Terms & Conditions 2018 / 2019
These are the terms and conditions of booking an excursion with Cearban Ltd trading as Basking Shark Scotland (BSS). By making a booking with us you agree to these terms and conditions. Please note any film or commercial diving will be arranged separately to these terms and are for general public excursions and snorkelling/diving activities only.
BSS gives notice that all excursions, trips, tours or arrangements made by us are on condition that we shall not be liable for any death, injury, damage, loss, delay or irregularity by persons or conditions outwith our control. We accept no responsibility for any losses or additional expense due to delays in air, road, rail or other transport services, strikes, war, weather or other causes. We do not accept any liability for any loss, damage, injury or death arising from or connected with the excursion/s no matter how that loss, damage, injury or death is caused, including but not limited to any condition by any customer’s pre- existing medical, physical or psychological condition.
BSS will not consider the charter, tour, training or contract to be booked until the FULL payment has been received. Any person who makes a booking for or on behalf of other persons/ clubs/ groups or businesses confirms he/she has authority to do so and their booking is accepted on these terms and conditions. Payments can be made via bank transfer, PayPal or credit card. We do not store credit card details nor do we share financial details with any third parties. Changes to booking will incur a £25 admin fee.
3 Cancellation & Charges
Cancellation by BSS
BSS reserves the right to amend, change, modify or cancel an excursion at any time including the accommodation booking and trip schedule. BSS will endeavour to notify customers with as much notice as is reasonably possible. Although there is a large archipelago of islands there may be cases where severe weather means all or part of an excursion may have be to cancelled. In the event of cancellation the customer will be offered a future date or an amended charter or full refund will be made. BSS reserves the right to cancel an excursion if insufficient customers have booked to make minimum numbers. A different date or full refund will be made in this circumstance with no further liability for BSS. During multi-day tours, tour times will be arranged around the weather and if it is deemed to be dangerous to proceed to sea then alternatives on land will be arranged, no refund will be offered in these circumstances.
Cancellation by customer
In the event of a customer cancellation, BSS will endeavour to fill their space or charter and a refund will be issued less any expenses plus £25 per person admin fee if a replacement is found. If the space or booking is not able to be resold the full excursion cost, charter or contract rate will apply. Any customer who is either not present at the specified meeting place, date or time or significantly late (more than 15 minutes) for the leaving time of the tour will forfeit their trip and be liable for the full cost. BSS advises customers that independent travel insurance should be sought to cover any travel issues that they may be affected by.
4 Unlawful Substance & Behaviour
Customers must not bring any unlawful substance on any excursion and must not consume alcohol whilst on board the vessel. Customers must ensure they behave in a responsible manner and not endanger themselves, other customers, skipper, crew, vessel or equipment. BSS will not be held responsible for any liability, costs, charges or losses as a result of damage, distress, injury or death caused by any individual customer or group behaviour.
5 Customer Fitness
Customers must have a appropriate level of fitness/wellness in order to undertake a full day/s at sea, which includes susceptibility to sea sickness. Any customers who wish to swim/snorkel must be in possession of a dive medical (e.g. UK sport diver medical self certification form – Medical Form) and be able to swim comfortably for 100m in open water. If no certificate is currently held, customers must complete one prior to embarking on the excursion. Customers are reminded that open sea swimming/snorkelling is a physically demanding activity. If customers or their legal guardians have any doubt of their ability or fitness to participate in snorkelling or diving activities they should consult their medical practitioner before the trip. Customers must make known to BSS and the trip leader any pre-existing medical condition, allergy or issues prior to the excursion to ensure you are able to participate and any safety/medical issues are identified. BSS reserves the right to restrict activities to individuals if they deem the fitness of the participant to be less than the minimum standard.
6 Emergency Equipment
Any charter vessel we use will carry a full MCA license and safety equipment including VHF radio, life raft and fire fighting equipment which meets all safety standards. First aid and oxygen will be kept on-board along with skipper and crew being trained in first aid procedures. BSS will not be held liable for any first aid provisions and/or lifesaving provided. Customers should make any medical issues known to the BSS staff prior to the excursion.
No unaccompanied children under the age of 16 can be taken on the excursions. Children under 16 who are supervised by their parent and/or guardian can be taken following discussion with BSS and we suggest a minimum age of 8. Specific requirements can be made for school parties or groups of children who wish to undertake special excursions.
8 Personal Possessions
BSS does not accept responsibility for customers’ personal property, effects or valuables during the excursions. We recommend that you hold your own insurance policy for your own belongings.
9 Safety, Weather Trip Amendments
Any decision regarding safety of the vessel, skipper, crew, customers and cargo will remain with the skipper. Any decision to land and the ability to reboard from island landings will be at the discretion of the skipper. The final weather decision which effects any activities organised by BSS will remain with the skipper. Following advisement from the skipper, BSS reserves the right to alter, amend or cancel the excursion if it is believed that conditions would adversely effect the trip. During multi-day tours, tour times will be arranged around the weather and if it is deemed to be dangerous to proceed to sea then alternatives on land will be arranged.
10 Insurance & Legal
BSS holds public liability insurance for £2,000,000. Any legal action in connection with these trips will be governed by the laws of Scotland.
11 Supply of Equipment
Any hirer of equipment on these excursions shall be responsible for such equipment during the hire period. They shall be any liable for any loss or damage; fair wear and tear and force majeure accepted. BSS will ensure that all equipment is in good working order prior to issuing this to a customer. Any cancellation of hire gear within 72 hours of the tour will incur the full charge. Any gear that is hired and then not used will incur the full charge. We ensure that our equipment is in good working order and within testing regimes required by manufacturer or government. Any hirer of equipment must ensure they test equipment prior to use to ensure it is in satisfactory working order. BSS will not be held responsible for the condition or working order in such circumstances.
All scuba equipment will only be hired out to those who can produce valid diving qualifications and prove suitable experience for the location conditions.
12 Protected Species
Information will be given to customers on the status of certain animals encountered on the trips. Basking Sharks (Cetorhinus maximus) are protected by government legislation including the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and Schedule 5 of Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. All viewing and interactions with the animals will be in accordance with the BSS Code of Practice, MCS/Shark Trust Code of Practice and Scottish Marine Wildlife Watching Code. Any decision whether to enter the water with the animals shall remain with BSS and the skipper. Customers agree to abide by these codes of conduct and BSS will not be held liable for any customers or groups individual actions during the excursion. In addition to the basking sharks, we encounter many other species or locations which also have statutory protection. For any location or individual species all customers agree to abide by the law governing these entities. If any inappropriate behaviour is exhibited then the skipper and BSS may restrict any individual or group interaction or continuation with the excursion. Please note that it is an offence to deliberately or recklessly capture, kill, injure, disturb, harass or damage or destroy a breeding or resting place of any basking shark. The wellbeing of these animals is the ultimate responsibility for everyone involved in these excursions and, along with customer safety, is our highest priority when running our tours.
13 Sighting Guarantee
Although the focus of the excursion is to find basking sharks and wildlife, there are no guarantees given by BSS that any will be seen during an excursion. Although the area of operation is known as hotspot for sightings, no such guarantees are given. No liability is accepted by BSS for no sightings of sharks being made during an excursion and no refund will be applicable in this circumstance. There may be times where sharks are spotted but conditions or shark's behaviour results in passengers being unable to swim and we offer no refund if these conditions are found during a tour.
BSS checks the level of accommodation provided in the multi-day excursions, however BSS cannot be held responsible for the quality or individual aspects of the accommodation or service provided. In such a circumstance customers should make their complaint known to the accommodation provider and if necessary BSS can assist with their complaint if brought to our attention quickly. Bookings are made on a single basis. We reserve the right to amend, change or cancel certain accommodation for whatever reason. In the event of very busy summer occupancy or inclement weather we may have to arrange suitable accommodation nearby to the advertised location which should not impact the excursion. In the event of this happening BSS will advise the customer as soon as practicable.
15 Overseas Tours
BSS organises tours and expeditions overseas (from the UK) when there are a set of special circumstances. We are not a holiday operator and not do arrange flights. Participants must make their own arrangements with their personal passports and visa requirements depending on their nationality. During these trips, participants must remain flexible given they are in a location which may be different to their expectations and their own lifestyle at home. As above we retain the same terms and conditions regarding bookings, cancellations, weather, amendments and changes. BSS gives notice that all excursions, trips, tours or arrangements made by us are on condition that we shall not be liable for any death, injury, damage, loss, delay or irregularity by persons or conditions outwith our control. We accept no responsibility for any losses or additional expense due to delays in air, road, rail or other transport services, strikes, war, weather or other causes. Tour costs are calculated well in advance and based on the exchange rate between GBP (British Pound Sterling) and the local currency at the time of planning. We reserve the right to increase (or decrease) the cost of the tour should large fluctuations in currency exchange take place in between the time of planning and the time of the expedition. BSS will seek to advise these changes with as much notice as practicable.
16 Comments & Complaints
We welcome comments on our tours, expeditions or any part of your time with us. If something does not meet your expectation then the first enquiry should be with your guide on the tour who will seek to resolve any issue you may have. Please refer to the section above on accommodation, where you should seek to discuss any problems directly with them. If there is a matter on a tour that is still not resolved then either the guide or passenger can seek to resolve this with office staff in the first instance, before possible escalation to the director. We remind you that sharks and wildlife are wild animals and we have further information in condition 13 about them. We offer no guarantees on sightings and behaviours of nature at any time.