Zodiac cruising in the Polar Regions
Our voyages are primarily defined as explorations and we spend as much time ashore as possible. We can be flexible, taking advantage of wildlife opportunities by using our zodiacs for both landings and cruises. Our knowledgeable guides assist on these outings, providing detailed information. This is supplemented by lectures on board which covers topics such as wildlife, nature and history.
Zodiac cruising instructions
The proper handling and usage of Zodiac landing craft, is crucial for exploratory voyages. These rubber boats are ideal for our operations. They have shallow drafts, and contain six air-filled compartments which give them impressive floatation and weight carrying abilities. The compartments are connected by valves, which allow the internal air pressure to be regulated, and they will still float even if one (or several) compartments become deflated. With these safe, durable and dependable boats we can land in many, normally inaccessible sites; Such as, beaches, shallow river banks, rocky outcrops, coral reef flats, ice floes, etc., as well as more conventional places; such as, docks, sea walls and jetties.
Passengers, however, must be aware of certain regulations involving the Zodiacs in order to assure adequate safety in our landing operations.
- The Zodiac driver is in charge of the boat and its operations. Please follow his or her instructions at all times.
- Always wear the provided zodiac safety vests when travelling in the Zodiacs. This is for your safety, and is required at all times while in the Zodiacs regardless of weather or sea conditions.
- Always accept the helping hand of crew-members and Zodiac drivers when stepping into or out of the Zodiacs at the ship’s gangway or ashore. Keep both hands free for this operation, and use the preferred ‘sailor’s grip’; i.e., grip each other by the wrist, because this gives a much stronger grip than just holding hands.
- Minimize the number of separate articles taken along with you when using the zodiacs. Backpacks are ideal for consolidating such diverse objects as cameras, binoculars, rain gear, extra shoes, etc. Carryon items may be handed to the boat handlers before embarking or disembarking. Keep both hands free.
- Never smoke in the Zodiacs. This is hazardous because there are exposed fuel tanks connected to the outboard engines. Lit cigarettes are also hazardous to the rubber construction of the boats.
- All landing conditions will be announced beforehand; i.e., ‘wet’ landings (these may require getting your feet wet by wading ashore), ‘dry’ landings (these make use of a dock or other object with which one can step ashore directly), and expected weather conditions.
- Never disembark or embark the Zodiac over the wooden transom (stern) when the boat is backed onto a beach. Oncoming waves may suddenly push the boat higher onto the beach, knocking the careless passenger with the uplifted engine and propeller, or crushing an exposed foot with the very heavy transom. During ‘wet’ landings one may safely get in or out of the boat by first sitting on the rubber pontoon and then swinging one’s leg over the side. Always wait for instructions from the driver during landings.
- One should always use a weatherproof bag (or bring along a small plastic bag) to protect non-waterproof items; such as, cameras and binoculars, from sea spray (or rain) when in the Zodiacs.