St. Martin

Essential information

St. Martin

Location

The base is located to the east of the island in the French part, in Captain Oliver’s Marina at Oyster Pond. The marina is about 30 minutes from Juliana International airport and 15 minutes from Grand Case local airport.

Contact details

Sunsail St. Martin
Captain Oliver’s Marina
Oyster Pond 97150
St. Martin, French West Indies

St. Martin is an island of dual nationality. The northern side is French and known as St. Martin and the southern side is Dutch and known as Saint Maarten.

Open hours

The Base is open 8.30am-4.30pm, seven days a week, from 1 October-31 August (closed September).

Base/shore facilities

Hotels, restaurants, diving centre, car rental, shops and a beautiful beach.

Airport parking

Save up to 30 percent when you book your airport parking through us. 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

St Martin is GMT -4 hours behind the UK.

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 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.

If you are taking our Thomson Airways flights and wish to enquire about pre-booking seats please call the airline direct on 0870 757 2757. 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

The airport on St. Martin is Princess Juliana Airport. The facilities at the airport include a restaurant, some small shops and snack bars and a bureau de change.

Transfers

If your holiday includes our charter flight, a Sunsail taxi driver will meet you at the airport and escort you to your transfer.

If your holiday is flight exclusive, we request that you send your travel arrangements to us so we can assist with transfer details where required.

Please note: guests arriving separately should bring a copy of the charter contract/invoice.

Clients should give drivers the address of Captain Oliver’s Marina, Oyster Pond. However, most of our clients are picked up by our dedicated taxi driver by the name of George Menta.

Taxi drivers should be paid direct. The cost is USD 35 for three passengers, USD 40 for four people. USD 10 for each additional passenger. Taxi prices are increased by 25 percent between 10pm and midnight and by 50 percent from midnight until 6am and takes approximately 30 minutes.

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. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for refusal of entry or travel due to lack of visas. If you are 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

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.  

The departure tax depends on where you fly out from:

St Martin: USD 35 per person
Anguilla: USD 10 per person
ST Kitts: USD 10 per person
Nevis: USD 10 per person

Some airlines include the tax in the flight ticket price.

On arrival

Your yacht will be ready at 6pm for boarding. The yacht briefing (the day after) 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. A time for this will be agreed on your arrival.

There will also be a chart briefing in the morning at 8.45am. The chart briefing describes the cruising area and any potential hazards.

Out of hours arrival procedure

For late arrivals, you will find a marina map with your names and boat location taped on the office door. The boat is ready with lights on, cold fridge.

On departure

At the end of your charter your yacht will need to be vacated by 11am. Please call the base by VHF channel 16 and then on 72 on your way in so that someone can give you docking instructions.

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 guests to bag your 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 us in a clean and tidy state.  We reserve the right to charge clients for boats left less than shipshape.

Sailing information

Sailing experience: Level 2-3

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 St. Martin's sailing conditions.

Sailing licences

Although no sailing licenses are required by the authorities, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification 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 your boats skipper and first mate will be required to fill in a sailing resume at the base to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.

Cruising permits and taxes

No cruising permits are required in this sailing area except Anguilla. Cruising permit for Anguilla is payable in Anguilla only. A cruising tax of 4.5 percent of the charter fee is already included in the charter fee.

Clearance in St. Martin

Customers can now clear in and out procedures at the Oyster Pond base. There is a small charge of EUR 5-7. The Marina office in Anse Marcel also offers this service.

There is also the official customs office on the French side in Marigot, however we recommend to do clearance in Oyster Pond instead. The office opening hours in Marigot are 9am-11.30am and 2pm-4pm. Original boat papers are required and there is no fee. Anse Marce is open from 8am-11.30am and 2.00pm-5.30pm. Fee: EUR 5.

St. Martin

On the Dutch side, Philipsburg or Simpson, for clearance out, they ask for the paper of the clearance in from Dutch side. Clearance and harbour fee approximately USD 30. Sunday overtime.

Anguilla

Cruising permission USD 140 (This permit is valued from midnight to midnight: one overnight stay means two days) from 20 tonnage. From five to 19 tonnage, USD 56. Port dues: from two tonnage, USD 23. Embarkation fee: USD 5 per person. Security tax: USD 3 per person.

St. Barts

USD 7 for yachts 35-45 feet. Minimum EUR 20 for a cat and EUR 3 per person for “la réserve Naturelle”.

St. Kitts and Nevis

ECD 20.

Prices above are subject to change.

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. For Bareboat Charter with Sunsail Crew. No sailing in US Virgin Islands and Spanish Virgin Islands.

To sail with St. Martin boat to Guadeloupe/Martinique, please check with your sales agent if the boat has the necessary flag/registration (French/Octroi De Mer).

Rest of Caribbean: No further than 20 miles out from Puerto Rico to Grenada,
Montserrat, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago.

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

Mooring fees and taxes

Optional moorings are at present being installed in many of the St. Barts anchorages and plans are underway to install these in some St. Martin anchorages. Saba and Statia provide moorings (you will need waiver from the Base manager). Furthermore, moorings can be arranged inside the harbour of Gustavia, St. Barts with the Port Captain at USD 15 a night.

St. Martin charter guests will now be charged a "Natural Park Fee" of EUR 3/USD 3 per person, per day, which can be paid at the base before the start of your charter or payable in cash only to the St Martin natural parks officials to anchor in: Tintamarre and Pinel Island. Fees for St Bart's natural parks Anse de Colombier and Fourche Island will be payed at the same day when you do the clearance in the harbour office. 

St. Bart

Gustavia anchorage fee approximately EUR 38 per day

Dockage Gustavia approximately EUR 150 per day

Marine Park (Ile Forchue, Anse de Colombier) USD 3 per person, per day

Anguilla

Port dues: From two tonnage USD 23

Embarkation fee: USD 5 per person and security tax USD 3 per person.

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 by mail order from the UK chandler Kelvin Hughes by contacting 02380 634911.

Fuel

We would highly recommend that all clients’ pre pay fuel due to the distance of the nearest fuelling station from the base, meaning the boat will not be full when they hand it back to us. Cost is approximately USD 1.18 per litre. 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 return them clean and undamaged otherwise you will be charged for replacement. Only one per boat.

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.

Banks and money exchange

Currency

US dollars and euros on both the French and Dutch sides of the island. All the islands accept US dollars (USD), however only Anguilla, St Kitts, Nevis and Antigua accept Eastern Caribbean Dollars (ECD).

US dollars and US dollar travellers cheques are accepted.

Banks are open 9am-3pm, weekdays only.

Please note that you can change money at the base.

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

Credit card information

Credit cards can be used for payment in larger establishments and restaurants. Please note that Amex is not accepted at the base and not in all shops. 

General information

Language

French and Dutch are the official languages, although English is also widely spoken.

Restaurants

  • Captain Oliver’s Restaurant, located right at the base, offers French and American cuisine.
  • Lucky's Bar located on the Marina
  • Quai Ouest, located right at the base, French cuisine.
  • Le Planteur, 5 minute walk from the Sunsail base and offers French food.
  • L'Oasis, 10 minute walk from the Sunsail base and offers French food.
  • The Dinghy Dock, located next to the base, is a great lunch bar.
  • Mr. B’s Beach Bar, located on Dawn Beach, specializes in BBQ and fresh seafood.

Restaurants tend to close at approximately 11pm. Restaurants are closed from September to low season.

If you're looking to travel in low season you will have a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and to provision accordingly. This would be a perfect time of year to enjoy a barbecue off the back of their boat.

Tipping

If you have Sunsail crew on board your boat, tipping is at your discretion but standard is 15-20 percent of the crew fee.

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 percent of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Shopping

Shops open Mon-Sat from 9am-5.30pm, however, most are closed on Sundays.

Supermarkets open 9am-1pm on Sundays. The French side is open Mon-Sat from 9am-1pm and Sunday 4pm-7pm.

A mini market is a five to 10 minute walk. This is a small convenience store (no fresh food) and it tends to be expensive.

Oyster Bay grocery is on the other side of the marina, with access by dinghy. Open from 9am-10pm.

Super U is a 40 minute drive from our base, on the French side of the island. It accepts Visa and MasterCard. This regular full service grocery store has a large selection of fresh produce, canned, frozen and baked goods. Open Mon-Sat from 9am-1pm and Sunday from 4pm-7pm.

Le Grand Marché is a 15 minute drive from our base, on the Dutch side. This regular full service grocery store offers a wide variety of goods, a bakery and a deli. Open Mon-Sat from 8am-8pm and Sunday from 9am-2pm.

A fresh market is a 10 minute drive from the base, on the Dutch side. This regular full service grocery store has wide variety of goods. Open Mon-Sat from 8am-8pm and Sunday from 9am-2pm.

Please note all shops are duty free.

Hotels

Captain Oliver’s Boutique Hotel on the marina was designed to integrate with nature. The hillside bungalows along the waterfront are nestled among tropical plants, natural rock outcroppings and winding paths. The spacious junior suites have private terraces or balconies offering spectacular views. The guest rooms have high beamed ceilings, tile floors and are simply decorated with white rattan and local art. It's a small intimate hotel that focuses on friendly service and guest comfort.

Sol Hotel is three minutes by foot from the base.

St. Barts

Large areas of St. Barts are a marine park (St. Barthelemy Natural Marine Preserve.) Both Ile Fourche and Anse de Columbier are part of this park, as are Pain de Sucre and Les Gros Islets to the west of Gustavia. The park rules are excellent. In these areas you may scuba dive, hand-line for fish, snorkel and swim. You may also collect a maximum of 3 adult conchs.

You are not allowed to spearfish, jet-ski, water-ski or hunt lobsters. You may only anchor your yacht or dinghy on sand, never on coral, although a few yellow moorings will be placed in coral areas for snorkelers and scuba divers. You should never take coral or throw garbage in any coastal waters. Always pass divers slowly giving them at least 100 yards clearance.

Electrical, phones and music

Electricity

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

Mobile phones

If you bring your own phone, please check with your service provider before departure, to ensure you will have coverage and to check rates regarding roaming calls and data.

Internet

There is free wireless Internet access available on the marina. Unfortunately, at the moment there is no wireless Internet access on board the yachts.

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

Car hire costs are from USD 40 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.

Windsurfing

Website address for hiring windsurfing equipment in St Martin: www.wind-adventures.com 

A 10 percent discount is available to Sunsail clients at time of reservation.

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

Fishing

There is a scuba shop in the marina that rents fishing gear. No license is required.

Scuba diving

Located on Captain Oliver's Marina is the Scuba Diving Center. Here you can rent or buy top-of-the-line scuba diving gear or also purchase marine equipment and supplies.

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, as children may be more comfortable with what is familiar to them.

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