Martinique has one of the safest and most beautiful bays in the Caribbean, which makes it a popular area for sailors and yachtsmen to take to the sea. Because the island has become a paradise for those who love spending time on the water, the sailing and yachting industry is growing at a rapid pace and more marinas have opened on the island.
The island also has many sailing and yachting events throughout the year which attracts thousands of seamen and tourists. Some of these annual events are the Yole Boat Race in August, the Nautical Week of Schoelcher in February, and the Transcaraïbe des Passionnés boat race held in March to name a few.
Sailors must complete customs and immigration formalities at the main port of entry at Fort de France before being allowed clearance to the island's waterways. Boaters must possess the ship's original registration papers because copies will not be accepted. If you are going to visit Martinique's point of call more than once, sailors should get several copies of the customs forms and maritime documents.
Martinique has become a top sailing destination in the Caribbean, and has generated over 15 million , in revenue. Vacationers can spend their time sailing in either the waters of the Caribbean Sea or the Atlantic Ocean side, though it is recommended that those boaters with less experience avoid the waters of the Atlantic as they tend to rougher than the Caribbean.
When boating on in the Caribbean waters, sailors should be careful of coral reefs that could cause damage to your vessel as well as trade winds. Boaters setting out to sea during the summer time should to caution of harsh weather that may cause choppy waves. This time of year is also hurricane season, so sailors should take extra precaution while out to sea.
If you merely want to enjoy a few hours on the open water, without the cost and complications of sailing on your own you can take an excursion. Check out the table below to obtain names and phone numbers for area day sailing companies.
|An Dlo||(059) 676-4271||24 Lot Lucito - Downtown Diamant|
|Aquabulle||(059) 674-6969||Le Marin|
|(069) 606-8834||Base nautique de Spoutourne - 5.1 mi. (8.3 km) East-Southeast of Sainte Marie|
|(472) 222-8705||Le Marin|
|Denebola||(069) 617-0700||Le Robert|
|Kata Mambo||(069) 625-2316||Somatras Marina - Pointe du Bout|
|La Belle Kréole||(059) 654-9557||Le Francois|
|La Créole Cata||(059) 666-1023||Pointe du Bout|
|Les Ballades du Delphis||(069) 690-9036||Le Francois|
|(069) 617-5742||24 lot les Deux Mers - Trois Ilets|
|Standing Evasion Day Boat Tours||(069) 621-9131||Marin Yacht Harbour Marina - Le Marin|
|Ykeva Day Tours||(069) 606-2039||3 Rue Schoelcher - Trois Ilets|
There are larger charter companies and smaller charter companies, and the main difference between these two types of companies is that the larger company will be of more assistance if something unexpected were to happen when you were chartering your boat. The larger companies usually have more ships available in their fleets as well.
Generally charter companies offer three types of charters: bareboats, skippered boats, and crewed charters. When chartering a bareboat, the navigator should have adequate yachting experience, because they will be responsible for running every aspect of the ship. When you get a bareboat, you are usually just getting the vessel and that's pretty much it. Bareboats don't usually come with extras like kayaks or scuba equipment.
Skippered boats are the best way to become familiar with the waters around the island. Your skipper can act as your guide as well as your navigator. This is a good option for those sailors who might not have enough experience to set out on their own. Skippered boats often cost as much as a crewed boat , and the cost does not usually does not include the skipper's meals.
Crewed charters are a good option for novice sailors who have had little to no experience on the water. Crewed boats provide almost everything a vacationer could need while on the water, while they sit back and enjoy the ride.
When deciding whether to go with a large or small charter company, travelers should take a few things into consideration. Larger charter companies are more available to help their clients in times of trouble. This may not always be the case with smaller charter companies. Charter boat companies are also classified into first and second tier companies.
First tier companies have newer boats and equipment. The boats that are available through first tier companies are usually less than four to five years old, and are stocked with the most up-to-date technology and equipment. These boats have generally only used by the first tier company while second tier companies purchase used older boats from the fleets of the first tier companies. The boats from the second tier companies come at a cheaper price, but may not have as new equipment as the younger boats.
If you're evaluating the option of chartering a vessel, you can call one of these area agencies:
|(069) 690-4025||Trois Ilets|
|(069) 677-2948||Le Marin|
|Balade en Mer||(069) 698-2000||28 Rue du Surf - Trinite|
|Bwa Drésé||(069) 626-2646||Le Robert|
|(069) 639-5221||Pointe Courchet Nord - Le Francois|
|Couleurs Excursions||(069) 041-6568||Sainte-Anne|
|Passion Catamaran Excursions||(059) 674-0067||Quai d'Honneur - Le Marin|
|Punch Croisières||(059) 674-8918||Marin Yacht Harbour Marina - Le Marin|
|Sparkling Charters||(059) 674-6639||Marin Yacht Harbour Marina - Le Marin|
|Star Voyage||(014) 256-1562||Marin Yacht Harbour Marina - Le Marin|
|(069) 693-1652||Port de Plaisance - Le Marin|
|Windward Island Cruising Company||(059) 674-3114||Le Marin|
If you aren't sure about which charter company to go with you can get assistance from a charter broker. Charter brokers act as go between for the vacationer and the charter company. These brokers will help you to find the right company and boat that best fits your nautical needs.
Charter brokers can even find the right crew with personalities that match your vacationing style for your boat excursion if you are getting crewed charter. The American Yacht Charter Association (AYCA) and Charter Yacht Broker's Association (CYBA) are two organizations that help vacationers locate and choose the right charter broker. Charter brokers come at no extra cost to you, because they are paid by the charter company.
Here are some charter broker's in the Caribbean that can help you choose the right charter boat company:
|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
British Virgin Islands: 284-495-1970
|Stewart Yacht Charters (U.S. Virgin Islands)||800-432-6118|
|Yates Yachts (U.S. Virgin Islands)||866-994-7245
Some that are available in the United States can be found in Florida and here is their contact information:
|Charter Broker||Telephone Number|
|Broward Yacht Sales Charter Division||954-763-8201|
|Fraser Yachts Worldwide
|June Montagne Yacht Charters
|Marine Group of Palm Beach, Inc..
|Nicely-Dunn Yacht Charters||800-874-0724
|Paradise Yacht Charters
|Rikki Davis, Inc.
|RNR Yacht Charters
|Tom Collins Yachts Worldwide
|Whitney Yacht Charters, Inc.
Becoming familiar with the boat's size is important to having a comfortable and enjoyable time on the water. If you choose the wrong type of boat you may be in for a sailing disaster. The most popular charters are ships are monohulls with three cabins and two bathrooms. The boats are about 30 to 50 feet long, and they require more skill to handle. These boats are usually the most expensive, but a cheaper way to sail would be to split the cost between two couples.
For more comfort on the boat, vacationers may want to get a charter with one more room than they need. Also, monohull boats have thin ply-wood walls, so vacationers with children may want to consider another kind of boat. Catamarans are ideal vessels for travelers with families. The experience less roll than some of the other vessels, which may appeal to those passengers who prone to motion sickness.
Is your plan to sail to Martinique using your own boat, or a boat you charter in a different location? This table lists area marinas.
|Fort de France|
|Pointe du Bout|
|3.7 mi. (6.0 km) East of Fort de France|
|9.8 mi. (15.8 km) South-Southeast of Sainte Marie|
|3.2 mi. (5.2 km) East of Fort de France|
|Downtown Forte de France|
|Pointe du Bout|
|Marin Yacht Harbour Marina - Le Marin||14.4653033718||-60.8696651459|
Once you have decided what charter to go with, it will be easier to estimate what your final bill will be. Don't forget to include the extras you may want to enjoy while on your charter, like snorkeling or kayaking. Food is the major thing that travelers should remember to include in their budgets. Most charter companies will offer to stock your boat with food, but generally it is more cost efficient to provide your own. You may run into problems with customs in trying to bring food back and forth, so having the charter company provide your meals may be more convenient.
Skippered and crewed charters will be more expensive. The skipper's fees are about $80(USD) to $120(USD) per day and charter crews will expect to be tipped at the end of the trip. The tip should be about 10 to 15 percent of the cost of the entire charter. This tip is about 30 percent of your crew's income, so it is important to remember this when budgeting for your charter.
When you take your charter will also play into the cost of your boating excursion. During the high tourism season, generally everything in the Caribbean is more expensive. You could save money and avoid crowds if you decide to take your charter during low season which falls in the summer months.
When you get your paperwork back from the charter company, be sure to read the small print. Sometimes this will include information like the charter cannot be canceled and refunded within 60 days of when its supposed to set sail. By putting your deposit and insurance on your credit card you can avoid some possible mishaps.
Once you have gotten your charter or sailboat, you are prepared to enjoy some time on the beautiful blue waters of Martinique.
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