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By No owner — last modified Sep 30, 2017 08:32 AM

 Sint Maarten - Profile


Hurricane Irma – the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history - ploughed over the top of Sint Maarten in early September 2017. The storm had a sustained wind speed of at least 185mph. St. Maarten/St. Martin suffered significant damage, however the clean-up and rebuilding effort has been amazing in its speed and efficiency considering the many challenges.  Marine services, bars and restaurants have been opening daily, although many buildings suffered serious damage and will not be operational this season.

The Princess Juliana International Airport in Sint Maarten (on the Dutch side), which suffered severe damage, is now open to  commercial flights, even as people on the island continue to struggle for basic needs.

The best source for the latest post-hurricane updates is this site launched by the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association (SMMTA):

The 2018 spring Sint Maarten Heineken Regatta will still go ahead as planned.

Hurricane Relief, Support & Resources

Sint Maarten Facts

  • One of the northern Leeward Islands, this small island is shared between two nations. The southern third (Sint Maarten), is now an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the northern part (St Martin), belongs to the French départment of Guadeloupe.
  • Since becoming an autonomous country, Sint Maarten now has a new flag (red over blue with a white triangle at the halyard).
  • Sint Maarten has become one of the leading yachting centres in the Caribbean, with excellent docking and a wide range of repair facilities.
  • Unfortunately the island is in an area prone to be hit by hurricanes.
  • Facilities are concentrated in Simpson Lagoon. Most repair work can be dealt with here.
  • NOTE: Both sides of the island use the IALA-B (green to port) buoyage system.


Security Controls
Following the 2015 terrorist attacks in France and now the devastation following the hurricane, cruisers will find that security at ports of entry to the island has been increased. Joint controls by the Customs, Immigration, Border Protection Service and Police Department at the border crossings between both sides of the Island will be part of this plan of approach.

Yacht Security Information and Reports

Locked dinghy and outboard thefts continue to be a problem in the Lagoon, particularly on the French side. Be sure to lift and chain and lock your dinghy and outboard at night and sleep with your doors and hatches locked.

February 2014: Multiple crimes against cruisers. See Report.

December 2013: Several anchored yachts were robbed at night while in Simpson Bay. Police admitted this has been an ongoing problem for the last 12 months. See Report.

July 2013: A locked dinghy was stolen from from the dock by the Grand Marche supermarket. See report for details.

Based on reports to Noonsite from cruisers, petty theft from yachts is on the rise in the Caribbean in general. Cruisers should take basic safety precautions and use common sense when leaving the boat or going ashore at night. Dinghy thieves operate throughout the Caribbean and best advice is to place your dinghy on deck and chain it overnight.

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net ( provides information by anchorage or by island, so sailors can plan their cruising in the Caribbean with an eye to appropriate behaviour and precautions wherever they decide to go. Should you have suffered a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. The associated form is quick and simple to complete and ensures that all the necessary details are reported. The CSSN is the most comprehensive source of Caribbean security incidents against sailors. Remember, it is every cruiser's responsibility to ensure that incidents are reported. Also cruisers can subscribe to e-mail alerts, follow on facebook and twitter and listen to the SSB Voice Service.

Also be sure to check the Noonsite Piracy & Safety Pages

Last updated September 2017.


Sint Maarten has a mild tropical climate, with steady easterly trade winds. July to November is the rainy season, while December to June is dry, although conditions vary little, June to November being the hurricane season.

The St Maarten Cruiser's Net can be heard at 0730 on VHF Channel 14 Mon-Sat begin transmission with a marine weather report. At 0900 Island 92 (91.9 FM) broadcasts a comprehensive marine weather forecast and overall synopsis, repeated at 12 noon. for concise Caribbean meteorological information updated daily at 0800 Mon-Sat. Daily weather forecast in St Maarten Daily newspaper

Meteorological Department Curaçao (MDC)
Provides weather services for Curacao, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, St. Maarten and Saba, within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Office providing public weather forecasts for Antigua & Barbuda, the Leeward Islands and the BVIs.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Weather (Dutch Side)
Tel:+1 721 545 4226

Main Ports

Cole Bay , Oyster Pond , Philipsburg * , Simpson Bay *

* indicates port of entry

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Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 30, 2017 08:30 AM

An update from Island Global Yachting (IGY):

In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Maria, the IGY Yacht Club at Isle de Sol and IGY Simpson Bay Marina, are currently under repair.
As of September 19th, 2017, the airport in St. Maarten was not open to commercial carriers, however, was accepting private aircraft and humanitarian relief flights.
St. Maarten has several hotels that remain open, however due to the airport being closed, are currently being used as relief centers.
Several banks are open and welcoming customers with some having cash withdrawal limits in place.
All IGY Caribbean marinas will be partially operational for the the upcoming 2017/18 Winter Season and are expected to include crew amenities such as; the gymnasium, swimming pool, and food and beverage outlets within our facilities gated locations.

John says:
Apr 13, 2017 02:56 PM

March 30 2017- Dropping off / picking up crew at the docks along airport road is now frowned upon. We were successful at the dock behind the Hertz Rent A Car lot, but not at the ferry terminal, or office adjacent. The other docks were all in a state of disrepair. We did not try the marina that is just past the Airport going toward the French side.
Note also that on older charts the Anguilla ferry terminal has moved and is now located adjacent to the airport and is staffed by customs agents.
SY Vent de Soleil

CaptPeter says:
Apr 01, 2016 12:01 PM

Comment to above post regarding pay enter in fee in advance. Don't ask so much questions on channel 12. Call up the bridge,let them know you're standby for entering the lagoon. That's all they need to know. You sail in and do what you do, put anchor or go to your berth. Then when you're all settled, take a buss or whatever to the custom office at bridge, clear in or pay what you need to pay. You'll have a pleasant entrance to the country in that way. Cheers Peter

Stein-Tove I Engh
Stein-Tove I Engh says:
Apr 23, 2015 02:34 AM

Our experience with Sint Maarten harbour authorities does not quite indicate that sailors are appreciated and regarded as a resource. Apart from paying fees of course.

One should think that professionally keeping track of practices and being able to provide service and correct information to sailors would be part of their job. Sint Maarten, the Dutch side of the island, has only two ports of entry. Sailors entering at one of them and leaving at the other should be no unexpected event.

The customs/harbour office in Philipsburg is not so conveniently located for an anchored sailor, so I called the harbourmaster on VHF to check if I could pay the anchoring fees in Simpsons Bay when later checking out from there.

Check in had been in Philipsburg. I was told this was not possible due to separate systems. So I walked to the harbour authorities office to pay the fee. They could not understand why I was coming and told me it would be better to pay the fee when checking out in Simpson Bay! The harbourmaster must have misadvised me they said. OK, OK....

Upon arriving in Simpson Bay and waiting for the bridge to open into the lagoon, I called the bridge on VHF 12 and asked if it was necessary to pay the bridge fee in advance, as I would anyway have to go to the offices to check out. I was told to call a phone number. The number is given in the Doyle guide, so this might be expected.
However, none of my SIM cards were able to complete the call. Time before bridge opening was approaching, and a visit to the offices by dinghy might have caused us to miss it if there was a queue. So I called the bridge again and asked if they could get me the information because I was not able to call on the phone. There was almost no VHF traffic. After answering the initial call, the operator just refused to communicate with me anymore.

So then there was no option but to hurry to the harbour office before the bridge opened. They said I had to pay before entering the lagoon.
When I told them I was upset because there was no answer on the VHF, the clerk said "Well, that is not how we do it here".

So, being helpful to sailors (customers), is not the way they do it at the bridge in Simpson Bay.
A supervisor, overhearing this conversation, said she would check on it.

As sailors often experience, the authorities want our money. Giving good service to sailors is not quite as interesting.

DRoss says:
Mar 15, 2015 03:31 PM

Don't know. We're under 20t I just checked our records and we paid $48 to clear in to Simpson Bay in Nov 2014 for 1 week. Then paid $24 to clear in to Marigot Bay and stayed about 3 weeks before leaving to go to Anguilla plus Prickely Pear. ($88) and St Barts ($26) then back to Marigot Bay and another $24.Might be missing something but I don't see any other charges. We bought water in Simpson Bay for $23 for 80 gals.

christopher melo
christopher melo says:
Mar 09, 2015 07:58 PM

Do the Harbor fees apply to vessels anchored in Great Bay, Philipsburg or only those in Simpson's Bay and the Lagoon?

Michael Strotmann
Michael Strotmann says:
Mar 08, 2015 08:04 PM

Bad surprise when clearing out ! Please be aware that Sint Maarten charges you for using "their" water. Next to a clearance fee of 2.15 US$ and Pilotage in 8.67 US$ and out 4.34 US$ they charge 16.25 US$ per week for a 20 t ships (called departure fee). Not enough - in addition they want to have 0.091 US$ per ton and day. For this i had to pay 90 days * 20 tons * 0.091 = 109.20 US$. All in all ... 270.61 US$ for "nothing".

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 09, 2015 10:19 PM

Posted on Yahoo Cruisers Network Online - 3 February 2015
The fee for entering through the Dutch side bridge depends on length.
12 meters or less is $7 US.
The costs go up if you are larger.
Every week you stay on the Dutch side costs $20 US.
Dutch C/I is at the Bridge and you actually see 2 people (not 3).

It costs 5 Euros each day to anchor in Marigot Bay on the French Side with an initial charge of 20 Euros when you first arrive, if you anchor in Marigot Bay. There is no charge for anchoring anywhere else on the French Side, either outside or inside the Lagoon.

The channel from the French side bridge has shifted because of hurricane Gonzolo and varies because the marks are also missing. It is best to enter through the Dutch side bridge and then go through the new Causeway bridge to the French Side. There is no charge for the French Side bridge.

Most people come in the Dutch Side and then decide either to anchor or just proceed to the French Side and check in, once in the lagoon. Or you can just anchor in Marigot Bay with lots of room (because of the daily charge).

We left Sint Maarten/St. Martin 3 days ago so this information is current.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jan 18, 2014 08:23 PM

Jan. 17, 2014 - French bridge currently experiencing problems and appears to not be opening (our friends had to go out the other bridge yesterday). Dutch Bridge has new times not shown in cruising guides and most web sites. New times effective Nov 15 are posted here (these match what the Dutch bridge authority gave us last week).
SY Day Dreamer

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