St. Kitts' topography and culture, not to mention its waters teeming with game fish, make the island a popular place for sailors and yachters.
If you simply want to experience some time on the open water, without the cost and responsibility of sailing on your own you should take a day sailing excursion. Take a look at the chart below to find contact information for area day sail providers.
|Blue Water Safaris||(869) 466-4933||Princes Street - Downtown Basseterre|
|Captain Sunshine||(869) 663-9290||Old Road Town|
|Leeward Islands Charters||(869) 465-7474||Fort Street - Downtown Basseterre|
|Speedy 4 Charters||(869) 466-1472||Frigate Bay|
Several boat charter companies are available on St. Kitts and Nevis. These companies provide sea-taxi service between the two islands or day cruises and boat tours.
When choosing your charter, it helps to know that there are two kinds of charter companies: first and second tier companies. First tier companies offer new boats that are 4 to 5 years old and have the most up-to-date hardware and equipment. These boats are usually more expensive, but you are guaranteed a boat in new condition.
Second tier companies stock boats that are older and that usually come from first tier fleets. Some of these boats are up to 15 years old, which does not mean that they are in bad condition, but they might not have the same modern equipment as newer boats from first tier companies.
When chartering a sailboat, you can choose among several types of boats.
Bareboats are the most popular type of boat and the most readily available. You are completely in control of this boat and will have to do everything for yourself. It is recommended that the person in charge have adequate skippering experience before setting off. Some companies will even require that you document your sailing experience before they will charter you a boat. Those who do not know anything about skippering a boat can endanger themselves and others.
Skippered bareboats add an experienced skipper to the bareboat. The company will appoint a skipper to your chartered boat for an extra cost, which can be between $80(USD) and $120(USD) per day, which does not include the skipper's meal. This is a good choice for those with little to no experience in navigating a bareboat. The skipper can also act as a tour guide while you are on your vacation.
Fully crewed charters come with a captain and crew, and are usually on bigger more luxurious bareboats. To have a thoroughly enjoyable vacation, make sure the personalities of the captain and crew fit with you and your party's vacationing needs. Crews usually expect a gratuity, which is approximately 30 to 40 percent of their income. You should tip 10 to 15 percent of the cost of your cruise, which can sometimes add significantly to the overall cost.
Before setting out to sea on a chartered vessel, consider your skill level. If your experience consists of sailing on a lake, you may not be equipped to handle the waters of the Caribbean. If you have have navigated a 28- to 30-foot yacht on a lake or in coastal waters, then you should be able to safely get by in the Caribbean. Remember to follow seamanship guidelines and pay attention to your watery environment. If you haven't had a lot of experience at sea, then taking a "bareboat chartering" course is recommended to develop your sailing skills. Several companies provide them.
The entry sea port to Nevis is Charlestown. To go between the two islands, yachters and sailors will have to obtain a special pass and a cruising permit. Also, when accessing either Nevis or St Kitts by sea, sailors will have to note several formalities and procedures:
Clearance is only given at the port of entry, and you must gain clearance at both Charlestown at Nevis and Port Zante on St. Kitts.
To gain clearance, first go to customs and then check passports with immigration at the police station.
When traveling from island to island, you must obtain a Boat Pass to each port of entry
There is a $20(EC) customs charge that only has to be paid once when traveling between both islands.
Do you plan to visit St. Kitts using a vessel you own, or one you charter elsewhere? This table provides a quick summary of nearby marinas.
|(869) 465-9755||Christophe Harbour|
|--||Port Zante - Downtown Basseterre|
|--||5.6 mi. (8.9 km) South of Dieppe Bay Town|
To get in touch with officials at the Port of Zante on St. Kitts, you can contact the marina manager by telephone at 869-466-5021 or by radio at frequency VHF CH 16 or 68. Also, St. Kitts customs can be contacted by telephone at 809-465-2521 ext. 1077. Water, electricity, and cable are available at the marina, and fuel can be obtained at the eastern dock.
|Frigate Bay - Frigate Bay||17.2804873591||-62.6899838448|
|Turtle Beach - 5.6 mi. (9.0 km) Southeast of Frigate Bay||17.2341761302||-62.6274776459|
|4.8 mi. (7.7 km) North of Charlestown||17.2009875323||-62.6119315624|
The total cost of your charter boat will depend on the tier of charter company you decide to go with, the type of boat you choose, and whether you get a skipper and crew.
Charter companies usually provide food ranging from all your meals to basic supplies. Sometimes food that it supplied aboard the boat is not allowed through the island's customs, so leave room in your budget for any unexpected costs for provisions.
To avoid any extra costs, read the fine print of the documents that the charter company sends you. Also, keep in mind some items and services may not be included on your charter price.
This list includes some items that may cost extra when chartering a boat:
Bags of ice
Transportation to and from base
Filling of water tanks
Beach toys/ snorkeling gear
Yacht cleaning at the end of trip
Emergency services in case there are problems with the boat
During your sailing or yachting adventures, you and your shipmates are going to accumulate trash. Never throw your trash overboard. Waste can harm the animals and the ocean and can scar what are beautiful waters that surround St. Kitts.
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