Coronavirus: Yachting Updates
The Worldwide Boat team has compiled a comprehensive guide to yacht charter destinations for the Winter 2020/21 season given the added considerations caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Winter charter destinations are easing COVID-19 lockdown regulations and preparing for peak tourist season. Here’s a guide with current information regarding restrictions and requirements for yacht charter destinations during the winter months.
Caribbean Yachting Destinations – Winter 2020/21
Anguilla is currently COVID-19 free, and requires the following of travelers:
- Complete a confidential pre-registration to begin the approval process.
- Take a COVID-19 PCR test, receive and present negative results within three to five days of travel. Upon arrival, all travelers will be tested again and undergo temperature screening.
- All visitors are required to wear a facial covering when arriving and departing via all ports of entry.
Antigua requires all travelers to:
- Present a negative COVID-19 PCR test, taken within seven days of departure. Travelers arriving by sea must do so at an authorized port of entry, and are subject to quarantine.
- All travelers are also subject to a health assessment by Port Health Authorities, must complete a health declaration form upon arrival, and may require further testing.
- Face masks are mandatory in all public spaces, and physical/social distancing protocols are in place.
As of November 1, 2020, the Bahamas requires all travelers to:
- Obtain a COVID-19 RT PCR test five (5) days before arrival.
- Apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa at travel.gov.bs
- For the duration of the visit, complete a daily online health questionnaire for symptom tracking purposes.
- Take a COVID-19 Rapid Antigen Test on Day 5 of the visit (unless departing on Day 5).
- Always wear a mask and social distance in public places.
- Beginning November 14, 2020, 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.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Visitors to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines must:
- Complete a pre-arrival questionnaire if traveling from outside of the CARICOM bubble, and present a negative PCR test on arrival that was taken no more than five days previously.
- Upon arrival, travelers will be re-tested and must quarantine on the yacht for 48-72 hours while awaiting results. No unauthorized persons are permitted on the yacht during the quarantine period.
- Travelers can swim or engage in water sports around the yacht, but cannot visit any other yachts or anywhere onshore.
St Barth’s reopened to tourists in June 2020 and requires travelers to:
- Have a negative PCR test that is less than 72 hours old; children under 11 years of age are exempt.
- If staying longer than 7 days, travelers 11 years of age and older must take an additional PCR COVID-19 test at their own expense on the eighth day following their arrival.
- Restaurants have limited tables to parties of six (6), and encouraging social distancing. Masks are required when not seated.
- Masks are required when entering any indoor establishments and in outdoor areas when social distancing is not possible.
As of November 1, 2020, St Maarten requires all travelers to:
- Take a COVID-19 PCR test and receive negative results within 72 hours before arrival. Children under 10 years of age are exempt from testing.
- If arriving by air, visitors will undergo a mandatory temperature check upon landing and complete a health form.
- A local registered agent is required for all vessels and should be contacted in advance to arrange your arrival and discuss protocols.
- Adhere to social distancing guidelines, and wear a mask when social distancing isn’t possible.
St. Kitts & Nevis
St. Kitts & Nevis reopened to travelers as of October 31, 2020. Visitors are required to:
- Complete a Travel Authorization Form before arrival. Travelers will receive an approval letter that must be presented on arrival.
- If arriving by sea, a PCR-test is required for those staying less than 14 days.
- Yachts are required to dock at one of six approved ports, and submit the maritime declaration of health to the port health officer.
The British Virgin Islands
The British Virgin Islands will reopen to international guests on December 1, 2020.
- Covid test results up-loaded to entry website prior to arrival & entry approved.
- Health insurance will be required for travelers
- Covid test on arrival in the territory.
- Government approved transport from the airport/ferry dock to 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.
- 3rd Covid test after 4 day quarantine.
- After passing the quarantine charter guests free to roam the islands.
- Travelers will be required to wear a tracking wristband while in the BVI.
The US Virgin Islands
The US Virgin Islands requires all travelers to:
- Have either a negative PCR test (oral or nasal) valid from the previous five days or a positive antibody serology (blood) test from the previous four months. 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.
- Restaurants and bars are open for limited dining and service.
Turks & Caicos
Turks & Caicos reopened its borders on July 22, 2020. Travelers are required to:
- 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).
- Purchase medical/travel insurance that covers COVID-19 medical costs, full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and air ambulance/medevac.
- Complete a health screening questionnaire and apply for a TCI Travel Authorization Form five days before arrival to be granted a travel certificate.
- A mask or face covering is required to be worn at all times in public, and six feet physical distancing is required in public spaces.
Other Yachting Destinations
Australia is currently closed to international travelers. A reopening date has not been specified.
Travelers to Belize must:
- Download the Belize Health App and complete all required information within 72 hours of arrival to receive a unique traveler ID.
- Take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours of travel.
- Undergo a health screening upon arrival and verify certified PCR test results.
- Check in with the Belize Health App daily.
As of August 15, 2020, visitors to the Galapagos must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test that was completed within 10 days of arrival. Quick tests are not accepted.
The Maldives have reopened their borders to international travelers. Visitors must:
- Have a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours to present upon arrival.
- No quarantine is required,
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
Travel to Tahiti reopened on July 15, 2020. Visitors must:
- Provide proof of a negative RT-PCR test carried out within three days before arrival.
- Present the negative result on the Electronic Travel Information System platform.
- Self-test four days after arriving in the Islands of Tahiti.
Thailand is currently closed to international travelers. Only foreign nationals holding a valid work permit or permission from a Thai agency to work in Thailand are permitted to enter the country. A reopening date has not been specified.
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 2020-2021 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.