This remote atoll is one of the friendliest place cruising sailors will encounter during their voyage. The descendants of William Marsters, who settled this atoll in 1860 with his 3 wives, then 17 kids and 54 grand-kids, have traditionally welcomed seafearers.
Once a rarely visited place, Palmerston Atoll attracted an unprecedented influx of 108 boats in 2010 (as reported in Jimmy Cornell's Global Survey).
The Palmerston Island Yacht Club (Bill Marsters) offers a variety of services to yachties including laundry etc. In general, just make your needs known and the islanders will find means to accommodate you.
The island is very isolated and a supply boat only comes once every 3-5 months. The islanders therefore appreciate it if yachties are able to carry packages (food) if coming from Aitutaki or Rarotonga. Anyone willing should contact William (Bill) Marsters giving as much notice of the expected departure date as possible (see details below).
Bill will contact family members who will bring supplies for you to take to Palmerson (such as eggs, fruit and vegetables).
Gifts of fishing hooks and lures, school supplies or staples are very much appreciated.
Position 18° 02'31"S, 163° 11'39"W
See Cook Islands Formalities for complete clearance information.
On approach (maximum 15nm) call Palmerston Administration on VHF Ch. 16. Do this even if you have cleared into the Cook Islands at Aitutaki or Rarotonga.
Locals monitor VHF Ch. 16, 24h/day so they can assist with mooring/anchoring.
Someone will come out to hook you up to a mooring, or assist with anchoring, and will arrange for the officials to check you in, which takes place on the boat.
Palmerston Island is not an official port of entry for the Cook Islands, however they do have some dispensation to clear yachts under certain conditions (for example; yachts unable to enter into Aitutaki or because of weather conditions they are unable to make landfall in Aitutaki/Rarotonga and have continued on to Palmerston; or have called in to seek shelter and rest).
On occasions entry may be denied by official intervention from Rarotonga (without explanation). This has happened once in the past, but thankfully is rare. Generally, the Administration is accommodating in clearing visiting yachts.
The fees for clearing in here are: Immigration/Customs NZ$25 or $20 US and Health clearance is $20.
Yachts visiting Palmerston who have already cleared into the Cook Islands, are welcome to stay for as long as their permit allows them, but still have to pay the local government fee.
Crews must remain on board until check in is complete. Note that officials do not work on Sundays, in which case you will have to wait until Monday to clear in.
On departure, the Island Administration will issue a departure certificate.
Last updated November 2016.
The anchorage is on the lee (W) side of the atoll, and has a depth of 30-50ft, coral bottom extending away from the fringing reef. By choosing your spot carefully, you could swing 360 degrees without problems.
There are 8 moorings available, all are private and normally cost 10 NZD per day - but this is negotiable. Whilst these do make anchoring in Palmerston less stressful, particularly if a West wind blows, the moorings should be treated with caution and checked for strength.
This useful report on mooring in Palmerston gives some good tips.
At peak periods there may be no moorings available, or you may be requested to move off them and anchor.
Always call as instructed above on approach, and you will be guided as to which buoy to pick up, or where to anchor.
Last updated November 2016.