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Antigua Yacht Charter

Essential Information

Essential Information



Address & Map


Sunsail Antigua Base
Nelson’s Dockyard
English Harbour
Antigua, West Indies

Base Manager

Dean Street


The Sunsail Base moved into the historical Nelson’s Dockyard in English Harbour, on 31st July 2000, having previously been at Falmouth Harbour for 6 years.
Nelson’s Dockyard has great historical interest and old-world charm, being the only working Georgian dockyard in the world.

Base Open Hours

The base is open 8.00 am until 5.00 pm, 7 days a week (evening staff to cover until all flights have arrived).

Shore Facilities

Facilities:  Hotels, restaurants, shops, supermarkets and money exchange facilities.

Dockage fees (Marina)YesUS$0.80 per foot per night
Customs & Port FeesYesIn (per yacht)US$40.00**
WaterYesUS$0.08 per gal
Ice YesUS$2.50 per bag
FuelYesUS$3.95 per gallon
LaundryYesBy the Base
US$10 per load
Garbage disposalYesFree
When start/finish in Antigua
AccommodationYesOn site
Bar & RestaurantYesOn site*
Money ChangeYes  

* Many bars & restaurants in English Harbour & Falmouth Harbour close in the summer months so there is limited choice.
** Dependent upon length of yacht and number of crew

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Arrival & Departure

Airport Parking

Save up to 30% when you book your airport parking through Sunsail.  Please call the team for more details.

Airport Hotels

We have preferential rates at many hotels at the UK’s major airports.  Please call the team for more details.

Time difference

Antigua is 5 hours behind UK

  • Gatwick Information 0844 335 1802
  • Heathrow Information 0870 000 0123
  • Manchester Information 0871 271 0711
  • Luton Information 0158 240 5100
  • Glasgow Information 0870 040 0008

Luggage allowance is 20kg per person. Only one item of hand luggage per person is allowed and this must not weigh more than 5kg. For storage aboard we recommend travelling light and using folding luggage.

Lost or damaged luggage whilst flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance. Thomson Airways carries no liability for loss or damage to valuable or fragile items packed in hold baggage however caused. You must not include in Checked Baggage money, jewellery, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports and other identification documents or samples.

If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials and ensure Property Irregularity Reports (PIR) are completed. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport.

If you are taking our Thomson Airways flights and wish to enquire about pre booking seats please call the airline direct on 0871 231 4793. Group seats are available for pre booking through Sunsail. Call the team for more details.  Please note that Thomson Airways are unable to provide a priority check-in service for your inbound flight.  This service operates at London Gatwick outbound only.  

Alcohol may be taken on the flights but only in checked luggage (well secured from breakages) not as hand luggage due to airport security restrictions.


VC Bird International Airport is located at on the North East of Antigua and is 35 to 45 minutes by car from our Base. The Airport has a good selection of souvenir shops, a post office, duty-free outlet as well as a bar and restaurant.


Unfortunately at Antigua, we are unable to provide transfers, however there are Taxi's available outside the airport. Please inform the driver that you are going to the Sunsail base in English Harbour.

As you come out of the arrivals hall, there is a dispatch desk that will take details and write a receipt confirming the fare. Dispatch will call the next taxi in line forward. Sunsail can arrange a taxi from the base back to the airport at the end of the charter. Sunsail will settle the fare on arrival at the base.

It is approximately US$32 per taxi for up to four people (one way), plus US$8 for each extra person plus excess bags (Taxi drivers should be paid direct).

If you have arranged your flight independently, transfer to the base will be at your own expense. Remember to tell the driver you are going to English Harbour!  If transfers are not required it is still essential that you inform the base of your arrival details for planning purposes.

Please Note: If you are arriving separately please bring a copy of the charter contract.


We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.

Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. Sunsail Antigua has no facilities for holding luggage.

Passport and Visas

Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return.
Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.

If your child is not already included on a valid British Passport they are required to hold their own passport.
EU Passport holders do not require a visa unless wishing to visit the US Virgin Islands.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check with your local government or travel office for up to date information or passeport requirements. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.

Customs and Immigration

Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear Immigration and Customs.

A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a Customs declaration form. It is not possible to take fresh food into most Caribbean islands and airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles that may be confiscated by Customs.
On departure from Antigua a tax of $20 US per person  (including children over 12 years old) will be levied – please organise departure tax payment prior to queuing at the departure gate.

There will be no departure tax from Antigua to London Gatwick if staying less than 24 hours.
Please Note: It is illegal in Antigua to wear camouflage or combat gear, even on children. We do not recommend you bring any with you as it will be confiscated.

On Arrival

All boats are prepared for the 1800hrs boarding time. The first evening is a sleep aboard where you have the time to unpack provisions and settle into the boat.

Out of hour’s arrival procedure

If you have provided arrival information you will be met at the base. A short orientation briefing is then given upon arrival.
A sleep-aboard letter will be left on the office door if you are arriving late. A second sign with your name will also be placed on your designated boat.
Even though we are only officially open until 5:00 pm we do however, in most cases, wait for any guest who might be arriving at the base after this time.

On departure

You have to disembark by 1100 hrs so it is recommended returning to base the day before.

Before departing your boat, you will be met by our customer service for debriefing.
The debrief form is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip, this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.

In addition to filling in forms we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and fridges of food and throw away, return snorkel gear and any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state.  We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.

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Sailing Information

Antigua is a Level 2 sailing area
Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and length of passages within your chosen sailing area.   Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.


Level 2Equates to 10 days sailing, 200 miles on an equivalent yacht or RYA Day Skipper. (Must Have Tidal Experience)
Wind/Weather17 – 25 knots

Understand tidal flow / Navigate in open waters


Primarily anchoring / Protected anchorages / Mediterranean-style mooring and/or marina slips

Sailing Licences

Although no sailing licences are required by the authorities, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certificates on holiday with you.   This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police.  If you have not already done so then both the Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing CV to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.


A valid passport & crew list is compulsory for clearance.
Crew list for clearance, must show date of issue of passports.

Cruising Permits

Sailing Taxes: There are no taxes to be paid for sailing between Antigua and Barbuda.
All boats entering the territorial waters must be cleared by Customs & Immigration and pay the following taxes:
Port Entry and Cruising permit: US$ 16 (40EC)
Landing fee: US$ 2 per person (5EC)
Rubbish dump: US$ 10 (26EC)
Customs and Immigration offices are located within Nelson’s Dockyard, making it easy for those intrepid sailors who are sailing from or to Antigua to complete their formalities

If you wish to visit other islands, i.e Guadeloupe, Nevis, etc. a 25$US  / pers departure tax will apply, and the cruising will need to be renewed when returning in Antigua on top of clearance fees. You will also be required to follow the clearing procedure in and out of the visited island / country

Night Time Sailing

You are not permitted to sail at night unless it has been agreed with the base manager prior to departure

Cruising Area Limits

BVI: All the British Virgin Islands, including Anegada and US Virgin Islands.
Bareboat Charter with Sunsail Crew: No sailing in US Virgin Islands and Spanish Virgin Islands
Rest of Caribbean: No further than 20 miles out from Puerto Rico to Grenada,
excluding Saba, Montserrat, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago.
Martinique/Guadeloupe - Select Yachts in Antigua cannot go into Martinique/ Guadeloupe at any time.

There are some other restrictions throughout the whole Caribbean, which are detailed in the Caribbean Introduction section.

Mooring Fees and Taxes

Moorings are only available in Falmouth Harbour & Jolly Harbour with charges set around US$15 – US$20 per night. Fees will be collected at the time of use.

Cruising tax / Month permit

21- 40 feet US$8.00
41- 80 feet US$10.00
Entry charge:                            
Per person US$2.60
21-40 feet US$4.00
41-80 feet US$6.00
Dockage varies from 50 cents to US$1 per foot, per night.

Area & Sailing

More information on the sailing in this area.

Charts & Pilot Book

All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.
Charts and pilot books can be purchased by mail order from the UK chandler Kelvin Hughes by contacting them direct on 02380 634911 or


We would highly recommend that you pre pay fuel due to the distance of the nearest fuelling station from the base – i.e. the boat will not be full when handed back to us!
Cost is approximately US$3.95 per gallon.  
Fuel is available opposite the Nelson’s Dockyard marina, on the entrance to English Harbour.

Cool Boxes

Cool boxes are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Clients must sign these out and return them clean and undamaged otherwise they will be charged for replacement. Only one per boat.

Skippered Charter Information

The skipper’s time is booked from 12:00pm to 12:00pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6:00pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12:00pm on that day.

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.

For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the check out skipper’s time is booked from 6:00pm to 6:00pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you how to contact the base, the return to base procedures and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht. It is also suggested that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover…anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills and navigation in general.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and are your responsibility. It is suggested that you discuss this on the first day with the skipper and establish whether you will give the skipper cash for meals, whether you have included him in your provisioning or whether you will accommodate him as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his own cabin. We prefer not to put the skipper in the bow due to the shared heads and size of the cabin. If you expect him to stay in the bow, please let us know well in advance so that we can choose the appropriate (small) skipper.
For one-day check out skipper’s it is your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20% percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at your discretion.
More information on Skippered Charter options.

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Banks & Money Exchange


Antigua runs a dual currency system: The Eastern Caribbean Dollar (EC$) is the local currency and primarily used throughout Antigua. The US Dollar (US$) and US Dollar Travellers Cheques are widely accepted throughout the island, although change will normally be given in EC$.  ALL the islands accept US Dollars (US$), however ONLY Anguilla, St Kitts, Nevis and Antigua accept Eastern Caribbean Dollars (EC$).

Shops usually price smaller items in EC$ and expensive goods (value over £50) in US$.

There is one bank in Nelson’s Dockyard and one at Falmouth Harbour; ATM machines are available in St John’s. Banks in St. Johns are open on weekday mornings: 0800 hrs – 1400 hrs.
ATMs are available 24 hours a day. Credit cards can be used for payment in larger establishments and in most restaurants (a surcharge may be applied).


Credit Card Information

Most businesses in Antigua and Barbuda do not accept American Express cards.

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General information


The language of Antigua and Barbuda is English.

Cost of living in the Antigua

A three course meal including ½ bottle of wine is US$50. A bottle of beer approximately US$3. A bottle of wine costs minimum US$9. A snack is around US$7.

Jars of baby food cost US$1.50 each, powdered milk is about US$5 per tin and nappies range from US$10-$21 depending on amount, brand and size.


Restaurants generally close at 2300 hrs.
There are many restaurants in English and Falmouth Harbours, near the base.

In the heart of English Harbour, great value, always popular.
Tel: +1 (268) 562 – 3534 Mobile: +1 (268) 728 - 2880

Antigua Yacht Club Marina Restaurant
With an outstanding location and stunning views across Falmouth Harbour this stylish restaurant is the perfect location for lunch and dinner with friends, or just relaxing over drinks at any time of the day or night.
Tel: +1 (268) 460 1797

Restaurants closed during September – Low Season
If you are looking to travel in low season there will be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and you should provision accordingly. It is therefore a perfect time of year for you to enjoy a BBQ off the back of the boat.


Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants / bars and for other services undertaken during your holiday. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.


The Base is located on an historic site, including a museum dedicated to Admiral Nelson who hid his fleet at English Harbour.
Close to the Base there are several souvenir shops, a bank, post office, bakery, bars, restaurants, 2 diving schools, laundry, showers, buses to St. John’s, car rental and taxis.

Taxis: From St John’s to Antigua Base US$26
Rental Car: Local licence compulsory of EC$50, plus cost of car rental.


Located at the Base is the
Admiral’s Inn  
(PO Box 713)
Nelsons Dockyard
English Harbour, Antigua and Barbuda
West Indies
Tel:  (268)   460-1027
Fax: (268)   460-1153

The Admiral’s Inn: Located 14 miles from the airport, 12 miles from the town of St John’s. It is situated inside the walls of Nelson’s Old Naval dockyard at English Harbour, with a waterfront area and courtyard.

The Admiral’s Inn is housed in one of the finest Georgian brick buildings in Nelson’s Dockyard. It offers 13 twin-bedded rooms, each with a private bathroom and shower. Rooms are cosy and there is a nautical bar and a delightful terrace restaurant in a private corner of the Dockyard, overlooking the harbour.  - Open 7 days a week with local music on Saturday nights and there is a restaurant with a terrace. A free water taxi to the beach is also available.


Stingray City
Here you will be able to pet and feed Southern Stingrays in their natural environment. You will learn all about these amazing animals from your experienced guide. You can snorkel on coral reefs with colourful fish life – these calm, clear, shallow waters makes it easy and fun for everybody.
Tel: +1 (268) 562-7297

Devils Bridge
Is a remarkable example of sea-water erosion. Geological, Devil's Bridge is a natural arch carved by the sea from soft and hard limestone ledges of the Antigua formation, a geological division of the flat north-eastern point of Antigua. A bridge was created when a soft part of the limestone eroded away by action of Atlantic breakers over countless centuries.

Shirley Heights
The view from Shirley Heights Lookout is without question the most famous view on the beautiful island of Antigua. Located within the National Parks, overlooking English and Falmouth Harbours, this panoramic view, on clear days takes in Guadeloupe to the south and Montserrat with its still active volcano to south west. Shirley Heights Lookout has been home to the 'biggest and best' party on the island every Sunday for the last 25 years.
Tel: 1-268-728-0636 / 1-268-764-0389

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Electrical, Phones & Music


The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that require 220v you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.

Mobile phones

A mobile phone is available free of charge if you wish to have one. A security deposit of 200$US against loss of the equipment is needed upon departure. On average half the cost of an international cell on roaming, you will only be charged for the calls you have made. Receiving calls is free in Antigua and Barbuda


All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your IPOD whilst sailing you will need to bring along an I-trip or FM radio transmitter.

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Diving Information

A tank and weight belt for one person costs approximately US$10 per day.
A full set of diving equipment costs approx. US$20 to US$30 per person per day.
There are several dive companies and following are some names & contact numbers: - Antigua country code is (+) 268
Aquanaut (Falmouth Harbour) – Tel: 460-2813
Jolly Dive (Jolly Harbour) – Tel: 462-8305 / Fax: Same
Deep Bay Divers (Deep Bay) – Tel: 463-8000 / Fax: Same
Dive Antigua (Dickenson Bay) – Tel: 462-3483 / Fax: 462-7787
Dockyard Divers (English Harbour) – Tel: 460-1178 / Fax: 460-1179
NB: All rates quoted are subject to change without prior notice.


We have a range of snorkelling gear which you may wish to use. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.

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Provisioning is available in this location.  More information on Provisioning

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Health & Safety

Illness or Injury

If you are taken ill and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip contact a member of Sunsail staff as soon as possible on either a lead boat or at Sunsail base or Club.

If you need to make a claim for curtailment due to illness, ask the base manager for assistance and contact your insurer’s emergency medical service immediately.

Your insurance company will assist with travel arrangements, advice and payment of bills.
Obtain receipts for any medication, treatment or transport you have to pay for and submit with your claim


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets harnesses we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.
We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only) if you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.
Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

All prices quoted in this information are subject to change.

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