COVID-19 Yacht Charter Protocols

BVI Update – OPEN with Reduced Protocols for Vaccinated Visitors:

BVI SAILING VACATIONS -->

BVI Arrival Testing Requirements:

Fully Vaccinated Visitors:
Official BVI Website

Fully vaccinated visitors are required to have a RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen* COVID-19 test 5 days or less prior to arrival (rapid test must done by a laboratory with the results emailed to you, including the laboratory details – self tests are not allowed).

If your COVID-19 test was administered 48 hours or less before your arrival in the BVI, you will not be given another test at the port of entry.

If your COVID-19 test was administered more than 48 hours, but less than 5 days, before your arrival, a rapid test will be administered at the port of entry at the cost of $50/person and you must register according to your port of entry in the BVI:
Registration should be done on your arrival day – it only takes a minute and you will get a QR code by email:
Arriving at Beef Island, Tortola Airport (EIS) https://airport.bvi.care/
Arriving at Road Town Ferry Terminal https://rtferry.bvi.care/
Arriving at West End Ferry Terminal https://westend.bvi.care/

**Please see Departure Testing Requirements below for All Travelers returning to the USA – required within 24 hours of your departure time.**

Unvaccinated Children Traveling with Vaccinated Adults:
Children under 5 remain exempt from the protocols.

Unvaccinated children between 5 and 17 years traveling with all vaccinated adults have the same entry requirements as Vaccinated Visitors (see above.) Unvaccinated minors must always be accompanied by the vaccinated adults while in the BVI.

Partially Vaccinated Adults – 4 Days Quarantine Required:
Official BVI Website

Partially Vaccinated adults need a negative RT-PCR test (Rapid Antigen test is not accepted) 5 days or less before arrival in the BVI, have travel insurance that covers medical expenses and receive Travel Authorisation from the BVI Gateway prior to travel.

Groups containing partially vaccinated adults, will quarantine on board for 4 days and can visit the 14 Approved Mooring Sites and 3 Approved Anchorage Sites. An additional COVID-19 test is required on the last day of quarantine (by appointment, Travel Day is Day 0), and after receiving negative test results the quarantine period is completed, visitors may freely move around the BVI.

**Please see Departure Testing Requirements below for All Travelers returning to the USA – required within 24 hours of your departure time.**

Unvaccinated Adults – 7 Days Quarantine Required:
Official BVI Website

Unvaccinated adults need a negative RT-PCR test (Rapid Antigen test is not accepted) 5 days or less before arrival in the BVI, have travel insurance (that covers medical expenses) and receive Travel Authorisation from the BVI Gateway prior to travel.

Groups containing unvaccinated adults, will quarantine on board for 7 days and can visit the 14 Approved Mooring Sites and 3 Approved Anchorage Sites. An additional COVID-19 test is required on the last day of quarantine (by appointment, Travel Day is Day 0), and after receiving negative test results the quarantine period is completed, visitors may freely move around the BVI.

Pl **Please see Departure Testing Requirements below for All Travelers returning to the USA – required within 24 hours of your departure time.**

Groups With Adults That Have Mixed Vaccination Statuses:
If the group has any unvaccinated adults, everyone has to follow the unvaccinated visitors protocol of quarantining on board (visiting approved sites) for 7 days. If the group has any partially vaccinated adults, everyone has to follow the partially vaccinated visitors protocol of quarantining on board for 4 days. Please see the testing requirements in the respective sections. Also see Departure Testing Requirements for All Travelers below.

Travel Insurance: Coverage must include medical costs related to COVID-19 such as hospitalization, doctor visits, prescriptions, medical repatriation and quarantine accommodations.

Departure Testing Requirements:

Everyone regardless of their vaccination status must have a departure COVID-19 test to meet the requirements of their intended destination.

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: Departure from the BVI to Puerto Rico or St. Thomas requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. This is required to enter the USA. You will need to make an appointment at a BVI testing location for a rapid antigen test or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section below.

If you are departing from the Tortola Airport to Puerto Rico, the results will be required to obtain your boarding pass at the airport.
If you are departing from the Tortola Airport or a sea port to St. Thomas, once your test result is received, you must upload your results at USVI Travel Portal.

Test Appointments in the BVI: The British Virgin Islands Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) is the authority responsible for COVID-19 testing in the BVI. It is recommended to make your appointments a week in advance and it is essential to arrive on time for your test. You can Make Your Appointment OnlineOr, you can make an appointment by calling the desired testing location directly.

The following are the COVID-19 testing sites in the Territory:

Self-Testing Option For Departure Testing Only: The test must be a SARS-CoV-2 viral test with Emergency Use Authorization from the FDA – for example BinaxNow COVID-19 Ag CARD 2 HOME TEST KIT. An approved self-test has a testing procedure that includes a telehealth service affiliated with the test manufacturer that provides real-time supervision remotely through an audio and video connection. Please see more info on the CDC’s website under (please note that the change to 24 hours in advance may not be updated on this link yet): Test and Vaccination Documentation Requirements.

These self tests are not available for purchase in the BVI – you need to bring them with you and be sure you understand how to arrange a telehealth appointment to administer the tests.

Connecting Flights in Puerto Rico (SJU):
People with a connecting flight in PR to the Virgin Islands do not need to adhere to the PR entry requirements. Those requirements are only for people staying in PR. For a return flight from Tortola to PR, see Departure Testing Requirements for All Travelers below.

St. Thomas / Tortola Ferry:
Reservations are required. There are 3 passenger ferries daily (November 2021 – January 2022) with a capacity of 100 passengers per ferry. Operators’ schedules and arrival / departure guides can be reviewed at: BVI Port Authority FaceBook Page.

  • Tortola to St. Thomas:
    7:30am Road Town > Charlotte Amalie
    11:30am Road Town> Charlotte Amalie
    2:30pm Road Town > Charlotte Amalie
  • St. Thomas to Tortola:
    9:00am Charlotte Amalie > Road Town
    2:30pm Charlotte Amalie > Road Town
    5:00 pm Charlotte Amalie > Road Town

USVI Update – OPEN:

USVI SAILING VACATIONS -->

With successful reopening to visitors, the US Virgin Islands is back into the swing of chartering and clients are having a great time! Whether you are interested in lots of snorkeling, scuba diving, eating ashore, hiking or just relaxing, our team will help you plan an itinerary that meets your expectations! Travel to the USVI requires a negative COVID-19 test within 5 days of travel and online portal forms prior to travel. More information can be found here

The requirement to have a COVID-19 test returning to the United States DOES NOT apply to flights from St. Thomas to continental USA.


Bahamas Update – OPEN with Reduced Protocols for Vaccinated Visitors

BAHAMAS SAILING VACATIONS -->

Two great Bahamas cruising areas to choose from: the Abacos and Exumas (Nassau.) All travelers 2 years and older will need a negative COVID-19 test within 5 days of travel, Bahamas Travel Health Visa approval prior to travel, and unvaccinated visitors must get a rapid test on day 5 after arrival in the Bahamas

Tests approved to meet pre-travel 5-day or less testing requirement:

  • Fully Vaccinated visitors can get either a Rapid Antigen or a PCR test.
  • Unvaccinated visitors 12 years and older must get a PCR test.
  • Unvaccinated visitors 2-11 years old can get either a Rapid Antigen or a PCR test.

More Bahamas Protocol information can be found here

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.


Belize Update – OPEN with Reduced Protocols for Vaccinated Visitors:

BELIZE SAILING VACATIONS -->

All travelers, both vaccinated and unvaccinated, will be required to present a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 96 hours of travel or a negative result from any approved Antigen Rapid Test taken within 48 hours of travel.

If no test is presented, a COVID-19 test will be administered at the airport for a fee of USD $50 per passenger. Children under the age of 5 years are exempt. More information can be found here.

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.


Antigua Update – OPEN:

ANTIGUA SAILING VACATIONS -->

Travel to Antigua requires a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test within 4 days of travel, and are required to have received vaccination: at least 1 dose of an approved COVID 19 vaccine (see list in link below) to be permitted entry into Antigua and Barbuda.
Children younger than 5 years old are exempt from the testing requirement.
Children younger than 18 years old are exempt from the vaccination requirement.

 More information can be found here

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.


St. Martin / Sint Maarten Update – OPEN:

ST. MARTIN SAILING VACATIONS -->

  1. Travelers from the USA and Canada that are unvaccinated or are fully vaccinated more than a year from travel, will be required to present a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure or a negative result from any approved Antigen Rapid Test taken within 48 hours before departure. Effective November 1, 2021: Visitors fully vaccinated within a year of travel and children under 10 years old are exempt from the testing requirement.
  2. All visitors, regardless of vaccination status, must complete a pre-travel application: EHAS Pre-Travel Authorization. This includes proof of a negative COVID-19 test result if applicable, information on the vaccination status and the purchase of the mandatory COVID-19 insurance (St. Maarten’s Visitor Protection Plan). Children must have the online health form filled out by their parents.
  3. Applicants will receive confirmation of their accepted application. 
  4. If health authorization is pre-approved, you will receive a (printable) pre-authorization PDF via e-mail, which must be presented at check in and to the health and immigration authorities upon arrival. This PDF will also contain a QR Code which will show the vaccination status and COVID test result when scanned.

See More St. Martin Protocol Information

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.

Charterers are allowed to sail between French St. Martin and St. Barths (French territory) without an additional COVID-19 test and can fill a one week charter. A letter for pre-approval to go ashore in St. Barths is required. Dutch St. Martin can be visited from St. Barths without an additional test, but to return the yacht to the marina (French St. Martin) requires an additional test. For bareboaters, it is recommended to stay in French St. Martin and St. Barths.

Anguilla currently has a 4-day quarantine and requires assistance from a yacht agent for approval.


St. Lucia Update: OPEN

ST. LUCIA SAILING VACATIONS -->

All travelers 5 years and older must have a COVID-19 PCR test done 5 days or less from arrival in St. Lucia.

Fully vaccinated visitors 18 years and older must submit an online travel registration for to receive Travel Authorization. Unvaccinated adults are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

See More St. Lucia Protocol Information

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.


St. Vincent Update: OPEN

ST. VINCENT SAILING VACATIONS -->

Vaccinated visitors from the USA and Canada must have a negative RT-PCR test done no more than 72 hours before arrival, complete Pre-Arrival Travel Form, have a COVID-19 test administered on arrival and must quarantine for 48 hours in a Tourism Authority/MOHWE approved hotel or property (not on board a yacht.)

The islands of St. Vincent & the Grenadines: Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Union Island, Young Island, Mayreau, Palm Island, Petit St. Vincent and the Tobago Cays.

See More St. Vincent and the Grenadines Protocol Information

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.

St. Vincent isn’t a recommended destination for unvaccinated visitors who are required to quarantine in approved land accommodations for 14 days before boarding a yacht.


Puerto Rico Update – OPEN:

PUERTO RICO SAILING VACATIONS -->

Vaccinated travelers on staying in Puerto Rico and arriving on a domestic (USA) flight, are required to upload their official vaccination card on the Travel Declaration Form Portal.

Unvaccinated travelers arriving on a domestic flight and all travelers arriving on an international flight must have a negative RT-PCR or Antigen COVID-19 test within 72 hours (3 days) of arrival and complete the online Travel Declaration Form Portal prior to travel. Children younger than 3 years old are exempt from testing – More information can be found here

The requirement to have a COVID-19 test within 24 hours of returning to the United States DOES NOT apply to flights from Puerto Rico to continental US.


Greece Update: OPEN

GREECE SAILING VACATIONS -->

Vaccinated travelers from the USA and Canada, or travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 in the 30-180 days before travel, are not required to have a COVID-19 test before arrival. 

Unvaccinated travelers must have a negative PCR Molecular test taken up to 72 hours before arrival or Rapid Antigen test taken up to 48 hours before arrival. 

All Travelers must complete the Passenger Locator Form (PLF) before arriving in Greece. Once completed travelers will receive a QR code by email and it is strongly recommended to download the Visit Greece app.

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.

See More Greece Protocols Information


Croatia Update: OPEN

CROATIA SAILING VACATIONS -->

Vaccinated travelers from the USA and Canada, or travelers who tested positive for COVID-19 in the 11-270 days before travel, are not required to have a COVID-19 test before arrival. 

Unvaccinated travelers must have a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken up to 72 hours before arrival or Rapid Antigen test taken up to 48 hours before arrival.

All visitors must show proof that their charter reservation is paid in full.

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.

See More Croatia Protocol Information


Tahiti Update – OPEN:

TAHITI SAILING VACATIONS -->

Vaccinated visitors are not required to quarantine and children under the age of 18 can travel freely with a vaccinated parent or legal guardian. It is not feasible for unvaccinated visitors to travel to Tahiti for tourism.

Requirements For Vaccinated Travelers:

  1. The registration receipt from the ETIS* platform (please complete this application 30-6 days prior to departure).
  2. A negative laboratory RT-PCR test performed less than 72h before departure or an antigen test (allowing the detection of the “N” protein of the SARS-CoV-2) performed less than 48h prior to departure.
  3. A completed printed copy of the Sworn Statement.
  4. Bring your proof of vaccination document.
  5. Children under 18 traveling with a vaccinated parent or legal guardian must take an additional test (provided on arrival) to be done at day 4 and day 8 which are to be deposited at their hotel or in a dedicated health center.

See Full Tahiti Travel Details

Updated December 2nd, with effective date to be announced shortly: International travel to the USA (for USA residents this is their return flight home) requires a negative COVID-19 test no more than 24 hours of your departure. You will need to get a rapid antigen test from a local testing location or bring with you approved self-tests – See Self-Testing Option section above.


Martinique Update:

Visitors to Martinique are required to quarantine for 7 days.
See More Martinique Protocol Information

Grenada Update:

All visitors are required to quarantine in approved land accommodations for 14 days.
See More Grenada Protocol Information

Thailand Update:

Vaccinated visitors to Thailand are required to quarantine for 7 days.
See More Thailand Protocol Information


Why Choose a Sailing Vacation During a Pandemic: 

There are numerous reasons to consider a yacht charter at this time:

There is no doubt that yacht charters are affected by Coronavirus. COVID-19 has created uncertainty and disruption to travel plans for many charterers but when you decide to vacation again, yacht charters are one the safest vacations. 

  • Limited Contact with Crowds

A yacht charter provides the best privacy and seclusion. Once you are on board, there is limited contact with crowds. You are literally in your own space with just your family and friends (and the crew members on a crewed yacht.)

Enjoy socially distanced activities such as water toys, games on board, and snorkeling. Protect the fish and yourself, wear a snorkel mask!

The precautionary measures when you’re traveling and at your destination are the same as when you’re in your own city. You’ll wear a face mask while traveling and at the marina (not on board the yacht), and wash or sanitize your hands frequently. 

  • Cleanliness and Hygiene 

Staff and yacht crews work hard to sanitize and clean the boat prior to your arrival. This includes sanitizing all bedrooms/bathrooms, deck spaces, and dining areas. 

When possible, our partners are offering virtual check-ins and briefings for a contactless experience. Distancing protocols will be followed for any contact that cannot be eliminated. 

Additional time is being scheduled to turn around yachts between charters. During this time, yachts will be cleaned as usual, but will also be sanitized and disinfected.

Yacht chartering will only resume when COVID-19 risks can be minimized to the lowest possible levels with safety protocols in place.

 

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Frequently Asked Questions: 

Below is a list of answers to some of the most immediate questions you may have. 

How is Virgin Island Sailing® Responding to Coronavirus? 

Transparency and responsibility are some of the cornerstones of Virgin Island Sailing®.

We are actively participating in hospitality meetings and providing feedback for governments, especially the BVI, to consider in their safety protocols and decisions.

We are taking the initiative to inform clients of deadlines to cancel with a refund in case their personal situation changes or doesn’t allow them the flexibility to wait out reopening. You will not find any other company willing to take this step because it means we may lose profits, but we believe it’s the right thing to do.

What If the Borders Are Closed for My Charter?

The short answer is that you will be able to reschedule your charter. 

Unless your charter agreement says otherwise, there is no fee to reschedule. You will need to pay for the increase of charter fee if you change to a higher season time frame. In that situation, we would do our best to offer you the lowest charter fee.

We are actively contacting customers whose charter is affected by COVID-19. If you are concerned about your dates, feel free to contact our Charter Experts at (800) 382-9666.

Will the Restaurants & Bars Survive the COVID-19 Shutdown?

We don’t yet know if any businesses will not survive the shutdown, but most have already reopened for local business, and they’ll be ready for you! Unfortunately, we know that the drastic decrease of income means the people are struggling. The good news is that most restaurants and bars in the Caribbean only have overhead proportioned to their sales. There are not a lot of businesses that are leasing the land or buildings; instead, many businesses operate on property owned by their family for generations … a bit different than in the United States. Plus, some of the most beloved establishments are literally a wooden bar and sand floor! We know our friends are struggling right now, but they’ll be open and welcoming visitors with their warm smiles and cold drinks!

Can I Book a Charter Now?

Yes! Because of the many rescheduled charters, it’s crucial to make your reservation as soon as possible to ensure availability. 

Virgin Island Sailing® is happy to discuss any COVID-19 risks with making a reservation now and will ensure you are fully aware of your options for cancelling or rescheduling.

The islands are calling… Jump Start Your Sailing Vacation >>

 

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