Yacht Charter planning during the Coronavirus pandemic
COVID-19 Charter: Planning Your Next Yacht Charter Safely
Countries are rapidly updating their plans to safely welcome international visitors during the Coronavirus pandemic. We update this page almost daily so that you have the most recent information on COVID-19 openings, restrictions, and regulations from literally dozens of charter destinations worldwide. We recommend you bookmark this page and come back to it frequently while you're planning your charter, or simply contact us so that our experts can talk through the options with you. You may also want to read our page about Social Distancing Yacht Charter to see why yacht charters are the perfect holiday vacation options during a pandemic.
Boatbookings is ready! | Recommendations for chartering now | Mediterranean Coronavirus Charter Status and Summer 2020 Openings | Caribbean, Florida and New England Coronavirus Status and Projected Reopenings | Asia/Pacific charter regions including Seychelles, Maldives, and Thailand| Event Charters 2021 | The Safety of Charter Yachts | Yachting Industry Status | Note from Boatbookings
Our fantastic Boatbookings Team is working from home and in constant contact with each other and our yacht owners. Because we plan charters worldwide, we are in a unique position to help you navigate to the best places to charter and organize the booking of your yacht for the remainder of 2020 and throughout 2021. We're 100% ready to help you plan your next charter! Contact us now on firstname.lastname@example.org.
The relative safety of Yacht Chartering during a Pandemic
Yachts are recognized as the most socially distanced holiday vacation options. Interactions with others are controlled in a way not possible in Resorts or Cruise Ships. Because of this, we have seen a dramatic increase in demand for Summer: Mediterranean/USA East Coast and Winter: Caribbean charters. Please see our Yacht Charter and Social Distancing page to learn more about the efforts yachts are taking to make chartering safe.
Charter the US Virgin Islands. The USVI has been fully open since June 1, and we have had several very successful charters this summer in the USVI. Major airlines have resumed flights and the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association has adopted the CDC guidelines for yacht cleanliness and sanitation to ensure safety. We have plenty of great yachts that sail from St Thomas, and itineraries from St Thomas to St John and St Croix.
Plan long term. We recommend planning your next charter now for Thanksgiving, Christmas 2020, Spring Break 2021, or Summer 2021. We are in contact with all of the yacht owners and they will be happy to help you plan your charters for all of these occasions. But please call us as early as possible - 2021 is already booking up fast as it's essentially seeing two years of demand at once.
Charter in December between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most US colleges have announced that they will not call students back after Thanksgiving. If your family includes college students, this opens up and entirely new charter opportunity in December with almost no crowds! Why not reward your students (and your whole family) with a charter in December? Your kids can listen to lectures just as well on a yacht as they can from their bedrooms.
Consider some exotic destinations. How about Thanksgiving or Half Term snorkeling the amazing reefs of Belize? Belize has so many deserted islands and atolls that you can plan charter where you rarely run into anyone.
Charter closer to home next summer. If you live in North America and have scrapped the idea of heading to Europe next summer, why not a charter in Maine/New England or sailing the Chesapeake from Annapolis? America offers many extraordinary charter opportunities for the summer. We have enhanced our yacht selection and created extensive charter itineraries for Southern New England and the Chesapeake Bay that can help you decide where to plan.
Try something different. How about a regatta charter, where you can be involved in some of the most amazing classic yacht races (and pop a bottle or two of champagne at the end of the day).
Book in charter regions that are not epicenters. Places like the Virgin Islands and the Grenadines have been relatively untouched by the Coronavirus and were quick to take action to prevent an outbreak. We recommend looking at charters in these areas and can organize the best yachts in these regions for you.
Homeschooling! if you are homeschooling your children this year, how about doing it on location on a yacht? No better way to study Greek history than from the actual ruins. We have some creative ideas for homeschooling on a yacht to greatly enhance and expand your educational opportunities while being on an incredible family vacation at the same time!
Look for deals!! Many yachts are offering specials right now for end-of-summer charters, notably in Greece and Croatia. Contact us for the best deals available!
All of the key charter destinations in the Mediterranean are either open. We will update this space for country-specific news, as each country is slightly different.
Croatia. Croatia is open to international travelers. Charterers do not need COVID 19-tests and 14-day quarantine is not required. Yachts can move freely between marinas, along the coast and islands of the Croatian Adriatic. Marinas, shops, restaurants, bars, and markets are open. Masks are mandatory on public transport, including ferries. You are requested to fill out this entry form.
Cyprus. Cyprus is open to international commercial flights.
France. France is open to travelers arriving from the EU, the Schengen area, Britain or countries deemed "safe" as listed above. Given the perceived safety of yachts vs other forms of holidays, the best French Riviera yachts are now booking up very quickly for the summer of 2021. French Riviera beach restaurants and bars are open.
Greece. Greece clamped down on the virus very quickly and effectively and has seen far fewer cases than many other European countries. Greece is now fully open to international visitors from the EU and the EU's list of safe countries. Visitors do not need to pass a COVID19 test and there is no 14-day quarantine. Yacht capacity is not affected.
All arriving passengers need to complete a "Passenger Locator Form" 48 hours prior to arrival and follow Greek government instructions.
Italy. Travelers from EU countries can enter Italy without going into a two-week quarantine. Bars and restaurants are open with social distancing restrictions.
Monaco. Monaco clamped down hard on Coronavirus very early and has had almost zero cases since April. The principality and its famous port Hercules are beginning to reopen, with strict social distancing regulations.
Monaco Restaurants and cafés are open and can seat 10 guests at the same table. People may gather in public spaces in groups of 10.
Montenegro. Porto Montenegro has reopened and is servicing luxury yachts. 60 shops and boutiques are now open. All employees are conforming to strict government safety guidelines and practicing social distancing.
Spain. Spain has reopened its borders to Schengen Countries and the UK - so European and UK residents are welcome. Spain, like other EU countries, is not currently admitting US citizens. Palma, Mallorca is now fully open to European visitors. Yacht capacity limits have increased from 50% to 75%, but still with a maximum of 10 people per charter.
Turkey. Turkey has opened its borders to both EU citizens and non-EU citizens that fulfill Turkish Visa requirements. Turkey is outside the EU and therefore the best location for Americans to charter if they want to be in the Med. Boatbookings has some great deals in Turkey at the moment.
Visitors need to submit a health form prior to arrival and temperatures are taken of all visitors upon entrance. If high body temperature is detected, the visitor will need to have a PCR COVID-19 test taken.
Florida, New England, The Bahamas, and Caribbean Coronavirus Yacht Charter Status and projected Openings
Caribbean COVID overview. Many of the key charter destinations in the Caribbean are open up for the Winter 2020-21 season, with extensive safety protocols to help protect you and the locals who provide the services you rely on. All of the islands in the Caribbean have their own individual protocols for new arrivals. In general, you will be required to have one of the following:
- A recent negative rt-PCR test (allowable time between test and arrival varies)
- Testing upon arrival and quarantining onboard until the negative results are received. At that time you can go ashore.
French Island bubble. St Barths, St Martin, Martinique, and Guadeloupe will form a French COVID “Bubble”. Official Permission to enter plus a negative rt-PCR test less than 72 hours old will be required to enter, and you can then travel freely between islands.
Individual Caribbean Island Status and Updates
Antigua and Barbuda - Everyone arriving in Antigua must have a negative COVID-19 rt-PCR test result taken within seven (7) days of their flight or arrival by sea. This cannot be a rapid test of any type.
Bahamas - Beginning 1st November, The Bahamas will allow everyone to move about and explore the Bahamas beyond the confines of their hotel or other accommodations. All incoming visitors must present a COVID-19 RT-PCR Negative (Swab) Test upon arrival been taken no later than seven (7) days from the date of arrival in The Bahamas.
In addition, all travelers will then be required to apply for a Bahamas Health Travel Visa at travel.gov.bs to upload the results. A rapid antigen test will be conducted upon arrival, and then again four days / five nights (96 hours) after arrival in The Bahamas. The rapid tests yield results in 20 minutes or less.
Belize - Belize is open. They are expecting a great Winter 2020/21 charter season because they are so easy to get to from North America and they offer some of the most remote and socially distanced charters imaginable because of all the reefs and uninhabited islands. We have created the ultimate "socially distanced" Belize sailing itinerary where you can enjoy all that Belize has to offer - snorkeling, diving, deserted islands covered with palm trees and lined with white sandy beaches, manatees, rays, exceptional coral ecosystems, and even a taste of the rainforest without coming into contact with virtually anyone!
Our Belize charter partners have been certified by the Belize government to have achieved "Gold Standard" status for cleanliness and safety to help ensure a safe charter.
British Virgin Islands (BVI) - The British Virgin Islands will begin reopening on December 1. The first port of entry to open will be the Lettsome Airport. It is expected that entry by sea will follow on December 8. Visitors will be required to have had a negative PCR COVID-19 test within 5 days of arrival and will be required to quarantine for 4 days in their "Gold Seal Certified" hotel or yacht and be re-tested at 4 days and 8 days after arrival.
We are seeing very high demand now for Christmas and New Year vacations and most yachts are full. If you are able, we highly recommend booking on the weeks either side of the two main holiday weeks, when you will find better availability and quieter beaches.
Dominican Republic - As of September 15, rapid tests are being performed on randomly selected travelers upon arrival in the Dominican Republic. Social distancing and the use of masks is mandatory for the duration of a visitor’s stay.
Florida - The Florida Keys reopened June 1. Florida yacht charters are available and most restrictions that were in place in March have been dropped. We have great new bareboat monohulls and catamarans from Coconut Grove in Miami and a beautiful sailing itinerary along the Florida Keys.
Guadeloupe - You will be required to have a negative PCR test 72 hours before arrival.
Jamaica - Reopened June 15th.
Mexico - Mexico is open with no travel restrictions.
Mustique - Mustique has reopened effective July 1. Visitors will be required to show a negative test result taken 72 hours prior to departure and complete a questionnaire. If you arrive without the approved test, you may be subject to a rapid test on arrival and be quarantined until negative results are processed.
New England (Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut) - New England should be a great, safe charter destination for the summer of 2021! The beautiful and quaint islands of Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, and Block Island are all open for charters. Newport is expecting a busy 2021 charter season.
Newport, Rhode Island - Beginning July 1, face masks will still be required in public when around others. 6-foot social distancing is still necessary, frequent hand washing is recommended and anyone sick should stay at home. Nearly all businesses have been reopened in some manner. Museums and cultural institutions are limited to 66% capacity or 100 square feet per person. Indoor social gatherings can increase from 50 to 75 people, and outdoor social gatherings can increase from 75 to 150 people. Please note new regulation: if you are visiting Rhode Island from one of the US states with a positivity rate of COVID-19 greater than 5% you will either have to self-quarantine for 14 days or produce proof of a negative test for COVID-19 that was taken within 72 hours prior to arrival.
There will be no private tours offered for the famous Newport Mansions this year. The Breakers and The Elms will be open for limited size groups to visit in 1⁄2 hour time slots, listening to an audiotape while walking. Basically, this is the normal manner for touring these mansions, just smaller group sizes are being allowed in at one time. Tickets must be reserved and paid for in advance on The Preservation Society website. There are no ticket sales at the properties.
Massachusetts - Charter yachts may operate limited to ten passengers, excluding captain and/or crew members.
Maine - Yacht owners must correspond with guests before their trip to provide guidance on best practices while traveling to the yacht and provide a screening questionnaire to assure there are no COVID symptoms or recent exposures in the party. No guest will participate in a charter if they have shown signs of illness or have been in contact with anyone showing symptoms of COVID-19. unless they can provide proof of a recent negative test. All charterers are required to have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of traveling OR quarantine within Maine for 14 days prior to sailing. Crews will adhere to extensive State guidelines for sanitation and social distancing.
Puerto Rico - Plans to reopen July 15th, with social distancing and safety rules in place.
St Barts - St. Barthélemy is a member of the French COVID Bubble and requires a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to entry. Wearing a mask is mandatory for adults and children over the age of 11 in enclosed public spaces. In restaurants and bars, the same table can only include people under the same reservation with a limit of ten people per table.
St. Martin/Sint Maarten - St Martin is a member of the French COVID Bubble and requires a negative PCR test 72 hours prior to entry.
St Vincent and the Grenadines - The Grenadines are open to yachts, all aboard will be required to have a COVID-19 PCR test on arrival and await results in quarantine at anchor at the port of entry. The test results usually are available the following day. If the result is negative for all aboard, the vessel may proceed free of any requirements.
St Lucia - Reopening of St Lucia began June 4 with limited hotel capacity. General charter opening and availability will be August 1st.
Turks and Caicos – Turks and Caicos is open. All travelers to the Turks and Caicos are required to obtain pre-travel authorization via the TCI Assured portal. The portal requires the following information:
- A negative COVID-19 PCR test result. The test must be taken within 5 days prior to travel to the TCI. Children under the age of 10 are excluded from this requirement.
- Insurance which covers COVID-19 medical costs and full hospitalization, doctors’ visits, prescriptions, and air ambulance.
- A completed online health screening questionnaire.
US Virgin Islands (USVI) - The US Virgin Islands require all arrivals to have either a 1) negative PCR type test (oral or nasal) valid from the previous five days, OR 2) a positive antibody serology (blood) test from the prior four months. The latter is only for those who have been exposed and thus are assumed to have immunity. Please see our USVI Luxury Itinerary or our new USVI Bareboat Itinerary to plan a route for your charter around the gorgeous islands of St Thomas, St John, and St Croix.
Seychelles - Seychelles began to relax travel restrictions on June 1, 2020. Only 11 total cases were reported in Seychelles, and all have recovered, leaving no active COVID-19 infections on the islands.
The Maldives - The Maldives reopened their borders on July 1 with no restrictions.
Thailand - Key Charter areas of Thailand including Phuket are now open for sailing. The country is in a progressive opening process. Many operators will reopen October 1st in time for the Holiday season. Contact us for complete information if you plan to charter to Thailand so that we can arrange the best boat and itinerary for you!
French Polynesia/Tahiti - Tahiti reopened its borders on July 15th to international travelers. Flights from at least 9 airlines, including Air France, Air Tahiti, and United are recommencing. You will need proof of a negative Covid-19 test carried out within three days prior to your departure and will need to self-test 4 days after arrival in The Islands of Tahiti.
Many important industry events, such as MIPIM and the Monaco Grand Prix, have been moved to 2021. We are already seeing an increase in demand and scramble for the prime yachts and marina berths for these events.
Do you have a major birthday, wedding, or other family event coming up? Think about making it a celebration to remember next time you get friends and family together with a fabulous event celebration charter. We have 15 years of experience planning them in all of the major charter destinations worldwide.
We recommend contacting us soon if you are interested in an amazing Event Charter for 2021.
Charter yachts are viewed as safe "social distancing" places during an epidemic due to their privacy
Unlike cruise ships, where people from disparate locations interact on a daily basis, charter yachts are excellent places to be during an epidemic. They are by nature essentially quarantined and socially distanced because you only come in contact with your own party and members of the crew if you are on a crewed yacht.
Charter yachts are thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between charters. Virtually all yachts (bareboat and crewed) have adopted strict new protocols for cleanliness and many yachts even purify the cabin air with ozone that kills the COVID-19 virus. See more on our Social Distancing Yacht Charter page. If you have any concerns or questions about the safety of a particular yacht or location, please contact us!
Chartering in 2020 requires local planning because of a patchwork of travel restrictions around the world. Here are suggestions for the best places to charter based on where you live.
UK Residents. Beginning July 15, you will have access to all of the key charter destinations in the Mediterranean. So we recommend planning a late summer holiday in France, Greece or Spain. The UK government now welcomes visitors from over 70 countries, and reciprocal agreements are expected.
US Residents. Citizens and residents of the US will have a hard time getting into Europe this summer. We recommend you stay in the US and explore the amazing destinations such as Southern New England and Annapolis/Chesapeake Bay while the weather is hot and the sailing is great. You will find fewer crowds this year, which will be a bonus. If you need palm trees (who doesn't right now?) try the Florida Keys or St Thomas/USVI. The US Virgin Islands are open! Please note, if you are a resident of a state with a test positivity rate over 5%, you may be subject to additional travel restrictions to states such as Rhode Island. This information changes weekly.
Try Turkey! If you really need a Mediterranean fix, we recommend Turkey, which is open to Americans and ready to welcome you!
EU Residents. If you live in the EU, including France, Germany, Holland, and Spain, you now can travel freely to anywhere else in the EU. The famed destinations of Greece, Spain, French Riviera, and Amalfi Coast are open, uncrowded, and waiting for you! You should have no problem traveling to the Caribbean (BVI, Grenadines, St Barts, etc.) this winter.
Australian, New Zealand, and Canadian Residents. You are generally welcome in all key charter destinations.
If you live in Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Canada, Japan, Republic of Serbia, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay you are generally welcome in all European (EU) destinations
The yachting industry is relatively stable during this time. The sale and purchase of yachts are on par with last year, and while many charters have moved to different dates, demand has been exploding recently as people realize how safe yachts are as opposed to other types of holiday vacations. We expect to see significant demand for all of the best yachts from late Summer 2020 and all through 2021. Many charters have been pushed into next year which is already filling up 2021 calendars. Booking early is our strong recommendation. That will also help you support regions and yachts that have been affected by the downturn.
Boatbookings and the yacht charter industry have weathered many disruptions to our amazing charter destinations in our 15-year history, and we know that the Coronavirus pandemic will mercifully end at some point. In times like these, we have learned that working closely with our valued clients helps find opportunities within the uncertainty, and pays great dividends when the situation improves.
Our entire team is fully committed to providing the best, most personal charter advice and implementation possible and want to help you re-connect with family and friends! We encourage you to dream ahead and do your planning now when you have time, airfares are low and there is still availability of the best yachts. So please take a break from binging on Netflix and get in touch so we can book an amazing post-coronavirus charter!