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Spending a Few Months at Sea? Here Are Some Things You Need to Know

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The open sea is calling. Both yacht lovers and speedboat enthusiasts alike are spending more time living offshore.

Of course, the Caribbean is still the favored destination. From the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Lesser Antilles, we’ve found a number of boat lovers living off-grid and finding more creative ways to cut costs while they’re enjoying the blue waters of the Caribbean.

Many of the top boating experts published in the Boating Magazine and Yachting World.com offer valuable suggestions on how to save money while at sea.

Here are ways you can save money and spend even more time at sea:

  1. Keep it Simple

Boat owners crave minimalism. However, even the largest yachts and speedboats provide significantly less living space. That’s why you need to know what supplies to bring with you and what supplies to leave at home.

BoatingMag.com published an article listing “Essential Marine Accessories.”

Here are the top items on their list:

  • Flares: Buy these at the start of boating season, and replace every 42 months to meet U.S. Coast Guard requirements.
  • Utility Flashlights & Alkaline Batteries: Store a sealed pack of alkaline batteries and a spare flashlight. Replace every 3-5 years.
  • Fuel: Remember the “rule of thirds.” Figure out how much fuel you need to reach your destination. Then, keep an extra two-thirds on hand. One-third to go out; one-third to go back; one-third for emergencies.
  • Anchors & Lines: Keep a grapnel anchor, PVC-coated or mushroom anchor on board. These are easy to store and take up little room.
  • Manual Bailers: What happens if your bilge pump quits? A manual pump will never fail, even if you’re taking on water. Find one made of plastic or metal with an opening of at least 65 square centimeters (10 square inches).
  1. Know Your Way Around

When you live on a boat, YOU are the plumber, the electrician, the carpenter and the handyman (or handywoman). Don’t let a rogue wave or worn-out rotor cut into your time at sea.

Instead, prepare yourself for the unexpected.

First, read Nigel Calder’s book, the “Boatowner’s Mechanical and Electrical Manual,” Don Casey’s “Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual” or the “Boatowner’s Illustrated Electrical Handbook.” If something goes wrong at sea (which it will at some point) these popular guides will come in handy.

Also, identify boat part suppliers that can meet your needs at a moment’s notice. Then, find a nearby port where these items can be delivered.

Some air freight providers offer expedited shipments to the Caribbean, such as Amerijet’s General Cargo Express (GCX) expedited services. In fact Amerijet is known to provide customs clearance and delivery for many of the large marine suppliers.

The most common Caribbean ports include: Antigua, Barbados, Puerto Rico, St Lucia and St. Maarten. Perishable shipments, oversized boat masts, motors and repair parts can all be delivered to these destinations.

  1. Cut Your Fuel Costs

One way to minimize fuel costs is to identify your boat’s most efficient cruise level. Then, stick to it! Most modern boats display fuel consumption levels right on the helm.

First, find that figure. Then, divide your speed by your fuel burn to figure out how many miles per gallon you can get at any given speed level. Write down your efficiency level at different speeds. Then, compare those levels to find your most “fuel-efficient” speed.

  1. Find Hidden Insurance Discounts

Whether you’re cruising the Caribbean in a superyacht or a powerboat, insurance will be one of your major costs.

However, not all insurance policies are equal. Companies that specialize in boat insurance offer generous discounts to boaters with specific skills or certain boat equipment.

Earning your captain’s license or taking the United States Power Squadron class might qualify you for a discount. Also, having a built-in fire extinguisher, electronic safety gear, navigational equipment and other preventative supplies will cut your costs with most providers. Shop around. Ask questions. Then, find a supplier that can ship the equipment you need to a location nearest to you.

  1. Shop Wisely

Some popular cruising grounds, such as St. Lucia, Grenada or the Dominican Republic, make great places to shop, dine and soak in the local culture. However, spare parts and perishable food supplies are difficult to find in these island destinations or are often quite expensive. Most boat owners order their supplies from the U.S. and have them delivered to the port.

Don’t spend more. Spend wisely.

Provision your own boat. Select exactly what food you want and save money by ordering in bulk! Find suppliers online. Many e-commerce retailers will partner with air freight companies, like Amerijet, to deliver perishable or dry goods shipments directly to your next port of call.

Need to order new boat parts, safety gear or perishable food supplies? Want to have those supplies shipped directly to you at your next port? Call Amerijet!

Amerijet is the only air cargo company, which serves the entire Caribbean with scheduled flights and offers competitive shipping rates for regular and express service.