As we hit the middle of April, it’s more evident that things are not usual. We’re continuing to check in with crew about their experiences with COVID-19 and their current status and situation. Share your stories with us — email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Capt. Peter Vazquez weighed in on how the vessels he manages are faring. While a few returned to Florida before the shutdown, a few remain in Nassau. “Unfortunately, several of the owners have asked us as the management company to reduce the number of crew to the minimum as required by the regulations or insurance,” he says. “As such, several crewmembers have since been furloughed as a result of the pandemic.”
He shared that some of his vessels were on charter in the Exumas when borders were being shut down, so they ended their charters early so guests could return to their homes. He did note, however, that he flew a guest out from one charter. “The captain informed me that he believed that the client was suffering from the COVID-19 virus and that he and another crewmember also felt similar symptoms,” Vazquez says. So he followed protocols and placed himself in quarantine. “We later discovered a couple people did test positive for the virus,” he says. “I never experienced any symptoms and have felt great the entire time. I decided to add a couple of extra days to my self-quarantine just to make sure, and then of course, just when that was over, the majority of Florida was issued a stay-at-home order.”
Since they anticipated the lockdowns, they had prepped and flew in supplies. “Kim and a couple of friends of ours are hunkered down on Leaf Cay for the duration, along with eight dogs and two cats,” he says. “We agreed to take in some additional fosters (dogs) from the Humane Society in Nassau to help with their situation in Nassau. So Kim will be on the island and I will be at our home in Parkland until the travel restrictions are lifted between the U.S. and Bahamas.”
Like everyone, the vessels they’re managing are under 24-hour curfew in Nassau as no yacht movements are allowed unless for essential services. “All crews aboard the yachts have been advised to follow all of our U.S. CDC guidelines with respect to social distancing, although difficult on a yacht, as well as frequent washing of hands and sterilizing commonly used surfaces,” he says.
Of course, the crew provisioned before the quarantine. Vazquez notes, however, that like the U.S., Nassau has had some shortages. “Nassau has now instituted a system based upon your last name for the days that you’re are allowed to visit the grocery stores,” he says. Of course, they’re keeping in contact with all their crew, charter reps, owners, and clients. “We keep telling our crews that once this craziness is over, we expect that The Bahamas are going to be very busy with lots of yachts and charter clients coming over,” he says “We hear from our charter brokers that the summer Med season, at least for Americans, is probably not going to be very active, and the Caribbean season, which usually slows down after spring, will also probably be very slow.”
His solution? “Bahamas, of course,” Vazquez says. “Everyone is frustrated and tired with the stay-at-home orders and will be ready to get out into the fresh air and beautiful turquoise waters of The Bahamas.”
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