Shipping to your boat in the Bahamas? New rules!

One of the pleasures of travelling and exploring the wonderful world we live in is getting outside of our “comfort zone” and experiencing different things. 

Living in the US, Canada and most of Europe, many of us are used to a certain level of services and time frames. For example, when we post a letter in the US, we have an expectation it is going to be delivered within a certain time to a certain place. When we show up at the airport or train station, we expect to be getting from Point A to Point B in a certain way by a certain time.

Tropical island living has its advantages to be sure. There has been much written about the weather, the water and the fun to be had. We write about it often ourselves and are blessed to be able to call it home. 

But what happens when your enjoyment of the islands is dependent of getting that one little part for your engine? Or a specific battery for your camera that can onlybe found on Amazon and has to be shipped to you in your slice of paradise?  That’s where island living can test your patience and can get interesting. This isn’t the type of experience most of us are looking to get a taste of when we are travelling and trying to enjoy the islands. We want things to go according to that certain level of expectation we are used to.

Earlier this year, without any prior warning to anyone we are aware of, Bahamas Customs made a policy change. Normally, it wouldn’t affect most of us right away. But if you happened to be shipping something to arrive in the Bahamas at that time, you felt the policy effects right away. You could not get your packages, parts or desperately needed paperwork. This even affected those using the “big boys”—UPS, FedEx and DHL-not just small local couriers. No one was able to get their packages, and adding to the frustration, no one was able to get an answer as to why. 

I reference an article in the Bahamas Tribune, from January 14, 2019 titled “Customs Splitting ‘Sheep From Goats’ In Courier Industry. And it starts with “Customs roll-out” of it’s new electronic platform…” It is a short article, and it effectively tells the public why they did what they did. I commend them for attempting to do the right thing. And I am thankful they waiting until after the crazy holiday shipping period to do it.

For anyone not familiar with what happened, the article spells it out in detail. The even shorter version is that on January 7, the Bahamas Customs introduced a new system to process all shipments coming into the country. It involved the rollout of a ESW (electronic single window). Every word of this acronym makes me cringe. Launching this on every single courier service at the same time, with little advance notice…well, you can imagine it was a very interesting few days. The after effects for us and for our customers were delay, upon delay, upon delay. Not what anyone wants; especially for those just wanting to get on with enjoying their travels.  

When all when sorted out, the one detail we were left with was being given specific instructions on addressing any packages you wish to receive while staying on your boat or yacht at our marina. Gone are the days where you could just put your name, boats name, marina name and send it with a stamp and a prayer ( and maybe a phone number). Now it must be labeled a specific way, or it will be difficult to receive or not be delivered at all.

For our guests, please address ALL PACKAGES following the sample below. Please do not hesitate to contact our Dockmasters Office or Management if you have any questions. It is better to ask beforehand than to encounter a lengthy delay or worse yet, have your expected package returned to sender.


Just keep in mind the details are important when having items sent overseas these days. But with the correct information, the process should go smoothly and any adventure waiting on a delivery to get going again hopefully won’t be interrupted for any longer than necessary. Happy travels and we hope to see you at our docks soon.