How We are Handling Pandemic Challenges
The well-being of our clients and our employees is our highest priority. Our headquarters management, sales and marketing staff are located in 4,000 sq. ft. with a lot of room between all of our offices and work stations. We all take and record our temperatures immediately upon arrival, and wear masks and observe social distancing when communicating with one another if not on a Team or Zoom call. We observe very strict adherence to CDC and other guidelines (masks, temperatures, cleaning hands and surfaces on a constant basis). All of our resort destination partners in Florida are open, and Offshore Sailing School is safely conducting on-water instruction at these locations. Terms and Conditions signed with your course or activity deposit or full payment outline our cancellation policies. We stand by our cancellation policies, no exceptions will be made. Please purchase Travel Insurance for your protection (see below for some suggested companies). We are pleased to announce that Offshore Sailing School has qualified to receive 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 may change due to official advisories, your health, and the well-being of our employees. Here are specific updates regarding our locations.
Our fleet, our instructors, and all four of our partner resorts have been safely operating since June 2020, without incident. 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 clients are also asked to take temperatures daily. Many clients are driving, but some are flying to Florida. If you are planning to fly, 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. The Road Town Jetty reopening has been delayed again and will now remain closed until April 15, 2021 (still subject to change). We strongly recommend flying directly to the Terrance B. Lettsome International Airport (EIS – Tortola/Beef Island), currently the only available way to enter the Territory. Offshore Sailing School, our Moorings/Sunsail partners and Scrub Island Resort, Spa & Marina are all open for business. A list of current protocols which are mandatory for visitors planning to travel to the British Virgin Islands is published here. Please watch this video from the BVI Tourism Board regarding protocols to enter the British Virgin Islands. We are checking daily with our BVI partners and monitoring government notices. We will post changes as they occur. Please review and agree to adhere to these BVI Government protocols before enrolling in a course in the BVI. 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.
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
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.