Sailing and Boating Near Jamaica

Strike out on your own for a sailing or yachting trip across the Caribbean to visit Jamaica

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Jamaica Sailing
 

Jamaica lies within the Caribbean, which is known worldwide for its near-perfect sailing conditions. The water is always warm and there are plenty of beautiful islands to visit. Jamaica itself is not widely regarded as a top sailing spot, however, that should not deter interested travelers.

Although it is far from the most popular way to reach Jamaica, intrepid sailors think nothing of climbing aboard a boat and sailing to and around the island. Chartered and personal boats can certainly be sailed into any number of harbors around Jamaica, and those looking for a day of sailing fun have the option of hopping aboard a party boat or procuring a day rental.

Party Boats

Jamaica is an excellent place to host an event on the water. Everything from weddings to birthday parties to product launches can be hosted aboard a large vessel that will accommodate upwards of 100 people. These types of boats are called Party Boats.

Boat Rentals and Charters

Selecting a crewed charter can be more difficult than some would think, but one possible oversight is crew compatibility. Traveling for weeks with a crew means you'll get to know them very well, and this can be difficult if crew and passengers dislike each other. To help solve this problem, charter brokers step in.

Throughout the Caribbean you'll find plenty of different charter companies. These companies, like any other, come in many sizes. First-time charterers are generally guided toward the larger companies. A smaller company may have a great reputation, but should a boat you requested be unavailable, smaller companies might not have the ability to replace it with an equivalent ship, where larger companies will usually offer a similar or even larger boat at no extra cost. However, some of the smallest companies have purposefully stayed small to maintain their customer service standards.

Another way to divide charter companies is into "tiers." These tiers say nothing about the quality or service of the company, but instead the newness of the yachts being chartered. First tier companies have the best boats, and largest number of extras. Boats older than four or five years are usually sold to second tier companies if they are in good condition. First tier companies will cost more for a charter, but boats may include goodies such as the auto pilot function, GPS systems, stereos and cell phones.

Considering the option of a boat or yacht charter? The following table enables you to get a hold of a local charter company.

Charter and Rental Services
Name Phone Location
Heave-Ho Charters -- Downtown Ocho Rios
Rapsody Tours Cruises & Charters (876) 979-0102 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Royal Jamaica Yacht Club 924-8685-6 Palisadoes Park - Portmore

Docking

Private sailing boats to Jamaica must enter the country through an official port of entry. Immigration and customs services are available at the following ports:

Fly your "Q" flag when sailing into port. If you want to spend time cruising around Jamaica, the customs officers can issue you a "Coastwide Clearance" form. This form allows you to sail at will along the coast and must be presented when visiting other ports.

Are you going to reach Jamaica using a vessel you own, or one you charter? This table provides a quick summary of nearby marinas.

Marinas
Name Phone Location
Boundbrook Wharf (876) 832-4765 West Harbour - Port Antonio
Caribatik Marina -- 1.9 mi. (3.1 km) East of Falmouth
Errol Flynn Marina (876) 832-4765 Port Antonio
Glistening Waters Marina (876) 954-3229 2.1 mi. (3.4 km) East of Falmouth
Mary's Bay Marina & Fuel Dock (876) 957-0981 Negril Beach Hotel Zone
Montego Bay Marine Park (876) 952-5619 Downtown Montego Bay
Morgans Harbour Hotel Marina (876) 967-8030 Morgan's Harbour Hotel - 5.6 mi. (9.0 km) South-Southwest of Kingston
Pier One Marina (876) 952-2452 Pier One - Downtown Montego Bay
Port Antonio Marina and Boatyard (876) 832-4765 Errol Flynn Marina - Port Antonio
Royal Jamaica Yacht Club (876) 924-8685 4.8 mi. (7.7 km) South-Southeast of Kingston
Stanley's Marina (876) 953-2244 The vicinity of Montego Bay
Sunset Jamaica Grande Hotel Marina (876) 974-2201 Sunset Jamaica Grande Resort and Spa - Downtown Ocho Rios
Yacht Harbor Marina -- Downtown Ocho Rios

You will need to clear customs when you arrive at your first port and also when you depart from Jamaica's territorial waters. Customs officers will indicate to the captain when they have inspected the ship and cleared it through customs. You will need to fill out several forms at customs, including the following:

  • Crew list and declaration
  • Departure permission forms from your last port of call
  • The ship's registrations
  • A list of the ship's stores

There may also be a standard form to be completed in triplicate. This form replaces the crew list and requires details of the ship's flag, registration, last port of call and information about each person on board including full name, date of birth, passport number, nationality, and position on the ship.

The Quarantine Officer will tell you when the "Q" flag may be lowered. He will also require a few items as well. Carry a crew list and a maritime declaration of health provided by a quarantine official, to be signed by the captain and including any bill of health or DE-RAT certificate from the last port of call. Unless travelers have visited countries in which the World Health Organization has reported a communicable disease within the past six weeks, vaccinations are not required.

Immigration officials will need to see a crew list and passports or proof of citizenship. Visitors from countries outside of the US may need 30-day visas before they arrive. Travelers will also need to pass through Immigration for stays longer than six months.

Nearby Anchorages
Location Latitude Longitude
St. Ann's Bay - St. Ann's Bay 18.4432686349 -77.1972370148
Ocho Rios Bay - Downtown Ocho Rios 18.4114038746 -77.1082627773
Salt Island 17.8315067582 -77.1400308609
Discovery Bay - Discovery Bay 18.4629513234 -77.4032092094
Rio Bueno Bay - 7.7 mi. (12.4 km) West of Runaway Bay 18.4727612933 -77.4533128738
Pigeon Island 17.7984530076 -77.0759153366
Coquar Bay - 10.8 mi. (17.4 km) South of Spanish Town 17.840811513 -76.9920158386
Alligator Reef - 15.4 mi. (24.7 km) East-Southeast of Treasure Beach 17.8084756395 -77.5384998269
Oracabessa Harbor - Oracabessa 18.4076882579 -76.9479310519
Port Kaiser - 10.1 mi. (16.3 km) East of Treasure Beach 17.8624303535 -77.6069498088
Manatee Bay - 10.0 mi. (16.2 km) South of Spanish Town 17.8484914492 -76.9715023041
Pelican Cays 17.8020198375 -77.0193099976
Port Maria Beach - 13.3 mi. (21.4 km) East of Ocho Rios 18.3724981891 -76.8846845417
Wreck Bay - 10.4 mi. (16.8 km) South of Spanish Town 17.8420586296 -76.9401740609
Half Moon Cays 17.7363040726 -77.0873736916
Bare Bush Cay 17.7550240822 -77.0345020294
Portland Caye - Portland Cay 17.7102934293 -77.1111273766
Port Royal 17.9376130934 -76.8447518349
Salt Bay - 16.4 mi. (26.3 km) East of Ocho Rios 18.3477746194 -76.8429064541
Pedro Bay - Treasure Beach 17.8633698238 -77.7418112755
Crab Pond Bay - Crab Pond Bay 18.1053010993 -77.9882311821
Bogue Lagoon - 2.1 mi. (3.4 km) South West of Montego Bay 18.4568763448 -77.9422473907
Bluefields Bay - 14.4 mi. (23.2 km) Northwest of Black River 18.1588819492 -78.0314683914
15.6 mi. (25.1 km) East-Southeast of Negril 18.1972090558 -78.122191471
Mosquito Cove - 12.5 mi. (20.2 km) West of Montego Bay 18.4479910563 -78.1084370823
San San Bay - 3.9 mi. (6.2 km) East of Port Antonio 18.1751660567 -76.3939154148
Tom Pipers Bay - 15.7 mi. (25.2 km) West of Montego Bay 18.4460069985 -78.1562662544
Green Island Bay - Green Island 18.3951928495 -78.2677602768
Bloody Bay - 5.5 mi. (8.9 km) North of Negril 18.3518994212 -78.3381843567

If you're interested in spending at least part of your Jamaican vacation on the open sea, there are multitudes of options available to you. Whether you choose to sail to the island aboard a chartered yacht, hire a party boat for a night of fun, or spend a day in the Caribbean sea jet skiing and sailing around the island, the opportunity is there.

Even though it is not particularly popular, sailing in Jamaica can be diverse. From urban waters around Kingston to peaceful quiet around Treasure Beach, read our local Jamaica guides to sailing to get a better idea of what to expect in the different areas of the island.

Sailing in Specific Areas
Guide to Falmouth Sailing
Guide to Kingston Sailing
Guide to Montego Bay Sailing
Guide to Negril Sailing
Guide to Ocho Rios Sailing
Guide to Port Antonio Sailing
Guide to Runaway Bay Sailing
Guide to Treasure Beach Sailing
 

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