Simpson Bay - General Info

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Where is Simpson Bay Lagoon?

Simpson Bay Lagoon is a 12 square mile inland lagoon on Saint Martin which is connected to the Caribbean Sea by two small channels spanned by lift bridges; one is in the north-west and flows into Baie Nettlé in St Martin (Sandy Ground Bridge) and the other is in the south-east and flows into Simpson Bay in Sint Maarten (Simpson Bay Bridge). The French-Dutch border runs across the centre of the lagoon.

There are two small islands in the lagoon: the larger, Grand Ilet is in the French region of Saint Martin and Little Key, is on the Dutch Sint Maarten side. Much of the island’s maritime infrastructure is found in the bay, and Princess Juliana International Airport lies close to the lagoon’s southern shore. The bay is serviced by more than half a dozen marinas and also has mooring balls and good places to anchor.

Cruiser Highlights for Simpson Bay Lagoon:

Calm water; large cruising community; yachting infrastructure; provisioning; fuel; water; marinas; access to airport; restaurants and bars.  Helpful local businesses that offer almost any kind of service you might need.  Countless restaurants, cheap beer and good food.

Entrance Notes or Cautions for Simpson Bay Lagoon:

Note bridge times when planning entrance and exit. The narrow channels limit the flow of fresh water into the lagoon and urbanized areas of the lagoon, such as Cole Bay and Marigot, are highly polluted. After an extensive clean-up, there are no longer any hazards to navigation in Simpson Bay or the lagoon that did not exist before Hurricane Irma.  Bridge fees need to be paid BEFORE entering the lagoon.

Position:

18° 02″N, 63° 06″W

Last updated:  February 2023

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Simpson Bay was last updated 5 months ago.

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  1. February 24, 2021 at 10:38 PM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Today an accident occurred with a mega yacht. They lost control over the vessel and hit the dock of the Sint Maarten Yacht Club.
    Nobody was injured and the damage is solely structural, however it is very significant. The Yacht Club plan to rebuild but the Yacht Club dock cannot be used until further notice. This means no dinghy access, no provisioning, no drop offs, etc.
    Instead there is the police dock by the bridge (open till 6pm) or the dock by Nowhere Special (no lights at night). Of course there is also Dinghy Dock further down the road.

  2. February 15, 2019 at 2:53 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Several updates:

    Buoyage inside the lagoon is now fully restored with more buoyage than ever before including a vastly superior marking of the shallow ground northeast of Isle de Sol (Snoopy Island).

    All wrecks in the fairways, anchorages, and approaches in the lagoon (Dutch side) are now removed. There are no longer any hazards to navigation in Simpson Bay or the lagoon that did not exist before Irma.

    Causeway now operates much less frequently: 0800, 1000, and 1530 (each opening is for traffic both ways).

    The Sandy Ground Bridge is not currently operating (as at 15 Feb 2019). Initial repairs are expected to be complete within 2 weeks, but full repairs are not expected until the end of 2019.

    Port de Plaisance caters to more than just the megayacht sector, with the South Basin now operational, they have a number of slips for smaller boats.

  3. October 23, 2017 at 1:44 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    October 5th: Posted on Sint Maarten Cruisers Facebook Page

    The Simpson Bay Bridge is operational. The scheduled opening times were set at 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. until further notice.

    The ships must call on marine channel 12 before moving under the bridge. Out-going traffic will be allowed to transit first.

    There is a clog near the south side entrance of the bridge canal. The salvage operator is coming soon.

    All ships will be transiting the Simpson Bay lagoon at their own risk. Sailors should contact marinas for guidance. All ships enter the lagoon at their own risk.

    The Causeway Bridge is out of operation. The technicians and a bridge repair kit will arrive from the Low Countries soon.

  4. March 21, 2016 at 2:26 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Causeway opening times have changed from those stated.

    Opening times as from 9 December 2015:
    In and Outbount Traffic: 08:15, 10:00, 11:45, 15:30, and 17:15

  5. December 23, 2015 at 1:30 AM
    Data Entry5 says:

    Porto Cupecoy Marina

    Just some info on this nice marina that might otherwise be overlooked given that it’s out of the way on the western end of the lagoon. It is now under new ownership. The price, at $5 per foot per WEEK for vessels less than 49 feet, with 10% overcharge for catamarans, was a quarter of that quoted at other marinas such as Simpson Bay. Electricity and water are extra. There is a discount for a 4-month lease.

    Your fees include access to amenities of the surrounding development, which includes free Wi-Fi with reasonable speed, a giant swimming pool, tennis courts, and exercise room. The Porto Cupecoy plaza is on the docks as well, with several upscale restaurants and shops. The best part is that a grocery store lies just outside the plaza, stocked with American-branded goods.

    They even let you walk your cart to your boat! All of this stuff is literally in the marina. If you need anything from a rental car to fiberglassing, the owner Guy Ciletti, a sailor, will hook you up with the best prices and work on the island. There aren’t a ton of transient spots available, so it’s best to inquire with Guy ahead of time at [email protected]. We had a nice stay.

    Melinda Burnett
    S/V The Amazing Marvin

  6. July 23, 2015 at 10:32 PM
    Data Entry5 says:

    July 2015,

    Last year January 2015 we arrived at St. Maarten after crossing the Atlantic with the ARC. We came to St. Maarten with a list of repairs, knowing that parts and experts are available there. Most of the repairs we do ourselves but we also had a problem with our alternator. The alternator connected to our main engine did not power up the batteries anymore.

    We heard that Electec was the company to go to. As everything is horribly expensive at St. Maarten we expect to pay for high expertise. A new alternator was installed.
    March we left for Panama and during this trip, we had a fire in the engine room caused by the new alternator. We did test it at St. Maarten but now we had motored for a full day for the first time.

    We called Electec, and with a slip of the tongue, it was mentioned that they already thought that the alternator became very warm when testing it.
    That made us pretty angry, why didn’t they tell us! We could have sunk if we had not noticed it in time!!

    So we asked them for a replacement as they made a mistake and we had paid big bucks for the alternator. We ended up with a discount but still had to pay for the second alternator. In Panama it took a very long time for the alternator to arrive, so we checked if we could buy it locally. And to our amazement, the price of the same alternator was exactly like the one we got via Electec with discount!

    Finally, the alternator arrived, Electec did help us with the online instructions but again the second alternator did not work, delivering a very low voltage. We called again and again but this time nobody returned our calls.

    We did get our invoice though so we paid twice for an alternator did does not work. But what bothers me most is that they never even apologized for installing an alternator that burnt through.

    A note of warning for others yachts, make sure that you check the prices online, and make sure that you check it thoroughly before you leave. For us? We will try to avoid Electec in the future. We learned our lesson

    Gijs – SY Kings Legend