Father And Sons In Bahamas

Exumas essential information

Sailing in The Bahamas

Back to the Exumas, Bahamas

Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in the Exuma. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don't forget to pack a copy to take with you.


Before you go

Sunsail Exumas
Palm Cay Marina
Yamacraw Hill Rd
Nassau, The Bahamas

Base hours
Daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Evening staff to cover until all flights have arrived.

Time zone
UTC/GMT -5 hours

April to October is Eastern Daylight Time or US summer hours.

Tourist information center
Nassau P.O. Box N 3701
Tel: 242-302-2000 / Fax: 242-302-2098

What to bring

Customs + immigration
Entry, exit, and visa requirements depend on the locations you are departing from and traveling to. You are responsible for having the correct documents so make sure to check with the consulate of the countries you plan to visit before you travel. Visit travel.state.gov for the latest information.

Sailing licenses

Luggage + packing list
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. The base has no facilities for holding luggage. Pack lightly and review our suggested packing list below for required and necessary items to bring.

  • Pack essential prescription medicine and change of clothing in a carry-on bag*
  • Passport and other travel documentation
  • Tickets and paper confirmations for pre-planned activities
  • Light-colored, light-weight clothing
  • Formal wear for upscale dining establishments
  • Swimwear and cover up
  • Hats and sunglasses
  • Sandals and flip-flops
  • Athletic shoes and hiking boots
  • Travel-sized toiletries and hygiene products
  • Insect repellent and OTC pain relievers/ointments such as motion sickness relief
  • AUX cable for playing music through your device
  • 12V DC to 110V AC power inverter (for boats without generators**)
  • 12V to USB power adapter for charging mobile devices

*We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt, and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
**All boats include a 12V DC outlet (a "car" outlet). Boats with generators have 110V outlets in the Caribbean and 220V in the Mediterranean and Exotic locations.

A Certificate of Registration must first be secured from the Civil Aviation Department in order to import a drone. The Customs Department will detain drones at the border if a Certificate of Registration has not been obtained. To register your drone online visit the Bahamas Civil Aviation page. Further details on the Special Regulations may be obtained from the Civil Aviation Department, at 242-397-4700 or email: [email protected].

Local currency – Bahamian Dollar.

U.S. currency is accepted by all vendors. Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted forms of payment.

Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants/bars and for other services undertaken during your vacation. The rule of thumb is generally 10 to 15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this onto the bill.

Security deposit
A security deposit must be paid at the base by Visa or Master Card and is refundable at the end of your charter subject to there being no loss or damage. To significantly decrease your security deposit, purchase our Yacht Damage Waiver insurance ahead of time.

What's on board

One cooler will be on board.

Mobile phones & Wi-Fi
Check with your service provider for information about cell coverage in this region.

Music + iPods
While most of our newer boats have Bluetooth capability, we cannot guarantee all boats are outfitted with this equipment. For your convenience, we highly recommend you bring an AUX cord so you can listen to music from your mobile devices.

The electrical service on The Bahamas is normally 120 volts, 60 cycles AC, in which case North American appliances are fully compatible, while European appliances will need both converters and adapters. Voltage varies with location, however, and some places in the islands may have 220 volt electrical service. Call your hotel ahead of time to find out which system they use. The standard voltage on all yachts is 12volts in order to use electronic equi p.m.ent that is 110v or 220v; you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter.

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About the marina

Marina facilities
Bar & Restaurant
Swimming Pool
Showers & Toilets
Fuel & Ice

Dock facilities

Dock space can be reserved at most harbors prior to arrival by calling ahead on VHF channel 16 or by requesting confirmation via The Sunsail office on VHF channel 16.

Sailing grounds

Experience level
Level 3

Sailing area

The sailing area includes Nassau harbor in the north through to Great Guana Cay in the Southeast. In and around Nassau, we recommend anchorages in the harbor and at Green Cay.

The sailing conditions are challenging, therefore you must have the experience and ability to deal with the following:

  • With the tidal range up to 3.5 feet, you should have experience in navigating in shallow waters with these tidal changes.
  • The 30 mile crossing from Nassau to the Exumas can be quite challenging with heavy seas and swells. 
  • Strong currents in the inlets requires careful navigation around rocks and reefs close to shore.
  • There are very few mooring balls available which requires experience in anchoring and planning around tidal changes to reduce the risk of drifting.

Sailing area restrictions
Restricted zones will be covered in your chart briefing. 

It is strictly forbidden to sail alone, we require two persons minimum on board.

Night sailing
You must be moored at least one hour before sunset. Night Sailing is not allowed without permission from the base manager. The decision to allow night sailing is based on your skill level and can be requested in advance.

You will need to fill out the Sailing resume for the base to review but we cannot guarantee approval.

Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are issued at your chart briefing.

Sailing permits + taxes

Moorings fees + taxes
Mooring and dock fees are calculated based on the size of your boat.

Health + safety

Sustainable sailing 
In an effort to protect our seas, marine wildlife and local communities, we are actively pursuing initiatives and eco-friendly practices to reduce our footprint across our Sunsail destinations.

Travel advice
Exumas is generally risk-free of contagious disease. Current travel, health, and safety information can be obtained by visiting travel.state.gov-advice. All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets harnesses we leave it up to you to decide when personal safety equipment should be worn.

We have a limited supply of children’s life jackets (age 4+ only) if you have your own children’s life jacket we would encourage you to bring it along.

We suggest that children who are not strong swimmers should not be allowed in a dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and that they should wear a buoyancy aid or harness when on deck.

Children under the age of 16yrs should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

Travel insurance
Sunsail offers comprehensive travel insurance for your complete peace of mind. If you have your own travel insurance, please make sure that it covers all of the destinations and activities of your Sunsail vacation. Visit here for more details.

*Please note country entry/exit and vaccination/immunization requirements can and do change. Sunsail is not accountable for these requirement changes and we advise visiting the destination's authority website to receive the latest updates.

Swim Safe

Swimming is often a fun and important part of a vacation. However local rules, flag systems, currents and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets and Diver Down flags are all available on board. 


  • Talk to children about water safety at the start of a vacation, making them aware of the potential dangers.
  • Accidents can happen at any time on vacation, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and do not get distracted when your children are playing by, or in the water.
  • Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended. Keep an eye on them and do not get distracted in and around the water. 
  • Get in the water with them, it is easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Floatation devices are highly recommended for children but are not a substitute for supervision.

Be aware of your surroundings

  • Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted. 
  • Beware of dangerous currents, these can be very powerful. Not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags.
  • Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life. Although shark attacks in the Bahamas are very rare the Bahamian authorities issued advice urging the public to exercise extreme caution in and around the waters of New Providence, adjacent islands, and cays.
  • Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
  • Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.

Look out for others

  • Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party and use the snorkel vests provided.
  • Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm, preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you are in.

Do not overestimate your ability

  • Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming technique.
  • Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open water swimming can be very different.


All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use this equipment during your vacation. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat on boarding - If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing. 

We have a very limited supply of children's life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are travelling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.  

Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck. 

Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.

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Around the base

Comfort Suites Paradise Island
The Ocean Club
The Cove at Atlantis
Harborside Resort
Warwick Paradise Island Bahamas
Graycliff Hotel & Restaurant
Courtyard Nassau Marriott

Generally, open between 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. (4:30 p.m. Fridays). Most ATM’s dispense Bahamian dollars at Scotiabank, First Caribbean Internation Bank and Commonwealth bank which is approx 10 mintues from base.

Post office
Postal Office is located in Nassau.

Local coffee shops and convivence store are nearby in downtown Nassau. As well they offer a wide variety of shops.

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For more information on what's included on your yacht, please view the full list here.

Choose Sunsail

Stunning sailing destinations 
Flotilla routes
Types of yachts
50 yrs
Creating vacations
4 hr
Service commitment