Boating enthusiasts and their families are invited to participate in The Bahamas Summer Boating Flings, which begin June 20 through August 26 and depart from Ft. Lauderdale FL, Palm Beach Shores, FL, and Stuart, FL. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism and the Marine Industries Association have sponsored the flings for the past 21 Years. Piloted cruises are becoming an increasingly popular way for boat owners to discover the beauty and array of activities The Islands Of The Bahamas have to offer.
The thrill for most of these boaters is crossing the Gulf Stream. The flings showcase The Islands of The Bahamas attractions and proximity to Florida and the rest of the United States to an important boating audience. They also offer a way to provide safety guidelines in the security of a group.
This year the Flings will take boaters from Florida to Bimini; Freeport, Grand Bahama; Walkers Cay, Abaco; Nassau; Staniel Cay, Exuma; and Chub Cay, Berry Islands.
“The members of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida strongly support The Islands Of The Bahamas Boating Flings for a number of reasons, but primarily because the Flings serve as an excellent introduction for many boaters to the outstanding cruising grounds of our neighbor, The Islands Of The Bahamas”, said Mr. Frank Herhold, Executive Director of the Marine Industries Association of South Florida.
“As the Boating Industry continues to grow, The Islands Of The Bahamas are taking strides by adding new marinas and upgrading existing facilities to accommodate the increase in boaters”, said David Gomez, Boating Fling coordinator, Bahamas Tourist Office, Miami. “This year we expect a major increase in boat arrivals to The Islands Of The Bahamas”, added Mr. Gomez.
The Islands Of The Bahamas, which attract over 100,000 boaters each year, also offer variety, picture-postcard scenery and tranquility within a single national boundary. Marine facilities range from modern state-of-the-art to good and safe anchorages on the remote areas of the Out Islands. There are a minimum of 63 active marinas with 3140 slips, 12 boat repair yards, 6 bare boat charter companies and 34 ports of entry.
The schedule for this year`s Flings is as follows: 1)June 19- June 23 Bimini Fling. 2)June 26- June 30 Walkers Cay Fling. 3)July 10- July14 Grand Bahama Fling. 4)July 17- July 21 Bimini Fling. 5)July 31-August 11 Bimini, Berry Islands, Nassau, and Exuma Fling. 6) August 14-August 18 Freeport Fling. 7)August 21- August 25 Bimini Fling
The following Flings will depart from Stuart and Ft. Lauderdale: June 19-23, July11-14. Walkers Cay Fling, June 27 will depart from Sailfish Marina in West Palm Beach. All Bimini Flings will depart from the Ft. Lauderdale location only.
The 1990 amendment to The Bahamas` Tariff Act now allows yachtsmen to keep their vessel in The Islands Of The Bahamas for a full year without paying customs or stamp duties. Before this piece of legislation, duties were payable after six months. Now in addition to an absolutely free first year, the boater can extend his stay up to three years by paying only $500 per year for the second and third years.
With effect from July 1st 1999, all of the various charges now applicable to boaters have been replaced by a single levy. The flat levy of $100 per vessel with four persons or less will cover the cruising permit, the fishing permit, Customs and Immigration charges and the $15 per person departure tax for up to four persons.
Proper preparation combined with knowledge of The Islands Of The Bahamas is the best tip for the seasoned or the novice boater. It is useful to ensure that all information is up-to-date. Always remember when entering ports, a vessel must fly a yellow quarantine flag until customs clearance. The Islands of The Bahamas have long been conscious of the fragile status of their environment. Boaters are asked to be environmentally responsible in all they do.
For additional information boaters can request a copy of the Cruising and Fishing Guide from the Bahamas Tourist Office, Miami at 1-800-327-7678.