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

 Sint Maarten - Formalities

Clearance

ARRIVAL FORMALITIES

General process:
All vessels arriving in or departing from Sint Maarten waters must clear in and out. This can be done either in Great Bay or Simpson Bay. Bring: clearance documents from your last port, crew list, passports, vessel registration and insurance documents. Be aware the clearance process is different for St Martin.

Great Bay:

Immigration Department: Located just outside the harbour port gates on the right hand side. The office is open from 07.00 am to 5.00 pm 7 days a week. Tel +1 721 542-2277. VHF Channel 12.

Customs Clearance Office (same location as immigration): Open 08.00 am to 12.00 pm and 1.00 pm to 4.30 pm Monday to Friday and from 09.00 am to 12.00 pm on Saturday and Sunday. It is closed on public holidays. Tel +1 721 542-2348 ext. 515 / 516

Simpson Bay:

Immigration Department : Located in the Police Station adjacent the channel into Simpson Bay Lagoon. It is open from 08.00 am to 4.00 pm hours 7 days a week. Note: Opening hours vary during the year. Tel +1 721 545-0031. VHF Channel 12.

Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) Clearance Office (same location as immigration): Open from 07.00 am to 5.00 pm 7 days a week. Tel +1 721 5453183

Note: The Police Dock can be used by dinghies coming to the Police Station for the services of the Police; Immigration; Customs or the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority. It can also be used for drop offs and pick ups.

CLEARING OUT

Bring proof of payment of bridge, clearance and moorage fees and your crew list, passports, vessel registration to the Immigration Office.

Domestic Clearance:

Clearance papers are necessary if you are sailing to another island, even a Dutch one. But clearance is not required if sailing across to French St Martin.

International Clearance:

All vessels must clear out from from Immigration, Customs and the Lagoon Authority before departing to their next destination.

Last updated:  December 2018

Immigration

Immigration Procedure:

Upon arrival in Sint Maarten a tourist must present a passport that is valid upon entry and for the duration of stay and a valid visa sticker if one is required. See this Sint Maarten Government Travel Guide for who and who does not require a visa.

The maximum stay is 30 days for tourists in general.

For Dutch and American nationals, maximum stay is 6 months with the possibility to extend.

For nationals of Canada, the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan 3 months is allowed with the possibility to extend.

Incoming Crew and Guests:

Crew and guests joining a boat sometimes experience difficulty with Immigration officials if they are unable to show an onward ticket and proof of financial means. Captains of yachts expecting crew and guests are advised to contact Immigration in advance.

Other Visa Information:

Extensions may be possible for some visitors, but they are required to have medical insurance valid for the duration of the extended stay.

The tourist stay extension form and list of requirements are available at the Immigration and Border Protection Office in Philipsburg and can also be downloaded from the official Sint Maarten Government website.

Last updated:  December 2018

Immigration Department
Located in the Police Station in Simpson Bay
Tel:(+599) 542-2222 (police Dept) or (+599) 545-3183 (Simpson Bay Authority) ,VHF Channel 12

Customs

Arriving By Yacht:

Restricted goods, such as drugs, firearms and ammunition, must be declared on arrival. Spear guns and poles are not permitted to be used in Sint Maarten.

Arriving By Air:

Parts brought in by air in your luggage are duty free.

Importing Parts/Spares:

Considered one of the easiest/best places in the Caribbean to ship or bring in spare parts because of its duty free status. Parts/packages can be shipped in without any hassles via FedEx, DHL or freight companies. Simpson Bay is home to FedEx and DHL, while Tropical Shipping is located near Great Bay. The US Postal Service (USPS) will also ship here.

Last updated:  December 2018

Health

Sint Maarten offers affordable care for visitors and expatriates, especially for prescription drugs which can be more expensive in the US or other parts of the world. Emergency airlift to Puerto Rico is available if required.

Vaccine-Preventable Diseases:
Be sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccines.

Food and Water Concerns:
Ciguatera is present and consumption of fish containing toxins can cause serious illness (paralysis and low blood pressure) and very unpleasant symptoms (itching, numbness, dizziness).

Mosquito-borne Diseases:
Chikungunya, dengue fever, malaria, West Nile virus and Zika virus, have been reported.

Because of the risks to pregnancy, travelers should consult the CDC Travelers’ Health website for the most current recommendations for Zika.

Prevention

  1. Use a repellent containing 20%-30% DEET or 20% Picaridin on exposed skin. Re-apply according to manufacturer's directions.
  2. Wear neutral-coloured (beige, light grey) long-sleeved clothing.
  3. Pre-soak or spray outer layer clothing and gear with permethrin.
  4. Ensure that hatch and window screens work properly.

Parasitic Infections:
Diseases transmitted by sand flies and ticks are present.

Plants and animals:
Be aware of the Manchineel tree (from the Spanish “manzana”, meaning apple). It’s 2 and 5 metres tall and resembles an apple tree. Found in dry and sandy soils (beaches) contact with any part of the tree can cause severe burning.

Other:
A high risk zone for HIV and other sexually transmitted disease.

Last updated:  December 2018

Sint Maarten Medical Center
30 Welgelegen Road
Tel:+1 721-543-1111
A 66 bed hospital with full emergency department.

Fees

Custom Fees (net ton):

  • 001-099t: $2
  • 100-499t: $5
  • 500t and over: $9

Harbor Fee (gross ton):

  • 001-099t: $5
  • 100-499t: $10
  • 500t and over: $20

Anchor Fee (per week):

  • From 8 to 13 metres: $20
  • From 13 to 18 metres: $40
  • From 18 to 23 metres: $60
  • From 23 to 28 metres: $90

Bridge Fee (includes in and out):

  • From 9m to 12m: $7
  • From 12m to 15m: $21
  • From 15m to 18m: $42
  • From 18m to 22m: $120

*Fees in USD

Last updated:  December 2018

Restrictions

Simpson Bay Bridge

The main access into and out of Simpson Bay Lagoon from the Dutch side of the island. The Bridge is located on the southern side of Simpson Bay, and will accommodate vessels up to a maximum beam of 39 feet and a maximum draft of 16 feet. When the bridge is closed there is 10 feet ceiling clearance in the port channel and 8 feet clearance in the starboard channel. There is a 3mph speed limit for all vessels using the access channel, and within the lagoon all marinas and yacht anchorages are deemed no wake zones.
Current openings (December 2018) are as follows but for most up to date information see the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) website.

8.30 am Outbound traffic
9.30 am Inbound traffic
10.30 am Outbound traffic
11.30 am Inbound traffic
3.00 pm Inbound traffic
4.00 pm Outbound traffic
5.00 am Inbound traffic

Causeway Bridge

The Causeway, is a swing bridge that gives access to the French side of the lagoon and down to the Airport and Cupecoy areas of the St. Maarten section of the lagoon.
Current openings (December 2018) are as follows but for most up to date information see the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority Corporation (SLAC) website.

8.15 am In/Outbound traffic
9.45 am In/Outbound traffic
10.15 am In/Outbound traffic
11.45 am In/Outbound traffic
3.15 pm On call in/outbound
3.45 pm In/Outbound traffic
5.15 pm In/Outbound traffic

See the St Martin page for details on using Sandy Bay Bridge.

Black Water Discharge:

Dispose of onboard sewage by using the services of the sewage pump out boat Slurpy. The boat is owned by the local foundation Environmental Protection in the Caribbean (Epic) and The Business Point, a service company located in Simpson Bay, operates the boat. Designed to serve vessels with storage tanks up to 125 gallons. Boaters can schedule an appointment on VHF Channel 10, by phone at 544 33 15, or email pumpoutsxm@gmail.com.

Note: Slurpy is scheduled to be back in action late December 2018.

Dinghies/RIBs:

The Coast Guard of the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba may check dinghies to ensure they have the following items on board: an anchor, lights, lifejackets and the driver may be asked to show a copy of a Captain's license.

Last updated:  December 2018

Pets

  • Your pet must be at least 13 weeks old.
  • You will need to obtain an international health certificate issued and endorsed by an authorized veterinarian (USDA if in the US). The health certificate should state that your pet has been vaccinated against rabies with 1-3 years (depending on the vaccine) and no less than 30 days prior to departure. The certificate must be in Dutch, English, or accompanied by an official translation.
  • Your pet will need to be microchipped and the ID number recorded on the health certificate.
  • If you are traveling with a dog, it needs to be vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and Adenovirus. If you are traveling with a cat, it needs to be vaccinated against Feline Leukemia, Feline Rhinotracheitis, Feline Calcivirus, Feline Panleukopenia and Feline Pneumonitis.
  • Proof of treatment for internal and external parasites should be noted on the health certificate.
  • Upon arrival in St. Maarten, you may be required to present the animals to a licensed Veterinarian in St. Maarten within 24 hours. A copy of the Veterinary Health Certificate(s) and the permit must be submitted to the Inspections Department, St. Maarten.

Last Updated:  December 2018

Inspection Dept
Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. , Zoutsteeg nr. 3, , Philipsburg, St. Maarten
Tel:(721) 542-0111
Kelly Ran
Kelly Ran says:
Dec 05, 2018 01:03 AM

November 2018 - SIMPSON BAY

IGY Simpson Bay Marina has 1 dock available (out of 3).
No wifi or fuel.
Electricity was 0.54USD/kWh.
Water was either 0.15USD or 0.20USD per gallon (don't remember exactly).
No pumpout available.
Surrounding area has good grocery store (diverse options; prices were on par with any American metropolitan area), good breakfast at Zee Best, and various snack bars / bars/ food along the road. Sidewalks are scarce.
IGY customers have pool access to IGY Isle de Sol (on Snoopy Island). Turtle restaurant at Isle de Sol not open yet; we were told they would be open very soon.

Regarding clearing in or paying the bridge fee - just show up at the bridge, hail on channel 12 to ensure they know you are trying to enter and motor through FAST. They do not like keeping the bridge open for any longer than they have to.

You can take up to 24h to clear into customs. We ended up paying the bridge fee and lagoon fee a couple days after we arrived, because the office was closed when we showed up. Customs office and bridge/lagoon payment office have different hours. There is a dinghy dock for the customs/bridge office, just outside the bridge. You can anchor inside and then dinghy to the office. They also have a dumpster for cruisers at the police station parking lot.

The party boat is docked right next to the Dinghy Dock Bar and will be there for a while for repairs. Meanwhile they are still partying hard. Do not anchor too close to them (noisy!). Soggy Dollar Bar also had a lot of noise on some nights.

Lots of large flies and sand gnats in the anchorage. Good luck...

Budget Marine is very similar to West Marine in the States. Their inventory is more sparse than normal, due to looting after Irma. They still have a lot of stuff though. Prices are reasonable.

Island Water World is a much more dense space and seems to be more fully stocked (especially for electronics, dive equipment, fishing, and books). Prices may be higher than Budget Marine for most items. Also their dinghy dock is more crowded. Note that their dinghy dock is split in two parts -- the north half is for short-term parking and the south half is for long term parking.
They have water and a fuel dock at reasonable rates (approx 1USD/L for diesel; water was cheaper than at IGY Simpson Bay but don't quite remember.)

Mega ACE Hardware is a short uphill walk from Island Water World. Be careful; there is no sidewalk and the street was slippery in places. Also a lot of stray dogs. This ACE is large and has a lot of inventory.

November 2018 - MARIGOT

LOTS of wrecks; anchorage gets shallow in places, so stay in the channel as much as possible.
Fuel dock -- be prepared to pay in euros. We had trouble trying to pay with USD.

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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