be swimming with a whale shark.

How young is too young to swim with a whale shark?  And to come as a Child on a tour?

We have had children as young as four happily swimming with a whale shark in relatively rough conditions, assisted by their parent and a spare crew member.  We have also had other children much older refusing to get into the water because they are have never done anything like it before.

As a rule of thumb, the more confident your children are snorkelling in the ocean without assistance, the more likely they will be to love their whale shark tour.  (To put it another way, your whale shark tour is not the time or place to be teaching your child how to snorkel for the first time!)

Bringing babies, toddlers and young children on the vessel is possible, but not recommended, especially in rougher weather.  There is nothing more heart-wrenching than a seasick baby.  
If you do choose to do so, please remember one of you will need to remain with the child every moment you are on tour.
We recommend leaving children under 4 ashore, and the parents getting to enjoy a day without them.  This is possible through booking them into the local day-care Centre for casual care, or alternatively contacting the Exmouth Visitors Centre and organizing a baby-sitter for the day.

Another option is to leave one of the adults onshore minding the kids, whilst the other heads out to just savour the tour by themselves and remember what life was like before children for a whole day!;-)  Then swap and the other parent comes out the next day for their break.

We have also had families book on for 2 Adults and 2 Children, and one Adult and Child comes out one day, whilst the other Adult minds the other Child and a baby, toddler or three.  Then the other Adult and Child come out the next day for their turn.

Hopefully this helps, if not please contact us and if we can help further we will.