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Frequently Asked Questions


Who is in charge of our crew?
For Scouts groups, your trip Leaders are responsible for the youth in their care. For Student groups the College or University staff are responsible for their students. However, your Captain is in command of your sailboat. Your trip Leaders are taking your crew on a sailing adventure program and your Captain is responsible for your instruction and guidance for the activities onboard. If you're in any doubt please check with him/her.

Do we sail in the ocean?
No, all your sailing will take place inside the reef islands on the Sea of Abaco where the average depth is around 12-15ft and the average water temperature is about 78 degrees. The sea is usually calm and the sailing is awesome.

Do we need previous sailing experience or training?
No, most crews arrive with no experience, we progress at a pace you and your group are comfortable with. Remember to let us know if you want to complete the Small Boat Sailing Merit Badge.

What insurance do we need?
Your group should ensure there is appropriate insurance for your travel arrangements and for medical treatment, as well as any other cover you feel may be necessary. Scout groups need to apply for a Tour Permit.

How do I get to the Bahamas?
You should make travel arrangements well in advance of your trip. Scouts should read the Leaders Information section and consider any layover accommodation requirements. We've included a list of airlines in the How to Get Here section of this site, contact us if you have any questions.

What about spending money?
There are NO ATMs on the islands so bring sufficient cash with you and be aware that prices in the islands can be as much as 50% higher than in the US. Most crews bring about $100-$200 per person. You don't need to exchange $US for $Bahamian before you arrive as $US are accepted everywhere. However, spend your $Bahamian before you go home as they can't normally be exchanged back into $US!

Can we buy Sail School Bahamas T-Shirts?
You can buy our Sail School Bahamas 'CREW' T-Shirts and Polo Shirts, as well as Baseball Caps and Outback Hats. Ask your Captain about buying these when you get onboard.

How do I get to the sailboat assigned to our group?
You'll fly to Marsh Harbour International Airport then take a taxi to the marina. Before you arrive, our staff will have arranged to meet you at the marina. You'll then be introduced to your Captain. When your Captain takes you to you sailboat you'll be able to stow your gear then listen to a short 'safety and orientation' briefing, then he, or she, will provide you with any additional information specific to your sailboat as you explore your home for the week and get ready to sail!

Should I worry about seasickness?
You should bring Motion sickness medication but it's unlikely you'll need it as the sailing area is very well protected and usually very calm. You'll spend each night in a sheltered anchorage.

What should I do to prepare?
All Scouts need to complete the B.S.A. swim test and as long as you are 'reasonably' fit you should get along fine. Extra swimming in your local pool (as well as snorkel practice if you can arrange it) will ensure you get more out of your trip. You can organize dinghy sailing instruction for your crew, but this isn't necessary. Your group may wish to check out an online sailing website as it's a fun way to learn the basics, this is one option: Knot tying is particularly useful when sailing, don't worry if you're not very proficient, your Captain will teach you some great working knots and ropework while you are onboard.

Can I swim and snorkel?
You should only ever swim at your own risk, therefore you should ensure conditions are appropriate for your level of ability, only swim with a 'buddy' and check with your trip Leaders if you have any questions. There will be snorkel gear for everyone onboard but bring your own if you prefer. We operate a strictly 'take only pictures, leave only footprints' style of sailing adventure trip. Never disturb or interfere with aquatic life or its environment. Remember, coral is a living organism so never stand on coral or touch it and never take anything from the reef. Never snorkel alone, you should always be within touching distance of your 'buddy' and don't wear anything shiny that might resemble bait or small fish! Your Captain and trip Leaders will remind you of these simple rules to help you have a great time, avoid potential problems and protect the reef for generations to come.

Do we have a fixed itinerary?
In order to take advantage of the best weather, tide and sailing conditions, your Captain will plan your daily itinerary with you and provide advice so you make the most of your trip. If you have any particular ideas in mind, discuss them with your Captain.

How much do we actually sail?
As much as you want, normally a few hours in the morning and afternoon! We encourage everyone to take part, from raising sails to helming (steering) and navigation. Your Captain will prefer to sail whenever possible and be pleased to explain other aspects of sailing such as sailing rules, tides and charts, anchoring, and much more. If you have any questions, just ask!

What about cooking?
Each day you'll decide what meals you want to prepare from all the menu options and provisions available. Your sailboat will be fully stocked and have a copy of our Menu Ideas and Recipes. Our policy is that all cooking and cleanup duties are shared between all crew onboard, unlike chores at home this becomes a fun task you can all take part in. Wherever possible, you can catch fish, Conch, or even Lobster (when in season) and your Captain will be happy to show you how to prepare these.

Can I fish?
Yes, there are lots of fish to catch and cook. There'll be fishing Rods, Cuban Yo-yos and tackle onboard, but you can bring your own gear if you prefer. Check out the Offshore Fishing trip on Our Programs page. Be sure to let your Captain know if this is something you want to priortize and he or she wil make sure they take you to the best spots and allow plenty of time for you to enjoy your fishing.

What fish are common to the area?
There's a wide range of fish in the Abacos. In addition to Tropical Reef fish such as Parrotfish, Angelfish and Scorpionfish, which you'll see while snorkeling, there are many fish to catch and cook. These include Snapper, Grouper, Triggerfish, Hogfish, Mullet, Porgies and Mackerel. Your Captain will guide you, and show you how to prepare your catch for the table - good luck!

How often will we be ashore?
This is entirely up to your group! It's your sailing adventure and to make it one of the most memorable times of your life you can spend as much time as you like ashore, sightseeing, hiking trails, shelling or souvenir shopping, you decide.

If our group is sailing on two sailboats can we sail together?
Yes, it's up to you. Each day you'll plan your itinerary with your Captain and you can decide to either sail alongside your crewmates onboard the other boat, meet up later or sail on your own.

What about currency?
You can use $US or $Bahamian - they have the same value. However, you must spend your $Bahamian before leaving the Bahamas as you can't exchange them when you get home.

Are other things different in the Bahamas?
Yes, Bahamians drive on the 'other' side of the road, prices are higher than you may be used to due to transportation costs and life is typically slower paced.

Can we call home?
There are BaTelCo pay-phones on most islands that may be used to call home inexpensively. You should be aware that credit card pay phones can often cost much more than you expect! Also, if you visit Gt. Guana Cay you may be able to use the internet phone at Nippers Restaurant, ask your Captain.

Can we use cell phones while we're on shore trips?
Cell phone coverage throughout the islands of the Bahamas is different from the US. In order to check your cell phone networks are compatible with BaTelCo, Bahamas Telephone Corp. you should contact your network provider and check with them that they have a reciprocal coverage and billing arrangement with BaTelCo. Cingular is one provider that has an arrangement like this. Note that all cell phone calls would be charged as international.

Will we be able to send or receive email?
We don't provide a facility for youth or trip Leaders to email, unless it's an emergency. There are a few Internet cafes on some of the islands, which your Captain can point out for you when you go ashore.

What if our crew damages the sailboat we're on?
You must treat your sailboat with respect to ensure there's no damage. Each crewmember should make a contribution to the deposit for breakages in order to feel an individul as well as a joint responsibility! If there is damage, your Captain must report this to our staff upon your arrival back at dock and we'll discuss how best to remedy this with your Adult Leaders. Each crew/group will pay a $300 deposit prior to their departure, which will be refunded in part or full.

If we are on a combined Sailing and Scuba program or taking part in a Discover Scuba course, how is it organized?
Your Captain will know this in advance of your arrival so arrangements will already be in place for you to combine sailing and scuba diving.

What if there is a medical emergency?
If the issue is minor - just let your adult leaders administer First Aid (all crews should bring a kit with them). In the event of a more serious medical issue, your Captain will call Sail School Bahamas immediately on VHF Ch65. We'll discuss the situation with your Captain and the trip Leaders, we'll decide whether to contact parents or guardians, arrange medical treatment if necessary and even air ambulance transportation if the situation requires it. Medical services are available but are limited in this area.

What if there is a behavioral problem with a crewmember?
Dangerous and/or antisocial behavior onboard a sailboat endangers the safety of the entire crew and won't be tolerated. If there is a behavioral issue that can't be resolved by the Captain and the trip Leaders, this crewmember will simply be returned to dock and removed from the sailboat. If this is necessary, parents will be informed and arrangements made for alternative accommodation and/or early return flights home. All expenses incurred as a consequence will be the responsibility of the parents/guardians. In the event that drugs or other illegal substances are involved there may be a legal requirement to involve the local police and authorities!

Should we 'tip' our Captain?
Your Captain will do his/her best to make sure you have a safe, fun trip! If you feel your Captain has done a great job and worked hard for your group then you should put together a small token of your appreciation.

If we want to learn more about sailing what should we do?
You can come back to take part in an Advanced Sailing Adventure program with us and if you want you can also combine this with Scuba Diving!

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