The Yacht Club Isle de Sol in St. Maarten is set to open the clinic, which will be independent of the government’s testing infrastructure, by December. It will ensure all guests and crews arriving by yacht can be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival at the IGY owned marina.
According to multiple sources, the Caribbean is on course for a bumper year for yacht charter vacations this winter. An appealing alternative to ski resorts and other vacation types, crewed yachts allow you to enjoy a luxury vacation in a self-isolated bubble at sea.
The goal of the new testing clinic is to establish a cruising bubble between St. Maarten, St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths.
Brian Deher, IGY regional director for the Caribbean, said that the idea came about as a way of relieving any potential pressure on the general testing facilities on the small island:
“The goal is to provide additional testing equipment for St. Maarten, so that the maritime industry does not become a burden on the island’s testing facilities, but rather we are adding to the infrastructure,”
We’ve got a lot of demand from boats to come down and they want to have a cruising bubble between St. Maarten, St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths.
Although the clinic is a private initiative it is being worked on in collaboration with the government, with the equipment being available to the government if necessary in the future.
“We will definitely be proactive in assisting the [St. Maarten] Marine Trades Association and the government for testing option centres in other marinas and areas for the coming season,” Deher said. “We’ve got a lot of demand from boats to come down and they want to have a cruising bubble between St. Maarten, St. Martin, Anguilla and St. Barths.”
The goal is to provide additional testing equipment for St. Maarten, so that the maritime industry does not become a burden on the island’s testing facilities, but rather we are adding to the infrastructure.
At the time of writing the St. Maarten Marine Trades Association is reported to be in talks with local governments about creating cruising bubbles between certain Caribbean islands, to enable yachts to move around the region with more freedom.
This all comes as a number of countries in the Caribbean have announced they will be relaxing their COVID-19 travel restrictions over the coming months. The US Virgin Islands reopened to leisure travel on 19 September, the Bahamas will be relaxing their restrictions and reopening a number of beaches and hotels on 15 October and The British Virgin Islands will be welcoming back visitors from 1 December.
With these additional testing measures being put in place and the restrictions being relaxed in certain countries, the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy a socially distanced yacht charter this winter.
The 7,000 islands that make up the region benefit from year round sun, turquoise waters, an abundance of sea life, quiet anchorages and beautifully secluded beaches. Just a short hop from the east coast of the USA, they also make a great Thanksgiving yacht charter destination.