Covid-19: Example Protocol for Passage Preparation and Quarantine Aboard

With quarantine aboard on arrival becoming standard practice in many countries, the OCC have produced a sample protocol to help yachts prepare accordingly. Noonsite has expanded the list to include a number of points to consider when planning an offshore passage at the current time.

Published 3 years ago


  • Recommendation is that all crew complete 14 days of self-isolation prior to departure to ensure no illness on passage.
  • In some cases, a government’s decision to allow or disallow entry may depend on your being able to show proof of 100% of the crew having a negative COVID test pre-departure, followed by an appropriate quarantine period. It is highly likely results will be needed the day before you depart, so start your research early.
  • In most places, appropriate COVID-19 tests are now widely available and do not require symptoms or a physician’s prescription to order them.
  • Until final departure, everyone should wear a mask whenever leaving the boat, and on the boat when outside crew come on. Practice social distancing and liberal hand washing/sterilization.
  • Prepare a list of refuge/re-supply ports where you will be permitted to anchor in an emergency and know the current procedures required to do so.
  • Have visas in place (if required).
  • Review and understand biosecurity processes and procedures for destination country (see ANOA below and research if you have to complete health declarations for all crew in advance).
  • ADVANCE NOTICE OF ARRIVAL (ANOA): The majority of countries now have ANOA, where you will have to give all vessel and crew details and explain why you want to enter. Border agencies will probably assess ANOAs on a case-by-case basis and grant permission to enter based on the ANOA. With this in mind be sure to:
    1. Know the health history and travel history of all your crew.
    2. Gather insurance information for crew to determine they have coverage/evacuation policies.
    2. Familiarise yourself with the current Covid-19 statistics for your current country.
    3. Know the list of ports you have visited over the last 28 days.
    4. Are there any passengers or crew on board who have had contact with a person who has been a confirmed or suspected case of COVID-19 in the last 14 days?
  • Ensure adequate provisions for the duration of the voyage, allowance for weather delays and for 14-day quarantine period including: Non-perishable foods (not subject to biosecurity import restrictions) for the quarantine period. Prescription medication. Fuel, water and cooking gas.
  • Ensure COVID PPE/sanitation provisions aboard: Masks for all crew for duration of quarantine period,  Hand sanitiser,  Surface disinfectant (e.g. bleach),  Strong garbage bags or similar for sanitary waste disposal.   
  • Ensure thermometer is aboard for taking crew temperature.
  • Ensure all necessary clearance formalities are undertaken.
  • Nominate one crew member to be responsible for quarantine and self-isolation coordination aboard. Brief all crew on the isolation plan and techniques, including all these protocols, location of PPE and reporting/communications strategies aboard.
  • Make a plan for quarantine/self-isolation. This needs to include agreed points of delivery of contactless officials interactions, service providers and any sewage pump-out which maintains social distance of at least 2 m (e.g. officials interview standing on Q Dock near mast with crew remaining in cockpit, any document hand over contactless and social distance remains during process, any delivery of provisions to be onto aft deck, crew remain in cabin or at companionway until provider leaves etc.).
  • A simple plastic container with 5% bleach solution can be set up on Q area for shoe dips.
  • Maintain strict social isolation once clearance formalities completed.
  • Set up suitable vessel tracking (e.g. GPS plotter tracking, online systems such as Iridium/Predict Wind, SPOT, Inreach, Yellow Brick etc.).
  • Clean hull of all biofouling.
  • Write up a protocol for crew to follow if an infection is suspected on passage (CDC protocols). This should include details on COVID related contingencies, expected day-to-day behaviors and how to handle the possibility that a crew member may become symptomatic.


  • Maintain strict social isolation once leaving departure port.
  • Crew members practice hand hygiene, cover coughs and sneezes and minimize touching the face at all times.
  • In the event of any interaction with anyone else (officials, safety personnel etc.) use PPE (masks) during such interaction, maintain distance between people of >2m, record details in the log. Understand that such interactions may “reset” the commencement of quarantine time required.
  • Establish contact log, include name and contact details for each and every person (including officials) for which there is any contact (including those that maintain social distance off the boat and any that must come aboard).
  • SHIP’S HEALTH LOG: If you are not doing this already, start keeping a ship’s health log for all crew. This should record daily, signed entries of the recorded body temperature of all crew members and any Covid-19 symptoms. This must be made available for review by health officials as part of:
    – the check-out process from your current country
    – stopovers on passage
    – the check in/entry process at your destination port.
    Maintain the log on passage.
  • Ensure vessel tracking (e.g. GPS Plotter tracking, online systems such as Iridium/Predict Wind, SPOT, Inreach, Yellow Brick etc.) is functioning.
  • If a stop is required (e.g. in a safe harbor or remote reef anchorage), maintain strict social isolation, no-one aboard. Crew not to leave vessel, dinghy only to be launched in an emergency. Understand that such interactions may “reset” the commencement of quarantine time required.


  • Notification of officials – Report ETA (most countries now require advance notification of arrival and ETA, some as much as 96 hours prior).
  • It is every skipper’s responsibility to alert the port authorities on arrival in a foreign port should any crew member on board be showing symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Prior to immediate arrival, all craft must empty their holding tanks outside Territorial waters (and rinse out with light bleach water if possible). Any organic or disposable waste must be disposed of properly overboard, beyond the territorial limits of the country. Other waste must be carefully packaged, and double-plastic-bagged, marked/tagged as Medical waste.
  • Immediately pre-arrival disinfect surfaces, ensure PPE is ready to hand.
  • Hoist Q Flag.


  • Proceed to Q dock.
  • Wear mask and use hand sanitiser prior to docking.
  • Use contactless processes as far as possible. If officials must board for inspections, maintain social distance.
  • Credit Card transactions will be the preferred form of payment on arrival. Make sure you are prepared.
  • Be prepared for clearance at your destination country to take a lot longer than normal, in particular Immigration/Biosecurity. It’s highly likely that more forms than normal will have to be filled in and tests be carried out on all crew members.
  • Crew not to leave vessel unless instructed by an official or in an emergency.
  • Once allowed, relocate to quarantine aboard marina dock, mooring or approved anchorage.
  • Be prepared to submit to a health inspection and/or COVID test at any time.


  • Vessel to keep Q Flag hoisted.
  • Quarantine may be in a designated quarantine facility or at anchor/on a mooring, or possibly you may be asked to move to another port of entry for quarantine.
  • Crew not to leave vessel unless instructed by an official or in an emergency. If in marina, Crew not to walk on dock; if on anchor or mooring, no swimming.
  • No visitors at all allowed aboard, lifelines or other “barrier fence” to be maintained at all times (keep side “gates” closed, and close transom with lifelines or similar).
  • Maintain contact log, include name and contact details for each and every person (including officials) for which there is any contact (including those that maintain social distance off the boat and any that must come aboard).
  • Monitor crew health daily recording any symptoms and crew temperature daily. Dinghy to remain aboard at all times.
  • Laundry to be undertaken aboard.
  • Use sewage holding tank for blackwater, if required, arrange pump out through marina or their nominated service provider using contactless technique and wear PPE.
  • Any required provisions to be supplied by marina or their nominated provider. Contactless acceptance of supplies aboard, crew to use PPE and keep minimum 2m distance at all times.
  • Disposal of garbage/sanitary waste to be double bagged and using contactless technique to nominated waste collection service (being aware of both plant/animal pest and disease biosecurity issues and COVID concerns).
  • Do not accept any contact with anybody (official, harbour or marina staff, provider) who is not wearing PPE and/or does not maintain social distance.
  • Maintain a listening watch on any nominated VHF channel and/or cellular phone as required.
  • Report presence aboard and crew health daily (or other frequency) as required.
  • In the event of any COVID symptoms, immediately contact Marina, Doctor or local clinic.
  • Be prepared to submit to a health inspection and/or COVID test at any time.

All country biosecurity sections on Noonsite detail the latest guidelines for entry. Go to  country – formalities – biosecurity (using the explore dropdown or the hamburger menu). 

Related Links:

Draft Quarantine Aboard Protocol – Ocean Cruising Club.

COVID-19: Open/Closed Countries

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  1. October 30, 2020 at 4:39 PM
    scouse41 says:

    Reading all of your recommendation I would suspect that you are trying to put off any prospective cruisers.
    I understand that the some governments and a percentage of the population have are in panic mode regarding Flu C-19. I recently transited from Florida to the Grand Cayman, Knowing that I would go into quarantine on arrival at George Town for 14 days. Boarder Control and Port Security were very helpful and assistive. Testing after quarantine was organised to meet me on the dock, I was given the all clear the following day Port Security and Boarder Control staff authorised my departure from the harbour and as indicated earlier friendly and helpful at all times. Respect the authority and rules of the country you are visiting and I am sure you will have no difficulties.

  2. October 23, 2020 at 2:06 AM
    lankim says:

    wow! thank you very much for this kindness information ^~^