Introduction To Bermuda
many yachtsmen, Bermuda represents the first step in true voyaging.
Situated roughly 600 miles off the Carolinas, it's an island with
a true mystique for passagemakers.For the landsman, Bermuda conjures
up images of pastel cottages, pink-sand beaches and British traditions
like cricket matches and afternoon tea spring, not to mention businessmen
going about their business in jackets, ties, Bermuda shorts and
Most visitors to Bermuda come from North America for
short stays, and many consider the island to be quaintly British;
the Brits, on the other hand, come in much smaller numbers but tend
to consider the island highly Americanized. Of course, Bermuda has
a leg in each country, but it is uniquely Bermudian - a product
of nearly four centuries of British colonial history and an equally
long reliance on American trade.
|Full country name:
||21 sq miles
||Hamilton (pop 15,000)
||61% African descent, 38% Caucasian descent,
a small minority of American Indian descent
||Christian (28% Anglican, 15% Roman Catholic)
||Self-governing British dependency
|Head of State:
||Queen Elizabeth II; represented by Governor Sir John Vereker
|GDP per head:
||Tourism, finance, insurance, structural concrete products,
paints, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, ship repairing
|Major trading partners:
||USA, Canada & UK
Late May and early June are especially busy for dockage in Bermuda,
and transient dockage in Bermuda is difficult at best.
Dockage for the rally will be at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club in
downtown Hamilton. The rally fee covers dockage, electricity and
water at RBYC for the duration of the visit to Bermuda.
The club's docks are in the center of Hamilton. The seawall extends
almost 1,000 feet forming a rectangle and enclosing 110 floating
docks for members' boats. Facilities for transient yachts on the
outside of the seawall allow 30 - 100 amp, 120 - 240 volt, 60 Hz.,
single and three-phase electrical service at every slip and water
at every slip.
RBYC members' boats take all the space inside the seawall, and
rally yachts will be accommodated outside the protected basin. Most
rally yachts will be Med-moored on the outside of the breakwater,
not a perfect situation due to the sometimes blustery winds and
usual light chop in the harbor. This is not an ideal docking situation..
During Milt and Judy's advance visit in mid-May 2004, winds were
often 15 to 20 knots, sometimes gusting to 30 knots, and some of
the dockage is beam to the wind. However, the bottom line is that
there is no terrific dockage for transient yachts in Bermuda at
any price, especially in the springtime when transatlantic yachts
in Bermuda are everywhere.
Med-mooring at RBYC involves passing a bow line through an eye
on a mooring buoy, then backing down to the breakwater, keeping
a stain on the bow line to hold the bow up. RYBC promises to have
small boats in the water to help rally yachts get bow lines through
the mooring buoys.
Rallly officials have a dock plan showing the transient slip area,
complete with measurements and available power at each slip/power
pedastal. About 20 - 22 rally yachts can be accommodated on the
outside of the breakwater.
Use of passerelles will be required. RBYC has many long planks
which can be used, but Rallly captains are advised to be prepared
with workable passarelles.
Water is at every slip, and standard U.S. hose fittings are used.
Pier Master Allison Macintyre (441-295-2214 or cell 441-799-5290
- VHF channel 16) is the contact.
Royal Bermuda Yacht Club
club for the Rally in Bermuda is the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club right
in downtown Hamilton, just a few minutes' walk from the shops and
restaurants of Hamilton.
Rally captains and crew are invited to use the RBYC's facilities,
including the patio restaurant and the bar. Rally participants may
use credit cards at the club or may charge on their temporary membership
cards. All bills charged on membership cards should be settled prior
to departure. Two Rally social events will also be held at the club.
The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club is a private Club and is the third
oldest club holding a Royal Warrant outside the British Isles. The
club was established on the 1st November, 1844. There are now approximately
850 resident and non-resident members.
Early in 1845, the Prince HRH Prince Albert, the first Duke of
Edinburgh, graciously consented to become Patron of the Club. His
Royal Highness, Prince Albert gave permission for the Bermuda Yacht
Club to style themselves the "ROYAL BERMUDA YACHT CLUB".
After almost 60 years occupation of No.52 Front Street, the RBYC
in 1933 acquired a fine water site at Albuoy's Point, Hamilton,
built a large Club House on their new property and moved into their
new quarters on the 16th December, 1933.
The RBYC's major event is the biannual Newport Bermuda Race, which
the club co-hosts with the Cruising Club of America. The conclusion
of this race sees RYBC lined with dozens of sailing yachts. During
this event, the club hosts social events for thousands of sailors.
The 2004 Newport Bermuda Race will conclude in Bermuda about three
weeks after the rally yachts depart for the Azores.
Commodore of the RBYC at the time of our visit will be Jane Correia,
and Vice Commodore will be Andrew Cox. The club's general manager
is Vernon Pemberton, and the club's secretary is Hilary Roberts.
Fairmont Hamilton Princess Hotel, an easy 10-minute walk or 5-minute
dinghy ride from RBYC, offers special rates for groups. If the Rally
can guarantee a certain number of people, Simon Boden at the Princess
will reportedly offer very attractive rate reductions.
The Princess is one of Bermuda's oldest hotels. Reservations 1-800-441-1414,
www.fairmont.com/hamilton, email@example.com. Rack rate for
a double: $379 to $539/night.
A bit downscale, Rosemont Apartments, 1/4 mile up a hill beyond
the Princess but without the harbor view, offers neat, clean, air
conditioned basic rooms with kitchens at $170 to $200/night plus
service charge ($8.00) and tax.
The Bermuda dollar is on par with U.S. dollar. U.S. dollars are
accepted everywhere, though change may be given in Bermudian currency.
Credit cards are widely accepted, American Express and Diners Club
less than Visa and Master Card. ATMs are widely available.
One recommendation: towards the end of your stay, ask for your
change in U.S. currency. Bermuda dollars are accepted at few places
away from Bermuda.
Under Bermuda law, no self-drive automobile rentals are permitted
for visitors. Taxis readily available but expensive, and the public
transportation system--frequent busses and ferries--provides convenient
and reasonable transportation. In May 2003, a one-day pass, good
for unlimited rides on busses and ferries, was $11.00.
Rental motor scooters for one and two people available. Mike Smatt
of the Smatt's Cycle Livery Ltd., 74 Pitts Bay Road, Hamilton, 441-295-1180
(firstname.lastname@example.org) offers a Rally participants 20% discount on
rental of motor scooters. Smatt's Cycle Livery is a five minute
walk from RBYC.
Remember that Bermudians drive on the left side of the road, which
makes driving motor scooters somewhat hazardous for Americans.
Provisioning in Bermuda will not be a problem, but paying for it
might. You'll find a terrific selection, many familiar brands, and
prices that are typically 50% to 100% higher than in Fort Lauderdale,
though some U.K. items such as Irish butter are actually less than
in the U.S..
A five-minute walk (and five-minute dinghy ride) away from RBYC
is Miles Market, The Waterfront, Pitts Bay Road at Waterloo Lane,
Hamilton, 441-295-1234. This is a pricey but extremely popular specialty
market with everything you need from avacados to zuccini, including
fresh King salmon, Haagen-Daaz, and a coffee bar--the closest thing
to Starbucks we found on the island. To quote their advertising:
"Miles-aged beef, including special 'dry-aged' beef, free range
chicken, turkey and lamb, hand-selected fresh fish, 'fresh local
catch' and more." They also have a fine selection of imported cheeses,
smoked salmon. Miles offers a good selection of fresh produce, wines
from around the world (few under $20.00), beer and liquor, a complete
selection of fresh bread and other baked goods from their own bakery,
Cuban cigars, and a delicious selection of take-out prepared foods.
For substantial orders, Miles will deliver to the boat. Just give
the yacht's Rally number (visible from the pier) to Miles Market,
and they will deliver right to the slip.
A 15-minute walk from RBYC is The Marketplace, on the north side
of Church Street between Burnaby and Parliament Street. This is
a more conventional supermarket, the largest supermarket on the
island, and prices are perhaps 20 to 25 percent less than Miles
Market. This well-stocked supermarket is almost identical to the
U.S. variety, featuring a massive fresh produce department, fresh
fish, meats, cheeses, milk and other dairy products, a bakery, and
a good selection of ice cream. It also has a very large selection
of prepared foods. Beer, wine and liquor. The wine selection is
much larger than Miles and many of the wines are less than $20.
We suggest that Rally chefs and serious foodies check out both
Rally participants are invited to use RBYC's restaurant and bar
facilities and may use either credit cards or temporary member cards,
with temporary accounts to be settled prior to departure.
In addition, Bermuda offers over 150 restaurants, ranging from
plain to very fancy and expensive. From chic international cuisine
at posh dining rooms to conch stew at a roadside cafe, there’s a
taste to please every palate and budget. You’ll find Italian, Indian,
Greek, Chinese, English, French, and Mexican restaurants throughout
the Island. Wahoo steak, mussel pie, Hoppin’ John (black-eyed peas
and rice), cassava pie, codfish and potatoes for Sunday brunch,
and guinea-chick (spiny lobster) are just a few of the Bermudian
RBYC Rear Commodore Andrew Cox especially recommends Coconuts on
the Beach at the Reefs Hotel on the South Shore as a great romantic
Bermuda dining experience; four-course dinner about $88; reservations
South Shore, Southampton--about a $20.00 cab ride from RBYC. Coconuts:
441-238-0222. The Reefs is generally acknowledged as the island's
finest resort and has won many awards.
Check out restaurants at the Bermuda tourism website: www.bermudatourism.com.
The RBYC offers a coin laundry--two machines which take U.S. and
Quickie Lickie Laundry, 74 Serpentine Rd., Hamilton, 441-295-6097,
offers free pickup and delivery and wash, dry and fold service,
but pricing is reported to be high by U.S. standards. RBYC General
Manager Vernon Pemberton can arrange a pickup point at RBYC for
Rally yachts upon request.
Communications and Internet
It's easy to stay in touch while you're in Bermuda. Bermuda's area
code is 441, and calling to or from Bermuda is just like making
a call to another state in the U.S. To call Bermuda from the U.S.
press 1-441 and the seven-digit Bermuda number. Likewise, calling
the U.S. requires pressing 1 plus the area code and seven-digit
If you have AT&T cellular service, you can make arrangements with
AT&T to have your service activated in Bermuda--see AT&T below.
Cell phones are available for rent in Bermuda, and Internet access
points are available in many locations in downtown Hamilton and
at the Dockyard. Internet service on the island is typically 56K
or slower, though some companies claim to have DSL and T1 lines.
Cable & Wireless, 20 Church St., Hamilton, open 9 am - 5 pm M-S,
offers international calls, telex and fax, but no Internet.
RBYC sells phone cards which offer long distance service for about
$0.30/minute and can be used from any phone in Bermuda.
AT&T Bermuda cellular service: call AT&T Customer Service from
the U.S., have the Bermuda plan activated for $2.99 per month, and
your cellular service will be extended to Bermuda for $1.49 per
minute, not including long distance. Verizon has no service in Bermuda.
Cellular One does have service in Bermuda which can be activated
through Cellular One customer service in the U.S. No other U.S.
cellular companies found in Bermuda.
Bermuda Cell Rental, 441-232-2355, rents cell phones for both short-term
and long-term rentals--additional information including prices available
at www.bermudacellrental.com. Or contact Cellular One in Bermuda
Internet service is available at many locations around Hamilton.
Generally, Internet connections in Bermuda are not fast, averaging
about the same speed as a dialup connection in the U.S. Some locations
claim to have ISDN, DSL or T-1 service, and such locations may be
a little faster than dialup.
Internet Lane, upstairs at The Walkway, 55 Front Street, Hamilton,
tel. 441-296-9972, is a 10-minute walk from RBYC and offers "fast
Internet service" on their computers or yours at rates of 50 minutes
for $10, 100 minutes for $19.50 using a magnetic card which allows
you to split your time over several visits.
Twice Told Tales, 34 Parliament Street across from the Magistrate
Court, 441-296-1995 is a dusty second-hand bookstore and cyber cafe
near the RBYC offering inexpensive Internet service--15 minutes
for $3, 30 minutes for $5.00.
You can make an appointment for 30 minutes per person per day of
free Internet service at Bermuda Library just beyond the Perot Post
Office (open 7 days a week) at the intersection of Queen & Reid
Streets, a 10-minute walk from the RBYC.
At the Dockyard, Swiss Connection (441-234-6480) offers DSL Internet
connection for $5.00/30 minutes--nice modern equipment and large
bright screens. These were the fastest Internet connections Milt
and Judy found in May 2003.
Consular Information Sheet
U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affairs Washington,
This information is current as of Aug 7, 2003
Bermuda is a highly developed British overseas territory with a
stable democracy and modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely
U.S. citizens entering Bermuda must present a U.S. passport or a
certified U.S. birth certificate, and photo identification. The
Consulate strongly recommends that visitors travel with a valid
passport at all times. A U.S. driver's license or a voter registration
card is not sufficient for entry into Bermuda. For additional information
on entry requirements, travelers may contact the British
Embassy at 3100 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, D.C.
20008, telephone (202) 462-1340, or the British consulate in Atlanta,
Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, New York or San Francisco;
Internet: http://www.britain-info.org or the Bermuda
Department of Immigration.
In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments
have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include
requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for
the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian if not present.
Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate
has a low to moderate crime rate. Incidents of serious violent crime
are infrequent, but petty thefts and assaults do occur. Valuables
left in hotel rooms (occupied and unoccupied) or left unattended
on beaches are vulnerable to theft. Criminals often target transportation
systems and popular tourist attractions. Examples of common crimes
include pickpocketing, theft of unattended baggage and items from
rental motorbikes, and purse snatchings (often perpetrated against
pedestrians by thieves riding motorbikes).
Travelers should exercise caution when walking after dark or visiting
out-of-the-way places on the island, as they can be vulnerable to
crime, and because narrow and dark roadways can contribute to accidents.
There have been incidents of sexual assault and acquaintance rape,
and the use of "date rape" drugs such as Rohypnol has been reported
in the media and confirmed by local authorities.
There has been an increase in criminal activity at St. George's,
a popular cruise ship destination and World Heritage Site. Incidents
of verbal, and sometimes physical, assault against both locals and
tourists have been reported. Petty drug use is frequent and open.
Gang activity, including assaults and arson, has been reported in
the area as well. There have been several assaults and thefts in
the area of Pitts Bay Road from the Hamilton Princess Hotel into
the town of Hamilton, and the back roads of Hamilton are often the
setting for assaults, particularly after the bars close.
The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported
immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. embassy or
consulate. U.S. citizens can refer to the Department of State's
Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a more trouble-free journey.
This publication and others, such as Tips
for Travelers to the Caribbean, are available by mail from the
Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office,
Washington, D.C. 20402, or via the
Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Good medical care is available. The hospital performs general surgery
and has intensive care units. Serious or complex medical problems
will likely require medical evacuation to the United States.
The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with
their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm
whether their policy applies overseas and if it will cover emergency
expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans
seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless
supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid
programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the
United States. However, many travel agents and private companies
offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred
overseas, including emergency services such as medical evacuations.
When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should
consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment
in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation
to the United States may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured
travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties.
When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, please ascertain
whether payment will be made to the overseas healthcare provider
or if you will be reimbursed later for expenses that you incur.
Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment
and for disposition of remains in the event of death.
Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas
insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau
of Consular Affairs brochure,
Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available
via the Bureau
of Consular Affairs home page or autofax: (202) 647-3000.
OTHER HEALTH INFORMATION: Information
on vaccinations and other health precautions may be obtained from
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international
travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX
(1-888-232-3299); or via the CDC's
TRAFFIC SAFETY AND ROAD CONDITIONS:
While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions
that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information
below concerning Bermuda is provided for general reference only,
and it may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.
Safety of Public Transportation: Excellent
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Poor
Driving in Bermuda is on the left side of the road. The maximum
speed limit in Hamilton is 25 kph (15 mph); 35 kph (21 mph) on the
rest of the island. Under Bermudian law, non-residents are not allowed
to own, rent, or drive four-wheeled vehicles. Non-residents must
rely on taxis, the excellent local bus system, or motor scooters.
Traffic is moderate, and Bermudians generally follow the rules of
the road. Licensing and registration are strictly enforced, as are
driving and parking regulations. Because Bermuda does not allow
the importation of used vehicles, most vehicles are in good condition.
Those unused to driving on the left are likely to find the roundabouts
and regulations for yielding at junctions confusing and dangerous.
In addition, vehicles often stop on the side of the road, blocking
one lane of traffic. Main roads, while generally in good condition,
are extremely narrow and tend to be bordered by heavy vegetation
or low stone walls.
Pedestrian crosswalks marked by white lines are found on all roads.
Vehicles must, and do, stop when a pedestrian is seen approaching
a crosswalk. Horns are seldom used aggressively or as a warning.
Instead, horn honking is used as a general form of greeting in Bermuda.
As almost everyone knows everybody else, horns are heard honking
at all times, which may be confusing to those visiting the island.
Rental motor scooters are readily available, and the required helmet
is provided. While renting a scooter for daytime activities in good
weather should be reasonably safe, visitors should carefully consider
whether or not it is worth the risk to ride a scooter during rainy
weather or at night. Motor scooters provide the greatest road peril
in Bermuda; local operators tend to abuse the speed limit more than
other drivers, and they will often pass on the left or right with
no warning. Travelers who rent scooters should be aware that scooter
accidents involving visitors are relatively common, and they can
sometimes be fatal or involve serious injuries.
Taxis are readily available. The local bus system, which is excellent
and relatively inexpensive, services the length of the island and
stops close to most beaches, hotels, the downtown shopping area,
and other points of interest. In addition, water ferry service to
a variety of stops around the island is available seven days a week,
and it is a very safe and enjoyable mode of transportation.
For additional general information about road safety, including
links to foreign government sites, please see the Department
of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs home page. For specific
information concerning Bermuda driver's permits, vehicle inspection,
road tax and mandatory insurance, please contact the Bermuda
Department of Tourism offices at 310 Madison Avenue, Suite 201,
New York, N.Y., telephone (212) 818-9800.
AVIATION SAFETY OVERSIGHT: The
U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the government
of Bermuda's Civil Aviation Authority as category 1 -- in compliance
with international aviation safety standards for oversight of Bermuda's
air carrier operations. For further information, travelers may contact
the Department of Transportation within the United States at telephone
1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA
Internet web site.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign
air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services.
For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers
may contact the DOD at telephone (618) 229-4801.
CUSTOMS REGULATIONS: U.S. citizens
who are taking prescription medication must inform Bermuda customs
officials at the point of entry. Medicines must be in labeled containers.
Travelers should carry a copy of the written prescription and a
letter from the physician or pharmacist confirming the reason the
medicine is prescribed.
Bermuda customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning
temporary importation into or export from Bermuda of items such
as animals, arms, ammunition and explosives, building sand, crushed
rock, gravel, peat and synthetic potting media, foodstuffs (animal
origin), fumigating substances, gaming machines, historic articles
(relating to Bermuda), lottery advertisements and material, motorcycles,
motor vehicles, obscene publications, organotin anti-fouling paint,
plants, plant material, fruits and vegetables (living or dead, including
seeds), pesticides, prescription drugs, prohibited publications,
seditious publications, soil, VHF radios, radar and citizens band
(CB) radios. For additional information on temporary admission,
export and customs regulations and tariffs, please contact Bermuda
Customs at telephone 1-441-295-4816, or email email@example.com,
or visit the Bermuda
Customs web site.
CRIMINAL PENALTIES: While in a
foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws
and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those
in the United States and may not afford the protections available
to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law
can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses.
Persons violating Bermuda's laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled,
arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking
in illegal drugs in Bermuda are strict, and convicted offenders
can expect jail sentences and fines. If arrested for possession
of even a small quantity of an illegal drug, offenders will be bound
over for trial and not allowed to leave the island until sentencing
SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES: ATM machines
are fairly widely available in Bermuda. No local banks accept checks
drawn on a U.S. account, but some Front Street stores catering to
the tourist trade do accept U.S. checks as payment. The local American
Express office will cash U.S. checks up to $500.00 for a three-percent
fee. Credit cards are widely accepted at all establishments.
DISASTER PREPAREDNESS: Bermuda
is a hurricane-prone country. The worst of these storms generally
skirt the island, however, and little or no property damage is incurred.
Cruise ships regularly alter their schedules and courses to and
from the United States due to hurricanes in the Atlantic. General
information about natural disaster preparedness is available via
the Internet from the U.S.
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
CHILDREN'S ISSUES: For information
on international adoption of children and international parental
child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html
or telephone 1-888-407-4747. Bermuda is a signatory to the Hague
Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction.
The Central Authority for international child custody issues in
Bermuda is the Attorney General's Chambers, telephone 1-441-292-2463.
U.S. citizens may register with the Consular Section of the U.S.
Consulate General located at Crown Hill, 16 Middle Road, Devonshire
DV03, telephone 1-441-295-1342, where they may also obtain updated
information on travel and security in Bermuda. Office hours for
American Citizens Services are 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m., Monday through
Thursday, except Bermudian and U.S. holidays. American citizens
in need of after-hours emergency assistance may call the duty officer
at telephone 1-441-235-3828. * * *
This replaces the Consular Information Sheet dated April 30, 2001
to update sections on Entry Requirements, Crime, Medical Facilities,
Medical Insurance, Other Health Information, Traffic Safety and
Road Conditions, Customs Regulations, Criminal Penalties and Children's