Union Island - General Info

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Where is Union Island?

Union Island is located midway between Grenada and St. Vincent and is equidistant from Barbados, Trinidad and Martinique. It is the largest island in the southern Grenadines and the clear waters of the protected bay at Clifton Harbour is a popular anchorage.

Entrance Notes or Cautions for Union Island:

The safety department at SVG Air strongly urges yachts to avoid the area within 3.2km (two miles) of the airport’s final approach area in Union Island. Parasailing activities south of the airport can cause difficulties in aircraft landing there.

Be aware that marked/unmarked hazards may exist in the Clifton Harbor mooring field and be certain to carefully observe your approach, even as helpers/boat boys guide you to a mooring. See this CSSN news item about a Hazard to Navigation in the area.

Union Island Security:

Dinghy and outboard theft and petty theft from yachts is increasing here. Be extra vigilant with securing your valuable items at all times (including dock lines and fenders) and be sure to lift and lock your dinghy and outboard at night. In an unsettling incident in March 2024, charter cruisers who were spending the night at Clifton Harbour on Union Island had to pay a “recovery” fee after their dinghy mysteriously disappeared from where it was tied at the stern of their vessel.

Read Piracy & Security reports and comments from cruisers.

Position (entrance to Clifton Bay, Union Island):

12° 35’30″N, 61° 24’25″W

Last updated:  March 2024

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  1. June 27, 2023 at 3:24 PM
    profile photo
    Sue Richards says:

    Currently the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) is the only authorized provider of temporary/overnight moorings in Clifton Harbor. Their 19 moorings are all marked by plain white balls. Six authorized assistants (“boatboys”) have been selected and authorized to act as agents for TCMP and each of them has personalized boat cards that identify them by name and include the TCMP logo. Captains can choose any available assistant, any open mooring and utilize these assistants in getting tied up if they desire. Anchoring is also an option, and is free.
    Lesroy Noel, the Tobago Cays Marine Park (TCMP) Manager, who is responsible for the moorings in Clifton Harbours says the system has been put in place for visiting yachts and hopes that informing cruisers of the mooring situation prior to arrival and setting the right expectations will improve communications and user satisfaction.
    The fee for TCMP mooring usage is $60ECD for 24 hours. Payment for a mooring should only be made to a uniformed TCMP ranger who will visit the yacht and also collect the card. $20ECD of each $60ECD daily fee is then paid by TCMP to the assistant specified on the collected card.
    The TCMP welcomes feedback from users about their moorings and the performance of their authorized assistants. Cruisers are welcome to visit the TCMP office ashore Monday to Friday from 0800 to 1600 where they can also collect cards and accept payment.
    At times, private moorings in the anchorage may be available and offered on a freelance basis by the designated assistants, or others. No oversight or control over this sort of entrepreneurial activity is provided by TCMP and none of any fees paid remits to TCMP.

  2. October 2, 2022 at 12:45 AM
    fnees says:

    I checked in on a Saturday at 15:45 on the brick building behind the green one. Friendly staff. I needed help to get a mooring as I was single handed and impaired. The guy (Buddha) also took me to shore and “sold” me 2 bags of ice. EC$30 each! Charged for the mooring as well. US$80 in total… I had no choice but beware of the scam!

  3. July 27, 2020 at 7:30 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    BOLO FOR A 2004 JEANNEAU 54 DS NAMED GRAND FILOU STOLEN FROM CLIFTON HARBOR, UNION ISLAND BETWEEN 1800 HRS LOCAL TIME, 23 JULY 2020 AND 0600 HRS LOCAL TIME 24 JULY 2020.
    The above described sailing vessel was tied to a mooring in Clifton Harbor for the past six years. The vessel is owned by JUERGUS ENNING, a German citizen living in Union Island. The owner and his friend were on the boat on 22 JULY 2020. The vessel is registered in Hamburg, Germany. On 23 JULY 2020, people noticed the vessel had been re-tied to the mooring buoy by its stern instead of by the bow. The next morning at 0600 hrs. local time, 24 JULY 2020, the vessel was gone.
    The vessel is a weathered blue hull in color. There are two large white spots on the port side hull. The furling mainsail is stowed below decks when it was stolen, so the jib was the only sail available. The engine had water in the fuel and was not working at the time it was stolen. But that fuel problem can be easily repaired with new fuel filters and bleeding the engine. The mast is white in color and has a radar dome. There is only the frame for the Bimini up at the time it was stolen. There is damage to the bow pulpit due to a past collision.
    At the time the boat was stolen, there was no 12-volt electricity as they had been removing and replacing batteries. Therefore, there were no navigation, interior or other lights working, no radio, radar, AIS, etc. working.
    The vessel was spotted by a person in Frigate Bay, Union Island, (time and date unknown), near Chatham Bay, which is on the West side of Union Island, and the vessel was headed North or Northwest. Due to the approaching storm, the person was surprised to see the boat headed North and West. The vessel appeared to have been coming from a NE Carriacou anchorage.
    The vessel has been for sale, and within the past 4 to 6 months visited by two separate couples interested in buying it. One couple, a man any woman, were from Denmark, and made a lowball offer. This couple from Denmark wanted to sail the boat to Bonaire, Colombia, Panama, through the Panama Canal, to Las Perlas Islands, and up to Costa Rica. The other two people were Frenchmen who were also interested in buying the boat.
    Anyone having knowledge of this stolen vessel should contact the Coast Guard in St Vincent and the Grenadines at telephone number 1-784-458-4011, or Coast Guard in Grenada at telephone number 1-473-444-1931, and/or contact Boatwatch.org at [email protected] , telephone number 1-941-456-5070.

    1. July 31, 2020 at 5:02 PM
      profile photo
      sue-richards says:

      30 July, 2020:
      Good News. At 2000 hrs UTC, Petty Officer King, telephone number 787-289-2041 contacted Boatwatch.org to advise the USCG, San Juan Puerto Rico located the S/V GRAND FILOU.
      The USCG and Immigration & Customs Enforcement (ICE) located the S/V GRAND FILOU at position 17 56.733 N / 066 07.841 W. The vessel was beached near the town of Guayama, Puerto Rico, and possibly taking on water. One Jamaican National was aboard the vessel and was taken into custody by ICE. It is not known whether other individuals were involved, or if the vessel contained contraband.
      Boatwatch.org will maintain contact with the USCG in San Juan to follow up and make sure the owners are in direct contact with the USCG, San Juan Puerto Rico.
      Bravo Zulu to the USCG San Juan and ICE for the recovery of the vessel and arrest of one individual.
      [email protected]

  4. January 19, 2020 at 12:04 AM
    sofiene says:

    We took a TCMF mooring (white boy). Local boy boat propose bread and Banana cake.
    We did check out of the the country at Clifton Harbour near he main square at the custom office (Not needed to go to the airport) Immigration and customs are available in the same building but different offices. Formalities were done in 10 min.
    3 small Supermarkets are available: 2 in the main street in front of each other and another one in front on the Bank building. The Bank has 2 ATM machines.
    For vegetables and fruit just near the main square are several small shops.
    A guarded Dinghy dock available at the Anchorage Yatch club hotel.European gas bottle not available on the Island; We were told that it was available on St Vincent Island the main Island. Nice walk to the hill where the Hospital is.Beautiful viez from the top on the bay.

  5. July 15, 2019 at 11:39 AM
    profile photo
    sue-richards says:

    As reported by CSSN:
    DATE: 2019-07-09
    Location Detail: Union Frigate Island
    EVENT: Theft

    Ten (10) boats were in the anchorage overnight. Three (3) left dinghies in the water, 2 of which were locked, but a charter boat left theirs unlocked. It was stolen overnight, the line cut. A police report was made.

  6. January 10, 2019 at 1:57 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Chatham Bay
    Beautiful large anchorage and good beach bars – Vanessa and Silkys rum punch and warm welcome watching the sun set was fabulous. Anchored under the cliff to the north-west of the bay, and was asked to move as this was now a dive site, so moved closer to the beach. Great holding in sand – very gusty night.

    Clifton Harbour
    Met by Boat boy -Skipper (thanks to noonsite we knew about his previous scam). However, he helped us secure to a well maintained TCMF mooring and gave him a tip of EC$10. The TCMF official watched him and then came for their EC$60. Ashore a lovely colourful village and warm welcome, a fab dingy dock at Bourganville, we ate at Barracuda and watched the kite surfers as the sun went down at the happy island.

  7. March 16, 2018 at 1:56 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Clifton was a surprisingly good stop for us. Stayed three nights. The town is a bit rough, but good and the fruit and veg selection great; another provisioning a bit weak. Had a nice lad find us a mooring ball without any hassle (not like at Mayreau). Very nice dinner at Barracuda restaurant. Good walks in all directions from Clifton including to the airport for clearance and people helped when we looked lost.

  8. February 7, 2018 at 12:45 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Back to Union Island and Clifton again.
    We took a mooring buoy from a nice boat boy, the same price as the Tobago Cays – 60 EC a night, we stayed for 2. Good provisioning here, but go in the morning for fresh fruit and veg. Always ask the price before agreeing to buy.
    Rubbish bins available but no recycling.

    We found most of the boat boys to be very polite and helpful. If we say “no thank you” they usually take that and leave. We had one boat boy (called Tevin) who thinks he can increase the price of everything… he also uses different boats. We first met him on Palm Island where he tried to sell me a fish for 200EC! And take my rubbish for 15, the going rate is about 5. He was pushy.
    We had great experiences with everyone else in Clifton.

  9. February 7, 2018 at 1:55 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Chatham Bay:

    We booked dinner at Bollhead restaurant (situated at the far left of the bay – opposite end to the hotel) through Lem, lovely young man.

    We arrived at 6.30pm but unfortunately, they didn’t serve us until 8.45pm, everyone was really hungry! The food was good, but I only had a small piece of fish and was glad I had negotiated a reasonable price or I would have been very annoyed.

    The toilet didn’t flush and there were about 50 + people! We did a dance and party until about 11 pm.

    Seckie and Vanessa’s place was a better alternative for the next night. Food served on time and a great relaxed friendly atmosphere. Happy hour 3-6pm for a rum punch at 10EC.

    No rolling here, but when it was windy you could still feel it. We always check our anchor and it was really dug in. We stayed for 5 days.

    In the night someone tried to steal the dinghy, outboard and petrol can. They were all locked on, but they did get our Flip-flops, they were Havaianas!

  10. January 12, 2018 at 8:38 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Clifton

    Anchored for one night here, but it was a very windy day and we were moving from 2.2-metre depth to 5.1m. We moved the next day, but it was gusting 30 knots and we struggled to find a good spot.

    We took a buoy at $60EC per night, or we could have paid 150 for 3 nights and had a 4th free. The man who helped us with the buoy gave us his card and when you pay the Tobago Cays marine staff for the mooring you give them the card and he will get a commission.

    We bought a large tuna from a man for $85EC, he started his price at 150, I could have got him down a bit further! He gutted & filleted it for us.
    I bought 2 bread rolls from a man for 10EC, he wanted 20 initially.

  11. April 2, 2017 at 5:30 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    WARNING! We went to the recommended “Happy Island” in Clifton Harbour, Union Island and it was great fun. The thing that wasn’t as much fun was the bill. They just handed our 5-year old food without even asking and served us drinks we didn’t order and afterwards, they billed us 130 €! It was fun, but it wasn’t THAT much fun!

  12. June 23, 2016 at 2:58 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    FYI – Chatham bay – payed EC$ 150 for a trip to Clifton airport(custom clearance) by buggy – to a American guy taking care of Vanessa’s Bar in her absence

  13. December 27, 2015 at 10:17 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Clifton, Union Island. Beware of a boat boy going by the name of “Skipper” who today rented us a mooring buoy just in front of the Anchorage Bar that turned out to belong to one of the large day catamarans Wind and Sea. Obviously, they weren’t too chuffed to find someone else on it and we weren’t too chuffed to have been ripped off and having to find a safe anchoring spot just before nightfall.

    Yes, we have read all the warnings but were caught off our guard after a long squally trip up from Grenada. Apparently, Skipper is well known among the other boat boys for this scam. Fortunately, a really lovely guy called Jimahl went to great lengths to help us anchor safely.

  14. April 29, 2015 at 2:41 PM
    Data Entry3 says:

    When I was there, July 2014, I walked out to the airport for Customs and Immigration. Maybe a kilometre. There are many nice places to anchor, and the navigation is pretty easy. The shops and restaurants are quite nice.
    Buy freshly-caught fish at the market when you hear the conch sound!

  15. December 19, 2014 at 11:56 AM
    Data Entry3 says:

    Chatham Bay Union Island – Recommendation for Vanessa and Seckie who own a beach bar and restaurant. When I arrived in Chatham Bay I discovered that my due to a ruptured oil cooler my gearbox was full of seawater. I called Vanessa on CH16 to see if she could arrange a taxi for me. As it was already late in the day she offered to pick up a gallon of ATF from the garage in Clifton the following morning and deliver out to the boat.

    The cost (including her time and gas for the car) was a mere EC$100. My Crew also lunched in the restaurant and reported good food at reasonable prices. Certainly, a couple who are prepared to go the extra mile to help out a Yachtie in distress for very little financial gain. They can be reached by CH16 Vanessa or 784-531-6965

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