Image of Gatherall's logo with whale tail, puffin head and tour boat.

Gatherall’s Catamaran

Why the type of Boat Matters.

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Why does the type of boat matter?

You may be considering several tour operators and we’re sure that the choices can be confusing at times and everyone claims to be the best. There are many factors to be considered and of course, the type of boat the tour operator uses is one of the most important.

Is its safe?  Does it have enough space for everybody?  Will it be crowded?  Are there washrooms?  Does it rock a lot? Are there lifejackets?  Is there a cabin?  Are there seats for everybody?  Do I have to stay in one place during the tour? Will other people block my view?  Can I hear the guide?  Is the boat safety inspected or certified?

We get asked a lot of questions – especially about the type of boat we use – and are always happy to answer each and every one.  

Why a catamaran tour boat is best.

Gatherall’s Puffin & Whale Watch uses a purpose designed catamaran for all our tours.

Catamarans are the preferred vessel type for passenger and tour operators throughout the world PERIOD!
If you look around the globe, the leading tour operators from Canada to New Zealand, from Alaska to Japan and all points in-between choose catamarans for the many benefits they provide.  There are three very simple reasons why the most highly regarded  tour operators use catamarans:


By design, a catamaran is inherently safer.
It has much greater reserve stability (resistance to rolling) than single hull vessels.  Since there are two hulls the cat has more watertight compartments in the unlikely event of damage.  Likewise, the greater size of the catamaran means that it is less influenced by waves and sea conditions during normal operating conditions. The cat is equipped with two engines instead of one and is capable of operation on a single engine if required.


Time is a fleeting, precious thing so we like to spend “more time being there” and “less time getting there”.
We know that your vacation time is valuable so we want to give you the chance to make the most of it. Many other boat tours are longer simply because the boats are not as efficient and take longer to get to the areas where the birds nest or where the whales are feeding.  Gatherall’s tours are typically 90 minutes in duration which means loads of time watching the comical antics of the Atlantic Puffins and plenty of time to find the whales (when they’re here of course).  Even when the whales are further away from our dock, Gatherall’s catamaran has a greater range than other tour vessels so we can travel further to find them.


Cats are more stable and much more efficient compared to traditional powered hulls.
Cats are typically much wider than conventional boats and are less prone to rolling. This means a more stable and comfortable ride for passengers as your comfort is very important to us. The added stability of the catamaran helps to greatly reduce motion sickness for our many clients.  The added width of the cat means there is more room for each passenger than on traditional boats and this means greater comfort.  

What Else Makes the Cat Better?

Please take a moment to learn why the type of tour boat is so important.



Gatherall’s cat is the only tour boat that features cabin space for all of our passengers.   In the event of inclement weather, the cat has enough cabin space so that all of our passengers can be seated inside.


Gatherall’s cat has the greatest range of the local tour boats. Unfortunately the whales are not near our dock every day and sometime we have to travel further to find them. This is where the virtues of the catamaran really shine!

The unique design of the cat allows it to travel much further than other vessel in an equivalent time.  This means that we can travel further to find the whales.  While this cannot guarantee that we find whales every time, it really makes a difference when the whales are at the outer extents of our range.  This of course means that our success rate for finding whales is typically better than other boat tours – especially at the start and end of the whale season.



We have washrooms on shore but in case you get short taken during the cruise the cat is equipped with two washroom for your comfort.  The washrooms are situated on the main deck, are easily accessible and afford the standard of privacy warranted when nature calls.


People sometimes think that you can see “more” wildlife from a small boat but that’s simply not the case.

During most whale watching excursions the whales are often spotted further away from the boat and it takes a while to get to the area where they are feeding and playing.  While the boat is travelling towards them, the whales may be quite active so the further ahead you can see, the better your experience!


The added width of the cat also provide our passengers with significantly more space for seating and space by the rails so that you can observe our incredible marine wildlife unobstructed. All the extra room also means that the cat can provide inside seating for all of our passengers in the event of inclement weather, yet still has so much space that on nice days there is space outside for everyone.


Gatherall’s cat strikes the optimum balance between the safety & comfort of a big boat with the intimacy of a small boat.
Its big enough to be very safe and comfortable yet small enough to be feel that you are part of the crew.  Our crew mix and mingle with our guests throughout the cruise and passengers are often invited to sit in the wheelhouse by the Captain.  Like the smaller boats, the cat is still nimble enough to get safely alongside of the shores of the islands where the puffins nest or close to shore when the whales are feeding in the shallow waters.  Yet when the waters are less than calm, the larger size of the cat makes for a much more pleasant ride.


Gatherall’s catamaran offers the best viewing angles for watching the wildlife. Unless you have spent a considerable amount of time on the sea watching wildlife it may be difficult to grasp just how important viewing angles are when watching for wildlife on the ocean.

Being close to the surface of the water (e.g. standing / sitting in a small boat) does not allow you to see as far as you can from the raised deck of a boat. Think about standing on a hill and look outwards – you can see further than you could if you stood in a flat field. That’s why the “look out” on sailing ships were always high up in the mast and not stand or sitting on the deck.


If you are lucky enough to be on a tour when the whales are close by the boat, you will most often see more of their body beneath the surface if you are looking down at a steep angle. Some tours claim that a “small boat” is able to get closer – this is simply not true. There is no distinction between big and small boats per the Marine Mammal regulations (Government of Canada). All boats are governed by the same approach restrictions – so the interaction is entirely up to the whales.


The cat meets and or exceeds all applicable Transport Canada requirements for a vessel of its type and size. Gatherall’s catamaran and its crew are inspected each season by Transport Canada Marine Safety (Government of Canada). Gatherall’s crew are certified for the operation of this specific type of vessel and equipment. All of our safety equipment is maintained in accordance with manufacturer’s and Transport Canada requirements. Our crew members are certified in Marine Emergency Duties (passenger vessel) and Marine First Aid. Gatherall’s cat is also equipped with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator) in the event of an emergency!


Your comfort is important to us.
For your comfort during your adventure, the cat is equipped with two washrooms on the main level, inside seating for all of our passengers, canteen service with assorted hot & cold beverages & snacks. The cat is also equipped with a wireless public address system so that you can listen as our guides provide you with all of the information and stories regarding the incredible wildlife & scenery.


The crew on board of the cat are trained and certified in accordance with Transport Canada requirements. Training also includes Marine First Aid, Marine Emergencies Duties, plus regularly scheduled drills and practices involving firefighting, man overboard and life boat drills.


In over 30 years we’ve learned a thing or two from our guests. Perhaps the most significant thing we gathered was that they wanted the same high quality experiences but in less time. Not that people are in a hurry, its just that they want to see and experience so much but only have a little time to do everything.

A catamaran was the most logical solution.
Since the cat is more efficient, Gatherall’s catamaran can travel to and from the birds & whales more quickly than other local tour boats are able.


Not only is our cat the largest private passenger vessel in Newfoundland, Gatherall’s took an incredible extra step to offer you even more comfort. We limited the total passenger capacity on each and every tour to only 2/3’s of the vessel’s original design capacity. Originally designed for 150 persons, Gatherall’s set its maximum passenger capacity at only 100 persons – the same number of passengers that other companies stack on much smaller boats! This means loads of extra space for our guests.


The amount of safety equipment and standards varies based on the size of vessel and number of passengers carried. This means that the cat has to adhere to more stringent safety standards than many other tour boats. The cat is equipped with all required safety equipment including life jackets, inflatable life rafts, fire detection and firefighting systems, navigation and communication systems.


Gatherall’s large catamaran is a purpose designed vessel.
From the moment the first lines were drawn it was conceived as, and designed to be, a passenger vessel and not simply standard boat that has been converted or adapted. Our company worked the prestigious designer Malcolm Tennant to create a vessel specifically for our area and conditions. To ensure your safety, Gatherall’s cat was engineered by High Modulus – widely known for their engineering work on many America’s Cup vessels – to meet one of the highest engineering standards in the marine industry (Det Norske Veritas).