Buying a Boat During Covid Times

Articles, Buying and Selling

I just returned from an 8-week Caribbean cruise and wanted to share my observations on travel relative to buying a sailboat during a global pandemic.

Is it possible? Yes, with careful planning, patience, intelligence gathering and a can-do attitude.

Currently, you can still travel through certain parts of the Caribbean to view potential boats and there are certainly deals to be had by savvy shoppers.  Starting close to home with the US Virgin Islands, the island is in the safer at home status which means that non-essential businesses are open, restaurants are open for take-out only and of course facial coverings and social distancing are required, for more information check the Health department local website here

Business as usual but at a much slower pace, the charter industry is gearing up for a busy season and the signs are good for an economic recovery.  Marinas are opening up for traffic and people are thinking about preparing their boats for the Winter season.  Now is a great time to think about organizing a viewing or a pre-purchase survey before the boats that are in dry storage go into the water.

The exodus of private and charter boats from the BVI to the USVI is an amazing opportunity to find the right boat, because of the restrictive Covid protocols in the British Virgin Islands owners are moving their assets to other areas bringing a flood of boats into the US territory, so it is very easy to fly into the USVI and see a number of good quality catamarans that are seriously for sale.

Is it a good time to travel? We just flew into Grenada to look at a boat and from our experience the airports were virtually empty, there are no queues at border control, we flew down with 25 other people and the airplanes had very strict cleanliness protocols.  Hotels are empty as well and to top it off it was very cheap to fly – only $200 from St.Thomas-Miami- Grenada!

We did a 4-day quarantine in a Grenada guest house and you can find a nice selection of government approved hotels on the website we chose the Seabreeze hotel which was at the budget end of the scale at $89 per night for a double room with A/C, we were made to feel very welcome had use of the pool during the day as long as we adhered to social distancing protocols and there was absolutely no feeling that we were trapped there, there was a food delivery app that we used to order our meals and a great selection to choose from, at the end of the 4 days we took a PCR test and within 24 hours, received our negative test results and were then free to go about our business, we felt it was a great balance between keeping the residents of Grenada safe and keeping the tourism and sailing industry alive in the Islands.

If you are looking to purchase a catamaran please get in touch with me, I would be  happy to discuss my recent experience traveling extensively throughout the Caribbean and to come up with a plan for purchase during this unprecedented time.

About Steve Varrow

Steve Varrow is a Professional Skipper and TMC broker in the Virgin Islands.  He lives aboard his classic gaff rigged yacht “Gwendolyn” sailing between the BVI, USVI and the Spanish Virgin Islands and is ready to help you in all aspects of buying or selling you next Catamaran.