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

 Sint Maarten - General Info

Time Zone

UTC -4

Money

The official currency is now Caribbean Guilders (since 2012)

The official currency on the French side is Euros.

US dollars are accepted everywhere on the Island.

Communications

International dialing code for Sint Maarten is +1 721.

Cellular phones - There are several digital cell phone systems in place. Telcell and UTS (Chippie) on the Dutch side have GSM services. The French side has GSM services through Orange (France Telecom) and Amigo (Dauphin). You need a triband GSM phone and a SIM card of the local provider for using these services. Buying a prepaid phone card is easy. Many shops, supermarkets and gas stations sell pre-paid phone cards for the Dutch side providers. All networks cover both sides of the island.

Four Star Cargo - alongside the airport on the way to Maho - can have anything shipped to their address in Miami and they will automatically have it sent by cargo ship or air (your choice) to their warehouse in St. Maarten. Free to open an account, you pay the shipping fees when you pick up your package. They will also deliver island-wide.

Transport

Car Rental
The island is well serviced by both internationally known companies such as Hertz, Dollar, Thrifty, Budget and Avis and numerous local firms.

Airport
Princess Juliana International Airport (also known as Saint Martin International Airport) serves the Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin. The airport is perhaps best known for very low-altitude flyover landing approaches due to one end of its runway being extremely close to the shore and Maho Beach.

There is a bus stop right outside the Terminal so you do not have to take an expensive taxi ($20 to Simpson Bay). The bus is $2.50 all the way to Phillipsburg.

Alternatively you can collect your crew by dinghy. The small marina which houses the Pink Iguana and Crazy Cow sometimes permit dinghy landing. Ask permission in the Crazy Cow, or Pink Iguana if its open. Dinghies can also be left on the old Customs dock close to the runway.

There is also an airport on the French side of the island, called Aéroport de Grand Case or L'Espérance Airport. This is used for local and regional flights only.

Buses

The minibus system here is simple and cheap. Minibuses are easily recognizable, due to wooden placards with a name of a city visible on the dashboard. For example, in Philipsburg, the capital of the Dutch side, you may spot a minibus with a “French Quarter” sign sitting on the dashboard. A 10-to-15-minute bus ride from Philipsburg to the French Quarter costs $2 (2) per person. Once there, you can disembark and locate a bus heading in the direction of Marigot, the capital of the French side.

As a general rule of thumb, if you are riding the bus for more than or equal to 10 minutes, then you will pay $2. If you use the bus for only a short distance, then you can simply pay the driver $1.

Dollars and Euros are both accepted, and the buses use a 1-to-1 currency ratio.

Last updated November 2015.

Diplomatic Missions

American Consulate-General, Willemstad, Curacao (also responsible for St Maarten/St Martin): +599 9 461 3066.
British Consulate,Willemstad, Curacao (also responsible for St Maarten/St Martin): +599 9 461 3900.
Canadian Consulate, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago (also responsible for St Maarten): +868 622 6232.

Canadian Consulate
c/o Simpson Bay Yacht Club, Building 9 , Apartment 5, Simpson Bay , St Maarten, NA
Tel:545 023 Fax:545 023

Events

Easter carnival mid-April

Heineken Regatta -  28th February - 3rd March 2013: Four days of world class racing.

Enter your boat at www.heinekenregatta.com

Emergencies

Police - Dial 911

Marine Emergency Numbers
For emergencies at sea, if in the vicinity of St Maarten, use the Emergency Ch 16. If VHF not working, call St Maarten Sea Rescue Service on 199

The St. Maarten Sea Rescue Foundation operates four rescue vessels to assist mariners in distress. All vessels are manned by a team of volunteers.

Useful numbers:-
Coast Guard +599 543 7603
SXM Sea Rescue Service 199 or +599 542 4966
Weather 123

Publications

IMRAY AND ADLARD COLES PILOT BOOKS are available at a discounted price for Noonsite.com users via World Cruising Club

A Cruising Guide to the Lesser Antilles 2.0 (Volume II: Leeward Islands)
Author: Frank Virgintino
Published by www.freecruisingguide.com (Feb 2016)
Download here
Also available at Kindle as well as all other EPub bookstores

Grenada to The Virgin Islands
By Jacques Patuelli
Published by Imray 3rd Edition 2014
ISBN: 9781846235818
Fully illustrated with plans and photos, many of which are new for this third edition, the guide is packed with interesting and useful background information on the Caribbean; its history, tourism, geography and details on sailing in the islands.

A Thinking Mans Guide to Voyages South - the many facets of Caribbean Cruising
Author: Frank Virgintino
Published by www.freecruisingguide.com (Jan 2013)
ISBN 9781304133847
Available as a Kindle version at www.amazon.com as well as other EPub bookstores.
The latest edition of this route planner is larger than ever. For more details see this report

Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands
By Chris Doyle
Published by Imray Laurie Norie & Wilson (13th edition 2013)
ISBN: 13: 978-0944428979
This thirteenth edition covers the islands from Anguilla to Dominica, and is an essential tool for all cruisers sailing this region. Over 100 up-to-date color sketch charts, full color aerial photos of most anchorages, island pictures, and detailed shore-side information covering services, restaurants, provisioning, travel basics and island history.

Leeward Anchorages
By Chris Doyle
Publisher: Cruising Guide Publications (2nd edition (March 1, 2010)
ISBN-13: 978-0944428825
Leeward Anchorages, graphically, and through spectacular aerial photography, depicts dozens of favorite anchorages and harbors throughout the Leeward Islands of the Caribbean. The book is to be used in conjunction with navigational charts and is a companion book of The Cruising Guide to the Leeward Islands. It is an indispensable aid for the yachtsman or charterer visiting these legendary islands.

Update History

November 2017: Bridge opening times updated post-hurricane damage.
September 2017: Security section updated following hurricane Irma and continuing dinghy and outboard thefts reported.
November 2016: Clearance, Immigration, Customs, fee and Publications checked/updated.
October 2015: Security Section updated
July 2015: Publication added
May 2015: Publications checked
February 2015: Immigration and Customs updated. Fees checked.
January 2014: Update on bridge opening times & fees from Lisa Torkelson.
December 2013: Customs checked.

Noonsite welcomes information and updates especially regarding clearance, customs and immigration procedures from cruisers visiting this country.
Please E-mail noonsite with any new information, updates or corrections. Even just a short email confirming that the current data is accurate would be most helpful.

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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
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
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
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 www.smyc.com/content/new-simpson-bay-causeway-bridge-opening-hours (these match what the Dutch bridge authority gave us last week).
SY Day Dreamer

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