Preparing For the Bahamas

The move on to Seabreeze seems so far away, but we know it isn’t.  Getting ready to sail off is going to take a little time. One of the places we plan to spend a lot of time sailing is in  Bahamas.  Knowing this, we have to be actively preparing for the Bahamas.

Preparation Steps

We have already researched what is needed to enter into the Bahamas and to return back to the states.  There is a process you have to follow.

When entering the Bahamas you have to put up your Q or Quarantine Flag.  Usually,  you will fly the Q flag at your starboard spreaders.  You must fly this flag until the captain of the boat goes ashore and checks in.

After the ship is cleared and checked in, you can fly the courtesy Bahama flag.  This replaces the Quarantine flag.  It is called a courtesy flag.

Another flag you will want to fly is your country of origin flag.  You can fly it on a pole at the stern of the boat.  We plan on this teak flag pole.    It will fit in our fishing pole holder and match the wood already on the boat.                                                                                                                   

They recommend your country of origin flag be 1 inch wide for every foot of boat length, but this is not a regulation.  This is only a recommendation for what looks the best.

Just For Fun

When I think of the Bahamas…I think of a hammock in the sun.  We just purchased this hammock to install on the front of Seabreeze.   Dave can fish and I can get a little R&R with a good book.

I will post a picture of this installed, after our first trip of the season.  With the way the weather has been in Illinois, that could be June.

Documents Needed

When sailing to another country, be sure to take along a copy of your birth certificates, drivers license, passport, and boat documents.  You want proof of who you are.  You will also need these papers to check into the Bahamas and to re-enter the US.  I made photo copies of all these documents.  The copies are stored in our ditch bag.  If someone finds this floating out in the ocean, they will know who they are looking for.

Things to Remember

Things such as water, paper products and batteries can be very expensive in the Bahamas.  We are looking at adding a water maker.  You can’t take enough water to spend the winter.  Water in the Bahamas can be as much at 6.00 a gallon.

If you have favorite foods you can’t live without, you may want to take them with you.  Many of the American favorite foods are not available in the Bahamas.

Fuel can be a problem.  The fuel in the Bahamas is not as clean as it is in the US.  Make sure you have a filter system to strain the fuel through.  Engine problems in a foreign land can be very expensive.  Shipping for the parts can be more expensive than the parts.

Plan For The Worst

The best advice anyone can give it to prepare for the worst and celebrate when it doesn’t happen.  With that said, we have re-built our motor.  We purchased the re-build kits from Crowley Marine.  But, we didn’t only buy the kit to re-build ours.  We also purchased an extra kit to keep on board.  Your engine is not going to have an issue while parked at a marina.  You will want to have these parts available so you can fix it on the fly.  They are very inexpensive and come with detailed how-to instructions.

Our new lithium batteries are on order.  We are planning a 10 day trip around Door Country Wisconsin this June.  This will be our trial run to see how the solar and lithium battery system will hold up.   It may become necessary to add another solar panel.  This trip will help us figure out if we are in good shape for the Bahamas.