St. Martin (France): Clearance Requirements Enforced by Port Authority
The recent enforcement of Port clearance by the St. Martin Port Authority has sparked confusion amongst visiting yachts, who are unaware of the requirement to check -in with both Customs and the Port.
Published 3 weeks ago
Although it has been a requirement for visiting yachts to check-in with both Customs and the Port Authority in St. Martin (France) for some time, the enforcement of Port Authority regulations has been lax – until now.
This is creating a great deal of confusion amongst yacht skippers visiting St. Martin, who are used to things being easy. As with the other French Caribbean islands, visiting yachts believe that clearance has always been quick and simple: drop the anchor, pop into one of the establishments that has a clearance computer, complete the form, pay a nominal fee and job done.
However, clearance isn’t just one form, clearance encompasses different authorities, specifically Customs and the Port Authority clearance, and doesn’t absolve yachts of obligations to other government entities, such as Immigration for visa requirements where applicable.
While computers for Customs clearance are available at Ile Marine and Island Water World chandleries, plus Anse Marcel Marina, Port clearance—equally essential—can only be obtained at the Port office in the Galisbay commercial port or Marina Fort Louis for marina guests.
With the introduction of a patrol vessel, the Port Authority is now equipped to enforce Port clearance and is emphasizing compliance to visiting yachts.
The areas under the port’s jurisdiction include most of the places popular with cruisers, such as Marigot Bay, Potence Bay, Simpson Bay Lagoon (French side), part of Grand Case Bay and Cul de Sac Bay (areas outside the St. Martin Nature Reserve area).
Easy Advance Clearance:
The Port Authority offers an online portal allowing visiting yachts to submit applications up to 24 hours before arrival and departure, covering both Customs and Port clearance.
An “in person” visit to the Port office is then required by the skipper on arrival (and departure), for form stamping and identity verification. The combined clearance fee is 10.50 euros for visiting yachts.
Currently, it is the “in person” part of Port clearance that is not so simple (and rather time consuming). A visit must be made to the Port Office in the Galisbay commercial port (unless you are staying at Marina Fort Louis who provides this service for its guests). This is a 2km walk from the public dinghy dock around Potence Bay (see port map).
Fortunately, a new Port Office for visiting yachts is being built at the Marigot Ferry terminal, adjacent to Marina Fort Louis, expected to open by the end of March 2024. This will greatly ease port clearance for visiting yacht skippers.
When anchoring or mooring in areas managed by the St. Martin Port Authority, it is crucial that visiting yachts adhere to proper clearance protocols to ensure accurate records of yacht movements for administrative and safety purposes.
More details at:
Our thanks to St. Martin Port Authority and Marina Fort Louis for confirming the exact rules.