From South Florida, few charter opportunities offer more than Bimini and the Bahamas. Close enough for one or two day charters, with enough things to do to extend to longer term bookings, Bimini and the Bahamas are a great way to maximize your charter income.
However, if you are entering the Bahamas by yacht, either as part of a charter, or taking your luxury motor yacht there on your own, here are a few things you need to know to make it a smooth journey.
Customs and Documentation
Anyone arriving by motor yacht to the Bahamas must first clear customs at your Port of Entry. As you enter the port, you will need to fly a yellow quarantine flag and your Captain will have to inform customs officials of your arrival. Only the Captain has permission to leave the yacht until it has been cleared by Customs.
Expect Customs and Immigration officials to board your yacht. Everyone on board must possess valid proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. US citizens must present a passport. Before leaving The Islands, you will be required to leave your immigration card with the officials at the last Bahamian port you dock.
If you have any firearms on board your yacht, they must be declared with Customs officials. You are permitted to have declared firearms on board, but they cannot leave the boat, and they must remain secured under lock and key. You will also have to declare any ammunition. The Bahamian authorities take the laws involving weapons possession very seriously, and will deal with any infractions severely, so your compliance on these matters is very important.
Are they any Entry Fees?
There are entry fees for arriving to the Bahamas by motor yacht. Fees are subject to change without notice. According to The Bahamas Ministry of Foreign Affairs the current fees are:
- For boats up to 35′, the fee is $150.00
- For boats over 35′, the fee is $300.00
The fees will cover:
- Cruising Permit
- Fishing Permit
- Departure Tax for up to three (3) persons. Each additional person above three will be charged a $25 departure tax. This fee is good for a second re-entry within a 90-day period.
If you plan to stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration. Bahamas Customs and Immigration office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Officers are on call during holidays and weekends. There is no overtime charge.
As you can see, it is fairly easy to deal with the entry requirements to the Bahamas, and then you and your guests can enjoy a charter vacation in paradise. But, not being prepared to follow these simple entry requirements, can turn a dream cruise into a nightmare!
Charter Opportunities in Bimini and the Bahamas
From sandy beaches, to nightlife, to water sports and diving, The Bahamas really do have something for everyone, making them a highly desirable yacht charter location. If you would like more information about making your boat available for a charter to Bimini or the Bahamas, contact our On Demand charter specialists.
Operating a motor yacht can be costly. Putting your boat in Charter can earn income, and defray some of the costs of ownership. On Demand Yachting from FYM can show you how. If you would like to learn more, or if you have any questions or comments about this blog post, do not hesitate to contact our Yacht Management specialists, or call us at (855) 318-6328.