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Grenada cruising fees questioned by voyagers

Jan 1, 2003
From Ocean Navigator #123 July/August 2002

From Ocean Navigator #123 July/August 2002

The Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean are perfect cruising grounds for sailors of all skill levels. The steady trades, close distance between islands, exotic culture and balmy weather have attracted voyagers for decades. But the islands have come to be such popular destinations that island governments are beginning to exact fees for cruising visitors. The carefree days of island hopping with minor hassle from customs seem to have faded, and several voyagers have reported that increased fees are making certain destinations less attractive. One reader, who operates a sailboat charter business out of Florida with operations in the Antilles, recently reported paying $120 in fees for a layover in Grenada.

The skipper, Walter Heierli, who operates a vessel for Creative Sailing Corp., Coral Gables, Fla., had planned a brief layover in Tyrell Bay, Carriacou, Grenada, in late February on his way to Carnivale celebrations in Trinidad and Tobago. He was expecting a modest fee, he said, but nothing like the $120 (U.S.) fee he was served at the customs office. The process took two hours, he explained.

Heierli had intended to spend an evening and a portion of the following day with his passengers in the Grenadines, but had also hoped to return to the Grenadines following the visit to Tobago. These hopes were dashed, he said, when he was told that the fee was assigned only for one visit. If he cleared out of Grenada, he would be required to pay the same fee upon return. Heierli chose not to return, sailing offshore of the Grenadines on his way back to Union Island.

Grenada's Minister for Tourism, the Hon. Brenda Hood, outlined Grenada's cruising fees in April to the website www.caribbeancompass.com: "The Government of Grenada is aware of the concerns of the boaters in the immediate region and, in an effort to address the situation, would like to clarify that the fees payable are as follows, effective immediately." A cruise permit for pleasure yachts less than 40 feet is $50 EC; 40 to 60 feet is $75 EC; 60 to 80 feet is $100 EC; and over 80 feet $150 EC. Passengers are charged $3 U.S. per person.

"The foregoing fees are the only fees payable when visiting the State of Grenada (which includes Carriacou and Petite Martinique) and are valid for the entire duration of the visit. The Government of Grenada is conscious of the importance of the marine sector to the economy and is in the process of reviewing proposals submitted on behalf of the boaters."

Suggestions and questions should be directed to Laura Fletcher of The Marine and Yachting Association of Grenada: mayag@caribsurf.com or at the following address: Box 679, St. George's, Grenada.

Speaking of fees, the U.S. Virgin Islands National Park has decided to initiate mooring fees only for overnight visits. (All vessels 60 feet or less in length are required to use moorings if available.) Visiting yachts can use moorings free of charge between the hours of 0730 and 1700. Vessels are charged $15 per night. Anchoring is not permitted within mooring fields and will continue to be prohibited on the south shore of St. John. There are currently 182 moorings available for overnight use within park waters.

For more information, contact the park superintendent's office: viis_ superintendent@nps.gov; 340-776-6201 x247; Virgin Islands National Park, 1300 Cruz Bay Creek, St. John, V.I. 00830.

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