How We are Handling Pandemic Protocols
The well-being of our clients and our employees is our highest priority. Our staff follows CDC and State/Government guidelines (masks, temperatures, washing hands and cleaning surfaces, etc.). Effective August 6, 2021, all students age 18+ enrolling in our courses must be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before their course start date. All of our resort destination partners in Florida are open, and Offshore Sailing School has been safely conducting on-water instruction at these locations since June 2020 without incident. Terms and Conditions signed with your course activity deposit or full payment outline our cancellation policies. We stand by our cancellation policies, no exceptions will be made. Please purchase Travel Insurance with “cancel for any reason” coverage for your protection (see below for some suggested companies). Offshore Sailing School has received the RESTART SWFL Seal of Confidence. Please view our safety pledge here.
Offshore Sailing School’s Transfer and Rescheduling Policy
If you choose to reschedule your Course, you may do so one time, up to 90 days before your original Course start date. A 10% date transfer fee will be charged based on the total value of the package you booked, and the monies you paid, less the date transfer fee, will be held as “money on account” to put toward your new course start date which must be confirmed at the time of transfer request. This rescheduling policy is subject to change. Here are specific updates regarding our locations.
Effective August 6, 2021, all students age 18+ enrolling in our courses must be fully-vaccinated against COVID-19 at least 14 days before their course start date. All four of our partner resorts are open. Our team and the staffs at the Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown St. Petersburg; The Pink Shell Beach Resort & Marina on Ft. Myers Beach; South Seas Island Resort on Captiva Island; and the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village are following all CDC guidelines, practicing social-distancing, wearing masks, and routinely sanitizing all high-touch areas. Our employees and customers are also asked to wear masks and practice social distancing wherever possible. If you are planning to fly to one of our locations, click on these airport links to find out what Regional Southwest International Airport (RSW – Fort Myers) and Tampa International Airport (TPA – Tampa) are doing to protect customers and employees.
British Virgin Islands
This small island nation reopened its border to air travelers on December 1, 2020. The Road Town Jetty reopened in April 2021. However, the most direct and seamless entry point remains flying directly to the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS – Tortola/Beef Island). Offshore Sailing School, our Moorings/Sunsail partners and Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina are all open for business. UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE, ALL STUDENTS ENROLLING IN NEW COURSE DATES IN THE BVI, MUST FLY DIRECTLY TO/FROM BEEF ISLAND (EIS) AIRPORT ON TORTOLA. Because there are different quarantine requirements for fully-vaccinated travelers, versus non- or partially-vaccinated travelers, we must confirm each individual’s vaccination status as we cannot mix students in same course with different vaccination status, unless you are a private booking. If anyone in your party is partially- or not vaccinated, everyone aboard must follow the lowest level of vaccination protocols. We require that fully-vaccinated students provide us with the date of vaccination. We continue to monitor changing requirements with our BVI resort and charter partners, and the Government. There are different protocols to be followed depending on one’s vaccination status. The Protocols below are effective September 14, 2021:
- For fully vaccinated travelers, you will need your proof of vaccination, proof of a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test or negative rapid antigen test taken within 5 days prior to arrival.
- For unvaccinated travelers, you will need proof of a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test or negative rapid antigen test taken 3 to 5 days prior to arrival, another RT-PCR test upon arrival, a seven-day quarantine period and a final RT PCR negative test on day 7.
- Partially vaccinated travelers will need proof of a negative RT PCR COVID-19 test taken within 5 days prior to arrival, proof of partial vaccination status, another RT-PCR test upon arrival, a four-day quarantine period and a RT-PCR test on Day 4 (Day 0 is the day you arrive).
- Effective July 12, 2021, all children aged 5 to 17 must now receive a rapid antigen test upon arrival and an additional test on Day 4 (Day 0 is the day you arrive).
- The pre-arrival test type must be either a RT-PCR test or an approved rapid antigen test. The BVI Government issued an Advisory that all persons using the Travel Portal need to allow a minimum of 72 hours for clearance. It is the traveler’s responsibility to familiarize themselves with the requirements of the BVI Government Travel Portal and submit their documentation within the expressed timeframe prior to travel. Offshore Sailing School is not responsible for any travel delays experienced by students who did not submit the correct, required materials within the expressed timeframe, and/or may not have received the required approval to travel to the Territory. Course refunds and/or reschedules will not be offered for failure to meet the BVI Government Portal requirements which may cause the student to be late or miss the course entirely.
- BVI Gateway Applications must be completed within 24 hours of travel, and you must begin the application process no later than 48 hours before travel. See more information in the next section below.
- Commencing on August 7, 2021, a curfew is in place between 11:00pm – 5:00am nightly and remains in effect as of this update.
- Restaurants and bars are open with a maximum capacity of 50 people per location.
- Social gatherings are limited to 50 people.
For all customers traveling home from the BVI via St. Thomas (U.S. Virgin Islands), there are new protocols in place. From July 19, 2021, all travelers will need to provide a negative rapid antigen or PCR test (or antibody test results) within 48 hours of arriving in St Thomas. For this reason, we strongly advise all guests travel to the BVI directly through Beef Island Airport on Tortola (EIS).
Fines for breaking protocols are to be expected, and can cost $100,000 per person, per offense and up to 10 years in prison!
Review Official Government Sites for most up-to-date, accurate information on travel protocols and requirements. The links below are the official sites for travel information from the U.S. State Department and the British Virgin Islands Government. The CDC in the U.S. has an Order in place requiring anyone entering the U.S., regardless of vaccination status or citizenship, to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days prior to boarding flight to U.S. from any international destination.
For Florida courses and programs:
- Travel.state.gov: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/ea/covid-19-information.html
For BVI courses and BVI flotilla:
- bvi.gov.vg: https://bvi.gov.vg/travel-protocols
- The US Virgin Islands Government (i.e. St. Thomas) has enacted its own set of Protocols affecting anyone traveling through St. Thomas or other USVI territories. Please visit the U.S. Virgin Islands Travel Screening Portal for requirements to know before you go https://usvitravelportal.com/.
For other 2021 Colgate Sailing Adventures® flotilla vacations:
These sites are maintained and updated by government officials and are the most accurate source of information we can recommend at this time. They are where we get our information and although we check as often as possible, we cannot interpret the content for you. Please take the time to review the advisories and rules that are posted.
WE STRONGLY RECOMMEND YOU PURCHASE TRAVEL INSURANCE WITH “CANCEL FOR ANY REASON” COVERAGE!
While matters related to COVID-19 remain fluid, here is the latest information from two travel insurance providers whom Offshore Sailing School has recommended to our students. During these uncertain times, certain destinations, such as the British Virgin Islands, require all incoming visitors to provide proof of insurance that would cover expenses related to contracting COVID-19 or having to quarantine due to exposure, by a physician’s order.
Note: There are no date changes nor refunds allowed for course cancellations or interruptions once you arrive for your course in the BVI or Florida. This is why we so strongly recommend that you obtain Travel Insurance for cancellations and trip interruption during these ever-changing times. Below are just two companies with whom Offshore Sailing School has worked.
- Redpoint Travel Insurance: “If a traveler becomes ill with COVID-19 while on a covered trip, they could be covered for Medical Expense and Trip Interruption benefits through the Comprehensive Travel Insurance if there is a confirmed diagnosis, including proof of illness from a doctor. These coverages are subject to the terms and conditions of the insurance policy. Regarding transport, although limitation 1.4.4 within the Ripcord and Cavalry Member Services Agreement may apply, we encourage travelers to contact Redpoint’s Travel Services team at the first sign they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19. Redpoint’s team will coordinate with the traveler to provide all services described by the Member Services Agreement, however, any assistance Redpoint provides will be subject to government regulations, quarantine mandates, or other restrictions specific to COVID-19. A medical transportation could only be performed once all applicable quarantine mandates are met. Hospitalization is required to trigger evacuation services through Ripcord and Cavalry. If a traveler does not meet the triggers, they could have coverage for additional transportation expenses through Trip Interruption benefits.”
View Redpoint Travel Insurance options here. To learn more and speak with a Redpoint representative, call 415-481-0610.
- Travelex Insurance Service: “The Travelex Travel Select and Travel Basic plans cover Covid-19 as any other illness. So if a traveler contracts the illness after their policy is in effect, this is an eligible reason to cancel or interrupt their trip as long as it is certified by a physician. The Travel Basic plan has $15,000 for emergency medical expenses and the Travel Select plan has $50,000. If a traveler is quarantined certified by a physician this is also an eligible reason to cancel or interrupt their trip.”
View Travelex updated COVID-19 policy here. Please use Offshore Sailing School’s location code “09-0141 CF” if you choose a Travelex policy. To learn more and speak with a Travelex representative, call Travelex Customer Solutions at 800-228-9792.
We want you to know that all of us at Offshore Sailing School are here for you. We look forward to welcoming you to the joys of sailing and boating when the time is right. In the meantime Steve and I have produced 70 short “home-made” video vignettes with Steve and sometimes me talking about our sailing experiences all over the world. These #DocksideChatswithSteve are on our Facebook page and YouTube channel.
Come sail away with Offshore when you are ready, and please . . . stay well,
President and CEO
Offshore Sailing School, Ltd., Inc.