The government of The Bahamas has released official COVID-19-related protocols for all boats in the waters of The Bahamas. The protocols apply to “all boats, yachts, private craft, and recreational craft (‘boats’) including boats for hire for such purposes, that are (a) cruising in, plying the waters of, or sheltering in The Bahamas; (b) intending to visit or depart from The Bahamas; or (c) intending to transit The Territorial Waters of The Bahamas (the ‘boat protocols’).”
In general, no boats can enter Bahamian waters without prior written permission until further notice (request permission at email@example.com).
All foreign boats must identify themselves to the Designated Government Contacts (DGC) (Cmdr. Berne Wright, port controller, firstname.lastname@example.org; and Capt. Dwain E. Hutchinson, director of The Bahamas Maritime Authority, email@example.com). Identification includes name, description, location and contact details of the boat; date entered and any movements within The Bahamas; names, nationalities and designation (crew, passenger) of the people on board; and the medical condition of all on board.
Foreign boats are encouraged to depart the Bahamas and may do so, weather and safe navigation permitting. Those boats must proceed directly and non-stop to its destination or home port outside The Bahamas. Any foreign boat unable to depart directly and non-stop shall notify the DGC with an alternative plan.
Foreign boats that remain in Bahamian waters must comply with the following restrictions: shelter-in-place where they are, avoid contact with people ashore, order provisions (including fuel) by telephone and accept without contact, no travel from one island to another, no taking on of passengers or visitors, and no “boating, cruising, fishing, day trips or other movement of any kind”.
To read the full protocols, click here.
In addition to the government-issued protocols, The Bahamas Safe Passage Home and Sea Quarantine has been established by the Association of Bahamas Marinas as a way to help boats either remain moored or leave Bahamian waters safely while minimizing the risk of spreading the virus throughout the islands. The program will be in effect until normal border travel is restored. The program exists within the guidelines of the curfew order. Service will not be offered on days where a total shutdown has been ordered.
The following participating marinas are available and open to accept vessels provided arrangements have been made prior to arrival. The program also applies to those crossing through Bahamian waters in order to get back to their country of origin (Right of Innocent Passage). Pre-approval must be granted.
For more information, post questions on The Bahamas, Land & Sea Facebook group page.