The Bahamas

Essential information

The Bahamas

Location

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

Contact details

Sunsail Bahamas
PO Box AB20469
Marsh Harbour
Abacos
The Bahamas

Open hours

Reception is open from 7.30am-7pm, open all year round.

Bahamas Drone Regulations

A Certificate of Registration must first be secured from the Civil Aviation Department in order to import a drone. The Customs Department will detain drones at the border if a Certificate of Registration has not been obtained. To register your drone online visit the Bahamas Civil Aviation page: http://www.bcaa.gov.bs/.  Further details on the Special Regulations may be obtained from the Civil Aviation Department, at 242-397-4700 or email: hadderley.fsi@gmail.com.

Base/shore facilities

Sunsail Bahamas facilities include:

Showers, toilets, laundry, restaurant, swimming pool, supermarket, fuel, ice and water.

Laundry: 8am-5pm

Mini market: open seven days a week

Security personnel are available to assist from 6pm-12am.

After midnight Conch Inn Security can be contacted on VHF channel 16.

Arrival and departure

Airport parking

Save up to 30 percent when you book your airport parking through Sunsail.  Please call us for more details.

Airport hotels

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

Time difference

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

Flights

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

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.

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

Incidents

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.

Pre-booking

If you are taking our Thomson Airways flights and wish to enquire about prebooking 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.

Airport

Marsh Harbour Airport is approximately 3.5 miles from our base.

Transfers

The taxi fare from the airport to the base is approximately BSD 8 (GBP 4). The fare is BSD 10 (GBP5) for the first two people, and the additional people are BSD 3 (GBP 1.50) 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

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.

Non-British passport holders should check with their local consulate direct.

It is the responsibility of each individual to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. We cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you're in any doubt, please contact your embassy for full details.

Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest information before you leave.

We are not responsible for any requirement changes.

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 BSD 20 departure tax (BSD 18 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 travel.state.gov/content/visas for the latest Visa Waiver Programme and other passport requirements.

On arrival

Your yacht will be ready at 6pm for boarding. 

If you arrive before 6pm you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 6pm your briefing will take place the following morning after 8.30am. 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 6pm, you may request a briefing for that same day. If you arrive after 6pm, your briefing will take place the following morning after 8.3am. The chart briefing describes the cruising area and any potential hazards.

Out of hours arrival procedure

Security personnel are available from 6am-midnight.

On departure

At the end of your charter your yacht will need to be vacated by 9am 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.

Sailing information

Sailing experience: Level 1

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.

Get more information on The Bahamas's 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 at our base 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 and 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.

Charts and 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 02380 634911.

Skippered charter information

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

The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. They are not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight. He or she must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of the 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 6pm-6pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day.

The 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. We suggest that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his or her time with you on the yacht. We also suggest that you make it clear exactly what you want to cover: anchoring, docking, etc.

The skipper fee does not include food or beverages for the skipper and this is your responsibility. We suggest that you discuss this on the first day with your skipper and establish whether you'll provide cash for meals, whether you've included him or her in your provisioning or whether you'll accommodate him or her as part of the group for meals ashore.

The skipper must have his or her 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 your skipper 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 skippers, it's your responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay all expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him or her back to the base.

The average tip for a skipper is 15-20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at your discretion.

Fuel

We would highly recommend that you pre-pay fuel due to the distance of the nearest fuelling station from the base.T he 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.

Banks and money exchange

Banks

Banks are generally open between 9.30am-3 pm (4.30pm on Fridays).  ATMs dispense Bahamian dollars.

Currency

Local currency is the Bahamian dollar (BSD). US dollars are accepted by all vendors.

Currency can be exchanged commission free at any high street TUI retail travel agent on production of your Sunsail invoice. You can pre-order your currency from a travel agent by telephoning them in advance on 0870 9005154 to find your nearest branch.

Credit card information

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

General information

Language

The Language of The Bahamas is English.

Cost of living in The Bahamas

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

Restaurants

Most restaurants close at 9pm.

Curly Tails
Location: On site
Cuisine: Bahamian and American
Tel: 242-367-4000

Snappas Bar & Grill
Tel: 242 367 2278
Location: Marsh Harbour, Abaco
Cuisine: Bahamian and American

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

Jib Room Restaurant
Tel: 242 367 2700
Cuisine: Grill

Golden Grouper
Tel: 242 367 2301
Cuisine: Bahamian and American

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

Restaurants closed from September throughout 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 barbecue off the back of your boat.

Tipping

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

Shopping

Maxwells Supermarket
Large supermarket
15 minutes walk
Open Mon-Sat: 8am-7pm and Sun: 8am-4pm.

Jimmy's Wines & Spirits
3 minutes walk
Open: Mon-Sat 8am-6pm and Sun: closed
Price Right

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

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)

This small harbourside hotel and marina is located 3.5 miles from the airport in Marsh Harbour. Amenities include nine rooms, 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 and snorkelling are available.

Electrical, phones and music

Electricity

Current is 110 volts, 60 cycle, 2-prong US type outlets. The dock is equipped with 110 volt outlets. All of our yachts are equipped with power lines, battery charger and 110 volt plugs.

There is a 12 volt cigarette lighter and several 110 volt sockets by the chart table on the majority of our yachts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220 volt 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.

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 BSD 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.

Kayaking

Kayaks may be available at the base. Please ask us to book one for you.

Golf

One 18-hole course is available at Treasure Cay, 20 miles (32km) away.

Tennis

Treasure Cay tennis courts are available at BSD 15 per hour and are located about 30 minute drive.

Provisioning

We offer a wide range of food and drinks packages to suit your party’s needs.

Find out more about our provisioning options.

Water sports

Scuba 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 and 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 (BSD 170-350 per day) 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.

Health and safety

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 are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Choose Sunsail

25
Destinations worldwide
14
Flotilla routes
48
Types of yachts
40 yrs
Creating holidays
4 hr
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