St. Martin essential information

Back to St. Martin

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in St. Martin. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.


Before you go

The base is located at Marina Fort Luis. The marina is about 15 minutes from Juliana International airport and 15 minutes from Grand Case local airport.

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.


Time zone
St Martin is GMT -4 hours behind the UK.

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

What to bring

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 for the latest information before you leave.

We are not responsible for any requirement changes.

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.

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.


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 five tonnage, USD 28. Embarkation fee: USD 11 per person. Security tax: USD 3 per person and USD 3 per child under 11 years.

St. Barts

Clearance Fees: €17 for monohulls. From €28 to €43 per day from catamarans 40’ to 50’. Plus €1/pax/day Environmental Tax.

St. Kitts and Nevis

ECD 20.

Prices above are subject to change.

Customs + 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.  

Some airlines include the tax in the flight ticket price.

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.

Luggage + packing list

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.

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.


What's on board

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.

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.

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 iTrip or FM radio transmitter.


The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit

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.


Free Wi-Fi access available at the marina lobby only.

Important: We do not offer free Wi-Fi on our boats in St Martin.

At the base, we can help with Wi-Fi access by renting a Wi-Fi hub at the base. 50.00 USD payable in cash only. We have limited stock. You can connect at least 5 devices on the box. The network will be only available on Saint Martin French side and St Barthelemy. You would have to go online or on a hotline to purchase extra data. We highly recommend you contact your personal phone/internet providers before travelling to see if you can get a reliable connection during your sailing trip.

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About the marina

Marina facilitiesRestaurants
Laundry (additional cost)
Flower shops

...and many more nearby restaurants and shops.

Dock facilities
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 1.30 per litre. Fuel is available at the base.

Sailing licences

Experience level
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 grounds

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.

Sailing area restrictions
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.

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

Charts + pilot books
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.

Sailing permits + 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.

Moorings fees + 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


Port dues: From two tonnage USD 28

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

Health + safety

Swim Safe 

Swimming is often a fun and important part of a vacation. However local rules, flag systems, currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets and Diver Down flags are all available on board. 


  • Talk to children about water safety at the start of a vacation, making them aware of the potential dangers.
  • Accidents can happen at any time on vacation, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and do not get distracted when your children are playing by, or in the water.
  • Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended. 
  • Get in the water with them, it is easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Floatation devices are highly recommended for children but are not a substitute for supervision.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted. 
  • Beware of dangerous currents, these can be very powerful. Not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags.
  • Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
  • Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
  • Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.

Look out for others

  • Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party and use the snorkel vests provided.
  • Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm, preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you are in.

Do not overestimate your ability

  • Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming technique.
  • Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different.


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use this equipment during your vacation. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat on boarding - If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing. 

We have a very limited supply of children's life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are travelling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.  

Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck. 

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy. 

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Around the base


French Side
Fantastic Hotel - close to the marina
Mercure Hotel - close to the marina
Centre Hotel - close to the marina
Golfe Hotel - close to the marina
Adam & Eve - Orient Bay
Shamrock - Orient Bay
Columbus Hotel - Oyster Pond

Dutch Side
Holland House - Philipsburg
Atrium - Simpson Bay
Mary's Boon - Simpson Bay
Atrium - Simpson Bay
Princess Heights - Oyster Pond

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

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. 

Post office
The General Post Office is on Lagoon Road by the port in St. George’s. There are sub-post offices in all towns and villages. Post offices are open Mon-Thurs from 8am-4pm and on Fridays until 2.30pm.

Shops open Mon-Sat from 9am-5.30pm, 6/7pm in high season. Most are closed on Sundays.

Please note all shops are duty free.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

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