The Cayman Islands are not among the top-sailed islands of the Caribbean, in large part because of their location off the beaten path for sailors. However, this does not mean that the Caymans have nothing to offer sea-lovers. In fact, they have excellent underwater scenery that delights many visitors. In addition, the Caribbean itself is known worldwide for its incredible sailing.
Before you set sail, be aware of safety issues. Coral reefs grow near some islands and the trade winds may be unfavorable. Of course, the time of year is also a major factor to consider when sailing. Although the waters will be more pleasant from January through March, this is near the Caribbean's peak tourist season when prices are generally higher throughout the islands. July through November, however, bring the summer rains and hurricane season, which do not make for easy sailing.
If you are just wanting to get out onto the water, without the stress and cost involved with renting a boat you can take an excursion. Wanting to know more about day sailing options? Check out the table that follows for contact phone numbers for area excursion services.
|Black Princess Charters||(345) 949-0400||65 Capt Allies Road and Boltins Avenue - West Bay|
|Captain Shelby's Charter Boat Operation||(345) 927-5413||Cayman Brac|
|Cayman Islands Sailing Charters||(345) 525-1222||10 Market Street - Georgetown|
|Jolly Roger||(345) 922-9922||West Bay Road - Downtown Georgetown|
|Ocean Frontiers||(345) 947-7500||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 949-6796||Grand Cayman|
|Pirates Of The Caymans||(345) 623-7245||West Bay Road - Seven Mile Beach|
|Red Sail Sports Charter||(345) 623-5965||3.1 mi. (5.0 km) North of Georgetown|
|Sail Cayman||(345) 916-4333||The Yacht Club C31 - Georgetown|
|Sun Rays Tours||--||West Bay|
|(345) 947-2649||Spinnaker Square, Red Bay - Georgetown|
Thinking about renting a charter boat? View this chart to find out how to call a charter operator serving this area.
|(345) 916-0349||Cayman Islands Yacht Club - Grand Cayman||Grand Cayman|
|Mainstay Sailing||(345) 927-1127||West Bay Road - Crystal Harbour||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 949-6672||62 Lincoln Road - Georgetown||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 945-2628||Grand Cayman||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 945-4676||Unit 25, 69 Barnes Drive - Georgetown||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 949-0008||53 North Church Street - Georgetown||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 949-4977||Grand Cayman||Grand Cayman|
|(345) 927-5413||Watering Place - Cayman Brac||Cayman Brac|
Charter companies in the Caribbean come in many different shapes and sizes.
These companies only use ships until they are 4 or 5 years old.
Ships in these companies usually have the most electronic extras.
These companies often buy ships from first tier companies.
They are older boats, with fewer electronic extras.
These are less expensive to charter.
Recommended for first-time charterers.
Have more ships, and are better able to handle problems if ships are unready.
Usually offer top-notch customer service.
Have much smaller fleets.
The most popular large yacht charter companies currently serving the Caribbean region are The Moorings and Sunsail.
Charter brokers can help vacationers pick the right ship and crew for their journey. Whether you're trying to make sure your personality matches with the crew, or just trying to find the ship with the most amenities for the lowest price, a charter broker can help. They represent many ships and companies and their services are paid for by the ships' owners.
The Charter Yacht Broker's Association (CYBA) and American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) are two of the most common charter brokers associations. Members of the AYCA and/or the CYBA include the following outfits:
In the Caribbean:
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Crewed Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-874-2584|
|Nicholson Yachts Worldwide (Antigua)||800-662-6066
|Paradise Connections (U.S. Virgin Islands)||877-567-9350
|Regency Yacht Vacations (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-524-7676
|Stewart Yacht Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-432-6118|
|Yates Yachts (U.S. Virgin Islands)||866-994-7245
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Broward Yacht Sales Charter Division||954-763-8201|
|Fraser Yachts Worldwide||954-463-0640|
|June Montagne Yacht Charters||954-217-2992|
|Marine Group of Palm Beach, Inc.||561-627-9500|
|Nicely-Dunn Yacht Charters||800-874-0724
|Paradise Yacht Charters||954-462-0091|
|Rikki Davis, Inc.||954-761-3237|
|RNR Yacht Charters||800-525-2526
|Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide||800-637-5407|
|Whitney Yacht Charters, Inc.||800-223-1426|
Yachts are usually chartered from within or near the Caribbean on a weekly basis. Your yacht rental options are "bareboat," "skippered bareboat," or "crewed charter."
When chartering a bareboat, keep these factors in mind:
A boat that is captained and crewed by its charterers.
Charterers must prove their qualifications.
Charterers may receive an area tutorial, giving them knowledge of reefs and safe harbors.
Chartered by vacationers who know about sailing, but want an extra hand.
Requested by charter companies for less experienced vacationers.
Travelers always pay for the cost of the skipper, who is paid daily.
Includes skipper and full crew, including cook.
You may determine the itinerary, but the captain is in charge.
Routes may be altered to avoid bad weather and other obstacles.
Most charters will offer travelers the option of having food provided by the charter company for an additional fee. Though this is not the least expensive way to stock your ship, it does eliminate many of the hassles associated with transportation and purchase of food. Remember: You'll be responsible for feeding everyone onboard.
While the majority of ports are located on Grand Cayman island, there are two ports of entry for the Cayman Islands. One is in George Town on Grand Cayman and the other is at Creek on Cayman Brac. Though facilities are limited, travelers may stop in at any of the islands during their stay. Boats must be cleared in and out of every island.
Traveler's Tip: Officials are known for sticking quite closely to the rules. To avoid any unnecessary fines, make sure you're up-to-date on all of the procedures before visiting these islands.
When arriving in the Caymans, travelers must first contact Port Security on VHF Channel 16. This channel is monitored 24 hours a day. The Port Security will notify customs and immigration of your arrival, and will keep you informed of yacht boarding procedures. As soon as you have entered Cayman territorial waters, you must fly the Q flag. Mosquito control officers nearly always spray boats for a charge of $25(USD) before boats may enter the islands.
No guns, spear guns, or other weapons are allowed into the islands. These must be left with customs. Fruits and plants are also not allowed into the islands. Be aware that there are many restrictions regarding sailing.
The Cayman Islands are known for the diversity of their marine life, and officials work to protect the natural beauty of the islands. Since much of the sea around the islands is classified as a Marine Park or Environmental Zone, take care when traveling the area. No marine life may be taken inside such protected areas, but fishing is allowed outside of these areas. Due to restrictions, fixed moorings are the most prevalent way of anchoring, especially for yachts.
Other restrictions include the following:
There are rules against damaging coral with anchor chains.
Travelers are not allowed to remove marine life, coral, or sponges.
Spear guns and seine nets may only be used in certain areas and when licensed from the Cayman Marine Conservation Board.
Use of gill nets and poison is prohibited when fishing.
No dumping is allowed ; yachts must use a holding tank.
The following rules apply to fishing for lobster, conch, and grouper:
Only spiny lobsters may be taken, and the tail must be six inches. The limit is five per person or 15 per boat, whichever is less. Lobsters may only be taken from August 1 through January 31.
No more than 20 conch may be received from Cayman waters each day, with a catch limit of 15 per person or 20 per boat per day, whichever is less.
Remember that grouper spawning occurs in protected areas off of each island.
If visitors are caught breaking any of these regulations there is a maximum fine of $5,000(USD). Authorities may also order the confiscation of boat and equipment. Protected areas are marked.
Thinking about sailing to the Cayman Islands using your own vessel, or one you charter elsewhere? The following chart provides a quick summary of area marinas.
|(345) 947-7913||320 Spinnaker Road - Georgetown|
|--||2.7 mi. (4.4 km) East of Georgetown|
|(345) 949-3743||606 North Sound Road - Georgetown|
Chartering a yacht will cost you more during the high season than during the off-season, and on-island costs will be higher during high season as well. Travelers picking up a yacht on the islands or far from home will need to account for airfare. Don't forget to make customs duties and possible luggage fees a part of your charter budget.
Costs can be divided into crew, amenities, size, and type:
Crewed charters are more expensive than bareboat charters
Crews should be tipped 10 to 15 percent of the charter cost: this makes up 30 to 50 percent of their income
Skippers, if chartering a skippered bareboat, are paid at a rate of about $80(USD) to $120(USD) per day.
Food costs will also be higher when feeding a full crew.
Ships with more amenities are usually more costly.
Crewed charters usually include more amenities.
A power windlass can be an invaluable addition for help in anchoring.
Many travelers like to have a canvas top over the cockpit to help prevent sunburn.
Kayaks, windsurfs, GPS, and other extras may not be widely available on bareboats, but can often be added for a fee.
Larger ships are generally more costly.
Most travelers prefer a ship with one more cabin than they intend to use.
Three cabin/two bath monohulls are the most popular size and style. These range from 36 to 50 feet.
Monohull boats are known for their thin, plywood walls that are far from soundproof.
Experienced sailors often prefer monohull boats.
Catamarans are preferred ships for first time sailors, those who experience seasickness, and families with young children because they experience very little roll in port.
Remember: You'll need to read the fine print on anything you sign. Additional insurance and deposit costs may not be listed, and travelers will want to make sure they're aware of the company's cancellation policy.\
Those interested in sailing to and around the Cayman Islands can find their perfect choice in charter yachts available throughout the region.
Your sailing experience in the Cayman Islands can differ depending on what your final destination is. See the links below for local sailing information for the three main Cayman islands.
|Guide to Cayman Brac Sailing|
|Guide to Grand Cayman Sailing|
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