Raiatea Essential Information

Back to Raiatea

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in Raiatea. 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

Sunsail Raiatea
Apooiti Marina
Phone: 00689 40600485

Our Tahiti base is located in Raiatea, called The Sacred Island, as it was once at the heart of ancient Polynesia. Our base is at Marina Apooiti, less than one mile from the town of Uturoa. The base is located in the middle of the Leeward Islands, the northwestern group of French Polynesia, and is located just two minutes from the airport.

Base hours
Our base is open all year round. The office hours are from 7.30-5pm.

Time zone
Raiatea is GMT -10 hours from the UK.

The official languages of the Raiatea Tahitian and French. English is spoken in tourist areas.

Cost of living
Prices are in general higher than average. For example, a meal in a restaurant costs between CFP 2000 and CFP 6000 (GBP 15/GBP 45).

Tourism Information 

Tourism Information, TAHITI - Tel: (689) 40 50 57 00 
Tourism Committee Information, RAIATEA Tel: (689) 40 600 777

What to bring

Passport and visas
You must have a valid passport when you travel to Tahiti. Please ensure that your passport is valid for up to six months beyond your scheduled stay. Visas are generally not required if staying for less than 30 days. You need a visa if you stay for more than three months in French Polynesia.

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. British Passport holders do not require a visa.

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 + immigration
On arrival, you will be required to show your passport, completed Immigration card (distributed on the aircraft) and your return ticket. Going through immigration, customs and baggage collection can take up to an hour.

Duty-free allowances are similar to those in the EU. Airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles, e.g. food, which may also be confiscated by Customs.

No airport departure tax or taxes/customs charges apply.

Sailing licences
To charter a yacht in Tahiti, there must be at least one skipper and one crew member, both over 18 years old. The skipper should be competent at handling a yacht in close quarters, anchoring and mooring in varying conditions and be able to use navigation and pilotage skills to plan the day’s sailing and know your position at any time. As a yacht skipper, you are required to have a sailing license or a certificate from a recognised sailing association as detailed below: 

Skipper is REQUIRED to have one (1) of the following:

  • ICC (International Certificate of Competence), International–Prerequisites: RYA “Day Skipper Course” or similar/equivalent certification from any recognised sailing association or complete the ICC Assessment form to prove competence from previous experience.
  • IPC (International Proficiency Certificate), America–Prerequisites: ASA 104 or US Sailing “Bareboat Cruising Course”


  • UK: RYA Day Skipper practical (with our without photo)
  • USA: US Sailing “Bareboat Cruising Course”, ASA “104 Bareboat Cruising Course” or above
  • Germany: Sportbootführerschein See“ or above
  • Belgium: Algemeen Stuurbrevet/ Brevet de conduite général
  • France: Le Permis Plaisance

Or a similar/equivalent certification from any recognised sailing association

It is essential to have a sailing license for the skipper. This document has to be registered in the transit log and presented to the port authorities.

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 traveling 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; however Thomson Airways has 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.

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.

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. 

What's on board

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

Mobile phones
The VINI networks everywhere around and if you have an extension for your own mobile phone you can use it in French Polynesia. Otherwise you can buy a SIM card to have a local number.

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. You can also find USB or jack plug onboard, just bring the wire.


The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit https://www.seac.pf/aeronefs-telepilotes/

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

Internet access is available at the base. You can find wireless Internet access zones on each island. You can also buy a data sim card for 3G Internet. 

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About the marina

Marina facilities

  • Shower facility
  • Briefing room
  • Dive centre
  • Internet
  • Public phone
  • Water
  • Fuel
  • Weather forecast

Supermarkets are located in Uturoa, 10 minutes by taxi and 30 minutes by boat.

You will find complete facilities at the marina, including toilets, washbasins and showers. They are near the Sunsail office and are open 24 hours a day. Please ask the Sunsail staff for the key if it is a weekend or public holiday.

Dock facilities

Cost guide: Approximately EUR 1.25 per litre

Fuel station location: Uturoa

Sailing licences

Experience level
Sailing experience: Level 2

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 Tahiti's sailing conditions.

Sailing grounds

Skippered charter information
Sailing to Tuamotus is only permitted when there is a Sunsail skipper on board and cannot be done at all during the months of November, December, January, February and March.

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
This information will be provided in the chart briefing, however for passages to the islands of Raiatea, Bora Bora, Huahine and Tahaa the base may ask you to sign a waiver confirming your experience in making such long passages. Passing to the south of Raiatea (Passe Nao Nao) is prohibited.

Tahiti prohibits anchoring inside Bora Bora Island.  Only Moorings balls and docking is allowed.
This information is covered in the chart briefing.

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
Cruising permits are not required in Tahiti.

Moorings fees + taxes
All moorings in the area belong either to restaurants, charter companies or similar and are usually for their clients. As a guest you may use them free of charge otherwise call the owner to ask for permission. In most places you will anchor.

Health + safety

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


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.

Diving is popular but you should be aware that the only decompression facility is in Papeete and that in the event of an accident it might take some time to reach there.


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

Located by the base and comprised of 22 bungalows, Sunset Beach organises kite boarding, snorkelling and scuba diving.

Raiatea Lodge
Tel: 689 40 66 20 00
Located 2.5 miles from the marina on the west side. The fantastic location means you can catch a beautiful sunset and Bora Bora view. 

Sunset Beach
PK 2, Apooiti Bay
B.P. 397, 98735 Uturoa
Telephone: +689 66 33 47
Fax: +689 66 33 08

Located by the base and comprised of 22 bungalows, Sunset Beach organises kite boarding, snorkelling and scuba diving.

The French Colonies of the Pacific (CFP) Franc is the currency used in French Polynesia.

Keep around CFP 20,000 cash during the cruising time (for moorings, water, etc.).

EUR 1=CFP 119.33

Euros and US dollars are accepted throughout the Leeward Islands.

In the main town of Uturoa (three miles from the base) you will find several banks with ATMs.

Banque de Tahiti: 8am-12pm and 1pm-3.45pm

Banque de Polynésie: 7.45am-3.45pm

Banque Socredo: 7.30am-11.30am and 1.30pm-4pm

Credit card information
Visa and MasterCard are accepted in most of the larger restaurants and supermarkets. Payments with American Express are limited.

There is an excellent central market in downtown Uturoa, located between the docking area and the main road. You'll find inexpensive produce, wonderful fruit and vegetables. Markets are open six days a week with limited hours on Sunday. Mon-Sat from 7.30am-6pm and Sunday 6am-11.30am.

Beside the ship dock "Gare Maritime Building" is a shopping centre with a couple of restaurants, boutiques, jewellery shops and an arts and crafts village where you will find hand painted dresses and pareos, woven hats and bags, woodcarvings and shell jewellery.

A post office is located in Uturoa three miles from the base. The post office is open Mon-Fri from 7.30am-3pm during the week and from 8am-10am during weekends.

Stamps, post cards and letterbox are available at the base.

VAT is included in prices, accommodation taxes exist for hotels but for charter there is city tax of CFP 100=USD 1 per person.

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

Choose Sunsail

Stunning Sailing Destinations 
Flotilla routes
Types of yachts
44 yrs
Creating holidays
4 hr
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