Frequently Asked Questions
We aim to provide the best service available when you charter with us in St Vincent. Below are several frequently asked questions. If you happen to have other questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail or phone us any time.
- Wifi & internet
- Will my cell phone work there?
- How does the complimentary HYC cell phone work?
- Will my phone work offshore?
- How much to call home using my phone?
- Do you offer provisioning?
- What do you supply on board?
- Do you supply coals for the BBQ if I’m not provisioning?
- Does the supermarket take credit cards?
- Where can we get provisioning?
- How much ice should I buy?
- Are there beach-side restaurants?
- Is the drinking water safe to drink in the islands?
- What is the taxi fare?
- How do I get there?
- Who are base owner/operators?
- What is the departure tax?
- On which dock can I find the yachts?
- What are your office hours?
- What facilities are there in St Vincent?
- Do you offer one way charters?
- Do I have to clear in and out of each island?
- Chikungunya virus
- Is there a possibility of fishing while we are on the charter?
- What is St Vincent like?
- Where do you recommend that we rent snorkeling gear?
- What are our options for scuba diving in St Vincent and the Grenadines?
- What other water sports are available besides sailing?
- Do you have yachts for Race Week?
- What should we expect when we check in?
- When can we board the boat?
- What if we arrive at your office after hours?
- Do you offer “Sleep-Aboards”
- Where can I get water and fuel?
Payment and Currency
- What is the official currency of St Vincent?
- How do I pay for my charter?
- What happens in the case that we need to cancel our charter?
Yacht Charter Equipment
- Is there a spinnaker?
- Can I get a bigger outboard engine?
- Can I get a hard bottomed dinghy?
- Do I always have to lift the engine off the dinghy?
- Can I lock the dinghy?
- What do I do with the dinghy if there’s no dinghy dock?
- What safety equipment is provided?
- Is there a proper fridge and freezer?
- What kinds of electrical appliances does the yacht support?
- What’s included with your charter?
- Are there mosquito nets on the boat?
- When are the best times of year to schedule a charter in the Grenadines?
- Will my sailing experience require a skipper?
- Do you offer Sailing instruction courses?
- Do you provide crew?
- Are there any mooring fees?
- What’s the weather like during the year?
- What specific sailing skills must we have for your islands?
- Do you have any suggested itineraries or routes?
- Are there boat boys?
- Are there pirates?
- Are there mosquitoes? What time do they come out?
Customs and Immigration
Wifi & internet
Wifi is available at Horizon Yacht Charter’s base at Blue Lagoon. In the cruising area wifi is also available at most of the more populated anchorages but is usually charged for and reception can be patchy. For those of you requiring a higher level of connectivity it is possible to buy a data package with one of the two cell network providers and near 4G coverage is then possible in almost every location. This needs to be organized on arrival and will entail a visit to the local shop to set your phone/ ipad etc. up. The two local providers are Flow and Digicel.
Will my cell phone work there?
Almost all mobile devices will work in St Vincent and the Grenadines. i-phones and i-pads will work as well. Currently data services are not as fast as the USA or UK but are improving.
Note that roaming and data fees can be very significant. It is possible to purchase a local SIM and insert it into your phone (if it is unlocked) or use a data SIM in an i-pad
How does the complimentary HYC cell phone work?
It is a ‘pay as you go’ mobile phone. You purchase phone credit from us and we can top you up as required.
Will my phone work offshore?
Normally yes, there is reasonable coverage up to around 10 miles offshore depending on location. There are limited areas in the Grenadines where coverage is very poor. Chatham Bay, Union Island is a great place to hide for example.
How much to call home using my phone?
If you are using your own phone on roaming this is likely to be significant and you should check rates with your provider. Using the local mobile Horizon Yacht Charters provide, current charges are around US$0.42 per minute to the USA, £0.23 to the UK, CAD 0.38 to Canada and € 0.28 per minute to the rest of the world (rates correct as of Sept. 2013).
Do you offer provisioning?
Yes, we offer 3 different packages. Alternatively, if you just want us to order from your own list, there is a 20% service charge. You can also just buy beverages at the rate listed on the provisioning lists.
What do you supply on board?
We supply linen, towels, toilet tissue, soap and a Welcome Starter Kit. This includes:
- Bottle of rum
- Bottle of spring water
- One roll toilet tissue per bathroom
- 2 Bags of ice
- Dishwash liquid
- Paper napkins
- Guest soaps
- 2 trash bags
- Toilet cleaner
Do you supply coals for the BBQ if I’m not provisioning?
You should pick up your own BBQ coals and lighter fluid if you have not asked us to provision for you.
Does the supermarket take credit cards?
Where can we get provisioning?
We offer a full provisioning service for our guests. For more information visit our provisioning page.
How much ice should I buy?
That will depend on your requirements and the capacity of the fridge on board the yacht. Every yacht also carries a deck cooler and we recommend stocking this with drinks and adding a bag of ice each day to keep you in stock with cold drinks. We give you 2 complimentary bags at the start of charter, and you are welcome to buy more. Ice is generally available in most anchorages you will visit. Block ice is not generally available.
Are there beach-side restaurants?
There are some excellent beach-side restaurants both in St Vincent and through the Grenadines. Please see our Welcome Club listings for recommendations.
Is the drinking water safe to drink in the islands?
We do not advise that you drink tap water. Bottled water is widely available.
What is the taxi fare?
The taxi ride is now 20-25 minutes with light to normal traffic Rate: EC$60.00/US$23.00 for up to 4 persons with each additional person over that number paying EC$13.50/US$5.00.
How do I get there?
Here are some brief tips on how to travel to St Vincent. For more detailed information on how to travel to St Vincent please visit our “How to Get Here” page.
Travel to St Vincent from USA:
• American Airlines and Caribbean Airlines from many US cities.
• Also possible to link on Delta, US Airways via Barbados
Travel to St Vincent from Europe:
• British Airways, Virgin Atlantic from London
• Excel charter from London
Travel to St Vincent from Canada:
• Air Canada operate weekly flights from Toronto’s Pearson International Airport during the winter season
• Caribbean Airlines operate once weekly seasonal charter flights from Toronto to Grenada during the winter season
Who are base owner/operators?
James and Jacqui Pascall
What is the departure tax?
Airport departure tax is now included in the price of all airline tickets.
On which dock can I find the yachts?
There is only one dock at True Blue. If you are coming to the boat directly after your flight arrival then our taxi driver will meet you and bring you to our base and show you on board after hours. He will point out the showers, bar, restaurant and other resort facilities and make sure you are settled.
What are your office hours?
8.30 – 5.00pm normally but this varies considerably according to workload!
What facilities are there in St Vincent?
St Vincent has almost all the facilities that you would expect of a Caribbean tourist destination. Excellent hotels, restaurants, spas, good shopping.
In addition you can find excellent yacht service facilities including marinas, haul out yards and chandleries. See the yachting industry website here.
Do you offer one way charters?
Yes, we offer one way charters from Union Island, St Vincent or St Lucia. We recommend a minimum of 10 nights for this trip. Please ask for more information. Our current fees for one way charters are (in addition to the charter fee):
- Union US$600
- St Vincent US$800
- St Lucia US$1,000
Do I have to clear in and out of each island?
Yes, between St Vincent and Grenada territories. We print all the required paperwork for you and will guide you through the process. Only the captain or representative need present themselves which gives the remainder of the crew the chance to stock up on ice/ provisions or enjoy a drink ashore while the process is going on. The clearance process should not take longer than 20 minutes or so.
An electronic clearance system is in the process of development and is in trial stage (Feb 2013)
The Chikungunya virus is now reported to be in the Caribbean.
- Viral disease spread by mosquitoes which bite during daylight hours
- No direct person-to-person transmission
- Symptoms include the sudden onset of fever and joint pain, particularly affecting the hands, wrists, ankles and feet
- Most patients recover after a few days but in some cases the joint pain may persist for weeks, months or even longer
Please take precautions to minimise your risk of being infected.
- Use mosquito repellents to avoid mosquito bites
- Use mosquito screens
- Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs
For more information on the Chikungunya virus please visit the US CDC website here.
Is there a possibility of fishing while we are on the charter?
Yes, of course. The best method is to trail a line using either a hand line or rod. All fish is safe and delicious to eat. You can rent rods from our base for US$25 per week.
What is St Vincent like?
One of the loveliest, most unspoiled Caribbean islands but then you could say that we’re biased. It is safe to say that St Vincent and the Grenadines is one of the very best cruising areas anywhere, and St Vincent has a tremendous amount to offer in terms of nature, history and what the real Caribbean is like. St Vincent is also known as one of the friendliest islands in the Caribbean.
Where do you recommend that we rent snorkeling gear?
We rent good quality snorkel equipment (mask/ snorkel/ fins) for US$15 per week.
What are our options for scuba diving in St Vincent and the Grenadines?
There is excellent diving in St Vincent and some very good locations in the Grenadines.
For diving in the Grenadines check LumbaDive, Deefer Divingin Carriacou or Dive Bequia
What other water sports are available besides sailing?
Do you have yachts for Race Week?
Generally we do not charter yachts for racing.
How far is the base from the airport?
The taxi ride is 20-25 minutes with light to normal traffic.
Do I need to tip the taxi driver?
It’s normal practice if you feel he’s done a good job!
What if my bag is delayed?
If your bag is delayed, you will have to report this to Customer Services desk at the airport after arrival. They will fill out a form and give you a copy with a reference number and a local telephone number. Please tell them that you are sailing with Horizon Yacht Charters and give them our office number (1 784 456 9395). Typically, your bag will arrive the next day. The airline will deliver your bag to wherever you are – so this will not hold up your sailing time.
REMEMBER: It is good to be prepared for this eventuality – pack some shorts, T-shirts, flip-flops, toothbrush, toothpaste and any medical supplies that you may need. This should not ruin the start of your holiday – so come prepared!
What should we expect when we check in?
When you arrive at the office, please have your passports ready for copying – we will return these to you. We will then undertake the paperwork in terms of taking for the Hull Damage Waiver, Security deposit and any provisioning payment that has been ordered in advance. You will be given the KIT BAG which contains charts, binoculars and safety equipment.
We will then undertake a chart briefing in the restaurant area where you will be shown the white customer folder and will read through this with our customer service manager. You will use the Chris Doyle Guide to Windward Island which is sent to you complimentary upon booking with us. After the Chart Briefing, you will receive your Boat Briefing. It is a good idea to save time to send some of the crew to the supermarket for provisioning while the briefing is going on.
When can we board the boat?
You may board the yacht at noon (charter contracts start and finish at noon). Allow a couple of hours to complete the chart and boat brief procedure before you are ready to leave the dock. If you are on island we will often start the boat and chart briefing about 10.a.m so you can board and depart once the briefing is complete and you are ready to depart. If you have arranged a sleep aboard prior to your charter start then boarding is at 6pm.
What if we arrive at your office after hours?
If your arrival is scheduled outside of hours, we will arrange one of our taxi drivers to meet you and escort you to your yacht. We will then commence the briefing with you the following morning.
Do you offer “Sleep-Aboards”
Since some flights arrive too late in the day for you to start your charter, where possible, we offer the option of a sleep aboard on your first night at an additional charge. Boarding is after 6.00pm and the yacht will be prepared for your late arrival. Please enquire about this option should you require it.
Where can I get water and fuel?
You can pick up water and fuel at a number of locations in the Grenadines, the main places being Petit Martinique, Union Island and Bequia. We will give you more information on this during your chart briefing. Fuel top up is not normally required during your charter and we prefer to fuel the boats back at base to avoid picking up contaminated fuel. We recommend you do not drink the boat water unless you boil it first. You may prefer to purchase bottled water for daily consumption.
What is the official currency of St Vincent?
Eastern Caribbean dollar – EC$
Approximate exchange rates are:
1US$ = 2.69 EC$ (N.B. the EC$ is pegged to the US$)
1£ = 4.2 EC$
How do I pay for my charter?
You can pay in one of several ways:
- Visa or Mastercard, however a surcharge will apply. We do not accept American Express
- Wire transfer to our account. Please ask for details.
- Cashier’s cheque in US$, mailed or couriered to us. Post normally takes at least 10 days (from the USA) so we recommend sending via courier (e.g. Fedex) if time is tight.
What happens in the case that we need to cancel our charter?
We are unable to offer refunds within 90 days of your charter start date unless we can re-sell your reserved dates. As we adhere to this policy, we strongly suggest that Trip Cancellation Insurance is purchased.
Is there a spinnaker?
We do not offer spinnakers or cruising chutes on our yachts. Most sailing is reaching from island to island so there is no need for a spinnaker
Can I get a bigger outboard engine?
The standard size engine that we have is 5hp. This is because we ask that you lift the engine off the dinghy when you are sailing in slightly bigger seas – to ensure that the dinghy does not flip with the engine still on. But if you would like a larger engine please ask and we will try to fulfill your request.
Most of our catamarans have larger outboards – since the dinghy is lifted into davits and secured when the yacht is underway.
Can I get a hard bottomed dinghy?
All of our yachts are equipped with RIB’s
Do I always have to lift the engine off the dinghy?
It is for you to use your own judgement on when you should decide to take the engine off, but this is standard practice on the longer passages such as St Vincent to Carriacou.
You do not need to remove the outboard if you are chartering a catamaran, but the dinghy must always be lifted and stowed in the davits when underway.
Can I lock the dinghy?
Yes, we provide a lock with a padlock. Please make sure you check this off on your inventory sheet, it is either in the kit bag or on the dinghy which you sign for at the beginning of the charter
What do I do with the dinghy if there’s no dinghy dock?
The dinghy can be carefully pulled up the beach. Make sure you tie the painter off around a tree/ post etc. as the effect of waves can easily re-float the dinghy and it will drift away.
What safety equipment is provided?
All of our yachts are well equipped with safety gear. Items such as lifejackets, lifebuoy, flares, first aid kit, and liferaft are carried by every boat. In addition we supply essential items such as engine spares, tool kits and other equipment for your convenience.
Is there a proper fridge and freezer?
The fridge performance and capacity varies from boat to boat. Only a couple of our yachts have what can be termed as a proper freezer, but all have what can be termed as good yacht refrigeration. Please ask if you need more details on the yacht you have booked.
What kinds of electrical appliances does the yacht support?
All our yachts come with an inverter which is able to convert 12v boat supply to 110 or 240V AC. Some yachts have a portable inverter which are sufficient for charging camera batteries, laptops etc. Most of our Bavaria’s and select catamarans have built in inverters which are large enough to run other appliances such as a hair dryer or blender. Most of our yachts have 110V receptacles. In St Vincent you will find both 220V and 110V available in certain areas. We advise that you check with us first since the relevant information is dependent upon your yacht as well as which country you are visiting from. All yachts have 12V sockets.
What’s included with your charter?
- VHF radio
- Dinghy and outboard engine
- Charts and guide
- Flashlight & spare batteries
- Full safety equipment
- BBQ grill
- Deck brush
- Cockpit table
- Dodger (most yachts)
- Clothes pegs
- Cigarette lighter outlet 12V
- Roller furling genoa
- Hot water
- 12v to 110/ 240v inverter (voltage depending on boat)
- Local mobile phone
- Tool kit
- Boat hook
- Spare tape
- Bucket with lanyard
- Cockpit cushions
- Deck cooler
- All galley and cooking utensils
- Log and depth sounder
- Electric windlass
- CD player with saloon and cockpit speakers and normally aux plug
- Chart plotter
Are there mosquito nets on the boat?
No, we don’t provide nets but the spray is effective. If you are prone to mosquito bites, then please take advice from your doctor before you leave home.
When are the best times of year to schedule a charter in the Grenadines?
Anytime is good to charter! Some guidelines:
- The most popular time is mid December to end April – the “traditional” Caribbean season. Dry season runs January – May but expect a quick shower at any time. It is coolest from Jan – March. Anchorages can get busy but are never crowded out. Winds are normally from the NE between 15 – 25 knots but can occasionally reach 30 knots as in what is known as the “Christmas Winds”.
- Between May and December is the rainy season caused by periodic tropical waves crossing the islands. This brings showers and thunderstorms but does not normally last more than a few hours. Temperatures are slightly higher than the winter months but the breeze keeps things cool especially on a boat. Anchorages can be very quiet with small numbers of yachts – perfect for getting away from it all. June – November is hurricane season but the chance of being affected by one in the Southern Caribbean is very low.
You should also note the regattas and other activities that happen in the Grenadines – for more information see our “What’s Happening” page
Will my sailing experience require a skipper?
If you are unsure on whether you have the necessary experience to sail the area of your choice, please submit a sailing resume through our website and we will be happy to assist you. As well as full chart and boat briefings to familiarize you with your cruising grounds and yacht, with prior notice, we can also provide a checkout skipper who will be happy to spend an extra couple of hours with you on a one-to-one basis.
Do you offer Sailing instruction courses?
Absolutely. We are an ASA credited sailing school. For more information see our Learn to Sail page.
Do you provide crew?
Yes of course, we can provide professional skippers and cooks at all our bases. Their fees do not include food and beverages and optional gratuity. Crew gratuities are usually based on 10 to 15% of the charter fee.
Are there any mooring fees?
Moorings are available in some locations such as:
- Moliniere Marine Park, Grenada west coast. NO anchoring here.
- Sandy Island, Carriacou
- Tobago Cays (but most boats still anchor)
- Canouan (in front of Tamarind Beach Hotel only)
- Mustique (no anchoring allowed here)
Moorings normally cost around EC$40/ US$15 per night. Mustique charges around EC$200/ US$75 but you are allowed to stay 3 nights for this fee if you wish. Please note there are moorings in other locations also but of doubtful quality and ownership (especially Clifton Harbour, Union Island). In any event you should always check the mooring for damage before trusting it.
What’s the weather like during the year?
Winter/ Spring. Dec – April. Cooler, drier (some showers), wind predominantly NE 15 – 25 knots. Sailing conditions and anchorages can be affected by northerly swell.
Summer/ Autumn. May – Nov. Slightly warmer, more humid. Wind E – SE 10 – 20 knots but varies with weather fronts. Calm seas generally. Low risk of hurricanes during season.
What specific sailing skills must we have for your islands?
The Grenadines is an area for the more experienced sailor – some open water sailing, good breezes, navigation straightforward but must be aware of where reefs are.
- Anchoring rather than mooring.
- Navigation – but every boat has a chart plotter.
- Two experienced crew.
- Ability to sail boat and to motor sail effectively
Do you have any suggested itineraries or routes?
We are always very happy to discuss your cruising plans with you and make specific recommendations. We are experts on the area after all!
Are there boat boys?
None in St Vincent but you will find in Union, the Tobago Cays and Bequia. Generally they are courteous and polite and move on quickly if you do not require their services. It is a great way to get warm, fresh bread in the morning when anchored in the Cays!
Are there pirates?
No – apart from the occasional Johnny Depp look alike.
Are there mosquitoes? What time do they come out?
Mosquitos are rarely a problem when you are anchored in the bay away from the shore. When ashore they can be a nuisance, particularly around sunset but they are easily repelled by a good repellant containing DEET or similar. A good natural product made locally is citronella spray.
Do I need a visa?
Many nationalities do not need a visa to travel to St Vincent and the Grenadines. Visit this website to check or ask the nearest consulate. A listing can be found on the Government of St Vincent website here.
Can I bring frozen meat through customs?
Technically the law states that you may not bring in meat and vegetable produce but in the past we have had clients bring in most of a cow without any problem.