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Setting Sail In St. Thomas

Dec 17, 2007
For several years, one of the most popular activities for visitors to St. Thomas hasn't taken place on the island. Instead, tourists cruise the crystal-clear waters surrounding this unique island, soaking up the sun and finding adventure in the water. With numerous charters and rental organizations catering to the tourists of the island - each with unique water sport activities and boating options - there are plenty of ways to set sail in St. Thomas.

As conditions for sailing and water sports are nearly perfect year-round in St. Thomas, it is no wonder that tourists regularly cite the weather as one of the most memorable details of their vacations. In addition to the persistent sunshine and mild temperatures, the waters surrounding St. Thomas and the U.S. Virgin Islands are typically calm year-round, but light tropical breezes provide more than enough strength for the sails. Regardless of where your boat travels around St. Thomas, you will also experience incredible underwater visibility, allowing you to see the colorful diversity of the Caribbean Sea.

The easiest way to experience the Caribbean Sea while on St. Thomas is to charter either a sailboat or powerboat. St. Thomas currently has at least 100 different charter boats, each offering different activities and boating options. While day trips are the most popular option with tourists, many charter services in St. Thomas also offer week long boating tours. In most cases, both single day and week long charters are staffed with a complete crew, allowing you to sit back and enjoy the ride. However, experienced sailors can also find boat rentals without crews, allowing tourists to take the helm and coast through the calm Caribbean waters. In most cases, charter boats are limited to groups of 6-8, meaning your family will be able to enjoy not only the weather but also the precious privacy afforded by luxurious Caribbean destinations like St. Thomas.

Boating in the Caribbean also allows adventurous tourists a chance to explore what lies beneath the water. Most boating charters come complete with snorkeling equipment and visit many of the island's best sites for observing underwater life. If you charter a powerboat, you can also take advantage of equipment such as water skis and inflatable toys. Even if you want to stay dry, you can try your hand at deep sea fishing and reel in some of the Caribbean's most spectacular fish. If you have a particular activity in mind, check the listings for individual charters as most will detail the types of water sport equipment available. You can also ask the concierge at your resort for recommendations based on your family's interests and budget.

If you have never attempted any of these sports before, don't be discouraged from hopping aboard a boat. Many of the charter boats operating in St. Thomas are staffed by knowledgeable personnel that take pride in serving not only as tour guides, but also as teachers. While out at sea, you can receive lessons on snorkeling or scuba diving and gain valuable insight about how to reel in the perfect catch. Some charter companies even offer sailing lessons, allowing first-timers a chance to man the sails.

One of the best ways to find a charter boat or sailing tour is directly through your resort with the help of the concierge or front desk staff. In many cases, charter companies will offer substantial discounts or free add-ons to your rental through your resort. If you are still having trouble finding the right charter for your family, check local publications for detailed listings featuring the types of activities offered by each company. When you have found the right tour or boat rental, you can also make the necessary reservations directly through your resort and devote your free time to enjoying everything else St. Thomas has to offer.
About the Author
This article was written by Justin Burch. Justin writes select pieces about vacationing in the Caribbean and travel in St Thomas for the Marriott Resorts.
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