When it comes to sailing, Barbados is the Caribbean's ugly duckling. Though most of the Caribbean features gorgeous, clear waters and easy sailing, Barbados is surrounded by much rougher waters, further out toward the Atlantic. This is one island only skilled sailors travel to.
While the waters surrounding Barbados can cause their share of difficulties for inexperienced yachtsmen, but unfavorable trade winds and coral reefs can trip up any sailor. Further, the best time of year to sail in the Caribbean is from January through March and overlapping with the peak tourist season, but featuring calmer waters and fewer storms.
If you are just wanting to get out onto the water, without the complications and cost of sailing on your own you can take an excursion. Wondering about day sailing options? Check out the chart below to find contact information for area providers.
|Barbados Sailing||(246) 262-3792||Barbados|
|Black Pearl Party Cruise||(246) 826-7245||Carlisle House - Downtown Bridgetown|
|(246) 437-5640||The Boatyard - Downtown Bridgetown|
|Boyceterous Catamaran Tours||(246) 256-7979||Green Hill - Bridgetown|
|Cool Runnings||(246) 436-0911||Carisle Wharf, Hincks Street - Downtown Bridgetown|
|El Tigre Cruises||(246) 417-7245||Cavans Lane - Downtown Bridgetown|
|Elegance Catamaran Cruises||(246) 830-4218||Careenage - Bridgetown|
|Good Times Catamaran Cruises||(246) 422-1900||First Avenue - Holetown|
|Jammin' Catamaran Cruise||(246) 422-1152||Cavans Lane - Downtown Bridgetown|
|Sail Calabaza||(246) 826-4048||Downtown Bridgetown|
|Silver Moon||(246) 435-5285||31E Mario Drive, Rowans Park North - 0.7 mi. (1.1 km) North-Northwest of Bridgetown|
|Small Cats Catamaran Sailing Cruises||(246) 421-6419||28 Prior Park Terrace - Downtown Bridgetown|
|Tiami Catamaran Cruises||--||The Shallow Draft - Bridgetown|
While yachts can be chartered from the Caribbean, Barbados itself offers no such services, so you'll have to charter before you reach the island. Your Caribbean yacht rental options are "bareboat," "skippered bareboat," or a "crewed charter."
If you're an experienced sailor, you may decide to charter a bareboat, a rental boat with all the equipment needed to travel the Caribbean but with no crew. If you wish to rent bareboat, you will need to prove your qualifications, and you may be given a tutorial of the Caribbean area including reefs and safe harbors. Remember, however, that rules may be stricter for those who intend to travel to Barbados, as it is known to be tough to sail.
Travelers with some experience may be asked by the charter company to sail with a skipper for some of their journey. Though it may be at their request, the company will not pay for the services of a skipper. However, travelers looking for another experienced set of eyes and hands can also hire a skipper on their own. Skippers have plenty of knowledge and experience, and are paid by the day.
Travelers booking a crewed charter will find they'll include a skipper and full crew, including a cook. However, remember that the captain calls all the shots on a crewed charter, and, while you may plan the itinerary, if weather or other dangers arise, the captain may need to change the route. This is at the captain's discretion in order to protect the ship and its passengers, including you, but the captain can certainly offer an array of alternatives to improve your journey.
Once you've decided on how you'd like to sail, there are a few other choices to make. Travelers can book either through a charter company or a charter broker. The most popular companies chartering yachts in the Caribbean are The Moorings and Sunsail. Charter companies offer a number of advantages and disadvantages for travelers, and can be broken down into the following groups:
Larger and smaller companies: This distinction is almost entirely based on the size of the fleet owned by the company. Larger companies are better able to help customers should there be a problem with your charter for whatever reason. However, smaller companies often stay small on purpose to provide the best customer service they can.
First and second tier companies: First tier companies offer newer ships, usually with the most extras, like GPS CD players, and cell phones. However, second tier companies are not a lower quality, simply older. Ships older than four or five years are no longer used in the fleets of first tier companies, and are often sold to second tier companies. However, travelers on a budget may want to look at second tier companies.
Charter brokers, on the other hand, act like travel agents, helping travelers to find the right yacht for them. Travelers planning a crewed charter may especially want to look into the services of a charter broker, as they can help travelers find just the right crew and don't forget, you'll be spending the length of your charter with the crew, so a compatible personality is a must. Further, boat owners, not vacationers, pay for the services of charter brokers, who can often provide quotes from several different companies.
Two main charter broker trade organizations are: the American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) and Charter Yacht Broker's Association (CYBA). Members of the AYCA and/or the CYBA include these companies:
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number(s)
|Crewed Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)
|Nicholson Yachts Worldwide (Antigua)
|Paradise Connections (U.S. Virgin Islands)
|Regency Yacht Vacations (U.S. Virgin Islands)
|Stewart Yacht Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)
|Yates Yachts (U.S. Virgin Islands)
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number(s)|
|Broward Yacht Sales Charter Division
|Fraser Yachts Worldwide
|June Montagne Yacht Charters
|Marine Group of Palm Beach, Inc.
|Nicely-Dunn Yacht Charters
|Paradise Yacht Charters
|Rikki Davis, Inc.
|RNR Yacht Charters
|Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide
|Whitney Yacht Charters, Inc.
When choosing a yacht, you'll want to note these cost, size, style, and equipment considerations:
Larger or more amenity-filled ships are more costly to charter.
Crewed yachts cost more than bareboats, and the crew is tipped at 10 to 15 percent of the charter's total cost. This makes up 30 to 50 percent of the crew's income, and is important to include in any budgeting.
Skippers can cost approximately $80(USD) to $120(USD) per day.
Food can be purchased through a charter company and this can be more expensive, but may be much less hassle than purchasing food on-island.
Charterers are responsible for feeding all of the boat's occupants, from themselves to crew and skipper.
High season charters are more expensive than off-season charters, and costs on islands will reflect the season as well.
Don't forget additions like airfare to reach your departure port or customs duties and departure taxes
Size and Style
Most travelers find it more comfortable to charter a boat with an extra room.
Bareboats are most popularly rented as three cabin/two bath monohulls, which can be anywhere from 36 to 50 feet in length.
Crewed charters are usually more spacious than bareboats.
Experienced sailors may find monohulls more exciting to sail, but their thin, plywood walls can easily allow sound through.
Catamarans feature more comfortable cabins and less roll in port, making them excellent choices for families.
Travelers prone to seasickness, or first-time sailors, are advised to choose a catamaran.
Ask about a power windlass to help you anchor, they may be available and can be invaluable.
Some choose to add a canvas top over the cockpit; this can help protect the skipper from sunburn.
Bareboats will not always have kayaks or windsurfs, or electronic extras such as GPS. You may want to inquire about the cost of these additions.
Crewed charters often have more extras, such as equipment for scuba diving or kayaking.
One final tip: Before you sign, read the fine print. If there are insurance and deposit fees, it's important to be aware, and travelers may want to put these fees on a credit card in case of any problems. Further, a company's cancellation policy can be extremely strict, though most charters are nonrefundable within 60 days of the departure date.
Barbados has two ports of entry, Bridgetown on the western coast of the island. Port St. Charles is not a commercial port, so many sailors choose to pass through customs there. Keep in mind, however, that Barbados has a somewhat unusual customs rule: You must leave customs through the same port you entered.and , just a few miles north of
Customs charges total B$58.33, with a B$25 fee in and again going out, plus a charge of B$8.33 for an anchoring fee. However, check to be sure these fees are correct as they are subject to change.
Planning to visit Barbados in your own vessel, or a charter from another location? The following table contains a list of area marinas.
|(246) 427-1125||Bay Street - 1.3 mi. (2.2 km) Southeast of Bridgetown|
|--||Bridgetown Harbour - 0.7 mi. (1.2 km) Northwest of Bridgetown|
|(246) 419-1000 ext. 2250||Port Saint Charels - Speightstown|
Travelers wishing to sail around the island of Barbados will need to ask for a cruising permit. These require submission of an itinerary for your travels. You will need to travel to authorized ports. The Barbados Port Authority is currently devising a map of authorized port areas.
A word of caution: Do not anchor in any area without a sandy bottom. There are coral reefs around the island and there are stiff fines for damaging them.
Those interested in sailing to and around the Caribbean can find their perfect choice in charter yachts available throughout the region. However, you'll have to charter your yacht somewhere other than Barbados.
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