ESSENTIAL INFORMATION FOR YACHTS

The following information is thought to be current. While every effort is made to keep it current, users are advised to check for updates with The Business Point by calling +1 721 544-3315 or VHF 14 or 64A (64 US) during business hours.

Cruising Guide – Doyle’s “Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands” (www.cruisingguides.com) is a valuable resource that is available at most marine stores. Island Water World ( www.islandwaterworld.com), Budget Marine (www.budgetmarine.com ), West Marine (www.westmarine.com) and Bluewater Books (www.bluewaterweb.com). Other guides are likely to be out of date.

Charts – A variety of paper and electronic charts are available, including the well-known Imray-Iolare waterproof charts edited by Don Street. Older editions of this series are not corrected to WGS84 GPS standard, so use caution when using them for approaches. Recent charts from Nautical Publications (www.nautical-publications.com) are conformed to WGS84 and have GPS waypoints consistent the Doyle Cruising Guides. Older charts should not be assumed to be accurate near shore.

Entering Dutch Sint Maarten – Procedures for entering the territorial waters of the Netherlands Antilles are simple and painless. Yachts have to clear Immigration (there are no customs as such as St. Maarten is duty free) and the St. Maarten Ports Authority. Both of these can be done at the Police station immediately adjacent to the Simpson Bay Bridge. You can clear in prior to entering the Lagoon while anchored in Simpson Bay, or just enter and go to your slip or anchorage and visit the Police Station by land or dinghy. If you are entering at Great Bay, then clear in at the facility at the entrance to the commercial container and harbor near to the Coast Guard station on the eastern side of Great Bay.

Entering French Ste-Martin’ – To enter French St. Martin, anchor in
Baie De Marigot and dinghy in to the dock at the north end of the waterfront. Clear in with the Immigration office on the dock.

Simpson Bay Bridge Opening Times – Both the Dutch and French side bridges of course stop road traffic when open, much to the inconvenience of commuters and other drivers.

Dutch Bridge – This bridge operates on a schedule that changes seasonally. Outbound vessels go first, followed by vessels entering Simpson Bay Lagoon. Bridge opening are around 0900, 1130, and 1700. Call “Simpson Bay Bridge” on VHF12 about 15 minutes before the scheduled opening to inform them that you are going to pass through the bridge.

French Bridge – Also operates on a 3 openings per day system. Outbound traffic goes first. Call “Sandy Ground Bridge” on VHF16 to request permission to enter.

VHF Radio Channels to Remember – 

~ St. Maarten Ports Authority monitors VHF12 (24/7)

~ Coast Guard and St. Maarten Sea Rescue Service monitor VHF16 (24/7)

~ Maarten Radio Net (Cruisers) on VHF14 (Daily except Sunday at 0730)

~ Simpson Bay Yacht Club Marina and Fuel Dock: Monitors VHF16 and 79A (Daylight hours)

~ The Business Point monitors VHF14 and 64A (Business hours)

Marine WeatherReliable audio marine weather is available several times daily on www.tradewindsradio.com, a site which also links directly to the NOAA service. Most Cruising sailors frequently rely on commercial weather services. The St. Maarten Cruisers Net meets Monday through Saturday at 0730 on VHF 14 and relays a weather synopsis.

Pump Out – Call “Mr Slurpy” on VHF channel 14. Or contact The Business Point. The sewage boat will come to your location.