Antigua and Barbuda from Cruising info Community

George.Curtis2 (Past OCC Member)
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Flying Fish Articles

Visa requirements

No visas are required for citizens of the UK, EU countries, USA, Canada and most major nations including South Africa. A 30 day period of stay is usually granted on entry, which may be extended on request.

If a crew member enters on the boat but proposes to leave by air, this should be made known to immigration on entry. When the crew member leaves it is important to have Immigration remove his name from the Crew List.
Entry requirements

Vessels must proceed immediately to a Port of Entry and report as soon as the Customs/Immigration offices open. There is no requirement for all crew to report in person. Documents required are; the vessel 's Certificate of Registration (original), an outward clearance from the last port/country of call and valid passports for all crew members.
Transit requirements (departing one port, entering another)

Once a vessel has entered and cleared Customs and Immigration there are no formalities or restrictions for visiting other ports within Antigua and Barbuda. A cruising permit is issued on entry allowing unrestricted passage between all ports and anchorages in the two islands.

It is permissible to enter at one island and depart from the other.
Search and rescue

Antigua and Barbuda Search and Rescue (ABSAR) operates as a volunteer SAR service with well-equipped high-powered RIBs. They monitor calls on VHF channels 16 and 68.
Emergency and health services

Antigua: Doctors available to cover English Harbour/Falmouth Harbour areas. Hospital in St John’s.

Barbuda: Doctor and clinic in Codrington.
Importing spares

No known difficulties other than the usual Customs bureaucracy. It is easiest to import spares/equipment through one of the local service companies or suppliers or Jane’s Yacht Services as they know the systems and how to expedite them.
Useful languages

English is the language of the territory.
Other comments

Last updated by George Curtis on 24 March 2013.

Recommended cruising guides

Free downloadable cruising guides by Frank Virgintino
A Cruising Guide to the Lesser Antilles
Volume 2, The Leeward Islands

Chris Doyle, The Leeward Islands, constantly updated; highly recommended.

“Sailors Guide to the Leeward Islands” (Anguilla through Dominica) by Chris Doyle and published by Cruising Guide Publications. 2006-2007 was 9th edition. This is an excellent guide and is the cruiser 's "bible" in the Eastern Caribbean. Chris cruises the area continually and updates his guides every two years.

“Grenada to the Virgin Islands” by Jacques Patuelli, published by Imray and translated from the French.

"Street 's Cruising Guide to the Eastern Caribbean: Anguilla to Dominica". This guide may be out of print but it is worth finding a copy as it covers all the bays not covered in the other guides, where no one else goes.
Some of the ports of entry

Antigua: English Harbour (also serves Falmouth Harbour, only a short walk away), Jolly Harbour and St John’s.

Barbuda: Codrington
Harbours to leave your yacht for 1 month or more

Barbuda: None

Antigua: English Harbour (Antigua Slipway or Nelson’s Dockyard); Falmouth Harbour (Cat Club, Falmouth Harbour Marina, Antigua Yacht Club); Jolly Harbour.

Hurricane season storage at Antigua Slipway, Cat Club and Jolly Harbour.Boatyard.
Weather information

English Harbour Radio (Jolyon Brierley) VHF 68 at 0900 daily.
OCC net: Frequency 4027 kHz upper sideband and time is 0730 local E Caribbean time from November through April.
Caribbean Compass site showing HF weather broadcasts in the Caribbean. See

Chris Parker in Florida, under the banner of the Caribbean Weather Centre (, broadcasts a daily (except Sunday) weather forecast for the Caribbean on SSB 8137 kHz USB at 0700 local time and 8104 kHz USB at 0830. Also available to subscribers by email. Detailed forecasts for specific areas may be obtained by Subscribers. For up-to-date details of times and subscription rates check with Chris at: []

"Eric" broadcasts forecast details for the Eastern Caribbean 7 days a week on 3855 kHz LowerSB at 0630. Note: this is intended for Amateur Radio operators but can be received by anyone able to tune to Ham frequencies.

There is a comprehensive list [] of sources of weather information for the Caribbean area on the OCC Website.
Tidal information

Not normally considered necessary as daily range is so little.
Cruising permits and restrictions

Automatically issued on entry.
Radio and communications

The OCC SSB Net operates at 0730 daily from November to April at 4027 kHz USB. Also the Coconut Telegraph Net at 0800 daily on 4060 USB.

See 16 below for the Caribbean Safety and Security Net. This frequency (8104 kHz USB) is frequently used by cruisers for contacting other cruising boats between 0800 and 0815 and immediately after the Net finishes and before Chris Parker comes on air at about 0835.

A chageable WiFi service, HotHotHotSpot, is provided in Jolly Harbour, Falmouth Harbour and English Harbour by the Image Locker in English Harbour ( [])

Falmouth Harbour is a notorious SSB “Black Spot” due to electronic emissions emanating from Super Yachts.

VHF ch 68 is used by all service companies and suppliers in English/Falmouth Harbours.
General advice, places to go, warnings

Although Antigua is very well endowed with yacht service companies and equipment suppliers, these companies give preference to “the big spenders” i.e. the Super Yacht Community who are not price conscious and have unlimited budgets. It can be very frustrating as a budget-conscious cruising yachtsman trying to get work done there in the busy season (November through April).

Antigua has a plethora of bays and anchorages right around the island making it a fascinating cruising ground in its own right. Unlike most of the other Eastern Caribbean islands the cruising area is not limited to the leeward side of the island and there are many protected reef anchorages on the windward side.

Barbuda, a short day sail from Antigua, has several good anchorages on the west (leeward) coast and almost unlimited deserted sandy beaches, but beware swell. Of particular interest is the world’s largest Frigate Bird colony which may be visited by dinghy or local boat within the lagoon in the north part of the island. Call George Jeffery on VHF 16. Horse racing takes place in Codrington on Sunday afternoons.
Safety and security

Antigua has a widespread drug culture among the locals which is fed by petty crime including knife crimes, robbery and armed robbery. In recent years this has not impacted the yachting community to any degree, except for a spate of unattended boat robberies in English Harbour in 2005. However, January 2009 saw the murder by shooting of a young Australian professional yacht captain in a public area between English and Falmouth Harbours. Security has since been increased in the area.

Normal security precautions should be taken especially with dinghies and outboards as dinghy/outboard theft is rife throughout the Caribbean. The engine & fuel tank should be locked to the dinghy and the dinghy should be locked with a wire or chain when left unattended ashore. At night, dinghies should be either locked to the boat or, preferably, hoisted out of the water.

Melodye Pompa operates the Caribbean Safety and Security Net daily at 0815 on 8104 kHz USB. She also maintains a computer database of safety and security incidents. This Net serves as a forum for reporting/discussing safety and security incidents throughout the Caribbean as well as for "boat watches" for overdue vessels. It has a very wide daily audience. See also []

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