The process all started when the yacht broker contacted Trusted Yacht Delivery to help with a delivery of a 2017 51’ SeaRay Flybridge that needed to go Miami to Freeport Bahamas to be loaded on the ship shipping ship called the Happy Dragon.
The “Significant” was bound for Hawaii.
The shipping transport company, Seven Star Yacht Transport would handle all of the logistics with customs and providing the schedule.
While the Happy Dragon was stopping in West Palm Beach, FL, there was no way to load the yacht in the US due to the Jones which requires that waterborne transportation of any merchandise between two points in the US must take place aboard a vessel that is US-built, owned, flagged, and crewed. With all of these regulations, it’s nearly impossible to find a shipping company that can handle that request
So…we will meet the boat in Freeport Bahamas.
The owners who had just purchased the yacht, were having the boat serviced and upgraded in Fort Lauderdale. They provided a qualified captain to oversee all of the work leading up to our scheduled delivery date.
One of the big challenges, and there were many, that we faced was the fact that the Bahamas had previously closed their borders to all travelers to stop the spread of COVID-19 during this pandemic.
Travelling to the Bahamas requires lots of paperwork anyway, but during this pandemic, they were requiring a PCR test for COVID-19. It’s not one of those simple swap tests, but the invasive, q-tip to the brain type of test.
Anyway, with a recent (within 7 days) test, our crew results were uploaded to the Bahamas (Bahamas.coom) website and we were sent via email our good-to-go Travel Visa from the Bahamas.
The next issue to overcome is timing. When you’re delivering or receiving a yacht from a shipping transport company like Yacht Transport, it’s important you meet the boat on-time.
With the this project, if we missed the boat (for any reason), there would be no refunds. That means everything was on the line for getting the boat there on time. That ship was leaving if we were just 2 minutes late due to weather, mechanical or any other reason.. At $80,000 to ship the boat from Bahamas to Hawaii, I was prepared to swim the boat there with a line in my teeth.
After many days of anxious clients, shipping agents, captains and crew, we were on the schedule and prepared for our trip to the Bahamas.
With clear skis and calm seas we eased out of Bahia Mar Marina and made way to the port of Freeport.
Once we arrived in Freeport we are required to get a clearance (similar to flying with ATC) to enter the harbor. Once we received clearance from Harbor Control, we met the boat and were greeted by the very international crew.
The crew of the Happy Dragon was professional, courteous and efficient at receiving us and preparing to hoist us aboard.
At this point we packed our bags and were escorted off the ship.
Once we were off the ship, it was business as usual with the Bahamian Government. We met with customs and immigration and after about 20 minutes of paperwork and paying for our cruising permit we were cleared into the country.
Stay tuned for more articles about the Bahamas and all of the procedures for entering the country by boat.
If you need to ship your yacht, call on Trusted Yacht Delivery to deliver or receive your boat on time, and on budget. Call us today.