Things to know ~ At Schooner Bay ~

Customs & Immigration

Arriving by Air

Upon arrival in The Bahamas, you will be asked to fill out a Bahamian Immigration Card. This is usually available onboard your flight, but you can find them in the immigration area at the writing desks. You'll go through Bahamian Immigration at this point, and your passport will be stamped and marked for the number of days you are allowed to stay in the Bahamas. (This information is taken from your immigration card). Once you are through immigration, pick up your luggage at the marked carousel. Bahamian Customs agents are waiting for inspection nearby. Most agents just flag you through, some ask if you have anything to declare. This process is very quick. Most days the entire process takes less than half an hour.

Arriving by Boat

Visiting boaters must clear Customs and Immigration at the nearest designated Port of Entry. As you enter each port, fly the yellow quarantine flag and notify Customs of your arrival. Only the captain is permitted to leave the boat until your vessel has been cleared.

Customs and Immigration officials will come to your vessel. Everyone on board must have proof of citizenship and fill out an immigration card. US citizens must present a passport. Before leaving The Islands of The Bahamas, be sure to surrender your copy of the immigration card at the last Bahamian port you visit.

If you have a firearm on board (shotguns and handguns only), you must declare it with Bahamian Customs. You must provide the serial number and the name of the manufacturer, plus an exact count of ammunition. While you are allowed to have a firearm on your boat, you cannot remove it. Weapons must be under lock and key at all times. In case of an emergency that requires your departure by air, you must notify Bahamian Police or Customs. They will accompany you to retrieve the firearm and present you with a receipt. Upon your return to the island, Bahamian Police or Customs will escort you to your vessel and return your firearm. Any infraction of this law will be dealt with severely.

Entry Fees

All boaters entering the Bahamas are required to pay an entry fee. For boats up to 30 feet, the fee is $150.00. For boats over 30 feet, the fee is $300.00. (Fees are subject to change.) The fees will cover (1) cruising permit, (2) fishing permit and (3) departure tax for up to three persons. Each additional person above three will be charged a $20 departure tax. This fee is good for a second re-entry within a 90-day period. If you plan to stay longer than 12 months, special arrangements must be made with Bahamas Customs and Immigration. Bahamas Customs and Immigration office hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. Officers are on call during holidays and weekends. There is no overtime charge.

US Citizens: A valid passport is required. A visa is required for stays exceeding eight months.

US Residents (non-citizens): An Alien Registration Card (Green Card) AND a valid passport from their country of citizenship are required.

For visits EXCEEDING 30 days, a valid passport AND a Bahamas visa are required.

Canadian Citizens: A valid passport is required for proof of citizenship. Voter registration cards, birth certificates and photo identifications are no longer accepted as proof of citizenship.

A Bahamas visa is required for stays exceeding three months.

United Kingdom Citizens: Citizens of the United Kingdom and colonies require a valid passport. A visa is required for stays exceeding eight months.

Travelling with Pets

If you wish to travel with your pet, an import permit is required for all animals being brought into The Bahamas. Applications for these permits must be made in advance of your arrival, in writing to the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources in Nassau. Customs duty and fees may apply.

Conveniences of Home

There are at least 7 banking institutions in Marsh Harbour, including the Royal Bank of Canada, ScotiaBank (with ATM) and Fidelity/Western Union Bank, Bahamas. For entertaining, wine, beer, and cocktail ingredients can be found at your choice of the plentiful beverage stores in Marsh Harbour. Sourcing wine for pairings or finding fixings for your island punch should be no problem. If you need extra chairs to accommodate guests of finishing touches for your new home, there are several good options, including Furniture Plus and Palm Cottage Interiors in Marsh Harbour.

On-Island Services

Your island escape at Schooner Bay is, in fact, just 30 minutes from all the conveniences of home. There are at least 7 banks on the island including the Royal Bank of Canada and ScotiaBank with an ATM available. For groceries, you have wonderful options including small family markets in the Marsh Harbour area. Maxwell’s Grocery is the largest in the Abacos and rivals Publix in the U.S, while Abaco Groceries offers the price advantage of buying in bulk. And best of all, you need travel no farther than a golf cart can take you to the Schooner Harbour General Store which is handy for lunch items, fresh baked goods, and a variety of preserves, sauces and pickled items made from organic produce at a local organic farm.

Phone Service

With an international cell phone plan you'll find cell service, both talk and text, to be seamless as you transition from the US to Abaco. We do recommend that you set up the plan in advance. For most carriers, the cost to include the Bahamas is not expensive and can be added on a month-to-month basis. Internet connectivity is available in Schooner Bay and services such as Fed Ex can be easily arranged.


When arriving at Schooner Bay, our team will assist you in your transportation to and from the airport. Rental cars are readily available at the airport if you prefer the independence of driving yourself. For taxi service, Knowles Taxi Service has two vans available. One you’re in The Abacos, you may want to venture to the neighboring Cays. Ferry schedules can be found on maps in the Abaconian, or on the websites for Abaco and Albury’s ferries:

  • Abaco Ferry 242-367-3277
  • Albury’s Ferry Service 242-367-0290
  • Green Turtle Ferry 242-365-4166
  • Knowles Taxi Service 242-359-6270

The temperature in The Bahamas averages between 75°F and 84°F (24°C-29°C) in both winter and summer, although it can get refreshingly chilly in the early morning and at night. The Bahamian winter is usually like a perpetual late spring -- naturally, the high season for North Americans rushing to escape snow and ice. Summer brings brilliant sunshine and humidity. There's a much greater chance of rain during the summer and fall. More tropical cyclones pound the U.S. mainland than The Bahamas. Hurricanes are actually fairly infrequent here, and when one does come, satellite forecasts generally give adequate advance warning so that precautions can be taken.

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