Frequently Asked Questions & Useful Information Things to do in St. John – St. John Sailing Charter
We know you’ll have questions about things to do in St. John and your St. John Sailing charter with Salty Dog Day Sails, and we have answers! Explore our frequently asked questions and useful information below, and if you have a question that’s not answered here, please contact us.
- Booking Your St. John Sailing Charter
- Our St. John Sailing Charter Boats
- Your St. John Sailing Trip Experience
- After the St John Sailing Trip – Local Knowledge
FAQ – St. John Sailing Charter Policies & Booking Information
- The USVI sails are more sailing/snorkeling focused with 2-3 stops including a deli lunch or buy your own pizza from the infamous Pizza Pi boat. This trip focuses on beauty, water, nature in and around the Virgin Islands National Park and neighboring Cays.
- The JVD,BVI sail requires passports, $60/p cash for customs, money for lunch ashore & souvenirs and is more about the shore time at idyllic White Bay and the Soggy Dollar Bar for a painkiller and lunch.
Any of our sailing experiences are leisurely, relaxing and memorable days on the water. Here are links to all of our trip options for which you will find detailed itinerary information:
- Contact us here with inquiries about itineraries, rate clarification, help in choosing the right boat option from our fleet or customizing private charters.
- Already decided? Book a trip using our secure online calendar and activity picker for both public & private trips.
- Call us at 340-244-7290! We love email and our replies are quick & detailed allowing you to consider options in writing so no confusion. Have questions requiring discussion? No problem, just call us to go over anything that needs further clarification–we’d love to hear from you!
- Catamaran (12 pax)
- Full day public trips $200/p,
- Full day private trips boat rate is $2699. We discount $200/unsold seat from the 12 capacity, but ther is a minimum base rate of $1499 for up to 6 guests–what a great discount! Private trips are automatically assessed a 20% service charge in addition to rates.
- Monohull (10 pax)
- Full day public trips $150/p,
- Full day private trips for 1-6 guests $899 and guest 7-10 pay public p/p rate. So even though you are chartering the entire boat, we do not make you buy all the seats, just the ones you use–what a great discount! Private trips are automatically assessed a 20% service charge in addition to rates.
Here are our all of our trip options for which you will find associated rates delineated by the boat:
- Private Trips: The boat is YOURS for the day! You don’t have to rub elbows unless you want to. We host up to 12 guests but rates are factored as a flat fee for 1-6 then p/p additional for guests 7-12. All private trips have a 20% service charge added to the total rate. We tell you what the boat can do in the day and we decide the itinerary based on your input in consideration of wind/waves/weather. Extensions are completely possible and welcome. Alternate pickup/dropoff locations are possible based on weather, but knowing that they will affect trip itinerary timing or require extensions as most alternate locations add distance to the trips as described.
- Public Trips: You are joining a public trip with the possibility of a total guest count of 12. we do try to limit public trips to 8-10 passengers and normally opt to build another public trip on an alternating day when the numbers get larger. The catamaran is quite large and there is plenty of room for all so not to worry! this same size boat is inspected for 35 passengers, but we opted for the 12 passenger limit for the consideration of our guests’ comfort. All trips depart and return from Cruz Bay, St. John.
- BVI Port Fees
- BVI Customs Fees
- BVI Cruising Permit Fees
- BVI Departure Tax Fees
- BVI Security Fees
- Parks Fees
- USVI Port Authority Fees
- Wharfage Fees
- Environmental Impact Fee (to be added September 1st additional $10/p).
- We will accept cancellations or rescheduling up to 1 week (7) days before your scheduled trip with no penalty charge. From seven (7) to four (4) days we charge a 20% cancellation fee (your card will be refunded 80% of the trip total).
- From four (4) days/96 hours out until 2 days/forty-eight (48) hours prior to your scheduled departure, the cancellation fee is 50% of the cost of your charter (if you paid in full at time of booking, then your card will be refunded 50% of the trip total charged at time of booking).
- After that and within the 48 hour window before scheduled departure, there are no cancellations and no refunds (Your credit card was already charged for the full 100% amount of the trip charged at time of booking and no refunds will be given). This includes no-shows.
CANCELLATION POLICY FOR PRIVATE TRIPS:
- We will accept cancellations or rescheduling beyond the 2 week prior to departure trip cancellation window with no penalty. Within 2 weeks to 1 week of departure there is a 50% cancellation fee (Your card will be refunded 50% of the total charged at time of booking).
- Within 1 week before scheduled departure, there are no cancellations and no refunds (your credit card will be charged for the full 100% amount of the trip charged at time of booking). This includes no-shows.
- We only cancel trips based on weather related safety concerns that affect the safety of our guests. We do not cancel for reasonable rain (scattered showers is a normal daily forecast here) or seasonally normal wind/sea conditions. Should the Captain decide to cancel a trip based on safety concerns, you will be given the option to reschedule or be refunded the trip total charged at time of booking.
- Any day on the water is a fun day! Trust that we are professionals & we also want to have as much fun as you do! However, should YOU choose not to sail based on weather concerns that do not fall under safety cancellations made by our Captains, you will have the option of rescheduling, but no option for refund. Should you choose to reschedule for a future vacation–please note that rates may increase and you would be responsible for any cost increases for ticket/boat charter costs.
FAQ – Our St. John Sailing Charter Boats
- Catamaran: Same length as the monohull, but inherently larger as it is shaped like a flat, wide shoebox at roughly 1000sqft compared to the same length monohull being only roughly half that usable deck space. Particularly good for larger groups or people who prefer to be able to get up and move around rather than like being in a coach airline seat with the “fasten seatbelt’ sign illuminated while sailing our monohull. An additional bonus: The nets are considered the best seats on the boat while under sail. Other commercial catamarans do not have Certificates of Inspection that permit net-riding while the boat is underway, be we are allowed! And, if sunbathing isn’t your idea of a great boating experience, then come join the captain back in the 100% shaded cockpit with seating for all.
- Catamarans are better suited for groups that include younger guests and older guests as there is more ease of movement ability as well as less difficulty boarding the boat from dinghy or dock.
- Monohull: Let’s start by saying we were die-hard monohull enthusiasts for years and it actually took quite alot of convincing to add catamarans to our fleet. Although the popularity of catamarans far surpasses monohulls for day and term charter sailing experiences, there are some who just prefer the peaceful “healing” experience of the monohull that heels gently to leeward under the steady pressure of the wind on sails. The keel (underneath the water) serves as a counter balance and our modified full-keel, heavy displacement boat built to cross oceans around the world is simply the most comfortable monohull sailing from St John. No other design compares in comfort as they do not have the same weight and keel configuration. With this monohull you are not going nay where fast, but you will epitomize a mighty ‘yar’ yacht sailing on our classic sloop with traditional lines and tanbark sails. We’ve heard people say: sail a real boat (when comparing to catamarans), well all boats are real, but not all boats are as well kept, clean and as comfortable. Does this help?
- ANY Monohull less suited for those with mobility issues (compared to a catamaran. Our monohull requires nominal strength/flexibility in the knees/joints to use sturdy ladder and bending ability to access cockpit and move about the boat. Our monohull is more conducive to picking a seat and staying in it while taking in the experience.
- Mediatate! Works for some….
- Take a course of motion sickness pills starting with 1/2 to 1 pill the night before the trip at bedtime and same dose about 1-1.5 hours prior to departure. We prefer to suggest Bonine, but Dramamine or a simple Benedryl will do in a pinch. Doctors can also prescribe anti-nausea like Zofran. If you are lucky enough to visit a foreign country like Mexico or the Dominican republic, the stock up on a miracle pill called Stugeron (my favorite for long offshore passage making prep).
- Keep in mind that the boat is moving at all times and that there will be long stretches of time throughout the day with limited ability to move around–you are on a boat in the ocean so it is like being on an amusement park ride that lasts several hours, not several minutes.
- Often that time factor is an impediment for both younger and older guests. Some youngsters need more stimulus and some oldsters need more downtime. We suggest careful consideration, especially if you select a public trip with the potential for others to join your sail, of the entire group dynamic so that everyone has fun. We do our best to cater to all.
- Also keep in mind that all ticket prices are p/p and the same rate regardless of age, so if there is any thought that a guest might not have a wonderful experience all day long then perhaps consider an alternate activity for them during the day.
- To make dinghy loading easier, we suggest consideration of flip flops or other slip-on waterproof/water-acceptable shoes (socks and sneakers not advisable). As the Kenny Chesney song goes: “No shoes, no shirt, no problem!” for the bulk of your day–at least while you are actually on the boat, those are the words to live by!
Your St. John Sailing Charter Experience & Trip Prep
- Bring a towel for each guest. We do offer a towel service for $15/towel. Just let us know in advance so we can have your towels ready.
- Bring a cover-up/hat/sunglasses to protect you from the strong Caribbean sun.
- Consider wearing flip flops/water shoes that will be fine to get wet. We often use our dinghy for transfers.
- Bring a camera or your phone to capture your day, but consider a iphone waterproof case like we use (or do NOT leave in your pocket before you go snorkeling!)
- Bring Sunscreen – Please note: for safety, health & superior yacht maintenance, we DO NOT allow SPRAY, SELF TANNING or COPPERTONE SUNSCREEN ABOARD. We have a small selection of sunscreen options available for your use as an alternative should you not have other options with you.
- Bring a form of payment, passports if applicable, and consider filling out one of our liability release forms and sending it back to us at SaltyDogDaySails@gmail.com or bringing it with you the day of the trip. You’ll save us a few minutes of paperwork and get your day started ASAP. 🙂
- Bring smiles . . . we will take care of the rest!
If there are considerations you have questions or concerns about, please just ask us! We are happy to help you make an educated decision that is right for your group!
- The Ritz Carlton Hotel or Club Residences in St. Thomas – Pickup will take 45 minutes extra on each end.
- The Westin Resort on St. John – Pickup will take 30 minutes extra on each end. We can pick you up by dinghy for free on the north or righthand side of the beach outside the swimzone or you can pay the *RESORT IMPOSED DOCKAGE FEE.
- The Caneel Bay Resort on St. John. We can pick you up for free by dinghy from Honeymoon beach on their property –or– you pay the *RESORT IMPOSED DOCKAGE FEE for use of the main resort dock for dinghy pickup.
BVI trips require Customs clearance before returning to the resort so for US Waters there is no impact to your day, but BVI trips there is an additional 45 minutes at the end of your trip. *RESORT IMPOSED DOCKAGE FEE.
Alternate pickup & drop off locations, although available for PRIVATE BOOKINGS, will slightly impact the timing of your trip in the described itineraries as listed on the sailing trips tabs of this website. You can always request to add additional charter time to allow us to pick you up at your desired location without impacting the itinerary of the trip. For more information, simply contact us and we’ll help you figure it out!
We’ll meet you at the Dinghy Dock on the south side (in front of Pig & Rooster / High Tide Restaurant) of the People Ferry Dock in Cruz Bay town, St. John, USVI.
Once you get to the dock, please text us at (717) 602-3498 to let us know you’re ready. We can only use the dock for brief pickups and drop-offs, so once we know you’re assembled, we’ll bring the dinghy to the dock and welcome you aboard.
If possible, please do not set belongings on the ground or in the sand while waiting. We endeavor to make your day a luxury experience request that we leave the sand on the beach to enjoy!
Also, please note that we do use our dinghy throughout the day, especially when checking back into the U.S. after a BVI trip. If you can’t get in and out of a dinghy, please let us know.
- Coke/Diet Coke/Sprite
- Beer/Lager like Carib or Presidente (local supply dictates what is available)
- Lite Beer
- Rum Punch
Guests may supplement beverages and snacks, but we ask that no actual coolers be brought on the boat–simply bag any items you wish us to refrigerate for your consumption.
- Premium deli carved turkey
- Premium deli sliced ham
- Deli sliced cheese variety
- Freshly baked bread selection
- Shredded romaine lettuce, deli pickles & sliced roma tomatoes
- Deli salad side (often vary, but traditionally a slaw, potato salad or pasta salad option)
- Mustard & mayonnaise
- Cookie selection (we save this for after the last snorkel stop of the day).
(Substitutions are not possible–should the above menu not suit, please make arrangements to supplement).
We occasionally run specials or as an option for any US Waters private charter, we have the option of visiting the Pizza Pi boat or other shoreside restaurant options at a neighboring island wherein lunch will be paid for by the guests. All BVI trips are lunch ashore paid by guests.
- Professional and high-quality snorkeling masks, fins, and snorkels provided: 3 pairs of fins in each size from child 8/11 thru adult 13/14. private groups with similar group dynamic (bridal party?) should consider supplementing fins or bringing personal gear.
- Noodles provided for ultimate relaxation
- Snorkeling vests for all sizes from child to adult are available
- Child-size snorkeling gear and noodles are available
- Personal snorkeling gear, flotation devices, and waterproof cameras are allowed. We would appreciate you de-sanding/rinsing before packing for your trip.
After Your St. John Sailing Trip – Local Knowledge
- The epitome of excellence and professionalism, Catered To Vacation Vacation Villas of St. John has a nice website that gives detailed St. John Island information and is a premiere luxury villa rental company ‘catering’ to guests with discerning tastes.
- Our friends at St. John Villa Rentals specialize in connecting the guest directly with the villa or accommodation owner. No fees like finding and renting a villa or room on St. John via Homeaway, VRBO and AirBnB. They also developed a great service to assist with airport transfers to expedite your St. John arrival. Check out their website to learn more!
- Here are a few other St. John vacation villa companies & properties to check out:
- Island Abodes
- St. John Ultimate Villas
- Cimmaron Properties
- Seaview Homes
- Caribbean Villas
- Viva Villas
- Destination St. John
- Here is a small list of condo-like, multi-unit buildings for rental consideration within reasonable walking distance to the heart of Cruz Bay, St John:
- Gallows Point
- Grande Bay
- Lavendar Hill Guest Suites
- Battery Hill
- Hillcrest Guest House
- Star Villas
- Estate Lindholm
- Donald Schnell Artistic Villas and Studios
- Coconut Coast
- Sam & Jacks Deli at Starfish Market. There is an Italian sausage grinder that my husband loves! they have quick meal prep time and reasonable deli selections.
- North Shore Deli at Mongoose Junction. People flock to the easy access location and the lines can be long. A smaller menu with some go-to staples. A solid choice for a sandwich to go before heading out on the North Shore road into the VI National Park for the day.
- Sit-Down casual:
- Who wouldn’t fall in love with our friends Jimbo & Kellie from High Tide right on the water at Wharfside Village. Breakfast lunch and dinner you can’t go wrong. Their hospitality is palpable. We love them so much we encourage all of our guests sailing with us to meet and grab breakfast or at least coffee & a bagel while waiting at High Tide restaurant, where the boat leaves from to board the dinghy for the St. John sailing trip!
- Banana Deck
- Sun Dog Cafe food & music at Mongoose where the fun open mic Sunday night jam is hosted.
- Nighttime meal experiences:
- Ryan and his team at Extra Virgin Bistro expect to see the Salty Dog Day Sail crew on nearly a bi-weekly rotation. The Beef Shortrib is a signature house dish and melts in your mouth. You will love the lively Bistro atmosphere too.
- Morgans Mango Tuesday & Saturday Lobster Nights are quite popular, but we really love the Lime Inn version done Anegada style on the grill available most nights. check out the YouTube video on their home page to see the lobsters on the grill!
- Rhumblines, Ocean Grill & LaTapa are all favorite haunts and if you like fresh and hip, try Longboard or Umami.