We are sailing into a world that few of us have ever seen before, with events being cancelled, marinas closing and even ports and whole countries closing their borders to cruising folk. If you are at sea right now bound just about anywhere in the world, you will not be welcomed when you make landfall.
In a report from the Salty Dawg Sailing Association on March 17, here is a sampling of what’s going on in the world of sailing and cruising. In the Bahamas, all of the national parks have been closed but the country is still open to foreign cruisers. Puerto Rico is open to cruisers but the marinas are closed so you have to anchor out. In the BVI, you can only check in at West End or Road Town and officials require a 14-day quarantine before you are allowed ashore. All of the French and Dutch islands are closed to entering sailors. Trinidad closed its ports and waters to in-coming vessels for two weeks starting on March 17.
As of March 17, the islands from Antigua to Grenada had not issued announcements on their policies for visiting yachts but we suspect they will impose restrictions soon. Antigua has canceled the Classic Yacht Regatta in April and it seems likely that they will have to cancel Antigua Race Week, too.
In Central America, Guatemala, Honduras and the San Blas islands are closed to foreign boats. Panama is still open but crews sailing in from the Caribbean and the Pacific are not being allowed ashore.
Farther afield, the Galapagos Islands are closed as are most of the island nations of the South Pacific. New Zealand and Australia are discouraging visits by foreign yachts and requiring at least two weeks of quarantine before crews are allowed ashore.
So, what are we to do? The first thing is to stay put where we are right now and postpone any further cruising plans until we know more about the spread of the virus and the reactions to it by authorities around the world. Stay informed and do as much research as you can on the policies being implemented in the countries you hope to visit. The situation is fluid and all of this will be changing on a daily and weekly basis. Below are four websites where you can get reasonably up-to-date information on where you can sail and where you cannot.
If you have input that will be of interest to the cruising community around the world, please share it with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
www.noonsite.com www.saltydawgsailing.org www.waterwayguide.com/covid-19.com Sailnet.com