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Questions and Answers
Blue Heron Bridge Riviera Beach Florida as seen from boat on the South Side
  • What is included on cruising trips?
    For cruising trips we provide the following. Cooler Ice Bottled Water We recommend and encourage you to bring you own drinks, food or snacks, sunscreen lotion, towels or any swimming/beach gear you may need for your desired trip. Its also recommended to bring a waterproof jacket or poncho even if rain is not in the forecast as South Florida weather often changes without notice. *Please note, red wine, hard liquor, tanning sprays or lotions or aerosol spray sunscreen and smoking is not permitted on the boat as staining and damage will occur. (you may use spray sunscreen on the dock prior to boarding). Refer to Charter Agreement regarding footwear and other sections of the Q&A page for additional information.
  • Can I bring my own food, drinks or alcohol?
    Absolutely and is encouraged! We have a cooler available for use on board with ice and bottled water provided. Please bring anything else you would like. Cooler space is limited but we do have other options for more drink and snack storage. Please let us know if you need more space, additional ice or intend to bring your own cooler. Soft sided coolers are preferred as space for full sized, hard coolers is limited. ​ *No hard liquor, no glass bottles, no red wine. Guests can consume adult beverages but not to the point of intoxication as it becomes a serious safety concern for the guest(s), crew and vessel of this size. Person(s) that appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be permitted to board the vessel. If an illegal drug is found on board or is in the possession of any individual(s), this includes all products containing THC, prescribed or otherwise, or the captain determines that any individual(s) are unstable due to excessive drinking, the trip will immediately be terminated without refund.
  • Weapons Policy?
    Because this is a private vessel and in accordance with our Charter Agreement, "Sandhill Charters adheres to a strict Zero Tolerance Policy. No Firearms, Illegal Substances, Cannabis/THC may be brought on board the vessel." If a firearm, illegal substance or any cannabis/THC is discovered, the client and/or guests will not be allowed to board the vessel until those items are properly secured in your vehicle. Once the trip is in progress, if a firearm, illegal substance or cannabis/THC is discovered, the trip will be immediately ended and no refund provided. In some situations, and depending on the severity, an immediately ended trip may not be at the departing location but at the safest and closest drop off point in relation to where the vessel is located and/or law enforcement may be notified. Our goal is to ensure all trips are conducted as professionally and safely as possible, moreover when alcohol is on board and appreciate your understanding in this matter.
  • Can I bring my prescribed Cannabis or THC products on board?
    We certainly understand the disparity between Federal Law and State Law and that currently, THC products are legalized for medicinal use in the State of Florida. However, we are governed and regulated under Federal Law while on the water and under Federal Law, remains illegal. Even if cannabis is legal in your state, the federal government still considers it a Schedule I drug, which the feds say has the potential for abuse and has no accepted medical use. This is very important, because on any water ways (or land) under federal jurisdiction, it's illegal to possess cannabis even though a state may have legalized it. All vessels operating on navigable waters of the United States are governed and regulated by federal law and subject to enforcement through federal law. So as such, passengers, captains and crew members are not legally allowed to bring or consume marijuana on commercial or private vessels, even if prescribed. Please bring any other medications you may need for the duration of your trip but leave all medications containing THC in your vehicle. *Person(s) that appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be permitted to board the vessel. If an illegal drug is found on board or is in the possession of any individual(s), this includes all products containing THC, prescribed or otherwise, or the captain determines that any individual(s) are unstable due to excessive drinking, the trip will immediately be terminated without refund.
  • Damage Deposit?
    All trips are subject to a refundable $250 damage deposit for all bookings. This may be paid using a "credit hold", credit charge or debit charge on your card. A full refund will be issued if no damages exist. Credit Holds or Credit Charge refunds are processed within 48hrs of trip end. Please note, damages or lost gear that exceed the damage deposit must be paid at the replacement cost immediately at the end of the charter. Though rare as most guests respect the vessel, deductions against damage deposits include and in order of frequency are: Flushing anything other than provided toilet tissue into the head(toilet) $250 Damage/Stains to seats or fiberglass from any cause. $250+ each piece/section Lost fishing poles/gear overboard $450-$850 Deep cleaning beyond normal usage $250-$400 Lost/Damaged Man Overboard Fobs $125 each
  • Is the trip refundable if I cancel or if there are unforeseen weather conditions?
    Please See Our Cancellation Policy For Full Details On The "Info and FAQ page Trips cancelled by Sandhill Charters or Captain Matt for reasons of weather, mechanical breakdown or other unforeseen circumstance are fully refundable or may be used toward a future booking. We understand this can put a damper on your plans and we will make every effort find a solution all parties can be happy with. Trips canceled by the customer without proper notice, no shows, if customer requests to return to port early for an "in-progress" trip or if the captain deems it necessary to end a trip early due to guest misconduct, intoxication, gross safety violations, drugs, harassment or in any way a risk to the boat, crew or other guests will not be refunded.
  • What if its raining?
        We strive to provide the best possible boating experience you can ask for and your safety is our number one priority.  South Florida weather often changes by the hour and a forecast issued the day before may be substantially better or worse than anticipated the day of your charter.      We have a no-rain and small craft advisory policy so we do not depart the dock if it is currently raining/storming or rain/storms are imminent in the latest forecast model. During otherwise nice weather, if a small craft advisory is posted, and still safe to do so, we will continue to operate within the protected Intracoastal Waterway. The boat will never go into open water during an active, small craft advisory, when sea conditions exceed 3-4ft, or winds exceed 25mph.      We will generally make cancellation decisions 1-2 hours before departure time . Please feel free to call before driving to the departure location.  If our Captain decides not to cast off due to weather or advisories, you have the option to reschedule to an open available date or receive a full refund. If availability exists, we can change trip times the day of to avoid and allow weather to move out of the area.      If we cast off on a mediocre weather day, and finish a charter for the agreed allotted time, discounts or refunds will not be given. If you and the captain agree that conditions are undesirable or unsafe and the decision is mutually agreed to return to port early, a calculated, per hour rate, will be refunded for lost time based on the per hour rate of your trip. Harmless sun showers can pop up at any time here in Florida so it is advised you pack a small poncho just in case.
  • Do you offer discounts or promotions?
    We have multiple promotions we run throughout the year. Be sure to check out or Facebook page for any promotional deals. We also honor our Active Military, Veterans and First Responders by offering discounts as well (Police, Fire, Rescue, Nurse) * *The person booking the charter must be the first responder, ID will be required to validate. Please reach out to us before booking.
  • What about tipping?
    Tipping is never required however if you would like to show your appreciation to the Captain and/or Crew and would like to leave a tip, 15%-20% of trip total is customary in the industry and is tremendously appreciated.
  • Can I charter the boat as my own captain or hire my own captain?
    No. All charters/trips are with crew provided. Sandhill Charters currently employs Captain Matt as the sole person in charge of the Bonnie Lee and has complete and final say in all matters pertaining to the operations of the vessel under his command.
  • What time do I need to be at the boat or marina?
    All groups are recommended to be at the boat at least 5-10 minutes prior to departure. If an unforeseen circumstance occurs that could delay the group, a call should be made to the Captain at (561)316-7528, to relay this information to them to prevent cancellation. Sandhill Charters or Captain Matt reserves the right to cancel any charter where the party fails to arrive within a reasonable time of the scheduled departure time. The Charter begins at the designated departure time, not at the time the Charteree arrives. Charter duration includes docking, undocking, as well as travel to and from destination(s). Please allow extra driving time in case of traffic. If you don't show up at the dock the day of your charter, you will forfeit your deposit. If you show up late and are not ready to leave at the agreed departure time, you will be losing charter time. Again, the clock starts at the agreed departure time.
  • What if I am running late to arrive?
    All groups are recommended to be at the boat at least 5-10 minutes prior to departure. If an unforeseen circumstance occurs that could delay the group, a call should be made to the Captain at (561)316-7528, to relay this information to prevent cancellation. Sandhill Charters or Captain Matt reserves the right to cancel any charter where the party fails to arrive within a reasonable time of the scheduled departure time. The Charter begins at the designated departure time, not at the time the Charteree arrives. Charter duration includes docking, undocking, as well as travel to and from destination(s). Please allow extra driving time in case of traffic. If you don't show up at the dock the day of your charter, you will forfeit your deposit. If you show up late and are not ready to leave at the agreed departure time, you will be losing charter time. Again, the clock starts at the agreed departure time.
  • Do you have an "all inclusive" package?
    We can tailor any trip to meet your needs. From customized durations, specific itineraries or stops, mix and match services and provisioning of the boat. If you would like Soda, Beer/Wine, snacks or deli platters provisioned on the boat or want to custom tailor your trip in any way, give us a call and we will be glad to meet your requests. Prices vary. For any trip, you are welcomed and encouraged to bring along your own provisions or extra cooler(s).
  • What footwear should I bring?
    Barefoot is always the best way to boat in our opinion but we do require that all guests on board wearing footwear, wear non marking, soft soled tennis shoes, deck shoes or sandals. NO hard shoes, boots, high heels, wedges, or stilettos will be allowed. The Captain may require a passenger to remove their shoes if proper foot attire is not worn. Floors can be slippery when wet.
  • Can we decorate the boat?
    We celebrate many occasions aboard the Bonnie Lee. Birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, graduation even burial at sea via ash scattering, we can host your special event for up to 6 passengers. When it comes to decorating, it's not uncommon for decorations to come loose and end up in the oceans. We adhere to strict garbage and pollution protocols and take this matter seriously. For this reason we do not allow any balloons (latex or mylar) to be utilized in any decorating theme. More often than not, Captain Matt plucks these items from other vessels who lost them which pose a serious issue to the abundance of sea life in the area. Dolphin, Manatee, Sea Turtles and Birds are at the highest risks, to name a few. We would ask that every attempt to use biodegradable decorations be made including paper decorations and fresh flowers. Affixing items to the boat needs special care to not cause any damage to the vessel surfaces. So no duct tape, strong adhesives or bare metal wire. We do provide quite a bit of leeway in decorations so long as it does not interfere with the Captain's view or any safety equipment on board such as navigation lights, electronic equipment or safety gear. The number one basic rule we have: If it comes on the boat, it must come off the boat at the end of the trip and may not end up in the water or leave behind any residual adhesive, residue, scratches or damage to the boat. Failure to adhere to this basic rule will result in complete forfeiture of the $250 damage deposit.
  • Can I smoke or vape on board?
    Smoking or any open flame is prohibited on board or once inside the marina gates. Battery operated vaping devices are permitted. All products containing THC are strictly prohibited under Federal Law Person(s) that appear to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be permitted to board the vessel. If an illegal drug is found on board or is in the possession of any individual(s), this includes all products containing THC, prescribed or otherwise, or the captain determines that any individual(s) are unstable due to excessive drinking, the trip will immediately be terminated without refund.
  • How many people/guests can I bring?
    The Bonnie Lee is an Uninspected Passenger Vessel (UPV) and is limited to a total of up to 6 passengers, the captain and one additional crew member. If doing any fishing during your trip, we may have to limit the number of "active fishermen" to 4 for the most enjoyable experience. We can still take 6 passengers and you can trade off/take turns for who is actively fishing. This is due to the currents and space on the boat. Nobody likes losing fishing time untangling lines.
  • Are children/infants allowed on board?
    *Absolutely! We encourage families to bring their children on cruising trips. When booking, if you intend to bring your children, let us know ages and weight so we can provision the vessel with the correct safety gear. By law, children under 6 years old must wear a life vest at all times while underway and is strongly encouraged for children who are 12 and younger, especially if they can not swim. We carry the legally required Type 1 vests for children (under 90lbs) as well as for infants. They aren't ,designed for comfort and frankly are indeed uncomfortable to wear for any length of time so if you have your own preferred vest that is USCG approved, in good, serviceable condition you may bring that along. If you do not have one, there are several retailers nearby the marina that carry them. ​ *While they are welcome aboard, it is not advised to bring your children under 4yrs old. They may not enjoy the trip as much as their older siblings or parents, especially when any person under 6 must have a life jacket on at all times. Also, the Bonnie Lee is equipped with wireless Man Overboard, wearable fobs. We currently offer up to 2 passenger fobs to give you peace of mind while on the water. (Lost fobs subject to $125 charge against damage deposit) The 1st Mate system is the industry's first engine-integrated intelligent hub and wearable device that integrates with marine propulsion systems to provide safety alerts and information. It adds another layer of boating safety by notifying a boat's captain or its passengers if someone has fallen overboard.
  • Do children count toward the passenger limit?
    Yes, children or infants count toward the 6 passenger limit.
  • How fast does the boat go?
    The Bonnie Lee is powered by twin 200hp, Mercury Verado Outboards with a maximum boat speed of 49mph. However, in nearly all cases, the boat will not exceed 35mph and generally cruises between 25-32mph while on plane for optimal performance and comfort to guests. Of course, speed is always regulated by either speed zones or by conditions while underway.
  • Is there a restroom/head onboard?
    The Bonnie Lee is equipped with a flushing head located under the console for emergency use. To access, this does require making 2 steps down, in reverse, through a narrow door but once inside provides 6 feet of headroom and ample space to change as well. There is no sink in the head compartment but a handwash sink is available topside. Only provided toilet tissue is allowed to be flushed. Everything else must go into waste bin for disposal shoreside. Flushing anything other than the provided toilet tissue will automatically result in loss of damage deposit. One of the top reasons for being charged against your damage deposit, is flushing non approved materials into the toilet/holding tank, extra cleaning/sanitizing beyond normal use and damage to fixtures.
  • What safety gear is on board
    The Bonnie Lee meets or exceeds all safety gear requirements for a vessel of this size. Wireless Man Overboard Protection: 1x Captain FOB - Shuts motors off, sends distress signal in event Captain goes overboard. 2x Passenger FOB - Alerts Captain or shared users of a Man Overboard, marks location of MOB event on chart plotter and cell phone(s). (exceeds USCG regulation/not required) Type I offshore vests for all passengers. (8x Adult, 2x Child, 2 Infant). Each equipped with water activated safety strobe and whistle (meets regulation) Emergency Position Indicating Radio Beacon( EPIRB), captain wears Personal Locating Beacon (PLB) (exceeds USCG regulation/not required under 100 gross tons) 20" Throwable Life Ring Buoy and Heaving Line (exceeds USCG regulation/not required under 26ft) Lifesaving Throw Line (exceeds USCG regulation/not required) Basic First Aid Kit (meets USCG regulations) Visual Distress Signals, VDS (quantity and type exceed USCG regulations) Fixed mount and handheld Marine VHF radios with DSC, both with stand alone GPS(exceeds USCG regulation/not required under 65.6ft) Radio Station License (Ship Station License) for better accuracy if distress button is activated (exceeds USCG regulation/not required) 2x Fire Extinguisher (exceeds USCG regulation) Radar with collision alarm (exceeds USCG regulation/not required) Sound making device (whistle and horn) (exceeds USCG regulation) Kill Switch Lanyard (meets USCG regulation) Navigation Lights (meets USCG regulation) Two Chart plotters with independent GPS antennas for redundancy (exceeds USCG regulation/not required) Publications: Paper Charts, U.S Coast Pilot, Light List, Tide/Current tables, Navigation Rules (meets regulation) Not Required, Not Equipped Life raft The Bonnie Lee is a Boston Whaler 250 Outrage, 24.5ft. Boston Whaler prides itself in being an "Unsinkable Legend" and as a result, is one of the safest vessels on the water today. Due to the construction, every area of the hull is foam injected providing maximum buoyancy. Even if you cut the boat in half with a chainsaw, pulled the drain plugs and swamped the vessel or overloaded the boat, it will not sink. The Bonnie Lee has a rated capacity of 12 persons, though licensing only allows for 6 or fewer passengers under commercial use. With a maximum weight capacity of 3642 pound, and a swamped capacity of 2,980 pounds, while under commercial use, she will be way under any maximum limits and can handle just about any weather condition you throw her way.
  • Is the boat handicap accessible?
    Short answer: No All guests should be physically fit to ride on a boat and will not hold Sandhill Charters, its employees, agents or other associated persons responsible if injured as a result of any problems (medical, accidental or otherwise) which may occur while chartering the vessel or otherwise participating in the trip. All guests should be able to step up onto and step down into the vessel from a floating or fixed dock, with or without assistance from captain or crew. There are 2 steps and a narrow entry into the head compartment requiring reverse entry to use the facility. In the extremely rare chance an abandon ship order is given, guests should be able to place a life jacket over their heads, secure the straps and exit the vessel into the water for rescue. Due to the size and layout of this vessel, we can not safely transport or secure any wheelchairs or scooters. If available to do so and scheduling permits, prior to booking, please reach out to our Captain to arrange a "trial run". When able, he will meet you at the dock to see if you are able to enter/exit the vessel or otherwise be comfortable while on board and give a full tour of the vessel while you are there. Your comfort and safety is our top priority. Rest assured, if for some reason the trip can not begin due to physical limitations or handicaps, we will offer you a full refund as a courtesy.
  • What if I get motion sick?
    It happens to the best of us and even the most seasoned people have been known to suffer the effects on bad days. Please bring your own motion sickness medication and follow package direction. We can not offer any medical advice or administer any medications so please consult with your medical provider if you are prone to motion sickness. Please note, if you request to return to the dock due to motion sickness, there are no refunds provided for ending the trip early. However, we will make every attempt to avoid this situation entirely. Generally, motion sickness is extremely rare while on ICW cruise/sightseeing trips. While fishing, motion sickness is more common but we typically do not venture offshore when condition peek 3-4ft for this reason. We don't charge extra if you chum the water :) What does Captain Matt use? In the rare occasions Captain Matt has gotten sea sick on particularly rough days our guests will never see, He has seen good results with himself in eating a Green Apple believe it or not. But if something over the counter is needed Bonine seems to be a good choice as it doesn't make you drowsy like Dramamine. Any OTC motion sickness medication should be taken about 30-60 minutes before departing the dock. Avoid alcohol the night before and while on the water, a snack on the stomach does help and stay very hydrated. Alcohol, heat, dehydration, rough seas or going below deck are all big contributing factors to sea sickness. Every person is different and has different medical needs so be sure to speak to your healthcare provider or pharmacist to tailor a remedy specific to you.
  • How to avoid getting motion sick?
    It all starts with a good nights rest and a healthy diet will help a lot. Limit your alcohol consumption the day before and the day of the trip and be hydrated well with water. Avoid going below deck if you are prone to motion sickness. The effects of dehydration amplify the effects of motion sickness and often times you don't feel dehydrated while on the water with the worst effects experienced once back on shore. Drinking at least one bottle of water or electrolyte drink per hour is the minimum Capt Matt consumes to avoid motion sickness and especially dehydration. There are many natural, over the counter and prescription remedies available and you should consult with your medical provider for what is best for you. We try to avoid sea conditions where being motion sick is more likely and generally while on the ICW (Intracoastal) this isn't a common issue to experience.
  • What is included on a fishing trip
    Cooler Ice Bottled Water 100lbs of fish hold ice Fishing License for everyone Rods/Reels Dead bait/Tackle We recommend you bring your own food, drinks, snacks and sun protection. A waterproof rain jacket or poncho are also recommended, even if rain is not in the forecast. Florida weather changes often and without notice.
  • Can I bring my own fishing gear or bait?
    Yes absolutely! If you are fishing with us and would like to bring your own rods/reels tackle and bait, you may even qualify for a reduced rate! Please give us a call to discuss before booking
  • Will I catch fish?
    They call it "fishing" and not "catching" for a reason. But in all likelihood, while we can't guarantee it with 100% confidence, we can say it is most likely you will catch fish. We offer beginner style bottom fishing/drift fishing near reefs, wrecks and other bottom structure that host a wide variety of fish species. We can catch anything from pretty reef fish that need to be released, fish to take home and enjoy for dinner and even can get hooked up on the Ocean's tax collector...SHARKS!
  • What kind of fish will we catch
    With our style of fishing you can catch any variety of Snapper, Grouper, Grunt and Trigger Fish. Porgies, Sheepshead, Snook, Bonita, Tuna, King Maceral, Barracuda, Dolphin (Mahi-Mahi) and Sharks are all possible, to name a few. While we don't target specific species of fish, we make every effort to get on spots where you can keep what you catch for a great meal for dinner.
  • Can I keep what I catch?
    Sandhill Charters likes to practice catch, photograph and release as often as possible. But you absolutely can keep what you catch, if the fish caught are in season and meet the regulations for size. Please note, we do not offer fish cleaning services at this time but a small fish cleaning station is available at Loggerhead Marina. In some cases, if time between trips permits, you might be able to sweet talk the captain into fileting your catch but is on a time availability basis. If you plan to keep your fish, make sure you have a way to clean, store and transport your catch back home. Transport cooler (either take ice from the boat or ice is available at the marina) Filet knives Storage bags/containers for filets In the event Sandhill Charters has a Mate on board (by request only for an additional fee), we can target specific species, do more advanced fishing techniques targeting bigger fish and offer fish cleaning services.
  • Is there a Mate on board?
    Generally no but by request only, at an additional fee, we can secure a Mate to accompany more advanced fishing trips not normally offered by Sandhill Charters. If a Mate is hired at the request of the Charterer, fish cleaning will also be included. Please call us if this is something you would like offered. Most Mate fees are $200-$350 additional depending on the fishing trip requested. *Please note, we do not offer fish cleaning services at this time (unless a Mate is on board) but a small fish cleaning station is available at Loggerhead Marina. In some cases, if time between trips permits, you might be able to sweet talk the captain into fileting your catch but is on a time availability basis. If you plan to keep your fish, make sure you have a way to clean, store and transport your catch back home. Transport cooler (either take ice from the boat or ice is available at the marina) Filet knives Storage bags/containers for filets
  • How far do you go offshore?
    With the fishing grounds in the Palm Beach area being so close to shore, we generally never have to venture beyond 3 miles. We can be on fish within minutes of leaving the inlet. We can travel as much as 25 miles North or South of Lake Worth Inlet so even with sticking inside the 3mi offshore, that gives 150sq mi of fishing grounds. The best part is, there is no shortage of fish to be caught all without losing cell service. When a Mate is onboard (by request only for an additional fee), we can tackle more advance fishing and target specific species. In that case, we may venture much further offshore.
  • Do you clean the fish caught?
    *Please note, we do not offer fish cleaning services at this time (unless a Mate is on board) but a small fish cleaning station is available at Loggerhead Marina. In some cases, if time between trips permits, you might be able to sweet talk the captain into fileting your catch but is on a time availability basis. By request only, at an additional fee, we can secure a Mate to accompany more advanced fishing trips not normally offered by Sandhill Charters. If a Mate is hired at the request of the Charterer, fish cleaning will also be included. Please call us if this is something you would like offered. Most Mate fees are $200-$350 additional depending on the fishing trip requested. Call us to see if any promotions are going on that may reduce or eliminate the extra fees of adding a fishing Mate to the trip. If you plan to keep your fish, make sure you have a way to clean, store and transport your catch back home. Transport cooler (either take ice from the boat or ice is available at the marina) Filet knives Storage bags/containers for filets
  • How deep is the water
    We typically stay within Florida State waters which extends 3 miles offshore. Water depths at the 3mi can be around 450ft-500ft. We typically see 80-150ft deep on average for the spots that produce the best.
  • Pet Policy - Are Dogs Allowed?
    We love our well behaved, four legged friends and will accommodate up to two dogs on cruise/sightseeing bookings only. Dogs may not come along on any fishing booking. As much as we love dogs, having several ourselves, you do need to be aware of our pet policy. No other pets are allowed at this time. Dog(s) must be under 30lbs and will be accepted on a case by case basis. You must call ahead to arrange and a refundable pet damage deposit of $250 will apply. By requesting to bring your dog(s) on board, you hold harmless Sandhill Charters, Captain or Crew from any and all harm or liability and understand the inherent risks with this activity. Heat, slippery surfaces, noises, sudden movements, unfamiliar territory could pose several risks such as heat exhaustion (shaded spots are limited), hip, knee, ligament or other injury, stress, falls, impacts with other objects or even death. All dogs must be under the constant supervision of its' owner/handler. Please note, it may not be possible or feasible to stop for a potty break once we leave the dock. All dog waste must be picked up and disposed of while on charter, marina property, parks or any place accessible to the public. Eligibility: Only well behaved dog(s) under 30lbs each Dog(s) shall be maintained and properly licensed and vaccinated as required by local, county or state statute, ordinance or health code. (Florida Statute 828.30) Dog(s) shall be leashed at all times while on marina property and any time while otherwise off the vessel, including but not limited to beaches and public areas. Dog(s) must have a flotation harness/ life jacket readily accessible and must be securely fastened while underway in open water. Dog(s) nails should be neatly trimmed as to avoid damage to the vessel surfaces, booties are strongly recommended At the sole discretion of the Captain, any dog that shows aggression, is poorly behaved, is deemed to be a safety risk in any manner or poses a risk of damage to the vessel will not be allowed to board. Once underway, if your dog(s) are not comfortable in their environment, you or the captain may determine if a return to the dock becomes necessary. The trip can continue once the dog(s) have safely disembarked. If the trip needs to be cancelled due to situations arising from your animal, there are no refunds (pet damage deposit is always refundable providing no damages are made). Pet deposit will be refunded within 48 hours if no damages are made. What to Bring? Be sure to pack a water dish and any snacks/treats your dog(s) may need. All dogs must have leash and collar All dogs must have a flotation jacket available It is recommended that your dog(s) have protective booties. Boat surfaces, parking lots, concrete walkways can become very hot. Any medications your dog(s) may need Personal first aid kit for your dog(s) An extra towel(s) for your dog(s). Dogs may be allowed, with the express permission of the Captain, to sit with you on padded cushions, provided they are covered. Proof of license, vaccines (rabies required unless accompanied by a veterinarian's letter of exemption dated within the last 12 months) Florida Statute 828.30 Doggie accident clean-up supplies By requesting your dog(s) to accompany you on your trip, you agree that you have read and fully understand the contents of the Pet Policy. By requesting to bring your dog(s) on board, you hold harmless Sandhill Charters, Captain or Crew from any and all harm or liability and understand the inherent risks with this activity. Heat, slippery surfaces, noises, sudden movements, unfamiliar territory could pose several risks such as heat exhaustion (shaded spots are limited), hip, knee, ligament or other injury, stress, falls, impacts with other objects or even death. All dogs must be under the constant supervision of its' owner/handler.
  • Service Animal
    We welcome your Service Dog (Click Here) with a word of caution. Sandhill Charters and Captain Matt want you fully informed on possible risks. If after reading you feel comfortable brining your service dog on board, we will make every reasonable accommodation to you and your animal. In the event you board the boat and you or the animal isn't comfortable proceeding, we will gladly return to the dock and issue a full refund or work out an alternate resolution that all parties can be satisfied with. By bringing your service dog on board, you assume all associated risks and liability.  We are intimately familiar with service animals, having one in our own family, and as such, would never want any undo stress or harm to come to either handler or animal. We know how hard and expensive it is should you need to retire your animal and obtain another due to injury. Boat surfaces are not friendly for traction with a dogs paw, especially when wet. Slipping and sliding are very probable when the boat turns, hits waves, accelerates or decelerates which could cause injury to your animal. (hips, ligaments, knees etc.).  Also consider entering and exiting the vessel from the dock, an unfamiliar environment with new sounds/noises, seasickness, sharp fishing gear or thrashing fish (on fishing charter) as well as heat exposure, all pose challenges that handler must consider before brining on board. "An individual with a disability is liable for damage caused by a service animal if it is the regular policy and practice of the public accommodation to charge nondisabled persons for damages caused by their pets" Florida Statute 41.08 (3)(d) "A public accommodation may exclude or remove any animal from the premises, including a service animal, if the animal is out of control and the animal’s handler does not take effective action to control it, the animal is not housebroken, or the animal’s behavior poses a direct threat to the health and safety of others. Allergies and fear of animals are not valid reasons for denying access or refusing service to an individual with a service animal. If a service animal is excluded or removed for being a direct threat to others, the public accommodation must provide the individual with a disability the option of continuing access to the public accommodation without having the service animal on the premises." Florida Statute 41.08 (3)(f) "Under the ADA, a service animal is defined as a dog that has been individually trained to do work or perform task(s) for an individual with a disability. The task(s) performed by the dog must be directly related to the persons disability." (ada.gov) Are emotional support, therapy, comfort or companion animals (ESA) considered service animals under the ADA?  "No. These term are used to describe animals that provide comfort just by being with a person. Because they have not been trained to perform a specific job or task, they do not qualify as service animals under the ADA." (ada.gov) General: Must be a service dog that is individually trained to do work or perform task(s) for an individual with a disability. (ada.gov) Dog(s) shall be maintained and properly licensed and vaccinated as required by local, county or state statute, ordinance or health code. (Florida Statute 828.30) The service animal must be under the control of its handler and must have a harness, leash, or other tether, unless either the handler is unable because of a disability to use a harness, leash, or other tether, or the use of a harness, leash, or other tether would interfere with the service animal’s safe, effective performance of work or tasks, in which case the service animal must be otherwise under the handler’s control by means of voice control, signals, or other effective means. Florida Statute 41.08 (3)(a) Dog(s) must have a flotation harness/ life jacket readily accessible and must be securely fastened while underway in open water. Dog(s) nails should be neatly trimmed as to avoid damage to the vessel surfaces, booties are strongly recommended ​ What to Bring? Be sure to pack a water dish and any snacks/treats your dog(s) may need. Harness, leash or other tether (if applicable, see #3 under General, above) All dogs must have a flotation jacket available It is recommended that your dog(s) have protective booties. Boat surfaces, parking lots, concrete walkways can become very hot. Any medications your dog(s) may need Personal first aid kit for your dog(s) An extra towel(s) for your dog(s). Dogs may be allowed, with the express permission of the Captain, to sit with you on padded cushions, provided they are covered. Proof of state dog tag license, vaccines (rabies required unless accompanied by a veterinarian's letter of exemption dated within the last 12 months) Florida statue 828.30 (The same state licensing and vaccine requirements for pets applies to service animals) Doggie accident clean-up supplies Sandhill Charters strives to adhere to strict compliance with State and Federal ADA Law as it pertains to Service Animals. If you have any questions, concerns or see any discrepancy, please reach out to us by clicking HERE so we may address or revise this accordingly. Damage deposit "credit holds" are required for ALL trips. That fee has no bearing on if you have a service animal or not and by law, no additional fees or charges are added to your booking for bringing your service animal.
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Boat name logo, Bonnie Lee with Sandhill Charters Logo and Boat Location of West Palm Beach Florida

Our Promise To You

Sandhill Charters wants to ensure you and your guests, up to 6 total passengers, has the safest and most enjoyable time aboard our vessel(s) and will make every effort to ensure amazing memories are made. 

WE PROMISE AND CERTIFY THAT:

  • The Bonnie Lee is staffed with a Licensed Captain, issued by the U.S. Coast Guard

  • Our Captain is enrolled in a randomized drug and alcohol testing program.

  • We are legally qualified and equipped to take passengers on Inland and Offshore Charters, being in full compliance with all laws and regulations.

  • We carry and maintain all required life saving devices and in most cases carry more than what is required. 

  • We promise not to take any unnecessary risks that could potentially put passengers, crew, vessel or others in harm's way and to avoid bad weather to the fullest extent possible.  

  • We posses and maintain proper liability insurance, fishing license, business license(s) and permits for operation in Palm Beach County 

Crew
Captain Matt aboard the Bonnie Lee of Sandhill Charters standing at the helm of the boat

About Our Captain

Captain Matt has a lifetime on the water. Growing up in Ohio, he spent a lot of time on fresh water lakes. He attended Power Squadron classes with his parents at a young age for navigating Lake Erie before GPS and state of the art electronics were mainstream.  In 2007, Captain Matt moved to Florida where he spent much of his time on on Florida's inland waters with a heavier focus on Lake Okeechobee as he competed locally in Largemouth Bass Tournaments. Since that time, Captain Matt has owned numerous vessels transiting both Gulf waters around Sanibel and Marco Islands and a much heavier presence in the waters of the Palm Beaches. 

While being a life long recreational boater, Captain Matt took professional schooling at Chapman School Of Seamanship in Stuart, FL to obtain his Merchant Mariner Credential aka, captains license. He is trained in First Aid/CPR/AED and also volunteers spare time with the Palm Beach County Sherriff Volunteer Marine Unit. Captain Matt holds a USCG issued Master Inland 25t/OUPV Near Coastal License with towing assistance.

Captain Matt knows how to have a great time on the water while maintaining a special emphasis on safety. He has maintained a flawless boating record with zero recorded incidents at sea. As such, Captain Matt wants all guests to have a great time on board the Bonnie Lee as safely as possible and has final authority in all matters relating to the operation of the vessel.

Captain Matt profile pictutre aboard the Bonnie Lee of Sandhill Charters

Have a question for Captain Matt?

Cancellation Policy

Charter Agreement

The Charter begins at the designated departure time, not the time the Charteree arrives. Charter duration includes docking, undocking, as well as travel to and from destination. Please allow extra driving time in case of traffic. If you do not show up at the dock the day of your charter, you will forfeit your deposit. If you show up late and not ready to leave at the agreed departure time, you will be losing charter time. Again, the clock starts at the agreed departure time.  All members of the group are recommended to be at the boat at least 5-10 minutes prior to departure. If an unforeseen circumstance occurs that could delay the group, a call should be made to the Captain (561-316-7528) to relay this information to prevent cancellation. Sandhill Charters or Captain reserves the right to cancel any charter where the party fails to arrive within a reasonable time of the scheduled departure time. ​ The Captain in his sole discretion reserves the right to cancel the trip within 1-2 hours before the departure time due to strong winds, rough seas or any situation that could pose a safety risk. If this occurs, customers will receive a full reimbursement or an alternative day may be scheduled pending availability. In the event the trip has to be terminated after it has already begun due to inclement weather, the Charteree may opt to receive a refund for unused time up to a full refund at the Captains discretion based on variables at that time. In the event someone suffers sea sickness or has the captain return early for any reason, no refund will be given.  All cancellations must be made by the Charteree at least 7 days prior to the departure date. Failure to do so will result in the forfeiture of 50% of the deposit amount. Any cancellations made with 72 hours or less notice, will not be refunded. In the rare occasion that the boat experiences any mechanical issues or difficulties, refunds will be issued in full. ​ Sandhill Charters adheres to a strict Zero Tolerance Policy. No Firearms, illegal substances, Cannabis/THC of any kind even if prescribed, may be brought on board the vessel. There is a Zero Harassment Policy to protect both crew and guests. Legally prescribed medications are permitted on board (excluding anything containing TCH/Cannabis). Beer and Wine (no red wine) are the only alcoholic beverages allowed on the vessel, and may only be consumed by persons aged 21 or older. Glass bottles are not permitted. Tanning oils or spay sunscreen is not permitted. Coolers are permitted with at least 24hrs advanced notice. Sandhill Charters will provide 20lbs ice for cooler along with water and bringing your own food and beverage is permitted and encouraged. If you require additional ice please call ahead or bring your own.  Person(s) appearing to be intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol will not be permitted to board the vessel. If an illegal drug is found on board or is in the possession of any individual(s), or captain determines that any individual(s) are unstable due to excessive drinking, the trip will immediately be terminated without refund and in the case of illegal drugs, will be released to notified and awaiting authorities. Marijuana/Cannabis/THC possession on a boat remains a Federal Crime.​ Sandhill Charters and crew strictly abide by all State and Federal Saltwater Fishing, Safety rules and regulations and will not deviate from them under any circumstance. For the passengers' safety and the well-being of the vessel, we require that all guests/charterees on board wear soft soled tennis shoes, deck shoes or sandals. NO hard shoes, boots, high heels, wedges or stilettos will be allowed. The Captain may require a passenger to remove their shoes if proper foot attire is not worn. ​ All passengers under 6 years of age are required, per Florida law, to wear a life preserver while underway at any time. Our Type I vests required to be carried on board are not very comfortable so it is recommended you bring with you,  your personally owned life jacket that is USCG approved and in serviceable condition. Children who have not reached their 13th birthday are recommended to wear life jackets while underway and required any time in open ocean waters. ​ Sandhill Charters makes use of sound and video recording devices and you agree any photos obtained may be used for digital marketing purposes across our website and social media platforms unless otherwise instructed by passengers. ​ This agreement shall be construed in accordance with the admiralty and maritime laws of the United States of America and the State of Florida. 

Cancellation Policy

Client/Customer Cancellation: We ask that when guests book a charter, they should be certain that they will enjoy the boat that day. Once a client books a trip, we notify all subsequent inquires that "the boat is unavailable or taken" So for this reason we have the following refund policy. ​ 100% Refund- A full refund will be given for cancellations made 7+ days prior to the scheduled charter date.  Partial Refund - A 50% refund will be given for cancellations 3-6 days prior to the scheduled charter date. Or may reschedule for a later date.  ​No Refund - There will be no refunds given for cancellations made less than 72 hours prior to scheduled charter date or if you end or request to return to port early during  an "already-in-progress" charter for any reason. If the captain deems it necessary to end a trip early due to guest misconduct, intoxication, gross safety violations, drugs, harassment or in any way a risk to the boat, crew or guests, refunds will not be given.  ​Refunds will be issued within 48 hours of cancellation, to the original form of payment. ​If charter is canceled for any reason by Sandhill Charters or Captain, a Full Refund will be issued. 

Weather Policy

    We strive to provide the best possible boating experience you can ask for and your safety is our number one priority.  South Florida weather often changes by the hour and a forecast issued the day before may be substantially better or worse than anticipated the day of your charter.      We have a no-rain and small craft advisory policy so we do not depart the dock if it is currently raining/storming or rain/storms are imminent in the latest forecast model. During otherwise nice weather, if a small craft advisory is posted, and still safe to do so, we will continue to operate within the protected Intracoastal Waterway. The boat will never go into open water during an active, small craft advisory, when sea conditions exceed 3-4ft, or winds exceed 25mph.      We will generally make cancellation decisions 1-2 hours before departure time. Please feel free to call before driving to the departure location.  If our Captain decides not to cast off due to weather or advisories, you have the option to reschedule to an open available date or receive a full refund. If availibility exists, we can change trip times the day of to avoid and allow weather to move out of the area.      If we cast off on a mediocre weather day, and finish a charter for the agreed allotted time, discounts or refunds will not be given. If you and the captain agree that conditions are undesirable or unsafe and the decision is mutually agreed to return to port early, a calculated per hour rate will be issued for lost time based on the per hour rate of your trip. 

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