Yacht Charter St Martin
Set sail on a St Martin yacht charter with Borrow a Boat! An island with tourism core to its economy, a sailing holiday can involve exploring the island itself or island-hopping around the Leeward Islands or British Virgin Islands. Wherever you go, your St Martin boat rental will be a memorable experience!
St Martin is jointly run by the Netherlands and France, with the 350 year old Concordia Treaty one of the oldest treaties in the world that is still in operation. Roughly two thirds of the island is Saint Martin run by France and the other third is St Maarten. There is no border and visitors and residents alike are allowed to travel and (and residents, trade) anywhere on the island.
With lots of opportunities to party, from duty free shops to casinos, beach bars and amazing resorts right across the 37 square mile island, as well as two airports, St Martin is a place to unwind big time
One of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean is Maho Beach right at the end of Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) where beachgoers get blasted by jumbo jets about to take off. This is very close to the capital Philipsburg, where tourists shop until they drop, often coming away with electronics that are far cheaper than on the US mainland.
The resorts are off the scale too. Orient Bay is regularly said to be the best resort in the Caribbean, catering to everyone from watersports enthusiasts to naturists. Simpson Bay has a large marina where the biggest mega yachts in the region moor up too.
For those seeking a bit of quiet, Pinel Island off Orient Bay has some of the best white sandy beaches, and those with muzzy heads can go to the underdeveloped end (though do be aware clothing is optional at that side).
On a St Martin yacht charter you're likely to be there for some sailing too! The steady trade winds put the British Virgin Islands in reach as well as the Leeward Island chain like Prickly Pear Cay to the west and Gustavia to the south, Antigua and even the Windward Islands to the SE.
Hiring A Yacht In St Martin
If you are on a crewed yacht charter you will turn up at the charter base, introduce yourself to the crew or boat owner and on finalising your bill for the holiday, off you go.
On a bareboat yacht charter you will need to present your sailing qualifications to the boat owner or charter companyand after paying any remaining fees/damage deposits, you will inspect the boat and off you go!
The seas are well-charted and as long as you have an ICC/ASA 104 Bareboat certification (or equivalent) you will be good to go.
Getting to St Martin
One of the biggest reasons for the success of St Martin is that it has two airports. Princess Juliana International Airport (SXM) in St Maarten has direct flights from much of Europe, and plays such a big role on the island that locals refer to their home as 'SXM'. On the French side, L'Esperance Airport has domestic flights to the French Caribbean like Guadeloupe and Martinique (being considered internal flights within France).
To get to the charter base you can take a bus or a taxi. Taxis charge a standard fee for anywhere on the island so if you can get the whole crew and gear in then it won't cost so much per head.
Best Areas To Charter
A shorter sailing vacation out of St Martin can take you to nearby Leeward Island Anguilla but longer trips could take you on a Caribbean island-hopping trip involving the Virgin Islands, Leeward Islands, and the Windward Islands.
A shorter sailing holiday can take you north to Anguilla or south to Gustavia, both great sailing destinations with beaches and excellent snorkeling over unique coral reefs. Further afield and a separate country, you have Antigua and Barbuda and can try one of the 365 beaches on Antigua itself!
British Virgin Islands
Possibly the best yacht charter destination in the world in their own right, the 60 British Virgin Islands don't have direct flights from Europe. This is why a St Martin yacht charter could be a good way to see what all the fuss is about there!
A brief history lesson - the Windward Islands are known as such as in the days of sail, ships had to closer to the wind to get there. The Leewards were easier. It isn't beating and misery to get to the jewels like Dominca, Martinique and St Lucia - it is in fact reaching in glorious winds and beautiful weather!
Best Towns to Charter a Yacht in St Martin
As you'd expect from a party island like St Martin, there are dozens of marinas here. There are three main centres for charter yachts.
The capital of the island has Bobby's Marina, a short taxi ride from SXM.
Not to be confused with Marigot Bay, Saint Lucia, Marigot Bay in Saint Martin's Fort Luis Marina is a major boat charter centre.
Whether because you're on something a little bigger yourself or just because your yacht is there, St Maarten's Simpson Bay is another important yacht charter base - though generally for bigger luxury yachts.
Types Of Yachts To Hire
There are three broad types of yacht rental - bareboat charter, flotilla charters, and crewed yacht charter. Where it comes to the types of charter boat you can hire, there is a motorboat charters, monohull sailing yacht charters, catamaran charters, superyacht charters or luxury yacht charters and RIBs or day boats. Each have their benefits.
Coming in all shapes and sizes from 7 metres to 70+ metres, motor boats are as different as their uses. A seven metre RIB will be a great day boat and can be hired for as little as $110 a day for fishing trips or just blasting about the bay. The 15 metre plus size of motor yacht will have cabins and often en suite heads and cost upwards of $400 a day.
Starting at as 'little' as $10,000 a day a superyacht charter will come with skipper and crew as part of the package. On the crewed motor yacht or sailing boat you will be treated like kings and queens on your personal mini-cruise-ship that will often come with tenders and toys such as jet skis and even sailing yachts!
Luxury Yacht Charter
Coming with or without skipper and/or crew, a luxury charter yacht will cost upwards of $700 a day and will come fully fitted out with all the modern conveniences and comforts of the very best sailing craft afloat. Expect en suite heads and comfortable staterooms but also a lot of fun under sail!
Starting at $450 a day, a sailing catamaran is a luxury yachts that offer lots of space, a fair lick of speed on a reach and a shallow draft for mooring close into shore. They have twin engines in the hulls so while large they are incredibly manoeuvrable when in marinas and so forth.
Monohull Sailing Yacht
Ranging in size from 10 metres up to 20 or so, monohull sailing boat form the backbone of the St Martin boat charter industry. Very good to windward, you will find yourself chewing up the miles at all points of sail without relying on the engines. Costing as little as $120 a day you will enjoy comfort and fun for a good budget price.
Crewed Yacht charter or Bareboat?
Where it comes to a St Martin yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat or crewed yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
No sailing qualifications or not confident enough to bareboat charter yourself? That's no problem when it comes to yacht charter - you can take on a skipper and crew for the week or two touring Leeward Island waters! With a crewed yacht charter you have someone aboard who knows the ropes and the best places to visit on your sailing holiday. They will know the best spots for what you want, be it hideaway restaurants or the best hiking and diving to be found. Costing as little as $100 a day (depending on the size and type of vessel) you will get the very best from your boatcharter holiday with one aboard. Don't forget the tip at the end of the week!
Bareboat yacht charter
A competent sailor? Have the qualifications required? Dreaming all year of casting off and exploring the Caribbean islands with just you and your friends? A bareboat charter is just the thing for you. This is cheaper than a skippered yacht charter but you also get the privacy of being in your chosen group without a stranger in your midst. You get to choose your own adventure and go at your own pace - not a bad thing for a holiday to recharge your batteries ahead of rejoining the rat race...
Do you need a licence to charter in St Martin?
If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification, below is a list of relevant qualifications:
International Certificate of Competence (ICC): Standard European Qualification for bareboat sailing
ASA 104 Bareboat certificate: The American Sailing Association's skipper standard qualification for hiring bareboat yachts.
RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Skipper level) is necessary for bareboat hire, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some boat owner and chartercompanies will require this.
There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before hiring.
If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.
Best Times To Hire
The best time to enjoy a charter vacation in the Leeward Islands is often a question of taste and time. Throughout the year the temperatures never really dip below the 20 degree C range and can get as high as 32 degrees in high summer. The rainy season coincides with the hurricane season between June and November.
That allows you to make a choice - do you like crowds and 'the buzz' or do you want an escape? To escape, do a St Martin yacht charter during school term. For the buzz, visit around Christmas or Easter.
The sailing season runs from December to June with the hurricane season hitting in June and ending in November. Winds are dominated by the NE Trade Winds and can sit at up to 20 knots, firm and steady all day.
Hurricanes have recently given the region a big kicking and are not to be underestimated. Generally speaking it is impossible to hire a yacht during this time.
How much does it cost for a St Martin Charter
There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For US $120 a day - $840 a week - you can take a sailboat monohull out with five other adults. That is going to be cheaper than a week in a hotel for everyone.
Catamarans cost a lot more - expect to pay anything from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the season.
Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping accommodation - much less if they are day boats.
RIBs can cost as little as €50 for an afternoon.
In each of the examples above you can take on a skipper starting at $150 a day depending on what the vessel is and their required qualifications to sail it.
For Superyachts and large luxury yachts expect to pay $15,000 a day and up to $100,000 a day depending on the size and type of boat
Explore St Martin By Renting A Yacht
Whether tasting rum cocktails until dawn or at casinos, duty free shops and beach bars until dusk, St Martin has only one purpose - fun! For those who love sailing, a boat charter can take you to the British Virgin Islands, Windward Islands or pottering about the Leeward Islands. Wherever you go and whatever you do on the Caribbean Sea, you won't forget it!
Is Yacht hire in St Martin Legal?
St Martin's yacht charter industry is an integral part of its tourism sector and perfectly legal.
What kind of Yachts can I hire in St Martin?
You can hire everything from a small motor boat to a large superyacht. Monohull sailing yachts are common, though catamarans are more comfortable and spacious metre for metre.
What should I consider when hiring a Yacht?
Your budget for the sailing holiday should come first. Travelling - both getting there and what destinations to explore. What do you enjoy on a yacht charter? Work out your itinerary from there. Who are you taking with you and what are your limitations as a sailor?
What are the best times to hire a Yacht in St Martin?
The sailing season runs from November to May, with the best time for a sailing yacht charter outside of school holidays thanks to the crowds.
Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht in St Martin?
There are two deposits to consider. Firstly you will normally have to pay a 50% deposit on booking. This secures your trip. On arrival you will have to pay a refundable security deposit for the trip on your credit card though you can get yacht charter insurance - though non-refundable this can be cheaper.
What happens if my Yacht breaks down?
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.
What should I think of before I hire a Yacht in St Martin?
Do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book? Where do you want to go? Though it will be warm, bring something for the rain. Do you just want to sail close to St Martin or do you want to sail further afield to places like BVI or Antigua? That may take a bit longer so allow for a longer sailing trip.
Do I need a visa to visit St Martin?
Citizens of the US, UK, Canada, EU and EEA countries can normally stay on St Martin for up to three months with no visa. If you are from outside these countries, check with the French or Dutch Consulate.