REGULATIONS RELATED TO INTERISLAND TRAVEL BY BOAT
Pleasure or fishing vessels are not allowed to transport passengers while asking money to do so. Requesting some sort of financial compensation for boat trips from St. Eustatius to Saba or the other way around is strictly prohibited. This means that the owner of the vessel cannot ask passengers for coverage of gasoline expenses, hotel expenses or any other kind of coverage for expenses made before, during or after the trip.
Everyone is allowed to enjoy a visit to the neighboring island, but within the limits of the law. Trips of a commercialized nature are prohibited.
The basis of the regulations lies in the Code of Safety for Small Commercial Vessels 2017 (SCV‐code). The purpose of the code is to adhere to safety standards. The pleasure and fishing vessels are not constructed to transport groups of persons between the islands.
During the past weeks an increase in the number of boats transporting passengers between Statia and Saba was noticed. In some cases, shippers drop passengers off multiple times a day. It is not likely that a shipper will transport large groups of people multiple times a week without remuneration, even if it is just sharing the costs for gas. With so many boats transporting passengers there is also a risk involved. Accidents might happen, which could ultimately lead to loss of life.
Although both the Governor of Saba and the Government Commissioner of St. Eustatius acknowledge the importance of a good connection between the two islands, it is still of utmost important that safety procedures are followed.
To ensure compliance to the SCV‐code, the Governor of Saba and the Government Commission of Statia agreed to the following:
- A shipper can be prohibited from entering the harbor of his/her island of arrival when it is reasonably likely that the shipper is paid for the trip or operating the vessel. It is assumed a shipper is paid when he or she engages in interisland travel between Saba and Statia with a group of people (family and friends only) for more than once a week (Monday to Sunday).
- When a shipper leaves for a trip with his family and friends he/she stays with them on the island of arrival and returns with the same group.
- In case of special circumstances, such as an emergency, an exception can be made by the harbor of arrival.
At your port of departure your ship will be checked for safety by harbor personnel:
- By leaving the harbor for interisland travel, you agree that the harbor communicates to the harbor of arrival that you have left and that they can expect you shortly;
- The vessel must have a valid Saba or Statia registration card and the hull, equipment and machinery as laid down in the Saba ordinance and Statia registry survey. These must be in good condition;
- The vessel must be able to transport the amount of passengers on board safely;
- The vessels must have USCG or Solas approved off‐shore life jackets for everybody on board. (e.g. PDF I USCG approved) ;
- The vessels, in case of carrying child or infants, need to have dedicated life jackets on board
- 2 liters of drinking water for each person on board (child and or infant USCG or Solas approved off shore);
- We highly recommend to have a buoyant apparatus or life raft for the amount of persons onboard;
- The owner should not make the trip when the sea state and/or the wind force are predicted above the 6 ft or and 4‐6 Beaufort or less depending of the type, size and freeboard of the vessel if the harbor master of the port of departure does not deem the vessel sufficiently safe to do so. Source: https://www.knmidc.org/weather/saba/?Marineforecast
These regulations are in place for an initial period of four weeks starting in the week of the 14th of July. After that period the safety measures will be evaluated together with boat owners.
Planning your trip
When planning your trip, you are kindly requested to do the following (at least 24 hours in advance):
‐ Fill out the EHAS form of the island you are travelling to.
- For Saba: Saba EHAS Application | Saba Tourism
- For St. Eustatius: Electronic Health Authorization System (EHAS) | COVID‐19 | St.Eustatius (statiagovernment.com)
‐ Let your port of departure know who is going to be on the vessel and when it is departing.
‐ Let your port of arrival know who is going to be on the vessel, when it is arriving and fill out all necessary arrival forms.
‐ All passengers should be able to show the EHAS form at both the port of departure as well as arrival. The shipper must be able to show that the trip is approved by the responsible persons of the island of arrival. These documents can be shown on a portable device such as a phone.
Port Saba: Tel: (+599) 416 3294, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Fort Bay Harbor | Check in procedures for visiting yachts (sabaport.com)
Port St. Eustatius: email@example.com
Please be advised to arrive at the time agreed upon by the harbor personnel. If your vessel arrives at a time when the harbor is closed and border control is not in the harbor, you may not be admitted. The Saba harbor and Statia harbor are both open between 6AM until 6PM.
The Public Entities of Saba and St. Eustatius jointly issued a tender document on June 30, 2021, inviting licensed ferry operators to submit a proposal to provide regular, affordable maritime connectivity between Saba, St. Eustatius and St. Maarten and between St. Eustatius and St. Kitts. The start of the ferry operation is scheduled before the end of this year at the latest.