Coronavirus: Yachting Updates
Nearly 70% of countries worldwide have reopened to tourists coming from the U.S., which is welcomed news for many of those planning yacht charters. Most of Europe, for example, is allowing U.S. tourists, as is Thailand and The Bahamas.
Many countries do require a negative test or proof of vaccination to travel. Yet, the rapid spread of the Delta variant is affecting many country’s tourism policies, and the CDC cautions tourists to pay attention to the situation in the countries they plan to visit.
The Worldwide Boat team has compiled a comprehensive guide to yacht charter destinations for the 2021-22 charter season given the added considerations caused by the Coronavirus pandemic. Here’s a guide with current information regarding restrictions and requirements for yacht charters in various destinations.
Caribbean Yachting Destinations
The British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands is requiring visitors to:
- NASOPHARYNGEAL RT-PCR tests are required for all passengers 5 and over who are NOT fully vaccinated. Fully vaccinated travels are required to submit a negative PCR test OR an approved rapid antigen test five (5) days BEFORE arrival.
- Apply through the BVI entry portal, to upload vaccination proof and negative test results.
- Visitors will receive a rapid test upon arrival, and must quarantine until the results are obtained. Partially vaccinated guests must quarantine for 4 days, while unvaccinated guests must quarantine for 7 days.
- Health insurance is required for travelers.
- Government-approved transport from the airport/ferry dock to the approved quarantine site (yacht).
- Charter guests may quarantine aboard the yacht.
- Quarantined yachts may do so in designated quarantine anchorages.
- Yachts may navigate between designated quarantine anchorages during the quarantine period.
- After passing the quarantine charter guests are free to roam the islands.
- Travelers who are not fully vaccinated will be required to wear a tracking wristband while in the BVI. Masks are required in all indoor places.
As of August 2021, the Bahamas requires all travelers to:
- VACCINATED TRAVELERS: Effective August 6, 2021, those traveling internationally to The Bahamas who have been fully vaccinated will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test (either a Rapid Antigen Test or PCR), taken no more than five (5) days prior to the date of arrival to The Bahamas. All visitors will be required to opt into mandatory COVID-19 health insurance when applying for a Health Travel Visa. The insurance will cover travelers for the duration of their stay in the Bahamas.
- NON-VACCINATED TRAVELERS: age 12 and older entering The Bahamas and/or those traveling inter-island, will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 PCR (swab) test taken no more than five (5) days prior to the date of arrival to The Bahamas.All passengers traveling to The Bahamas are required to apply for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa and will be required to opt-in to COVID-19 health insurance that covers them for the duration of their stay.
The US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands requires all travelers to:
- Obtain a negative PCR test (oral or nasal) valid from the previous five days. Anyone ages 5 and up must complete the online travel screening portal within five (5) days of their arrival date to obtain their travel certification.
- The US Virgin Islands are open to international travel but a list of excluded countries remains in place. Any travelers who have been in one of these countries in the last 14 days will not be granted entry.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos requires travelers to:
- Full vaccination is required for all visitors over 16 years old, effective September 1, 2021. If a person is unable to take a vaccine, they must provide proof to the TCI Assured Portal.
- Vaccination proof can either be a) a vaccination letter signed by a medical professional, or b) one printed from an electronic vaccination database. Hand-written vaccination cards are not accepted.
- Provide a negative COVID-19 PCR test result from an accredited laboratory for visitors ages 10 and up (antigen and antibody tests will not be accepted) within three days of travel.
- Purchase medical/travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical costs, full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and air ambulance/medevac.
- Visitors who test positive during their stay must quarantine for 10 days.
- Complete a health screening questionnaire and apply for a TCI Travel Authorization Formfive days before arrival to be granted a travel certificate.
Mediterranean Yachting Destinations
Croatia is currently requiring travelers to:
- All travelers 2 and older must provide a negative PCR result within 3 days of travel. Travelers can also provide a valid document from a licensed healthcare provider or have recovered from COVID in the 90 days prior to travel.
- A certificate of vaccination can be provided in place of a negative test result, or a PCR test can be taken upon arriving in Croatia.
- Masks are required in all indoor locations, and outdoors if socially distancing isn’t possible.
- A curfew is in place from 10PM for all public gatherings and events; alcohol sales are banned from 10PM to 6AM, and nightclubs are closed.
- There are no movement restrictions in Croatia.
Greece is currently requiring travelers to:
- Travelers arriving in Greece are required to have either a negative PCR certificate from a testing laboratory, for a Covid-19 test taken no later than 72 hours before arrival or a negative antigen (rapid) certificate taken no longer than 48 hours before arrival.
- Tourists must fill in the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arriving to Greece.
- Masks are required in all indoor locations, and outdoors if socially distancing isn’t possible.
- Currently, Greece has a national curfew in place from 1:30 am until 5 am.
- There are no movement restrictions in Greece.
Italy requires travelers to:
- Persons over 12 years old must provide evidence of vaccination, evidence of having fully recovered from COVID in the past 180 days, or evidence of a negative PCR test within 48 hours of travel.
- Visitors must complete a Passenger Locator Form
- Travelers from the UK must quarantine for 5 days.
- Face masks are mandatory in all indoor places, and outdoors when social distancing is not possible.
- Currently, there are no curfews or travel restrictions to visitors.
France currently requires travelers to:
- Fully vaccinated visitors can arrive without submitting a PCR test. Non-vaccinated visitors must provide a negative PCR test within 72 hours of departure.
- Those traveling from Cyprus, Greece, Malta, Spain, the Netherlands, or Portugal must have a negative PCR result within 24 hours.
- Masks are required in indoor public spaces, and outdoors where social distancing is not possible.
- A health pass is required for all people over 12 years old to enter bars, restaurants, shopping facilities or hospitals. A digital version can be accessed via the app TousAntiCovid or by QR code. Paper versions are also accepted.
- The Health Pass must provide full vaccination, a negative PCR test in the last 48 hours, or that you have recovered from COVID in the last 15 days to 6 months.
Spain currently requires travelers to:
- Complete the Spain Travel Health portal form or use the SpTH app to generate a QR code for travel.
- No negative PCR tests are required for entry, and proof of vaccination is not required.
- Masks are required in all indoor spaces, and outdoors where social distancing isn’t possible.
- To return to the US, a passenger will need to have completed a negative COVID PCR test.
Other Yachting Destinations
Australia is currently closed to international travelers, except those who have been in New Zealand for at least 14 days prior to arrival. A reopening date has not been specified.
Visitors to the Galapagos must present:
- A negative COVID RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel (rapid tests are not accepted).
- Travelers may also present a vaccination card, showing complete vaccination within 14 days of travel, in place of a negative test result.
- Visitors must also present a transit control card, which is issued by the Government of Galapagos to move freely.
- Travelers are required to carry emergency medical and evacuation travel insurance.
The Maldives have reopened their borders to international travelers. Visitors must:
- Visitors over 1 years of age must have proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of travel.
- Travelers must complete a Traveler Health Declaration, and download the national contact tracing app, TraceEkee, for use during their trip.
- No quarantine is required, but movement restrictions are in place. Traveling into Male, the largest city, is prohibited.
Mexico does not require a negative COVID-19 PCR test or rapid test for entry. All visitors must:
- Complete a Health Declaration Form before entering the country.
- Check if your country requires a visa to visit Mexico
- Follow all mask and social distancing policies
- Visitors are encouraged to purchase travel insurance that covers COVID-19
- Before returning to the U.S., visitors will need a negative COVID test, both the antigen and PCR tests are widely available in Mexico
Travel to Tahiti requires visitors to:
- Provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test carried out within three days before arrival or a negative antigen test within 48 hours of travel.
- It is recommended that travelers bring proof of vaccination.
- Unvaccinated travelers must obtain authorization, and currently, must have a compelling reason to travel.
- Upon arrival, visitors are required to complete a RT-PCR self-test. Unvaccinated visitors must quarantine for 10 days.
- Present the negative result on the Electronic Travel Information System
- Complete a pre-registration form.
- Children under 18 can travel freely with their parents, but must submit to self-tests on day 4 and day 8 of their stay.
- Self-test four days after arriving in the Islands of Tahiti.
- Unvaccinated visitors must complete a pre-authorization form to travel in Tahiti; they also need to complete a negative test, a 10-day quarantine, and additional tests on day 4 and day 8.
- Following a negative PCR test, visitors can move freely throughout the islands. No curfews are in place.
For the most up-to-date information, check with your preferred destination’s foreign ministry offices to determine what’s allowed and if any further restrictions are in place for your travel dates.
If you have a booking for a country with a travel ban or restriction, please contact your charter broker to learn more about cancellations and re-bookings.
Is it Safe to Charter A Yacht During the Coronavirus Outbreak?
The short answer is a resounding yes! Yacht charters are one of the safest forms of travel, and they provide unparalleled privacy, cleanliness, and seclusion. There are numerous reasons to consider a charter at this time:
- Limited Contract with Groups/Crowds
A yacht charter provides the best in privacy and seclusion. Plan an itinerary away from tourist hotspots, and instead seek out untouched beaches in the Caribbean, quiet fjords in Alaska or Norway, or hidden coves in Maine. If you’re concerned with air travel, you might also choose to charter a flight, to avoid crowds.
- Cleanliness and Hygiene Onboard
Your crew works hard to sanitize and clean the boat prior to your arrival and during your time onboard. This includes sanitizing all guest quarters, deck spaces, and service items. In addition, many boats have updated their hygiene guidelines to ensure the highest standards of cleanliness. Bottom line: You’ll have a crew working day and night to keep the space clean.
- Highly Vetted Crews
Many superyachts have small- to medium-sized crews. This close-knit unit ensures that any exposure is limited and that your contact with others is limited as well. Many captains and crew recruitment firms have increased their vetting to ensure that all crew has had a low-risk of exposure to COVID-19.
What happens if I need to cancel my yacht charter because of the Coronavirus?
In general, most yachts do not offer cancellations. Yet, most will offer a complimentary rebooking if your travel will be disrupted due to a travel ban. This might include bans on incoming flights into the country of charter embarkation or bans on departing flights out of the country of disembarkation or the country of residence.
In the majority of cases:
- Rebooking Is Complimentary – Many yachts are waiving fees for rebooking and will help make any adjustments as stress-free as possible. Typically, you can rebook for another date during the 2021-2022 charter season. One exception: If you will be rebooking for a more expensive part of the charter season, a surcharge may be required.
- Contracts for New Bookings Will Be Updated – Many yachts have updated their contracts to include clauses about coronavirus cancellations. This provides protection to both you, the charter guest, and the boat owner. These clauses typically include provisions for no- or low-cost cancellations.
- Updated Charter Insurance Policies – A variety of travel insurance policies are being created to protect travelers against coronavirus cancellations. On all new bookings, we highly recommend choosing an updated insurance policy.
Please let us know if you have questions about planning a yacht charter at this time, or how Coronavirus may affect your confirmed yacht charter.