South Florida boaters are in love with the Bahamas because of its incredible waters and its proximity to the US. Harbour island is located at 222 miles from the coast of Florida, it will take between 7 to 10 hours depending on the vessel’s cruising speed. Depending on the fuel capacity of your vessel you may need to refuel before reaching Harbour island.
Most boaters that sail through the Bahamas are navigating first to Bimini located 50 miles from the coast of Florida. Boaters will need to cross the famous Gulf Stream to get to Bimini. The Gulf Stream may be a bit challenging to sail so be sure to take the weather and keep cautious. Staying alert and ahead of the weather is crucial to avoid any issues.
They will clear customs in Bimini if it is their first port of entry and if they need to fuel up their vessel or they or head towards another Island. It is advised to have all customs and immigration ready before going to the customs office. Your boat needs to attach the correct flags, Yellow and Bahamian as well.
The captain should have polarized glasses and be in the position to read Bahamian water very well, their GPS needs to be updated with the latest information and be the right one to use in Bahamian water. The best brand is undoubtedly Garmin, in case of doubt the captain should research the matter. It is advised also to have a back up GPS.
Most boaters will also pass through Nassau, some will spend the night there. Harbour Island is a couple of hours from Nassau.
The most delicate part of the journey is after passing Spanish wells you will need to navigate through the Devil’s backbone which is sprinkled with shallow reefs. Be sure to pass Devil’s Backbone during daylight with large open eyes.
Most insurance will not cover your boat if you don’t hire a pilot to guide you through. Once you get to the Harbour island bay be vigilant and stay in between the canal, one moment of lack of attention and you will land on very shallow waters.