Coronavirus and Yacht Charters: What To Do If A Passenger Tests Positive
The Bahamas remains open to international travelers which is good news for yacht owners and tourists that have booked yacht charters. However, there are strict Bahamas COVID travel guidelines passengers and crew must follow before entering the country and during their stay. All travelers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before being allowed to arrive at a Port of Entry. However, there are cases of infection within the islands, so there is still a chance travelers can get sick during their stay. What do you do when a passenger or multiple passengers test positive for COVID-19 while onboard a yacht? Read on to learn how to prevent the spread of COVID onboard.
Private Yacht Charters Are Incredibly Popular Due to COVID-19
The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a surge in demand for private yacht charters. With international air travel restricted as well as mask-wearing and social distancing guidelines in place, many people have had to reschedule or cancel their more traditional vacation plans. Instead, travelers eager to take a break from staying at home and go on a trip safely have opted for booking charters on private yachts and superyachts.1
“Due to COVID-19, there is an accelerated shift away from a crowded holiday in hotels, big resorts, or a cruise ship to more private and safer alternatives. We are witnessing a double-digit increase in terms of booking requests from clients who are looking to switch from a hotel stay to a yacht vacation.” – Adrian Walker, Co-founder & CEO of BoatAffair 2
On-Island Bahamas COVID Restrictions & Rules
Despite being comparatively more isolated than your typical vacation hotel stay, travelers on yacht charters still come in contact with other people such as crew members and island inhabitants. As such, the risk of getting and spreading COVID-19 is still present. That’s why in addition to Bahamas travel requirements for re-entry, there are still Bahamas COVID restrictions and rules tourists must follow while on the islands.
These tourism protocols include wearing masks, social distancing, following curfews, taking a rapid antigen test on the fifth day of their stay, and completing daily a Health Survey. Should a yacht charter guest or crew member start experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, it should be recorded in these Health Surveys. Health authorities will likely require them to take another rapid test.
What To Do If A Passenger Tests Positive for Coronavirus?
If one or more of a yacht’s passengers or crew members tests positive for COVID-19, the top priority of your captain or you as an owner will be to prevent the spread of COVID onboard and on the island. You must do everything in your power to ensure sick travelers get the treatment they need, while protecting other guests and crew from getting infected. Infected travelers should follow the steps detailed below.
- Take Required COVID-19 RT-PCR Swab Test
After a yacht passenger of crew member tests positive for a rapid antigen test, they will be required to follow up with a COVID-19 RT-PCR swab test.
- Self-Isolate Until You Get Swab Test Results
While waiting for their results of the COVID-19 RT-PCR swab test, the traveler should self-isolate from other guests and crew either by staying in a separate cabin or booking a hotel room.
- Leave The Bahamas Via Medical Transportation
If the swab test comes back positive and the COVID-19 symptoms the traveler is experiencing are severe, they may be able to leave the Bahamas via approved medical transportation. Older guests and crew members should consider this option.
- Quarantine At Book Place of Stay for 14 Days
The other option available to infected guests and crew members is to stay in the Bahamas and quarantine for at least 14 days or until the date of their departure, which ever one comes first. Sick travelers can quarantine in their cabins or in a booked hotel room.
Due to the close quarters of most yachting vessels, we would recommend booking separate hotel rooms for each traveler with COVID-19. Be sure to keep hotel staff fully informed so they avoid contact with infected individuals until the quarantine period is over.
- Hire a Sterilization Company To Clean Your Yacht
After the infected passengers are off the boat or when their quarantine is over, you can hire a company that specializes in COVID-19 cleaning and boat interior disinfection services. They can clean surfaces, steam soft furniture, and use electric sprayers to disinfect everywhere inside your yacht. Ask your marina if there are companies like that available in the area.
- Obtain Negative COVID-19 Test Before Re-entering U.S.
In an executive order published in January, President Biden put out a policy stating, “Travelers seeking to enter the United States from a foreign country shall be required to produce proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test prior to entry.”3 While the CDC has announced an order requiring only air passengers to get tested no more than 3 days before their departures and present a negative result,4 it’s better to be over prepared than under prepared. If it’s possible, having all passengers and crew onboard your yacht obtain negative test results before re-entering the U.S. would be ideal.
Yacht Management South Florida, Inc. specializes in complete yacht care. As such, we offer highly rated yacht management and yacht maintenance services from our South Florida marina, boatyard, and offices. To sign up to our management program, book maintenance services, or schedule a haul-out at our full-service boatyard, contact us today!
- Bill Springer, Forbes – Why Caribbean Yacht Charters Are The Ultimate Covid-19 Antidote
- Paula Froelich, Travel + Leisure – Private Yacht Vacations Are on the Rise — and They May Not Be As Expensive As You Think
- The White House – Executive Order on Promoting COVID-19 Safety in Domestic and International Travel
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Air Passengers Arriving in the United States