NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Under the government’s recently released coronavirus protocols for foreign and local boats, foreign vessels have been ordered to shelter-in-place.
The latest protocols, implemented amidst a state of emergency and border closure, were released just days ahead of another nationwide lockdown set for this weekend.
As long as a foreign boat remains in Bahamian waters while the country’s emergency orders are in place, the passengers on those boats have been ordered to stay on board and will have to avoid interpersonal contact with people on the shore.
They can only receive food and provisions by drop off delivery without contact.
“Those on board shall remain on board. Those on ashore shall remain ashore.”
Those foreigns boats cannot travel between islands, cannot take on passengers or visitors, and cannot transfer any from one place or island to another.
Similar restrictions apply for boats belonging to Bahamians or Bahamians residents.
The protocol sets out conditions for boats, yachts, private craft, recreational boats including boats for, boats intending to visit or depart from The Bahamas; or boats intending to transit The Territorial Waters of The Bahamas.
The government has been urging foreign vessels to leave the country as it continues to mitigate the spread of the virus throughout the country.
“In view of the significant restrictions in place, foreign boats are encouraged by the government to depart The Bahamas and may do so, weather and safe navigation permitting,” the protocol reads.
“A foreign boat departing The Bahamas must proceed directly and non-stop to its destination / home port outside The Bahamas.”
All foreign boats and all Bahamian boats on charter to foreigners within Bahamian water should immediately declare and identify themselves to the designated government contact, the protocol stipulates.
If further notes that if any foreign boat is unable to depart The Bahamas under these stipulations shall notify the designated government contact for an alternative plan for consideration.
All boats can seek an exception to the terms and conditions of the protocols.
The Association of Bahamas Marinas has launched the The Bahamas Safe Passage Home and Sea Quarantine to helps boats to remain moored or leave Bahamian waters safely while miniimizing the risk of spreading the virus throughout the islands.
The program allows participating marinas throughout the country to accept vessels provided arrangements are made prior to arrival.
The program also applies to those crossing through Bahamian waters in order to get back to their country of origin.
The participating marinas include Staniel Cay Marina in Exuma, Flying Fish in Long Island, Romora Bay in Harbour Island, Bay Street Marina in Nassau, Grand Bahama Yacht Club in Freeport and Cove in South Bimini.
The program will be in effect until normal border travel resumes.