St. Martin - Facts

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  • One of the northern Leeward Islands, this small island has been shared between France and the Netherlands since the the Treaty of Concordia was signed in 1648.
  • In May 2023, the two countries settled a long running border dispute.  The largest change is in Oyster Pond with the border now running through the middle of the pond, thereby giving an equal share of the water to both sides.  See this News item for details.
  • The northern part (St Martin) is a French overseas collectivity, and the southern third (Sint Maarten) is an independent nation within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
  • The island is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two self-governing states.
  • St Martin has a population of 32,284 with the most populated areas along the coast, with large concentrations around the capital Marigot, Orleans, and Grand-Case.
  • The official language is French. English, Dutch, Spanish, Creole and Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) are also spoken.
  • The Euro is used as currency. For specifics see General Info.
  • Time zone in St Martin (GMT-4). For specifics see General Info.
  • Temperature averages 27-29C year round; a marine climate with gentle trade winds, intense rain showers; and hurricane season from July to November. See below for more on Weather.
  • Simpson Bay Lagoon on the west side of the island straddles the border between the two nations and houses the majority of the island’s yachting facilities and amenities.
  • The island is duty-free and parts are easy to obtain. There is also a skilled workforce and a variety of boatyards.  Provisioning is easy and good value. See Yachting Essentials for more details.
  • Both sides of the island use the IALA-B (RRR) buoyage system.
  • Cheap flights to and from the USA and Europe can be found from the international airport, so this is a good place for crew changes.

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St. Martin was last updated 1 month ago.

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  1. January 16, 2024 at 9:27 PM
    George Orta says:

    There remains a great deal of confusion regarding the “requirement” of “all” boats to register and clear in with the Port Authority Galisbay. Many are still using the method that has been in place for a long time and have been successful clearing in and out using the customs computers in the chandleries. The information from the Port Authority web site is not complete and can be misleading.

    I followed the link provided in the “Clearance” section for St. Martin in Noonsite and found the online process to be rather straightforward but the in-person process to be rather confusing. Based on comments from others (Sint Maarten Group on Facebook) that had taken their dinghy directly to the Port Office directly, my wife and I chose to instead go to the public dinghy dock and walk there. It did not seem safe to dinghy into and tie up in a commercial port. The walk from the public dinghy dock/ferry terminal to the Port Authority office was a 2 km walk each way. Obviously, the Port Authority did not think through this new “requirement” in much detail before foisting this process on those arriving by private vessels.

    Once I arrived at the Port office I provided them the registration number that I had copied from the online step. None of my paperwork or official documents were checked. Not even our passports. They printed out the clearance form very similar to what we get from the customs computers at the chandleries. The form was stamped.

    The fee was based on the length of our vessel and the fact that we anchored instead of taking a mooring ball. The fee in and of itself is not unreasonable. Everyone at the port office was friendly and helpful. The frustration is that the details of the process are not well documented or published and seem to be changing quite fluidly.

    Add to this the fact that many cruisers are still clearing in and out using the pre-existing method of visiting either Island Water World or Ile Marine and using the customs computers there.

    In my humble opinion the lack of a clear and authoritative declaration of the new requirement for registering and clearing in, along with a reasonable process of the in-person portion of the requirement, implies to me that those who are not taking a mooring ball do not need to follow this new method.

  2. July 22, 2022 at 8:04 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    Joel Begin of SY Arawak, a Wauquiez Centurion 40 based in Saint Martin, shares his vote for local cruiser legend:
    “Related to the sad information about Pedro Texaco, Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (in Noonsite’s June Newsletter), I would like to talk about a nice French guy working in Marina Fort-Louis Saint Martin []. This guy has been working here for more than 20 years. He is very efficient in helping arriving boats in the marina, has good relationships with sailors and a good sense of humour. His name is Alain Commeinhes, but you just ask for Alain when arriving and everybody knows him”.

  3. June 1, 2022 at 3:45 PM
    lonneke says:


    Location: Saint Martin (France) – Lagoon – Witch’s Tit
    Stolen Items: B&G Zeus3 12” chart plotter

    Details: We returned to the catamaran that was moored near Witches Tit between 21-27 May. We found dark shoe prints onboard, leading directly to a missing chart plotter on the starboard helm. The yacht was well locked and the video security system captured the theft. The thief seemed to be aware of the video surveillance and made no attempt to enter the well locked yacht and left other valuable items behind, including the portside instruments and chart plotter.

    A police report was made, and the officials indicated that they would visit the yacht, review the video and collect forensics later in the week.

  4. March 11, 2022 at 5:53 PM
    rmjryost says:

    Marigot Bay customs computers located in two locations. I’lle Marine, S of channel before the bridge. 18° 3.678′ N 63° 5.763′ W and Island Water World, 18° 3.828′ N 63° 5.363′ W. Even if you did the online arrival you’ll still need to re-enter upon arrival. One of the shop employees will verify you registration and passports. Nothing else was required. No COVID test was required. No proof of vax was required.

  5. July 14, 2021 at 12:27 PM
    hathat says:

    Clearing in and out of Saint Martin to Saint Barts, and return….

    Did a bare boat charter, out of Anse Marcel. Harbormaster there was great, He helped us use the computer system to clear out. Covid testing is a big deal, on paper. Not in real life. To get into Saint Martin we required a rapid test.

    According to the regulations a PCR test within 72 hrs was required to get to Saint Barts. Umm not so much We submitted the paperwork via email, did not hear back, as the Director doesn’t check his email… LOL. Two days later, down there. The Captainery office, Gladly helped us check in, asked for a copy of the email, if we had it, and we were on our way. We checked out at the same time, which gave us “24 hours”in Saint Barts. Sailed to Colombier for a few nites and then to st Martin.

    We cleared in at Ile Marine in Marigot. No fees, and the staff was great.

    Sadly, Marigot is in rough shape since Irma. It is a skeleton of what the picture shows it used to be.

    Grand Case is the same. However, there is one dinghy dock that is available to use. A few additional restaurants have sprung to life, but the waterfront still looks pretty decimated, Again from Irma.

  6. May 7, 2019 at 8:10 PM
    iamchrismcclure says:

    I am heading to St. Maartin in July to look at a project boat and am on the hunt for some local labor / resources / advice. Any leads? Thanks in advance everyone. -CM

  7. May 4, 2019 at 8:52 PM
    debbneff says:

    I found the pet info.
    Does anyone know if there is an email address for where to send the pet import?

  8. May 4, 2019 at 8:35 PM
    debbneff says:

    Where did youmove the pet info to?

  9. April 30, 2019 at 12:02 AM
    Lynda Lim says:

    sint Maarten is not in my future place to get jobs done after a disgraceful 2 plus months trying to get jobs done . Fkg tried to charge 2 and a half times what they estimated. Electec didn’t seam to be able to manage a lithium battery change which had been ordered for over 5 months. (Yes it was the USA mastervolt company who should be blamed ) but Electec was at the driving seat. However Chris the carpenter gave me some hope after finishing a very good job. PDP marina was nice to stay, but away from everything, and so long after the hurricane they still didn’t have WiFi . At the prices they charge it should be a full service marina.

  10. March 12, 2018 at 2:20 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Reported by Joan Conover, SY Growl Tiger:

    Just heard from a vet in St. Martin. Dogs there (pets) and such have distemper at epidemic levels, so warnings are going to be issued. Pretty deadly, other islands are concerned it will spread to their pets as well. Prevention means a NEW vaccination..even if your dog is current, prior to entering the country…or leaving it.

    Leaving, dogs should be vaccinated weeks before they leave and carefully examined by the government vet before any export. Concerning is also the number of visitors who do not report their pets entry or exit; disease issues like this can make customs rules change significantly.

    This epidemic is similar to what happened in Bahamas two years or so ago..and now Nassau is permanently affected with parvo/distemper. So, cruisers need to be very aware. It’s now part of the environment there.

    We did not go to St. Martin due to this issue, and our dogs are never allowed off the boat in foreign islands! We stay away from dogs etc. on land, wash hands and SHOES when going back on board our vessel. Good idea anyhow in a hurricane disaster area…!!!

  11. January 5, 2018 at 1:48 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    5th Jan 2018. Anchored in Grand Case bay (French- North West). Big wide bay – shallow – all and – perfect for anchoring – lots of room. The village is battered, with hardly an intact roof. However, there is a small chance jetty, where 4 bar/restaurants are operating. There are a couple of shops close by for basics. The atmosphere is good, locals kind of upbeat, definitely friendly. Good stop over for a couple of days.

  12. November 19, 2017 at 9:13 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Update via SV Totem:

    Current facilities for visiting yachts in SMX have been hard to pin down. The reports coming out after the hurricane were pretty awful. But in some ways, SXM is better situated for recovery than many islands: their utilities are largely underground, so easier to bounce back with fewer repairs. What’s not clear is what’s on the bottom of the lagoon and when it will be safe for anchoring.

    But friends in SXM visiting their boat this week (which survived!) say that whilst the lagoon may not have boats anchored out, there are plenty of dinghies zipping around. Dinghy docks are opening up at Dinghy Dock restaurant, Simpson Bay Marina, Shrimpy’s, and even Marina Port Royale (although probably care required near the marina). Chandleries and grocery stores and shops are open, as are quite a few bars & restaurants.

  13. September 30, 2017 at 8:41 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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 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.

  14. March 18, 2017 at 12:37 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Here is the link to a practical guide to Saint Martin I wrote on my blog.

  15. February 14, 2017 at 1:51 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    I’m trying to get into Bobby’s Marina in Great Bay. But my boat is restricted by a 3.8 m (12,5 ft) draft. Does anyone have a detailed chart available mapping the channels recently updated? Cheers, SY CANNONBALL

  16. November 3, 2016 at 4:01 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Posted on behalf of Christian Kleitsch – 26 October 2016
    Just came back from a sailing trip from/to St. Martin (Marigot). The fees for the clearance in Marina Port la Royale are something between 7-8 Euro.
    Very important! You have to clear out even if you sail to St. Barths (and then further)! Otherwise, you cannot clear in when you come back to St. Martin.

  17. January 25, 2016 at 5:28 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Clearing in at St. Martin (French side)

    The French authorities have given Island Water World in Marigot – next to the Tourism Office – the official program to clear in.

    They have a Dinghy pier in the lagoon, right next to Geminga Boatyard and adjacent to the Marina Port La Royale.

    Opening Times in season: Monday to Saturday 8.00am-5.00pm

  18. January 21, 2016 at 9:16 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Good information from Ken Goodings – Caribbean Navigator Facebook Page:
    Another daylight dinghy theft in St Martin, French side. The chain used was 3/16 inch stainless, that’s less than a quarter inch or just under 6 mm. Please consider using the SS chain at least 8-10 mm or 5/16 – 1/2 inch. Heavier SS chain is perhaps just plain less prone to quickie thefts, especially in the daylight with people around.

  19. January 18, 2016 at 2:42 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    It has been reported to noonsite that on the Security section of the St. Martin Cruisers Net this morning, a boat reported being boarded by 3 people with French accents this morning about 3:30 am.

    They are anchored in Marigot Bay near the channel to the lagoon.

    The men who boarded stole electronics and threatened the boat owners. They came to the boat in a hard dinghy and had trouble starting the motor (without a cover) when they left.

  20. January 14, 2016 at 3:07 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Posted on behalf of Lisa Torkelson – 4 January 2016:

    I just checked in today at the Marina Port La Royale’s Capitanerie. Unlike Noonsite’s Nov 2015 update, there still is a working Customs computer and I used it today as in the past. The change is that only marina guests and those anchored just beyond the mooring balls can check in there (choose ‘LAGON de Marigot’ on the clearance port).

    Anchoring near Cadisco is in this zone, but it wasn’t clear how far this extends. The fee is 7.80 Euros. Otherwise, you’re supposed to go to the ferry terminal (where the fees are higher I understand). I don’t know if Ft Louis’ jurisdiction covers Marigot Bay or other areas, but they charged us $20 to leave a couple of years ago.

    The confirmed hours of Port La Royale’s Capitanerie are 8:30 am – 12:30 pm, 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm.

  21. February 9, 2015 at 10:19 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    The fee for entering through the Dutch side bridge depends on the 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 Gonzalo 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.

  22. February 27, 2014 at 2:06 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    The morning opening time for the Sandy Ground Bridge (French side entrance to the lagoon) has been changed from 0815 to 0900. There is no monitoring of any VHF channel by this bridge. The best bet to verify times is to hail Shrimpys (morning net controller) on channel 10.

  23. January 18, 2014 at 8:24 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    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