Snorkeling Boat Tours in Bermuda
A snorkel tour can let you experience amazing corals and marine life at some of the many fascinating reef and wreck sites in Bermuda. Bermuda's crystal clear water gives such high visibility that even snorkelers can clearly view several awesome shipwrecks that are lying submerged under the water. Some of such famous shipwrecks include the Constellation and Montana.
Deeper at the ocean and at the reef and wreck sites, you can also view marvelous and colorful coral formations as well as fish and marine life which are not usually visible from beach snorkeling. And therefore many operators in the island specialize in snorkeling cruises. Some specialize on wreck sites, some on reef sites and some on a mix of both, some cover island beaches and some even combine a bit of sightseeing with snorkeling.
However depending on the weather conditions, captains do change the course and the sites. If the ocean is rough or swelling, they take you to inlets in a calm water area. Some use small boats with capacity of 10-15 so that they can personalize the trips making it more friendly, and also able to reach fast at the snorkel site. The captains chat with the guests, share their knowledge of the ocean and island, and even help take photographs during the tour. However there are also operators who use large boats taking large groups of up to 150.
Most of these snorkel boat tours and cruises operate on a per person rate. However you can also charter them for your own private group, if you want. You should know swimming and be comfortable swimming in deep water if you plan to take one of these snorkel tours.
Here are some of the best and popular snorkel boat tour operators in Bermuda:
This is a 2-hour snorkel cruise offered by Captain Sonny Sullivan on his small 30-foot motorized boat. You get to snorkel over two of the most famous shipwrecks at the western end of Bermuda. The tour operates from Royal Naval Dockyard (where the large cruise ships dock).
If you are looking for a catamaran sailing to experience a great offshore snorkeling, then this 3-hour snorkel trip operated by Captain Keith Ward can be a nice option. He takes you to the outer reefs in north western water area where beautiful corals and marine life are in abundance. While they operate regular day trips, the sail boat can also be charted for a small group of up to 12. Complimentary refreshments are offered on board. The boat leaves from Mangrove Bay dock at Somerset, Sandys.
(Erstwhile Jassie James Cruises)
This 2-hour tour in a small boat is meant for sheer snorkeling enjoyment. You will pass by lovely coastline on the way. You get to snorkel in two different sites from secluded island beaches, shipwrecks and sea garden (an underwater area with colorful corals & lots of fish). The boat has a capacity of 16 and leaves from Hamilton (near the ferry terminal) and offers pick up and drop for the cruise passengers at the dockyard.
After a while, you will find yourself moored in a magical deep blue oasis, bordered by fringe reef on nearly all sides. The boat leaves from Hamilton, Southampton and the dockyard.
Reef Explorer is one of the largest boats in Bermuda that offers snorkel, glass bottom view and night time tours with a capacity of 150 passengers. The 3-hour snorkel tour includes glass bottom view of marine life and an 18th century shipwreck, then passing by the natural habitat of Atlantic green turtles and followed by a swim & snorkel in waist deep water in a cove.
They have a nice catamaran sailing boat with bimini shaded cockpit. It has 4 cabins with bathrooms. Captain Nathan is in charge. The boat departs from the pier of Grotto Bay Beach Resort located at the eastern side of the island in Hamilton Parish. They offer a daily 3-hour sailing, swimming and snorkeling trip during the summer. However the trip takes place subject to reaching a minimum head count of 6 persons. This is one of the very few swimming & snorkeling cruises available to explore the eastern water areas. The boat goes all the way to Turtle Bay across Castle Harbor passing by several scattered islands and offers wonderful views.
With instructions on Bermuda's marine life and guided snorkeling trip, plus fresh cookies on board, it's hard to resist this excellent outfitter. This 3.5 hours sailing & snorkel trip on a pink catamaran departs from the dockyard (Kings Wharf dock area).
Bermuda Sea Life Snorkel Tour
This is a chartered snorkeling offered in small groups of up to 6 persons in a 24ft catamaran which leaves from the Royal Naval Dockyard (cruise port area). The tour takes you to shallow reef areas or enclosed bay area which are full of fish, corals, marine life... you may even see turtles. The tour guide is Dr. Thaddeus Murdoch who has over 25 years of experience in marine research. He will also explain you the ecology of sea life, provide some educational materials, help identify the fish & marine creatures you encounter during your snorkeling.... so it becomes an informative tour and you can really enjoy Bermuda's sea life.
All snorkel gears are provided. The boat has a diving platform and a ladder and enough space to relax. Along with snorkeling you can optionally combine activities like Snorkeling, Kayaking, Stand-up Paddle Boarding, Photography, Birding, Picnics etc.
The usual tour is of 3 hours (starting 9am and 2pm). You can also charter the boat for full day (7 - 8 hours). Half day tour costs $450 for up to 6 persons and full day $850. Full day tours can also start from other places such as Hamilton, St. George etc depending on your convenience.
Children over the age of 12 are accepted though must be accompanied by an adult. Private tour options include a shipwreck history excursion, kayaking among mangroves, seasonal bird watching, coastal ocean clean-ups and much more.
Visitors' Reviews & Comments
Rosemary Daly (June 2016)
I have read a lot of your information and it is terrific, it has really helped us in planning our trip. But I don't see a lot for 2016... we are going to Bermuda this July. My husband and I do a lot of snorkeling and we don't want to be on a boat with 30 people... we don't care about rum swizzles and just want to see a lot of marine life. Can you suggest one of the best boats for doing that?
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2016)
You can consider Sonny's Snorkel Bermuda (wreck snorkeling) or Captain Kirks Coral Reef Adventures (sea garden/reef and wreck snorkeling). Both are small boats.
Danielle (May 2016)
Hi, Do you know if Sonny's snorkeling tour that goes to the shipwrecks, also includes the sea garden? I know the Jesse James tour specifically mentions it, but the timing of Sonny's tours would be better for us. Thanks.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, May 2016)
Hi, Sonny's tour is essentially a shipwreck tour, but you can also see lots of corals and fish. But it does not specifically cover the Sea Garden.
Bev DeMilia (June 2011)
Our cruise docks in Bermuda 7/3/11 - 7/5/11. We have a party of 11 people (adults & teens) and some not the best swimmers. Some people would like to try snorkeling while others may want to lounge on a beach nearby. What would you recommend for a tour or a charter. If chartering, which beach would you suggest we ask them to take us to. Do you have any comments on AJ's Wings, Shekynah, the Sun Splash, etc.? I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you.
Raj (bermuda-attractions.com, June 2011)
Hi, If you are planning to be lounging on a beach while others try out snorkeling, there is no need to take a boat tour. You can go to one of the best snorkeling beaches and enjoy both. Snorkel Park is one of them which is located within the dockyard complex itself and only a few minutes walk from your cruise ship pier. You can also reach the other beaches quite easily from the dockyard. I have discussed all the best beaches for snorkeling here: Snorkeling in Bermuda
If you are looking for a private boat tour that offers both offshore snorkeling as well a beach to enjoy, I must say it's difficult to get best of both the worlds at the same time. All the three options that you have mentioned are good. You should plan to get your own food because they offer limited menu on board, but allow you to bring your own. You can take my reference with the captain of Shekynah, Caleb Zuill.
Another good option is the boat PISCES from Jessie James Cruises. You can charter this 31-foot boat which has a toilet and seating arrangements. You can design a part of your private tour as per their regular snorkeling trip. They cover three snorkeling areas one after the other, with the first one at an island (kings Point) which has a small beach. Some of you can lounge there while others can proceed towards shipwreck sites nearby for a great snorkeling experience. They pick you up from the Dockyard and drop you there if you charter their boat. Check out the details here: Jessie James
If you like to combine a long sail along with snorkeling, I would insist with the operator to finally take the group to the Clearwater Beach at St. David's Island. Since this means an end-to-end ride from the west to the eastern end of Bermuda and back, all may not easily agree. But sometimes they do take you there if you insist and pay a few extra dollars, and it's worth the trip. The boat ride and the beach are both wonderful. Find out about the beach here: Clearwater Beach
. Have a great time in Bermuda!
Scott Lippy (July 2010)
Last July, my wife and I scheduled a snorkeling trip with Jessie James
. Unfortunately the weather had been windy and unsafe for sites on the outer reefs. However, Capt. Jimmy knew of some in-shore areas that were loaded with fish and made the trip enjoyable. A rainstorm quickly appeared and cut short our final dive, but we still had fun. We got soaked from the rain on the way back to the dock and the only negative we had was our extra clothing got soaked, too. I would suggest to anyone to put things in a "dry" bag if you wish to take any towels or extra clothing. The fact that the boat is smaller than some made the trip more enjoyable as you get to know the other folks more that way. We will seek out Jessie James tours again.
Clark Howell (July 2009)
My wife and I went out on Captain Smitty's Catamaran, (Sunday, July 12, 2009) and had the BEST snorkeling adventure of our lives!! It was truly a storybook day, from start to finish. The boat was beautiful, the reef was spectacular and the crew was outstanding! And on top of that, Captain Smitty serenaded us all on the trip back. What a day!