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EpicAdventure 02-03-2009 12:15 PM

St. Martin/Anguilla/St. Barts
I'm chartering out of St. Martin here in March and have been reading the cruising guides.

I'm curious how hard it is to clear through immigration/customs when going between the two sides of St. Martin and also between St. Martin and Anguilla and St. Martin and St. Barts. How much of a week long charter does all of the customs/etc. take?

If I understand everything correctly, it sounds like we have to clear in to all four of those places individually. Is that correct?

hphoen 02-03-2009 01:17 PM

Yep. And you'll need to clear out, too. Depending on how long your stay, you may be able to clear in and out at the same time. The French tend to be more lenient in that regard. In my experience, the actual time spent in the customs office could be anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, depending on what's going on there. Add any time spent anchoring/mooring, dinghying in and back, and you get the picture.

Chuteman 02-03-2009 03:05 PM

It depends = What charter company did you choose & what anchorages do you plan to visit in SXM?
In '05, I chartered from Sunsail (french side) and never took the yacht to the dutch side - I visited Grand Case, Marigot & a couple more french anchorages on NE coast.
With regard to Anguilla, It was easy - 15 mins (in) but longer out due to carnival 20+mins. Coming back to SXM (Marigot) I do not remember (i do not have access to my notes at the moment) doing anything or if we did it was very easy.

I visited the Dutch side (Simpson Bay) of SXM via dinghy from Marigot = go under nearby bridge in Marigot & make your way = piece of cake

BTW - I think Horizon Charters is in Simpson Bay (dutch side)

Don't worry, the charter company will have all the local knowledge & hints. Dress appropriately, be respectful, follow the rules, use the right forms and it will be matter what island / country.

funsailthekeys 02-03-2009 04:16 PM

I spent 6 months there in 05' and only cleared into the dutch side. Travel between the french and dutch side is unregulated. When we went to St Barts we didn't clear in there or our return to St Maarten. We just kept renewing our visas every month until we left and then cleared customs. I have never seen a more relaxed system. Just don't try and get work. Forgot to mention that when you go through the bridge customs is on the left of the channel and they have a dingy dock, you can't miss it.

EpicAdventure 02-03-2009 06:37 PM

Thanks for the replies. Sounds like I should probably include plans of checking in and out if we go up to Anguilla/St. Barts (then again if we don't -- maybe it isn't a huge deal). :D

I'm chartering with VPM -- based out of north east side -- Anse Marcel.

marinegirl405 02-14-2009 02:13 PM

I'm In Dutch St Maarten currently, and have swapped sides (and gone on out to Anguilla and back) in the last couple of weeks. Each time clearing in/out with the appropriate customs... I'm not sure if anyone would notice if you didn't, but it's easier on the conscience if you just do it properly.

Firstly the Dutch have recently doubled all their charges for entering and staying in the lagoon (or in Simpson Bay) so any cruising guide you have may be out of date. Of course you don't HAVE to stay in the simpson bay, or the lagoon. If you do enter the lagoon. There are two entrances to the lagoon (one on dutch side, one on french side) - both require bridge lifting, and the bridge(s) only operate 3 times a day in the high season - Dutch side charge a fee if you use the bridge (Collected when/if you clear customs), French side does not. If you are just passing through, and not stopping on the French side you can go through the French bridge and not clear in to French side - at least that is what Dutch Port Authority told us).

The French do not charge to be on their side in the lagoon, dutch do - so if you are trying to avoid costs, you might enter through the dutch bridge, and then go and check in in French side in Marigot, and anchor on the French side too.

Marigot Customs / Port Authority are CLOSED on the weekend, and close at 4pm other days. (We cleared in for a $5US fee) in Radisson Marina at Anse Marcel - over the weekend on route back from Anguilla.

Dutch side Customs/Port Authority is open every day until 5 (our cruising guide told us 3pm, but it was definitely later on a weekend even).

Dutch Simpson Bay Lagoon charges:

Need to pay from Bridge, lagoon, harbour fees as relevant and then a clearance fee also - see Fees & Info

Bridge fees during regular opening hours entering the Lagoon:

USD 10 for boats from 9 to 12 meters in length
USD 30 for boats from 12 to 15 meters in length
USD 60 for boats from 15 to 18 meters in length
USD 120 for boats from 18 to 22 meters in length
USD 200 for boats from 22 to 28 meters in length
USD 300 for boats from 28 to 36 meters in length
USD 500 for boats from 36 meters and larger.

Harbor fees:
USD 20 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 8 to 13 meters in length
USD 40 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 13 to 18 meters in length
USD 60 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 18 to 23 meters in length
USD 90 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 23 to 28 meters in length
USD 120 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 28 to 33 meters in length
USD 150 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 33 to 38 meters in length
USD 180 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 38 to 43 meters in length
USD 210 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 43 to 50 meters in length
USD 250 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 50 to 75 meters in length
USD 290 per week or a portion of a week for boats from 75 meters or larger

Customs Clearance fees:
USD 2 for boats of 1 – 99 gross tons
USD 5 for boats of 100 – 499 gross tons
USD 9 for boats of more than 500 gross tons

Harbor Clearance fees:
USD 5 for boats of 1 – 99 gross tons
USD 10 for boats of 100 – 499 gross tons
USD 20 for boats of more then 500 gross tons

French - MARIGOT BAY charges
Clearance fee: 5 euros

Initial administrative fee includes first day anchoring charges:

8 to 13 meters: 20 euros
13 to 18 meters: 30 euros
18 to 23 meters: 40 euros
23 to 28 meters: 50 euros
28 to 33 meters: 60 euros
33 to 38 meters: 70 euros
38 to 43 meters: 100 euros
43 to 50 meters: 120 euros
50 to 75 meters: 130 euros
more than 75 meters: 150 euros

Non-resident boats:

Days 2 & 3: 0.25 euros per meter per day
Days 4 and thereafter: 0.35 euros per meter per day
(they might change this to all days at 0.25 euros/m/day)

Residents of French St. Martin:
0.13 euros per meter per day

No minimum fee. A 10m boat is 20 euros, then 2.50 euros/day for days 2 & 3.
No charge for French lagoon, Grand Case, etc... Only for Marigot Bay.
Based on honor system, but next week they will have a harbour patrol boat to check who is in the bay.

marinegirl405 02-15-2009 03:09 PM

Oh - I didn't mention that once you've anchored/docked your boat, you can legally (no paperwork required) move between the French / Dutch side on foot, road, car, bus, dinghy etc... Nearly all the restaurants on the lagoon have dinghy docks, and the Boat stores do to - so once you're anchored you can get around easily on your dinghy unless it is really windy (In which case you can still get around, but expect to get wet)

Also your dinghy can easily go under either bridge so you aren't even restricted to the lagoon.

There is also a water taxi service, but I've never heard anyone try to call on the VHF, they advertise a phone number.

EpicAdventure 02-17-2009 10:01 PM

Thanks for all the detail marinegirl!

We're counting the days till we get to enjoy the warm weather!

chrondi 03-01-2009 05:48 AM

... and pls. don't forget to report back any valuable information, difference from fee rates as mentioned above etc. Updated information is translated into time saved, money not wasted and eventually more pleasure!

FarCry 03-01-2009 07:01 AM

I'll be there in four days and try and make note of the fees and post if different than above. I doubt that the fees have changed in the last week from what mG405 posted however.;)

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