FAQs

Travel Planning

All travelers to the Bahamas need a passport. As you arrive into Nassau Airport you will clear Bahamas Customs & Immigration. Be sure your plane ticket matches your documentation. Check with the Bahamas Embassy for visa requirements if you are not a U.S. citizen. U.K. Embassies act on behalf of the Bahamas as well. As you depart Nassau at the end of your trip, you will clear U.S. Customs & Immigration before arriving at your departure gate. Please plan extra time to check in for your flight home.

By all means, yes. There will always be a diving buddy for you. Many of our passengers come aboard as singles and it’s a great way to meet other likeminded adventure travelers who love to dive!

The fees cover the Bahamas government taxes and fees.

Do I need any vaccinations? Most visitors to The Bahamas do not need special vaccinations before entering the country.

***Latin American Citizens:However, travelers over age one must provide a YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION CERTIFICATE, if they are coming from countries with the risk of infection such as Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela. They must be vaccinated 10 days before entering The Bahamas. Information can be found on the following sites:

Bahamas Entry Requirements

CDC Travelers’ Health

We strongly recommend purchasing dive accident and travel insurance for your trip. In order to maintain our reasonable cost and high level of service, we do not automatically insure your trip against the adverse effects of weather or other factors beyond our control. Your holiday represents a very large investment, and unforeseen circumstances such as named storms, injury or sickness, airline issues, and family emergencies can easily affect your ability to travel.

Diveassure: For annual combination trip and dive accident insurance.

Divers Alert Network: For annual combination trip and dive accident insurance.

Travelex: Travel protection for a single trip. You may choose the TRAVEL SELECT policy and select the optional ADVENTURE SPORTS COVERAGE upgrade which waives the policy exclusions for extreme sports such as scuba diving.

Dive liveaboard cruising is an appealing alternative to conventional land-based dive vacations and larger cruise ships. We offer a more flexible but inclusive travel experience – one that provides ”twice the fun at half the price”. Aboard Blackbeard’s you’ll get a camping-like experience at sea with good food, dormitory-style living arrangements, a fun and friendly crew and with plenty of great diving.

Blackbeard’s leaves Nassau on Saturday afternoon for the Exuma Cays. Each week is a new adventure with no fixed schedule. The captain will vary the itinerary to take advantage of the best weather and diving conditions. Blackbeard’s will traverse the northern end of the Exuma Cays in search of great conditions with evenings spent anchored offshore one of the many islands. The last night of the trip will be spent in Nassau where you can explore the big island with your new buddies! Dinner on Thursday is served on board at the dock.

Three complete meals are served daily, as well as snacks. We serve typical American fare — baked chicken, pork loin, lasagna and meatballs, with all the sides and dessert too! Meals are served buffet and eaten picnic style. There is always a hammock of fresh fruit for those between meals snacks as well as PBJ. A selection of beverages is always on hand from soft drinks and lemonade to beer, wine and rum punch — all included in the price of your liveaboard cruise! We can accommodate special diets. Please let us know what they are on the trip application.

For flight planning purposes boarding is 12:00pm on Saturday and shove off by 3:00pm. Please be on board by 1:00pm at the latest. The latest we recommend landing is 12:00pm so that you have time to clear Bahamas Customs & Immigration and transfer to the dock. Once on board lunch is served; you will some have time to get settled in and then attend a mandatory safety briefing before we depart Nassau.

Blackbeard’s returns to Nassau on the following Thursday afternoon. Dinner is served on board at the dock and then you can spend the last evening exploring Nassau with your new friends! All passengers must disembark by 9:00am on Friday morning. If you have a flight later in the day, you may leave your luggage in the lobby while you sightsee. Your last dive is complete by early afternoon on Thursday. Plan your flight home according to your “NO FLY” standard from your certifying agency.

Please contact the vessel if you experience any changes or delays in travel to the Bahamas on Saturday as our U.S. Reservations Office is not open on the weekends. The cell phone numbers to the boats are 242-376-7608 and 242-376-7606. If you have arranged Ground Transfers through us with Island Escape Tours, please ALSO contact Mr. Wright directly at 242.449.7862. The U.S. Reservations Office can take your calls Monday thru Friday 9:00am — 5:00pm EST at 800.327.9600 or 954.734.7111.

Travel to Nassau on Friday is recommended when possible. We have hotels in Nassau we can recommend for the night. Also this takes the stress out of same day travel – no lost luggage or missed connections to worry about on the day of boarding! Let us know what you want to do and see while you are in the Bahamas and we’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction. Click here to go to the Trip Info page with hotels in Nassau. You might even want to check out one of the other Out Islands at the end of your trip!

Blackbeard’s sailboats dock at the Nassau Harbour Club Marina on East Bay Street, right across from the Starbucks. The ride is approximately 30-40 minutes from the airport to the dock. It is not that far but slow down, Mon! You are on island time now.  If you need ground transfers while in Nassau, we can assist. You can make the ground transfer arrangements online or call our office at least 7 days prior to your departure. The cost is $18.00 per person per leg. Taxis are readily available at the airport too.

Space is limited on Blackbeard’s liveaboards and the islands we visit are very casual. We suggest several bathing suits, shorts, long pants, several T-shirts, one shirt, and a wind breaker all packed in soft luggage. Also pack deck shoes or sneakers, sandals, towels, suntan lotion (non-oil), sunglasses and foul weather gear (pants and jacket) which is a necessity to keep dry from spray or rain. Personal items such as aspirin, decongestants and shampoos are also recommended. We provide all bedding. We have storage at our dock for any empty bags or any bags you won’t need. We recommend 2 towels – 1 for salt and 1 for showering. Each bunk has a shelf at the end where you can store clothes and other personal items and a few hooks to hang your ditty bag too. Click here for a quick checklist.

You will need spending money for an evening ashore (shopping, drinks, souvenirs) and crew gratuity (10-15% is customary). You might note some of the smaller Bahamas Out Islands do not accept major credit cards. The currency of the Bahamas is the Bahamian Dollar which is on par with the U.S. dollar and is used inter-changeably. We accept Visa, MC, and Discover for scuba/specialty courses, boutique charges, and crew tip.

The liveaboard business is a service industry, and although the general public is seldom aware of it, gratuities are a major part of a crewmember’s salary. Few other recreational activities rely so heavily upon the professionals in charge for your enjoyment and safety. A gratuity of 10-15% is customary, but many leave more when they feel the service was outstanding. If you are disappointed with the service, you should inform the captain of your feelings right away so he may rectify the situation.

If someone needs to get in contact with you because of a true emergency, they may contact the U.S. Reservations Office and we will relay the message. The boats travel to remote areas. The only possible way to contact them is to relay a request to return to cell range so they may call our office. Since the boat is frequently hours from the nearest tower, this can cause you and your fellow passengers to miss out on part or all of a day’s diving. This contact should be for true emergencies for this reason.

Yes, with at least 7 days’ notice. Click here to arrange online or call our office. If your departure date does not appear in the date drop down box, the deadline has passed.  In this case, taxis are readily available at the airport.

NAS is the airport code for Nassau’s Lynden Pindling International Airport. All the major carriers fly into Nassau, most of them with very competitive fares.

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Policies

Blackbeard’s cruises are geared towards diving so the recommended age for children would be 10 for junior divers and 12 for open water divers. Keep in mind, children under 15 must be supervised by a parent or guardian at ALL times. While our crew is most gracious and good with all ages, they WILL NOT provide childcare services or supervision at ANY time during the cruise.

A deposit of $250.00 per person is required to confirm a reservation. Balance is due in full 90 days prior to departure. We accept MasterCard, Visa and Discover, personal check, money order and wire transfers.

For individuals, if you cancel your trip more than 90 days to departure, a refund will be issued. Within 90 days of departure, there is no refund unless space is re-sold and the trip departs full. All refunds are subject to a 5% admin fee.

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Diving

Yes, an instructor is available to teach these courses. Prior arrangements are recommended. Instructional materials not included. A Medical Form is required.

We host all levels of divers from beginners on their check out dives to seasoned pros on vacation! Be sure to bring your certification card (c-card), we’ll need to see it. If not certified, you may take a Discover Scuba Diving course from our dive instructor for a $125.00 fee.

Normally 3 to 4 dives per day, including night dives, as long as weather is not a factor. We generally offer up to 19 dives on a 6-night trip.

We’ll be diving up and down the Exuma Sound, an abyss that drops over 4,000 feet to the ocean floor! While the Northern Exuma Cays are only 30 miles from Nassau, land-based dive operators are too far away to dive this area. The Exuma Cays are known for their wonderful reef dives due to the protection they receive from the Land & Sea Park sanctions so you can experience truly virgin diving. Because of these laws, there are miles of undersea gardens in which coral, sponges and fish abound. Turtles, rays and sharks are seen regularly on most dive sites. Goliath grouper truly are gargantuan in the Exumas! Sometimes we dive Eleuthera but that is also weather dependent. Our specific itinerary varies with the winds to obtain maximum visibility for diving. The depths normally range from 20′ to 120′. There are swift drifts between the cays as well as a blue hole that divers will love!

We have 63, 80 and 100 CF tanks for guests to use. There is no additional charge for the use of the larger 100 tank however, we have a limited number of these on board so note this request on your Trip Application. They will be first come first serve on board if more requests than tanks occurs.

Single side mount diving is possible as each guest is assigned a dive position that holds one tank. Be sure to choose an end unit position to better accommodate your gear.

We do not have the ability to accommodate rebreathers.

Our tanks are fitted with yoke valves, however if you dive with a DIN regulator, let us know and we can have an adaptor added to your tank.

The Exumas are home to just a few wreck dives. We do visit the Austin Smith to dive. The wreck is not penetrable but it lies on a great reef and is the site of our shark feeding dive.

Yes. You can complete your open water checkout dives with an instructor. Prior arrangements are recommended. The cost is $15.00 per dive with 4 required plus cost of the certification form if not provided. Many guests choose to complete their open water certifications in the crystal clear, warm waters of the Bahamas!

Solo dive certification is required for those divers who wish to dive alone. Otherwise you will be buddied up with another diver.

The dives offered on Blackbeard’s are unescorted. The instructor on board will give you a good, in depth briefing before each dive describing the conditions, the current, depth, and it will include a visual aide. The instructor and/or staff will be in the water for all drift dives and the shark feed! We do have crewmembers that would be happy to act as guides when they aren’t busy with other duties.

Certified scuba divers need snorkel, fins, mask, and regulator with pressure gauge, buoyancy compensator (BC), u/w watch, and depth gauge. For night dives the minimum requirement is two light sources: a dive light plus a backup dive light, a non-strobing marker light or a chemical light stick (cyalume). Cyalumes are $3.00 each and are sold on board. We provide tanks, weights and weight belts. Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended. There is storage on deck for all gear and we have rinse buckets for underwater cameras and regulators.

If you do not have your own equipment, we have “top of the line” buoyancy compensators (BCs), wetsuits, computers, dive lights and regulators with octopus and gauges available for rent. All rentals must be arranged prior to departure and can be ordered on your Trip Application. We do not store our gear at the dock so last minute requests may not be available. We also have cyalumes available for sale at $3.00 each.

Rental Rates

Regulator with octopus and gauges     $50.00
Buoyancy Compensator (BC)                $50.00
3mm wetsuit                                             $35.00
Dive computer                                         $50.00
Dive light                                                  $30.00

Between fall and spring, a wetsuit is recommended. The chart below will give you a general idea of the water temperatures and what weight wetsuit you will need. When deciding which wetsuit works for you, consider that you will have the opportunity to dive as many as 5 times a day and it takes your body a while to warm up. Wetsuit needs are different for everyone. A general guideline follows.

Month Water Temperature (F/C) Air Temperature (F/C) Wetsuit Recommendation:
January 72-75 / 22-24 72-80 / 22-27 Full Wetsuit 5mm
February 72-75 / 22-24 72-80 / 22-27 Full Wetsuit 5mm
March 73-77 / 23-25 72-85 / 22-29 Full Wetsuit 5mm
April 75-79 / 24-26 76-90 / 24-32 Shorty or Full
May 77-80 / 25-27 80-90 / 27-32 Skin or Shorty
June 79-81 / 26-27 80-90 / 27-32 Skin or Shorty
July 83-87 / 28-30 80-90 / 27-32 None
August 83-87 / 28-30 80-90 / 27-32 None
September 83-87 / 28-30 80-90 / 27-32 None
October 78-82 / 26-28 76-90 / 24-32 Skin or Shorty
November 75-80 / 25-27 72-85 / 22-29 Shorty or Full
December 73-78 / 24-26 72-85 / 22-29 Full Wetsuit 5mm

Your BC and regulator set will stay on your tank all week. Other dive gear can be stored in our top side storage compartments.

The reefs are perfect for snorkeling with crystal clear waters and lots of fish, both small and large! You can snorkel anytime the boat is anchored! You need to bring mask, fins and snorkel. The snorkeling is not supervised. If you have not snorkeled before, we also recommend a snorkel vest. You can enjoy a variety of snorkeling experiences whether on dive sites with coral heads that reach close to the surface or nearby mangrove nurseries close to shore, for example.

Our scuba diving instructor will give you basic instructions. This will allow you to make 2 dives under the supervision of our dive instructor. This resort course does not qualify you for certification. The BC and regulator are included with a resort course. The fee is $125.00.

Yes, Caribbean reef sharks and nurse sharks frequent many of our sites. We normally offer 1 shark feed on each trip. This is the perfect time to see sharks up close and in action!

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On Board

Vegetarian, vegan and gluten free are pretty easy to work with as well as allergies so let us know upon booking if you require special meals. Please remember that you are participating in an adventure travel vacation that is occurring in a remote part of the world. Many of the modern conveniences, brands and pre-packaged goods we use at home are not available in remote destinations. As such, many special requests that are very specific may be difficult to accommodate.

Finally, if you are celebrating a birthday, anniversary, or other special life event, please let us know. Our crew stands ready to assist you in making your special day something to remember.

Motion sickness medication should be brought along in the event that we encounter rough seas. We want you to be comfortable. The boat will spend the night in calm anchorages and normally scuba diving will be done on the lee side of the islands. The best thing about a liveaboard diving vacation is that we can flex our schedule to go where the weather and conditions are best!

The best time for sailing is from October to April. During the period from May to September there is normally very little wind. The crew welcomes passenger participation or you may just relax in the sun.

Internet service is not offered on board, sorry. Unplug and relax while you dive all week! Your smart device may be able to connect to the Internet when we are within range of the 2 cell towers in the Central Bahamas. Be sure your cell provider has international service with the Bahamas before you go.

The Exuma Cays offers opportunities to go ashore and explore and enjoy the uninhabited beaches. For these occasions, we highly recommend proper footwear. Flip flops are not suitable. We suggest water shoes or TEVA type sandals. Sneakers are fine but they will get wet!

Yes, all the fishing gear is provided and our cook encourages it! Whatever we catch that is edible is cooked for passengers or used for sushi! The rest is saved for the chumsicle and the shark feeding dive. Just keep in mind that we spend a bit of time within the limits of the Land & Sea Park which is a marine sanctuary. There is no fishing or taking of any kind while we are within the park boundaries. Otherwise, we are happy to fish and lobster when in season.

Sleeping Cabins #1-4 upper and lower bunks are single bunks with curtains for privacy. These have less space but are more private. #5 and 6 upper and lower bunks are double bunks meant for two people to share. This is typically where couples are housed. #7, 8 and 9 upper and lower bunks are in the main salon. These bunks are double wide but usually only sleep single passengers. There is less privacy here but more room. Think camping on the high seas only better — we have air conditioning and do all the work!

Yes, one shower is equipped with both fresh and saltwater taps. Everyone cringes at the mention of a 30-second freshwater shower but it does warrant some explanation! There are two shower heads in the shower: one fresh and one salt. Saltwater use is unlimited so lather, shampoo, shave, etc., with the unlimited saltwater and then use the 30-seconds of freshwater at the end to rinse. You’ll feel fresh as a daisy! Bring your own towels-we recommend two – one for topside and one for showering.

We have standard U.S. 110-volt current outlets.

No smoking is allowed below deck. We ask that smokers step aft to the stern where a canister is kept for butts. Please do not throw them overboard.

For the non-diver there is swimming, sun tanning, beachcombing, fishing, snorkeling and just plain relaxing. If they are happy hanging out on a boat with other adventurous souls, they will be fine. If shopping and island hopping is on their mind, then remember- our cruises are destination and activity oriented, not amenity based. Casual, outdoor lovers that enjoy the salt air and open seas will be most happy on a liveaboard.

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Miscellaneous

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