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Abacos Yacht Charter

Essential Information

 

Address & Map

 
Address

Sunsail Bahamas
PO Box AB20469
Marsh Harbour
Abacos
The Bahamas

 

Location

The Sunsail base is located at Marsh Harbour, the centre of the Abacos, a 5 minute taxi ride from the airport.

Base Open Hours

Reception is open from 7:30am to 6:00pm

Base/Shore Facilities

Facilities include: showers, toilets, laundry, restaurant, swimming pool, supermarket, fuel, ice, and water.
The laundry is open 8:00 a.m. - 5 p.m (not self serve $12.90 per load)
Mini market - open 7 days
The reception is located at the base of the dock and is open 7:30 am - 6:00 pm.
Security personnel are available to assist from 6:00 pm - 12:00 am.
After midnight Conch Inn Security can be contacted on V.H.F channel 16.

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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

The Bahamas are Eastern Standard Time (GMT – 5hrs)
April to October is Eastern Daylight Time, in conjunction with US summer hours.

Flights

with onward connecting flights to Marsh Harbour.

  • 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 0844 871 1603    Group seats are available for pre booking through Sunsail. Call the team for more details.  Please note: 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 flights but only in checked luggage (well secured from breakages) not as hand luggage due to airport security restrictions.

Airport

Marsh Harbour Airport  is approximately 3.5 miles from Sunsail base.

Transfers

The taxi fare from the airport to the base is approximately  $8 US. The fare is $17 US for the first 2 people, and the additional people are $3 or $5 per person.  Transfers cannot be pre-booked

Luggage

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.

Passport and Visas

For more information about regulations please see here

Customs and Immigration

To enter The Bahamas, you will be required to present a valid passport which must be current up to your travel period and some nationalities are also required to have a Bahamas visa. To view the entry requirements for your country of birth, please visit www.mfabahamas.org. It is the responsibility of the guests to confirm the information offered on this site with the nearest Bahamian Embassy.

Upon entering The Bahamas, everyone must fill out and sign an Immigration form, keeping a portion of the card in hand until departing. An oral baggage declaration is required.

When departing, all visitors are required to pay a $20.00 departure tax ($18.00 from Grand Bahama); children six years and under are exempt.   You will need to return the portion of the immigration card to the customs officer.
If you are travelling to/via the USA, it is important to visit www.travel.state.gov/visa for the latest Visa Waiver Programme and other passport requirements.

On arrival

Your yacht will be ready at 1800hrs for boarding.  
If you arrive before 1800hrs  you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 1800hrs  your briefing will take place the following morning after  0830hrs.  The yacht briefing introduces you to your yacht, its systems and rigging.  It is carried out individually for each yacht.  It is important that all systems and equipment are fully understood.  Briefings are mandatory.

There will also be a chart briefing if you arrive before 1800hrs, you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 1800hrs, your briefing will take place the following morning after 0830hrs.
The chart briefing describes the cruising area and any potential hazards.

Out of hour’s arrival procedure

Security Personnel are available from 1800 hrs to 12am midnight.

On Departure

At the end of your charter your yacht will need to be vacated by 0900 hrs so we recommend that you return to the base the day before.
Before departing your boat you will need to collect a debrief form from reception.

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 you for boats left less than shipshape.

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Sailing Information

 
Sailing Experience Level

The Bahamas is a Level 1 sailing area.
Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.  Follow the link for more information on the sailing conditions.

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.

Night Time Sailing

Night Sailing is not permitted; you must be moored at least one hour before sunset at all of our locations.

Cruising Area Limits

The cruising area extends north to Walkers Cay, south within Sea of Abaco to Little Harbour. The sailing grounds for the Abacos is normally restricted to the Sea of Abaco only. The central cruising area is comprised of Great Abaco, along with a string of cays just east of these islands due to dangerous offshore reefs.

Restricted Zones

This information is covered in the chart briefing. There are several marine parks in the Sea of Abaco. It's illegal to carry out any form of fishing or to take any shells, coral or sea life in national marine parks. A waiver must be signed at the base if you intend to leave the Sea of Abaco.

The sailing grounds for the Abacos is normally restricted to the Sea of Abaco only. The central cruising area is comprised of Great Abaco, along with a string of cays just east of these islands due to dangerous offshore reefs.

Charterers demonstrating extensive offshore and navigational experience are permitted to go down islands on approval by the base. A two-week minimum charter is strongly recommended.

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 from the UK chandler Kelvin Hughes by contacting them direct on 02380 634911 or www.kelvinhughes.com

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 the responsibility of the client. 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 head 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 the client’s 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 the client’s discretion.

More information on Skippered Charter options

Fuel

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!.  Fuel is available at the base.

Cool Boxes

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

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Banks & money Exchange

 
Banks

Generally open between 9:30 am to 3 pm (4:30 pm Fridays).   ATM’s dispense Bahamian dollars.

Currency

Local currency is the Bahamian Dollar. U.S. currency is accepted by all vendors.
 

Credit Card Information

Visa and Master Card are accepted.
American Express accepted at some locations.
The big supermarket does NOT accept credit cards.

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General Information

 
Language

The Language of the Bahamas is English.

Cost of living in Bahamas

A meal for 2 at a mid range restaurant is approximately $50 (without wine).   A bottle of beer is approximately $4.  A bottle of wine costs approximately $30.  A cost of a snack is approximately $10.

Restaurants

Note most restaurants close at 9pm
 
Sappodilly's Island Bar and Lookout
Tel: 242 367 3498
Location: Marsh Harbour, Abaco
Cuisine: Bahamian and American

Wally's Restaurant
Tel: 242 367 2074
Cuisine: Bahamian and seafood - Reservations suggested

Anglers Restaurant
Tel: 242 367 2158
Cuisine: Bahamian and American

Restaurants closed during September – Low Season
If you are looking to travel in low season there may be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and therefore please provision accordingly. This would be a perfect time of year to enjoy a BBQ off the back of your boat.

Tipping

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.
Tip according to quality of service.

Shopping

Soloman's Wholesale
Large supermarket
10 minutes walk
Open Mon-Sat 8 am - 7 pm; Sun 8 am - 2 pm.
Sawyers Market

Wholesale / Retail Store
3 minutes by taxi
Open: Mon - Sat 8am - 7 pm; Sun 8 am - 2 pm
Price Right

Large supermarket (will accept credit cards)
10 minutes walk from the base
Open Mon - Sat 8 am - 7 pm; Sun 9 am - 3 pm

Small provisioning stores can also be found while sailing at Green Turtle Cay, Treasure Cay, Guana Cay, Hopetown and Man-o-War cay.

Hotels

Conch Inn Hotel and Marina
P.O. Box AB20469,
Marsh Harbour
Abacos, The Bahamas
Tel: 242-367-4000
Fax: 242-367-4004
Bahamas@sunsailnet.com
Channel 16, 82 (for charter boats)
Location: 3.5 miles from airport. Centrally located in Marsh Harbour.
Distance from base: On site.
Number of rooms: 9
Features: Small harbour side hotel and marina. Features: 75 berths, AC, cable TV, private veranda overlooking Marsh Harbour, 2 double beds in each room. Rollaway beds available, restaurant, full size fresh water pool, laundry, postal, phone and fax services, boutique, bike scooters and car rentals. Sightseeing tours can be arranged. Marina, diving, fishing, boat rentals, snorkelling are available.

Abaco Beach Resort Marina
P.O. Box AB-20669
Marsh Harbour,
Abacos, The Bahamas
Tel: 242-367-2158
Fax: 242-367-4154
VHF Channel 16
E-mail: marina@abacoresort.com  
Location: 5 miles from airport
Distance from base: On site
Sheltered on the south eastern shore of Marsh Harbour. 190 slips. New fuel dock, cable, telephone, and electricity hook-ups, pool, tennis court, bicycle rental, showers and laundry, bar & restaurant. 2010 rates: $2.75 p/foot p/day winter)$3.25 (summer).

Number of rooms: 52 ocean front rooms, 6 2-bedroom ocean view villas with kitchens Features: Open-air restaurant. Tennis, water sports, scuba diving, big game and bone fishing, bird watching, nearby golf. Two pools, one with swim-up bar. Boutique and grocery are located onsite; additional shopping available nearby.

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Electrical, Phones & Music

 
Internet Connectivity

The Abaco Beach Resort & Conch Inn offer complementary Wi-Fi. Bahamas WI MAX has set up hotspots at the major marinas around Abacos. They offer a pre-paid WI-FI service charged per day or per week and you can purchase this service ahead of time online. The Wi-Fi service is available in most harbors.

Electricity

Current is 110V, 60 cycle, 2 prong US type outlets.
The dock is equipped with 110V. outlets.
All of our yachts are equipped with power lines, battery charger and 110V. plugs.
There is a 12V. cigarette lighter and several 110V sockets by the chart table on the majority of our yachts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220v you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.

Mobile Phones

Your mobile phone may work when in the Bahamas, please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.
Clients also have the option of renting a cellular phone. The base will help make arrangements when you arrive at the base.

Music/Ipods

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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Activities

 
Car and Jeep Hire

K&S Rentals - tel: 242-367-2655
Cornish Car Rental - tel: 242-365-8623
Sea Star rentals - tel: 242-367-2840
T.C. Airport car rentals - tel: 242-365-8961
Carls - tel: 242-367-5196
Rental Wheels - tel: 242-367-4643

Car hire costs are from $55 per day dependent on type and time of the year.  Please note you will require a current valid driving licence and you must be 25+ years old.

When driving, British rules apply, so please drive on the left.  Visitors may use their home licence for up to three months and may also apply for an international driver's licence.

Watersports
Diving

Dive Abaco (www.diveabaco.com) is located at the base and is the most easily accessed dive shop. Tanks and equipment can be rented. Rendezvous dives available.
Mermaid reef, Johnny's Cay, Manjack Cay, No name Cay and Walkers Cay reef are all protected underwater preserves.

Fishing

Fishing is allowed in the Bahamas. Our yachts are registered therefore our clients do not need a fishing permit.
To protect the marine environment, spear fishing using scuba gear and possession of spear guns are illegal in The Bahamas.
Two areas are protected and fishing is not permitted: Pelican Cays Land & Sea Park Fowl Cay Preserve.
Some fishing charters are available.  Fishing equipment is available to rent from Sunsail or Rich’s Rental.  If you request fishing guides, they are available throughout the various islands. Prices ($170 -$350 p/d) vary according to the type of fishing guides requested.
It is illegal to carry out any form of fishing or to take any shells, coral or sea life in national marine parks. There are several marine parks in the Sea of Abaco.

Snorkelling

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.

Other

Kayaking: Kayaks may be available at the base. Please ask us to book one for you.
Golf: One 18-hole course available at Treasure Cay, 20 miles (32km) away.
Tennis:  Treasure Cay tennis courts are available at $15 p/hr, about 30 minute drive.

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Provisioning

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.

Emergency Numbers

Marsh Harbour Clinic          Tel: 242 367 2510
Sandy Point Clinic              Tel: 242 366 4010
Treasure Cay Clinic            Tel: 242 365 8288
Green Turtle Cay Clinic      Tel: 242 365 4028
Medical personnel on call 24 hours/7 days

Safety

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.

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