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Ocean Safety 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Covid update for cruising yachts

by Noonsite 26 Feb 18:02 UTC
Europe Map © Noonsite

An overall easing of restrictions this month and some country openings, meaning at last many boat owners will be able to get back to their border-bound boats and start cruising again.


After evaluating that the Covid restrictions have not halted the further spread of the virus and its variants, as well as after taking into account the increased vaccination rates, several European Union/Schengen Area countries have announced that they will now apply less stringent rules.

Sweden was among the first countries to announce restriction-free entry to incoming travellers from the EU/Schengen Area regardless of their vaccination or recovery status.

Norway followed suit and have now lifted all Covid entry requirements for all travellers as have Guernsey in the Channel Islands.

The UK have abolished quarantine for unvaccinated arrivals, instead just requiring pre-arrival testing. In contrast Portugal and France have abolished testing requirements for travellers who hold a valid Covid vaccination certificate.


Greece and Tunisia have also abolished testing requirements for vaccinated travelers this month. Israel finally opened its land and sea borders at the end of January and will be welcoming all tourists from all countries - regardless of vaccination status - from 1 March.


Jamaica's sea ports are now open to all foreign travellers with only travel authorization and a negative PCR test result required to enter. The Dominican Republic has ended all Covid public health restrictions this month, including a mask mandate and vaccine checks in public spaces, despite not yet reaching the government's vaccination target of 70% coverage for adults. Unlike most Caribbean countries, the DR doesn't require proof of vaccination, a Covid test or quarantine for most incoming visitors. The French Islands have lightened the health control system at their borders, particularly for vaccinated travellers.

South America

With its continually changing rules over the last two years, Ecuador's ports appear to finally be open throughout the mainland to vaccinated travelers with testing on arrival. More good news is that the new Autografo for mainland Ecuador, at a cost of over $200, is in fact only required for yachts over 50 tons.


If heading from South Africa to St. Helena, be aware that due to limited resources the mandatory free Covid test administered on arrival for yacht crew is only possible on a Thursday at 13:00. Arrivals at, or after this time, will have to remain on board until the following Thursday to be tested.


Australia Border Force have confirmed that the announcement made on the 21st February 2022 regarding the opening of Australian Borders, also applies to arrivals by sea. After two years of closure this is welcome news for international cruisers that have been stuck in the South Pacific islands and boat owners wanting to return to their yachts.

New Zealand border openings are still a moving playing field following the government's announcement this month of a re-opening plan. For international cruisers there are two important dates: 22nd July when absentee owners from nominated countries can fly into NZ; and October, when a general border opening is programmed. Good news also in Fiji as Vuda Marina has now been approved as a port of entry under the Blue Lane Procedure.

This article has been provided by the courtesy of

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