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Frequently Asked Questions

Bahamas Sailing Charters

You’ll find some of the most common questions we hear about our Bahamas sailing charters listed below.

If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for, reach out and we’ll be happy to discuss any additional questions you may have. Who knows? Your question may even make the page for the next guest!

Will I get sea sick?

Catamarans of our size are widely considered to be among the most stable and forgiving boats to sail.

Sailing in the Exumas does occasionally require some open-water sailing, and we can’t control the weather or your schedule – only where we put the boat as conditions materialize. The vast majority of sailing happens in protected waters, and almost all of our time at anchor is spent in calm, sheltered bays, where rocking and rolling are at a minimum.

We tailor our routes to the tastes of the groups who join us, however our duty first and foremost is to keep our guests and the crew safe. Every trip is different, but one thing you can count on is that we’ll choose routes that are favorable for the weather conditions during your trip.

We very rarely have guests who experience seasickness, however, every individual’s sensitivity to seasickness is different.

We recommend you bring an assortment of seasickness medicines with you just in case, and that you try them out before you visit so that you’re confident in how your body will react when you take them. Seasickness patches are a favorite of many of our guests, who put one on before boarding and simply keep one on for the full week, and never experience a hint of seasickness while here.

The more prepared you are, the more relaxed and comfortable you’ll feel when you’re here, and the less likely you’ll actually need to use the meds.

Will there be fresh/hot water for showering?

Yes.

We can carry up to 360 gallons of water, and we have a water heater on board that runs anytime the engines run. The hot water stays hot all day, and we run the engines daily.

We also have a 16-gallon/hour watermaker, which can be run anytime we are in clear water without silt or sediment stirred up. We use that to stay topped up for the duration of your stay with us.

It’s important to be conscious of your consumption so there’s enough to go around, but it’s by no means camping.

When you join the boat, we’ll do a full orientation on freshwater etiquette for sailboats and you’ll be good to go!

Is there a minimum age for children on board?

Many parents find that a catamaran charter makes the perfect vacation to bond with the family, and we agree!

While we enjoy hosting families and friends of all shapes and sizes, our first two priorities as crew are safeguarding the wellbeing of our guests and the wellbeing of our boat, followed closely by ensuring your enjoyment.

If you bring children along for your trip, please keep in mind that while we’re responsible for showing your group the fun, your charter party is fully responsible for your children’s conduct and entertainment.

In this spirit, we like to share the following information with parents or grandparents considering a trip with us:

  • Sailing the length of the Exumas island chain is an activity generally best suited for children age 8 and up. If you’re considering bringing younger kids, please reach out to us and we can talk about the boat and activities in detail so you can make an informed decision about whether this is the right trip for right now. We have had younger kids aboard who are accustomed to RVing and boating lifestyles and it has been great, but the charter experience with younger children can be more challenging depending on your family’s experience and needs.
  • Tahina does not have lifeline netting or additional safety gear aboard for young children, so it is important that any children who come along are “water safe.” They should be capable swimmers, familiarized with water and boating safety rules before arriving. This includes only going on deck when accompanied by an adult from your party, wearing a life jacket when requested by the crew, and never entering the water without supervision by an adult from your party.
  • Because of the huge variation in headcount and size of children that visit Tahina, we do not carry life jackets to suit every child. Parents of children under the age of 12 (or of children who cannot wear an adult life jacket) must bring along an appropriately fitted life jacket for their child to be worn at the request of the crew or in the event of an emergency.
  • Running a charter on Tahina is a full-time job, requiring 16-18 hours a day of focus from your crew. If you need additional childcare assistance, we recommend you consider bringing a nanny along to assist with giving you the extra time away you’re looking for.
  • We recommend you bring along books, handheld video game consoles, coloring books (crayons or colored pencils only please), etc. to help keep kids entertained while we’re underway. We have cards, a games closet, a Rubiks cube and a small Lego set on board. We also have a TV and can arrange “movie nights” via our Starlink internet service.

Are we allowed to fish?

You betcha. As a guest of the yacht, you are permitted to fish. The yacht is equipped with two trolling rods and an assortment of basic trolling lures and tackle. We also carry pole spears and a Hawaiian sling.

If you’re a fishing fanatic, we’re glad to have you bring your own tackle along – just no spear guns with triggers please. Those are strictly forbidden in the Bahamas.

Ocean Adventure Cat adheres to all of the Bahamas fishing regulations, and anyone fishing from the yacht will be required to do the same.

What kind of fish can we catch?

Depending on the time of year, you’re more likely to catch certain kinds of fish in the Bahamas. There are also a few  fishing seasons and regulations we must adhere to.

Wahoo: This delicious and fast-moving species migrates through the Bahamas from November to March. We fish for them by trolling steep dropoffs between 150-450 ft. of water, 150-300ft. behind the boat. Wahoo are fast swimmers, so they’re a great fish to troll for on breezy days, as they are happy to hit a lure at up to 15-20kts speed over ground. Ideal times for these fish are during low light, early morning or late afternoon.

Dolphin (Dorado/Mahi Mahi): These colorful blue-water fish are most commonly found in the Bahamas between March and May, and they prefer the shade supplied by floating debris and seaweed, usually in depths at least 150 ft. deep, late morning to afternoon. Ideal trolling speed for mahi is 2-9kts, which is ideal for typical sailing speeds this time of year.

Tuna: Tuna fishing is best from March through July in low-light hours and involves trolling between 3-10kts in deep water,  especially in areas with humps and pinnacles that generate current and temperature changes. The best strategies usually involve either chumming them up and running a lure FAR behind the boat or running a downrigger down to around 75 ft.

King Mackerel: Best caught trolling in speeds similar to wahoo in 40 to 150 feet of water.

Snapper and Hogfish: Delicious eating. We line catch and pole spear snapper inshore on reefs, and we aim to eat only those smaller than the length of our forearm and large enough be worth the effort to prepare.

Grouper: Because of the combination of Bahamian fishing regulations and risk of ciguatera poisioning, we aim to fish or pole spear grouper of at least 3 lbs and shorter than the length of our forearms. It’s a very narrow window of error. We can also only take Nassau Grouper between March – November.

Lobster: Bahamas spiny lobster are a guest favorite. We typically pole spear or net these guys while freediving in water between 10-40 feet deep. They hang out under rocky outcroppings and in canyons between rocks and reefs, and are best found in the very early morning as they are returining to their dens, or early evening as they are leaving to forage for food. Lobster season spans August – March and each lobster’s carapace must measure 3 and 3/8″ to be legal to take. We can take a maximum of 10 lobster per person.

Conch: Conch season spans August – March. We catch them on grassy sea beds in shallow water, or on grassy areas between rocky areas in deeper water. They must have a flared, well-formed lip, and will only take a maximum of 6 at any given time.

We cannot take shark or billfish (swordfish, sailfish, marlin) at any time. These species are 100% catch and release in the Bahamas. We are limited to 20 demersal fish (snapper, grouper) or 18 migratory fish aboard at any given time.

Will we get to pet the nurse sharks?

If petting the nurse sharks at Compass Cay is on your bucket list, we can structure your itinerary to make it there (weather permitting).

This is one of our favorite activities for guests to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures. It is often the highlight of the trip for our guests.

Visiting the sharks incurs a landing fee for each person coming ashore, including your crew, who come along to help guide the experience and who bring along small fishy bites to keep the sharks engaged. Last we went it was $15 per person.

Bring cash, and never try to ride or hand-feed the sharks! They’re still wild animals, and they have very sharp teeth.

A limited assortment of beer and snacks are available in the shop at the dock, and there are some great hikes and beaches on the island.

Can we visit the swimming pigs?

If swimming pigs are your jam, we’re happy to take you to one of the two pig beaches in the Exumas to get that perfect piggie selfie.

The pigs can be pushy, so keep your senses alert and avoid teasing them with food. With any luck, you’ll get the pics you always dreamed of and will come back with all your fingers and toes intact.

What should I pack?

Two pieces of solid advice:

  1. PACK LIGHT!
  2. Bring only soft-sided, collapsible bags.

The most common thing we hear from our guests at the end of their charter (aside from how much fun they had) is how little of the clothes/shoes they brought that they actually ended up using.

Out here life is simple, very casual, and there is sand everywhere you go ashore. Heels, fancy clothing, and copious makeup and styling tools rarely if ever make it out of the closet and/or bathroom cabinet.

To help you plan, we prepared a handy sailing charter packing list that we recommend you share with everyone in your group before packing to depart.

Do you have a stereo on board?

Yes! We have the latest Fusion sound system with two outdoor zones and a Bluetooth speaker for inside. Our outdoor stereo system is Bluetooth-enabled so you can bring your favorite playlist and pair directly to the boat.

When do I have to pay for my reservation?

The first deposit, which amounts to 25% of your charter fee, is due upon signing of the yacht charter contract. This is what reserves your travel dates with Ocean Adventure Cat.

180 days before the start date of your charter, your 2nd deposit of 25% of the charter fee is due.

Your final payment of 50% of the charter fee is due 60 days before the start date of your charter.

Ocean Adventure Cat will endeavor to provide timely reminders of payment due dates, however responsibility for timely remittance of the charter fees is solely the responsibility of the charterer.

You will receive an invoice and receipt for each payment made.

What's your cancellation policy?

We strongly encourage all of our guests to obtain travel insurance when booking their trip. Not only does travel insurance provide peace of mind if your plans change, but it can also cover things like medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, a flight accident, and other losses while you’re traveling internationally or domestically.

All cancellations must be requested in writing and submitted to [email protected] for processing.

Cancellation fees are as follows and apply relative to the charter start date:

  • Cancellation 180 days or more: 10% of the charter fee
  • Cancellation between 179 and 60 days: 35% of the charter fee
  • Cancellation between 59 and 0 days: 100% of the charter fee (no refund)

If we are able to rebook the yacht for the dates you reserved prior to your cancellation, we will refund your cancellation fee less a minimum of 5% of your quoted Charter Fee. Partial rebookings will be refunded at a pro-rata rate for the dates covered by the replacement booking.

If Ocean Adventure Cat is forced to cancel your trip, we will refund you the full value of your trip already paid by you as of the cancellation date. If your voyage has already begun, Ocean Adventure Cat will refund your charter fee at a pro-rata rate for any days of your trip that were not completed. There are some exceptions to this policy. Those are named and described in detail in the charter contract.

What if someone gets injured or sick while on board?

This occurs very rarely and injuries are generally no more serious than the sorts of injuries a person might endure when playing casual sports or participating in outdoor activities at home.

The most common injuries incurred while on charter involve:

  • Sunburn
  • Encounters with marine life, including coral abrasions and/or jellyfish stings – very rare
  • Encounters with wildlife, including bruises or bites from the famous swimming pigs – avoidable if you follow the rules of engagement for visiting the pigs
  • Bruises, scratches, or sprains from slipping and falling while walking around, boarding or deboarding the boat

For acute injuries like these, we carry a first-aid kit and book, and all of our crew members are first aid and CPR-certified.

Some injuries are just plain unavoidable, but to reduce the likelihood that you have any of the above experiences on your trip:

  1. Please always maintain a hand for you and a hand for the boat, with 3 points of contact with the boat at all times.
  2. Never go inside dripping wet.
  3. Avoid touching marine life (except maybe the nurse sharks at Compass Cay, at your own risk).
  4. Always maintain 3 wraps on a winch or at least 1 full wrap and 1 figure 8 hitch around a cleat on any line you handle.

When you board the boat, we will conduct a safety briefing to review the proper ways to board, deboard and move around the yacht.

For guests wishing to participate in linehandling or sailing the boat, we will conduct a demonstration to ensure you are aware of the risks involved and are able to demonstrate proper technique. Should you choose to participate in sailing or linehandling while aboard, you do this entirely at your own risk, as outlined in your charter contract.

Due to the risks associated with drug interactions and/or allergic or adverse reactions, we ask that you bring your own over-the-counter pain relievers, antihistamines and seasickness medications. Should you find need them while aboard and do not have them with you, pharmacies are available on some of the islands in the area, where you may be able to purchase what you need.

Other more serious injuries commonly incurred while boating include fractures, lacerations and head injuries related to participating in recreational activities or the lack of coordination associated with overindulging in the local libations.

Most inhabited islands have a local clinic with either a nurse or a doctor on-island, and George Town has a mini-hospital, but the nearest full-service hospital is in Nassau, a plane or fast-boat ride away.

We strongly encourage all of our guests to obtain travel insurance with medical and evacuation coverage when booking their trip. Not only does travel insurance provide peace of mind if you are injured, but it can also cover things like trip cancellation, lost luggage, a flight accident, and other losses while you’re traveling internationally or domestically.

 

Do the cabins have A/C?

Yes, the cabins on Tahina do have A/C.

The boat also has lots of ventilation via overhead hatches and port lights (windows) along the sidewalls, and fans in every stateroom.

Winters in the Bahamas tend to be very comfortable at night even without A/C, generally in the low to mid 70s, but on still nights or anytime the temperatures are just not ideal for everyone to get good rest, especially toward the end of season, we turn on the generator and run the A/C.

Where should we meet you in George Town?

When you arrive at GGT airport, pick up a taxi at the terminal exit and tell them you’re headed to the dinghy dock behind Exuma Markets. They’ll know exactly where to take you.

As soon as you’re in the taxi, send us a text message so we can send a crew member to the dock to pick you up. Our phone number is in the signature of the emails you received from us.

The taxi rate must be paid in cash, and varies between $30-40 depending on the size of your group, amount of baggage and the vehicle you need to transport you. The Bahamas takes US dollars and the Bahamian dollar’s value is pegged to the US dollar.

When you leave, you can arrange to ride back with the same driver who dropped you off (just get their number when you come in) or we can help arrange a taxi for you.