Beach Loading 101: A Guide To Boarding Kaʽanapali Snorkeling Tours

 Loading a catamaran on Kaanapali Beach

Loading a catamaran on Kaanapali Beach

If you're staying at a hotel in Kaʽanapali and are going on a Kaʽanapali snorkeling tour, there are few better ways to start your day than with a catamaran waiting on the beach. Even if you're traveling from elsewhere on the island, the convenience of boarding from the sands of Kaʽanapali is a Maui experience you should try at least once, and there's no better feeling than pulling off the beach and sailing away into the wide open blue. Even for all of its convenience, however, in order to ensure a safe, dry, and successful beach load, there are some tips for boarding that everyone should know about.

1. Be sure to check in for your your sail at the Trilogy Beach kiosk in front of Ka'anapali Beach Hotel.

 Trilogy activities desk where you check in for the Kaanapali snorkeling trip

Trilogy activities desk where you check in for the Kaanapali snorkeling trip

If driving to Ka'anapali, you may park in the Kaʽanapali Beach Hotel parking garage. If walking from a nearby resort, the beach shack is located a five minute walk from the Sheraton, Whaler, Westin, and Kaʽanapali Beach Hotel. Plan for a ten-minute walk from the Kaʽanapali Ali'i and Marriott, and a fifteen-minute walk from the Hyatt. If staying on the north side of Kaʽanapali Beach at the Royal Lahaina, Westin Villas, or Honua Kai, you can still reach Kaʽanapali Beach on foot, but plan for a 15-20 minute walk.

2. You'll be met at the beach shack by a Trilogy crew member who will check you in for your upcoming sail.

 checking in

checking in

3. If you parked in the Kaʽanapali Beach Hotel parking garage, we will validate your parking for free of charge. Just ask the staff at the beach shack.

 Validating a parking ticket before a Kaanapali snorkeling tour

Validating a parking ticket before a Kaanapali snorkeling tour

4. Once all the parties have checked in, the crew will collect your shoes.

 Placing shoes in a bag on a Kaanapali snorkeling tour

Placing shoes in a bag on a Kaanapali snorkeling tour

By collecting passenger's shoes it allows us to keep sand off of the boat, and your shoes will be collected by the crew in a large, waterproof bag. If you would prefer to keep your shoes in your own bag, that's fine as well. If you would prefer to keep your shoes on for comfort or medical reasons, be sure to let the crew know and we're happy to make exceptions. The shoes will be returned at the end of the trip, and since the sand has heated up a lot during the day, be sure to place your shoes on your feet if walking across the hot sand. We will also provide bags for sensitive electronics if you would prefer us to bring them on board for you.

5. Once the shoes have been collected, you will be given a briefing about the safest way to board. 

Remember there is a chance you might get wet from the knees down, so long pants should ideally be rolled up. It's best to board the boat in a single file line and only have 2-3 people on the ladder at one time, and remember to watch your head as you board. Be sure to remove any sensitive electronics such as cell phones or iPods from the pockets of your pants, and keep bags up nice and high so that they don't get splashed by a wave. Finally, remember to use the handrail on the left side of the stairs, and it's better to use the handrail than grab onto the lines which are holding up the ladder.

In terms of boarding conditions, on most days of the year Kaʽanapali Beach offers calm and comfortable conditions for loading which look a lot like this:

On some days, however, there can be a bit of shorebreak that makes the boarding process a bit more challenging, although the crew will assist in getting you on safely. On days with shorebreak, the boat may have to back away from the beach on various occasions in order to let a wave pass, and it's important to listen to the instructions from the crew. Here's a video of passengers offloading the boat on a day with medium shorebreak:

Finally, on rare days, the surf at Kaʽanapali can actually look something like this:

 Surf at Ka'anpali Beach

Surf at Ka'anpali Beach

For obvious safety reasons, on days like this the trip will be moved to board out of Lahaina Harbor. Surf conditions can only be verified about a day in advance, and if the trip needs to be moved to Lahaina Harbor we'll be sure to give you a call. For more information on Maui's surf conditions, be sure to read our post on Understanding Maui's Wind, Weather, and Waves.

Still have questions about beach loading in Kaʽanapali? Go ahead and leave them in comments below.

Until then...we'll be sailing away from Kaʽanapali Beach. Aloha!