Sailing to Jamaica
Set your sights for Jamaica
Jamaica is chiefly a limestone island; the topography cruisers are often surprised about is the hills which almost touch the white-sand beaches. The island’s tropical climate is cooled by the north-east trade winds. Experienced navigators indicate that the island’s waters are fairly deep and can accommodate large vessels. The northern coast is the preferred point of entry as the southern coast has more reefs and requires careful attention.
The island’s waters and cays are patrolled by the Jamaica Defence Force Coast Guard. Their grey vessels will have the appropriate white markings and the Jamaican flag is flown. The Coast Guard advises that entry to the island be made at Kingston, Montego Bay, or Port Antonio where immigration, customs and quarantine services are available. All arriving vessels and crew are expected to complete these inspections before moving to other parts of, or landing on the island.
Jamaica Customs requires that each vessel provides a full crew list and documents relating to the vessel’s registration and cargo. A Customs Officer will board the vessel for inspection and indicate when pratique (clearance) has been granted.
The Passport Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA) will require the crew list and passports (with proof of visas where applicable) for each vessel. The Immigration Officer will indicate the period of stay for which each traveler is allowed. Extensions of stay may be sought through PICA.
The Port Authority:
The Port Authority of Jamaica (PAJ) manages the island’s ports as well as the lighthouses and beacons. The PAJ through its Cruise & Marina division maintains the port infrastructure and assists cruise ships and yachts with the use of the facilities.
Ports & Marinas
The island of Jamaica is blessed with several deep-water ports, which provide the mariner with access to the island’s north and south coasts. Mariners are advised to enter at the Royal Jamaica Yacht Club in Kingston, The Montego Bay Yacht Club in Montego Bay, or the Errol Flynn Marina in Port Antonio. At these docks, immigration and customs services, adequate facilities for mooring/docking, refueling and supplies, as well as security are in place, or are easily arranged. Some of these ports have repair facilities with lifts, and can make arrangements for specialized marine services as needed.
Royal Jamaica Yacht Club, Kingston
Kingston boasts the 7th largest natural harbor in the world and is home to the island’s largest port facilities as well as being one of the main transshipment points in the Caribbean region. The Royal Jamaica Yacht is the haven for yachts coming into the port of Kingston.
The Royal Jamaica Yacht Club has been hosting pleasure boats for over a century. It received its Royal Charter from Queen Victoria in 1889, and is the marina of choice on Jamaica’s southern coast, particularly for pleasure boats arriving from South America and the wider Caribbean. The marina can accommodate boats up to 50ft. in length.
Royal Jamaica Yacht Club:
Palisadoes Park, Kingston, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 924-8685, (876) 924-8686
Montego Bay Yacht Club
Montego Bay’s expansive, award-winning port allows for easy access to the many attractions and activities of the resort area. The Montego Bay Yacht Club is nestled to the western end of the Port of Montego Bay, and is in close proximity to several luxury accommodations and shopping.
A variety of attractions and tours are within easy reach of the Montego Bay Yacht Club including Rose Hall Great House, Croydon in the Mountains, Hilton High Day Tour, Mountain Valley Rafting and Doctors Cave Beach.
Montego Bay Yacht Club
Montego Freeport, St. James, Jamaica
Tel: (876) 979-8038
Errol Flynn Marina, Port Antonio
The Port of Port Antonio is known for its picturesque twin harbours. It is home to three docks – the Errol Flynn Marina, the Old Marina and Bowden Wharf. The Old Marina and Bowden Wharf formed the hub from which the area’s green gold – bananas – was shipped. Bowden Wharf is the starting point for the region’s longest running sport-fishing event – the Port Antonio Marlin Tournament. The Errol Flynn Marina –the island’s newest port – named after the swashbuckling actor, welcomes boutique cruise vessels and yachts.
The Errol Flynn Marina is the main landing facility for visiting vessels to Port Antonio. From this port it is easy to go Rafting on the Rio Grande, explore Somerset Falls, Charles Town Maroon Village and Reach Falls.
Port Location: East Harbour: 18°10’50”N, 76°26’50”W,
West Harbour: 18°11’N, 76°27’20”W.
Errol Flynn Marina and Shipyard
Box 188-Ken Wright Drive- Port Antonio, Portland, Jamaica, W. I.
Tel: 876-715-6044 or 876-993-3209 Fax: 876-715-6033
For more information on cruising safely to Jamaica, contact the Port Authority of Jamaica.