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New Pocket-Sized Weather Guide For Coastal & Offshore Sailors

For information on volunteer rescue stations and frequencies monitored in your area please visit:. Note: The initial safety call can be made on a distress frequency, but you should change to a working frequency to broadcast the safety message. Skip links and keyboard navigation Skip to content Skip to site navigation Skip to section navigation Skip to footer Use tab and cursor keys to move around the page more information. You are here: Home General safety obligation Marine radios.


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Marine radios. By November, the high-pressure system around Bermuda starts to stabilize and knot breezes become the norm. When the islands do experience a tropical storm or depression, it is usually in the early development of the storm center, and the storms usually do not reach full intensity until they are north of the area.

Should a storm approach the islands, remember that they travel very slowly; consequently, with the communication systems used today, sailors can be assured of at least 48 hours warning. In the event of a severe tropical storm or hurricane, approaching the Virgin Islands, you will be kept well notified by both the local radio stations, VHF marine advisory channels, SSB and, in the case of charter vessels, your local charter company.

All major charter companies have well prepared hurricane plans and they will advise you how to proceed. All vessels in the Caribbean during the hurricane season should carefully monitor the progress of each tropical system and act accordingly. Connectivity has become such a major factor in our lives that staying in touch with friends and family while traveling is now more a necessity than a luxury. For cruisers, being in touch is essential, whether it be for safety, weather information or just communicating with other cruisers.

For Virgin Island yachtsmen who need to keep in touch, cellular telephone service is generally available throughout the Virgin Islands.

Coastal and Offshore Weather

Cellular phones can be used for everything from checking in with the office, the family, or for local applications like ordering more provisions and making dinner reservations. A word of caution: using a U. Check with your service provider regarding roaming charges, or consider renting a local phone, or SIM card for your personal smart phone. Remember to turn cellular data off on smart phones to avoid hefty fees for a text message that reads, "Hey" from someone back home who forgot you're on vacation.

If you rent a local BVI cell phone and call the U. Many people rent cell phones for emergencies, or critical communications. Almost every boat sailing the Virgins will be equipped with a VHF radio. Apart from single side band for offshore communications, VHF is used for all local traffic. The channels vary from boat to boat, but the most commonly used frequencies are listed below. The primary Caribbean hailing frequency is Once contact is established you will need to switch to a working frequency. This frequency is also used at 8.

Generally speaking, cruisers should experience little difficulty in locating a WiFi hotspot or cyber cafe on most of the larger islands throughout both the BVI and USVI. Available bandwidth varies. Many marinas offer "WiFi" to customers with a security code access. At times this access is via a professional gateway device designed for the job with a directional antenna, but in many instances it becomes just a wireless router on the marina managers desk.

As a consequence, from time to time a reasonable signal can be received at anchor, but unless you have a high gain antenna, do not count on it.


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In the BVI you may consider renting a portable modem USB that allows you to connect wirelessly via the local service providers. This saves a considerable amount of frustration. When reasonable bandwidth is available, phone calls can be made utilizing a VOIP service such as SKYPE, which enables you to use your computer to place a call to another computer, assuming they are online.

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You will want to turn off the video in order to preserve bandwidth. This allows you to call a telephone number anywhere in the world from your computer. You will need to establish an account, but the charges are minimal. The software can be downloaded to your computer for free, or you can utilize the SKYPE app on your smart phone providing it has a WiFi function. Whether you are cruising or chartering, if you are provisioning you will need to start off with some organizational plan and structure. The simple method is to develop a chart by day, listing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

Populate the chart with proposed meals and then list all the ingredients necessary to prepare them. If you already have some provisions on board, you can cross them off your list. The remaining items become your shopping list.


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Draw a layout of your vessel, then list and assign a code to every locker and cabinet. As you stow your provisions, you can assign a location. That way you will not have to turn the boat upside down to find the simplest item on a daily basis.

Blue Water Sailing School: Offshore Passagemaking Books

Use plastic storage bins and note the contents and location. There is nothing worse than having to empty the entire contents of the on board refrigerator in order to locate the jar of mustard from yesterday's lunch. If you are chartering, most companies throughout the Caribbean offer a choice of provisioning options. Having the charter company provision for you certainly saves on valuable charter time. An excursion to the local market will eat up half a day, plus taxi fares. This might offset any contemplated savings. The various plans consist of a full provisioning option that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner for the duration of your charter.

A split plan will leave out several evening meals allowing you to eat ashore. Ask your charter company to send you the plans. Self provisioning is an excellent choice if you or the crew has specific dietary needs, but as stated, it is time-consuming and if you are on a tight schedule, you may want to take a standard plan and supplement along the way. Independent provisioning contractors essentially provide the same service as the charter company, however in some instances choices are available that are not part of the charter company package.

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One of the facts of life has to be that everybody needs to eat and therefore, almost without exception, wherever you drop your anchor, food will not be far away. That being said, we as cruisers should take advantage of the opportunity to try new foods, meet new people and sample the tastes of different cultures.

However you provision your vessel, you will want to augment your supplies along the way. All of our Cruising Guide series from the Virgins to Trinidad include a list of markets, where you can replenish food, drink and ice. One of the best ways to experience local food and culture is to eat out. Throughout the chain, each island has local markets where you can purchase a variety of fresh local produce and usually discover something you haven't tasted before.

Part of the fun of a Caribbean sailing holiday is discovery and what better place to discover the wonderful variety of fruits and vegetables than in the bustling local markets, where you can experience the different flavors and spices that influence the cuisine. Although difficult to comprehend as you dig your car out of the snow to get to the airport, the tropical sun is intense and adequate protection is essential. The constant trade breezes keep the temperatures ideal, but be careful as the combined effect of overhead sun and reflection from both sails and water can cause severe sunburn.

Heavy burning can still take place even on cloudy days, or in the shade. The tops of your feet are especially vulnerable, so bring along some light cotton socks, a pair of lightweight, or surgical pants, and long sleeve loose cotton tops and a wide-brimmed hat. Water is a critical element of the body and adequate hydration is critical to good health. We routinely lose water when we breathe and humidified air exits the body, when we sweat to cool the body, and when we eliminate waste by urinating.

Coastal Processes and Beaches

On a normal day a person has to drink a significant amount of water to replace this routine loss. The brush stroke formula is based on body weight, but approximately fl. When sailing in the tropics, sweat, alcohol usage, sea-sickness vomiting and diarrhea are the major contributing factors in dehydration.