V.C. Bird International
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This page provides useful planning, pre-departure, and travel information. From servicing airports to base arrival procedures, it will tell you what to expect to make your vacation smooth and carefree.
We suggest you read the following information carefully several weeks prior to departure and also print a copy to take with you.
Season: This destination is open from early November through the end of June.
Before You Travel
Time Zone : UTC/GMT -4 hours
Tourist Information Center
Antigua and Barbuda Tourism Authority
Third Floor, ACB Financial Centre
St John’s, Antigua
Tel. 1.268.562.7600 | Fax 1.268.562.7602
Area: 108 sq. miles (279.719. km.)
Official Name: Antigua
Capital City: St. John’s
Official Languages: English
Government: British Dependent Territory
Driving Side: Antiguans drive on the left
Climate: Tropical with its rainy season from June through November.
How to Get There
V.C. Bird International Airport (ANU) is 45-minutes – 1hour by car to our base.
Upon your arrival at the airport, please state your intended destination is Sunsail / The Moorings Base.
Due to the number of flights we organize, the Moorings can offer some great rates to many destinations. Please make sure you contact our in-house flight specialist at 866.649.2003 before you book your flights.
Private Charter Flights
Through our partnership with a number of reputable airlines The Moorings can arrange private charter flights to Antigua and any other of our Caribbean destinations. Contact our in-house flight specialist at 866.649.2003 for more details.
We are unable to provide transfers at Antigua, however there are taxis available outside the airport. Please inform the driver that you are going to The Moorings base in English Harbour. The Moorings can arrange a taxi from the base back to the airport at the end of the charter. It is approximately $48.00usd for two pax, and $16.00usd per person thereafter.
A local license compulsory of $50 ECD is required, plus the cost of the car rental.
Boarding Time/Check Out
Boarding Time Procedures
Charter Boarding Time: 12:00 pm
Sleep Aboard: Time: 6:00 pm
Briefing Times: Scheduled upon arrival.
All skippers must attend a Chart Briefing which covers all you need to know about the cruising area, use of the VHF radio, how to call for assistance, and more. A Boat Briefing will also be provided onboard your yacht. All skippers and first mates must watch the online chart breifing prior to departure. A more in depth briefing will be done with the boat breifing on site.
The Customer Service Desk is open until 5:00 pm. If arriving after hours, a message will be left on the front door indicating the location of your boat. The Chart Briefing and Boat Briefing will be held the following morning prior to departure.
Check Out Procedures
Charter End Time: 11:00 am
A debriefing and final walkthrough will be done upon return so please allow enough time to complete this before the charter end time.
What’s on Board
Coolers are available at the base on a first come first served basis at no additional charge. Only one cooler per boat.
Moorings Care packages are included on every yacht. These packages contain some of the basics to get you started for your vacation.
There are supermarkets available nearby for all your other provisioning needs. The main super market within walking distance is Covent Garden.
Check with your service provider for information about cell coverage in this region.
While most of our newer boats have Bluetooth capability, we cannot guarantee all boats are outfitted with this equipment. For your convenience, we highly recommend you bring an AUX cord so you can listen to music from your mobile devices.
All yachts in this destination are equipped with 110V two-pin plugs. Don’t forget to bring a USB adapter to charge your phone as not all yachts are equipped with usb outlets.
What to Bring
Customs & Immigration
Entry, exit, and visa requirements depend on the locations you are departing from and traveling to. You are responsible for having the correct documents so make sure to check with the consulate of the countries you plan to visit before you travel. Visit travel.state.gov for the latest information.
Luggage & Packing List
Soft-sided luggage or duffel bags are best, as luggage storage space on your yacht may be limited. We have no facilities for holding luggage at the base. Pack lightly and review our suggested packing list for required and necessary items to bring.
- Pack essential prescription medicine and change of clothing in a carry-on bag*
- Passport and other travel documentation
- Tickets and paper confirmations for pre-planned activities
- Light-colored, light-weight clothing
- Formal wear for upscale dining establishments
- Swimwear and cover up
- Hats and sunglasses
- Sandals and flip-flops
- Athletic shoes and hiking boots
- Travel-sized toiletries and hygiene products
- Insect repellent and OTC pain relievers/ointments
- AUX cable for playing music through your device
- 12V DC to 110V AC power inverter (for boats without generators**)
- 12V to USB power adapter for charging mobile devices
*We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
**All boats include a 12V DC outlet (a “car” outlet). Boats with generators have 110V outlets in the Caribbean and 220V in the Mediterranean and Exotic locations.
The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit https://uavcoach.com/drone-laws-in-antigua-and-barbuda/
The local currency is the Eastern Caribbean dollar (ECD). We recommend carrying some of the local currency with you as not all restaurants and stores accept USD, debit, and/or credit cards. Note:This base cannot accept cash or personal cheques.
A 10 to 15% tip is standard at restaurants, taxis, etc. $1 per bag is standard for bellhops.
Taxes & Fees
You might incur some costs while on charter such as mooring and docking fees or cruising taxes. We highly recommend bringing enough of the local currency to cover these costs as they are not always payable by USD, debit, and/or credit cards.
A security deposit must be paid at the base by Visa or Master Card and is refundable at the end of your charter subject to there being no loss or damage. To significantly decrease your security deposit, purchase our Yacht Damage Waiver insuranceahead of time.
Vaccination and Immunization Information
Antigua is generally risk-free of contagious disease. Visit cdc.gov for the latest information.
Your health and safety are important to us. For advice on how to stay safe while on charter, please review our Travel Advice Information. Current travel and safety information can be obtained by visiting travel.state.gov
Standard Swim Safe
Swimming is often a fun and important part of a vacation. However local rules, flag systems, currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets and Diver Down flags are all available on board.
- Talk to children about water safety at the start of a vacation, making them aware of the potential dangers.
- Accidents can happen at any time on vacation, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and do not get distracted when your children are playing by, or in the water.
- Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended.
- Get in the water with them, it is easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Floatation devices are highly recommended for children but are not a substitute for supervision.
Be aware of your surroundings
- Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted.
- Beware of dangerous currents, these can be very powerful. Not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags.
- Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
- Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
- Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.
Look out for others
- Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party and use the snorkel vests provided.
- Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm, preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you are in.
Do not overestimate your ability
- Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming technique.
- Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different.
All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use this equipment during your vacation. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat on boarding – If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing.
We have a very limited supply of children’s life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are travelling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.
Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck.
Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.
The Moorings offers through our partner, comprehensive travel insurance, for your peace of mind. If you have your own travel insurance, verify that it covers the destinations and activities of your Moorings vacation.
Protecting our Oceans
Sustainable practices help us protect our environment, sailing areas and surrounding communities. The Moorings actively implements eco-friendly initiatives to reduce our footprint across all our bases.
Whether this is your fifth trip or the first of many, we want you to feel at home when you’re at a Moorings base. At Nelson’s Dockyard, we welcome you to stock up on essential items, grab a bite to eat and explore historic sites before boarding and setting sail from English Harbour.
About the Marina
The Moorings Antigua Base
National Parks Authority
St. Paul’s Parish
8am – 5pm, seven days a week
Season: This destination is open from early November through the end of June.
Customs & Immigration Office
Supermarket, Post Office & Bank
24 Hour Security
Cable TV & Internet (Wifi can be sourced from the local store, other than whats provided while at the base)
Laundry (for a fee)
Restrooms & Showers (Showers available for a fee, and operates from 9am-5pm daily. Restrooms are free)
Bow Moorings (Mooring buoys are from 25.00 USD to 30.00 USD per night)
Waste & Oil Disposal
Note:This base cannot accept cash or personal cheques.
Sailing lanes are generally open from Falmouth Harbour counterclockwise to St. John’s Harbour.
Martinique/Guadeloupe: Selected yachts in Antigua cannot go into Martinique/ Guadeloupe at any time
Cruising Area Restrictions
North Sound to Nonsuch Bay on the NE Coast, restricted due to reefs. Barbuda- Spanish Point and North Coast due to reef and depth.
It is strictly forbidden to sail alone, we require two persons minimum on board.
Charts & Pilot Books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are issued at your chart briefing.
You must be moored at least one hour before sunset. Night Sailing is not allowed without permission from the base manager. The decision to allow night sailing is based on your skill level and can be requested in advance. You will need to fill out the Sailing or Power resume for the base to review but we cannot guarantee approval.
Moorings Fees & Taxes
Mooring Balls: approx. 25-30 USD per night and are available in Falmouth Harbour and Jolly Harbour.
Dockage Fees: approx. .50 to 1 USD per foot, per night.
Admiral’s Inn (located at the marina)
Antigua Yacht Club and Marina Resort (close to the marina)
The Verandah Resort and Spa (Antigua)
Galley Bay Resort and Spa (St. Johns)
Trade Winds Hotel (St. Johns)
Anchorage Inn (St. Johns)
Located in Nelson’s Dockyard, ATMs available 24/7 in St. John’s
Located at the Marina
Restaurants generally close at 11pm. There are many restaurants in English and Falmouth Harbours, near the base.
Trappas (English Harbour)
Antigua Yacht Club Marina Restaurant
There are several souvenir shops close to the base.
Covent Garden, Dockyard Drive – 5-minute walk from the base
C.E. Baley Supermarket – approx. a 10-minute drive from the base
Epicurean in Jolly Harbou
Here you will be able to pet and feed Southern Stingrays in their natural environment. You will learn all about these amazing animals from your experienced guide. You can snorkel on coral reefs with colorful fish life. These calm, clear, shallow waters make it easy and fun for everybody.
Is a remarkable example of sea-water erosion. Geological, Devil’s Bridge is a natural arch carved by the sea from soft and hard limestone ledges of the Antigua formation, a geological division of the flat north-eastern point of Antigua. A bridge was created when a soft part of the limestone eroded away by action of Atlantic breakers over countless centuries.
The view from Shirley Heights Lookout is without question the most famous view on the beautiful island of Antigua. Located within the national parks, overlooking English and Falmouth Harbours, this panoramic view, on clear days takes in Guadeloupe to the south and Montserrat with its still active volcano to south west. Shirley Heights Lookout has been home to the ‘biggest and best’ party on the island every Sunday for the last 25 years.
Donkey sanctuary operated by the Antigua & Barbuda Humane Society, Bethesda Village, St. Pauls. Get up close and personal with rescued donkeys Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Antigua Zipline Canopy Adventure from St John’s – a 2.5 hour adventure through rainforests along 10 ziplines
18-hole course on Jolly Harbour
For your convenience, you can add water toys to your charter prior to arrival at the base. They will be waiting on your boat upon arrival. You are able to rent these at the base; please keep in mind that we have limited availability. For more information, please view our Water Sports Options.
A tank and weight belt for one person costs approximately USD 10 per day. A full set of diving equipment costs approx. USD 20-30 per person per day.
Dive Companies –
Jolly Dive: 268 462 8305
Indigo Divers Antigua: 268 562-3483
The Moorings will provide snorkeling flippers but at this time will not be providing a snorkels or snorkeling masks, please plan to bring your own. Children’s sizes are very limited; you may wish to pack your own snorkeling gear.
Fishing gear rentals are not available locally. You can bring your own gear and are free to trawl off the stern.
There are several sport fishing charters that you can book locally. We are unable to pre-arrange these.
In addition to captivating clear-blue waters and short passages between anchorages, an Antigua yacht charter vacation also delivers line-of-sight navigation. Roughly 14 miles long and 11 miles wide, Antigua is enrobed by 54 miles of superior Caribbean coastline blessed with 365 uncrowded and unspoiled beaches.
There are a number of premier marinas with all the modern amenities scattered throughout the cruising grounds, as well as a copious supply of uninhabited harbors and secluded bays just waiting to be explored. An Antigua charter vacation makes it easy to enjoy the best of both worlds – from onshore to on-the-water, from lively to leisurely.
In combination with the carefree vibes, stunning views, and diverse offering of activities, the desirable conditions that persist year-round set Antigua apart as one of the world’s top sailing destinations for charter guests and competitive sailors alike.
Throughout the year, enjoy steady trade winds, warm weather ranging between 77°F – 88°F from day to night, and an idyllic water temperature averaging 81°F. North-easterly winds of about 15 – 20 knots (17 – 23 mph) are the norm from November to May and tidal ranges are typically slight, between 12 to 18 inches.
Historical Weather (Averages by month):
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Falmouth Harbour (Antigua)
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