St. Maarten claims the most pleasant and enjoyable yachting

Sint Maarten has developed into a highly successful multi-purpose destination mainly because it listens to its stakeholders and thoroughly understands their business. Port St. Maarten understands their need for an exceptionally high quality land experience; their need for shore and land excursion revenue; and, for meeting their fuel requirements. Indeed, the country aims to become one of the best, most pleasant and enjoyable yachting destinations in the eastern Caribbean

Anchored at Simpson Bay Lagoon.

Sint Maarten remains a dynamic, safe, healthy and disciplined country with opportunities for all.

Sint Maarten is the Dutch half of an island shared with the French Collectivity of St. Martin. This is said to be the smallest island in the world with dual nationality. Covering just 37 square miles, the Dutch side forms the southern half.  In the west lies the Simpson Bay Lagoon, a haven for yachting and home to a large number of mega yachts. The economic pillars that support Port St. Maarten are cruise, cargo, yachting and real estate.

Sint Maarten has developed into one of the Caribbean’s premiere yachting destinations. Its gorgeous waters offer safe anchorage for some of the most exclusive and luxurious vessels in the world and yachting is regarded as a major growth area for this port.

St Maarten, cruise and cargo

The marine sector accounts for more than one third of employment and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  Total direct revenues from the marine sector in 2011 were US$517 million. This figure includes the impact of the French side on the Dutch side of the island. The 2011 turnover had a direct impact of US$125 million in added value, equalling 16% of (national) GDP and resulted in more than 3,500 direct jobs. When the indirect and induced impacts are included, the added value and number of jobs increase by more than 100 per cent, thus creating an added value that is 37 per cent of the GDP and a total number of almost 7,500 jobs. This is 36% of the workforce of Sint Maarten.

The impact of the marine sector on the economy is divided into the subsectors: cruise, yachting, cargo and ferry.  Together, these create a total added value of US$291 million, according to an Economic Impact Study for the marine sector of Dutch Sint Maarten.

Port St. Maarten has various marine related subsidiaries that together have the objective of safeguarding its competitive position as a top marine tourism/transhipment destination.

Simpson Bay Lagoon

The Simpson Bay Lagoon is a vast enclosed area of relatively shallow water on the western side of the island with a narrow strip of land separating it from the sea on three sides.  It straddles the border between Dutch (St. Maarten) and French (Ste. Martin) domains and is a haven for yachts and mega yachts. On the Dutch side, there is one lifting bridge to allow vessels out into Simpson Bay and the open sea.

The responsibility for managing this stretch of water, as well as operations of the bridge, lies with the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority.  A subsidiary of Port St. Maarten, its main focus is to enhance and improve the environment of Simpson Bay and the lagoon.

The Simpson Bay Lagoon houses the main facilities for yachts. The Dutch side of the island has most of the major marinas as well as a wide range of service companies and suppliers.

Anything a captain or a ship needs can be found in Sint Maarten. As one source stated: “we’re  boat country!”  More than ten marinas can provide provisioning stores, sail makers, boat builders and chandleries. Haul-out services are available at various locations with three travel lifts with 75 to 150 ton capacity.

Giga-yachts and vessels too large to enter the Simpson Bay Lagoon can be catered to elsewhere, including at the designated windjammer berths next to the Dr. A. C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility in Great Bay. Depending on the cruise ship schedule, large yachts can berth alongside cruise pier one or two.

Fuelling services are available to giga yachts in Great Bay.  A fuel station has been built at the windjammer berth. In 2011, Port St. Maarten established a subsidiary, St. Maarten Harbor Fuelling Company NV, to operate this facility and to handle all refuelling operations. The fuel station was established solely to handle giga yachts that are unable, due to depth restrictions, to enter the Simpson Bay Lagoon. Three 20,000-litre tanks allow for delivery at the berths. Larger volumes can be delivered by road tanker.

The fuel station is already proving so successful delivering millions of litres of fuel to mega and giga yachts of the rich and famous that an upgrade is planned in the near future.  The fuel station also supplies cruise vessels and all cargo vessels.

The objective of the Simpson Bay Lagoon Authority is to ensure that Sint Maarten is one of the best, most pleasant and enjoyable yachting destinations in the eastern Caribbean. The Authority is also the driving force in the development of economically and environmentally sustainable and durable yachting tourism in Sint Maarten. []

  • First published November 1, 2017



[(1) StMaarten Cargo and Cruise]

Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility, Point Blanche, Sint Maarten.


[(2) Mega Yacht Simpson Bay Lagoon]

One of many mega yachts that enter the Simpson Bay Lagoon every season.


[(3) StMaarten-cruise]

Cruise vessels moored at Cruise Pier 1 and 2 at the Dr. A.C. Wathey Cruise and Cargo Facility, Point Blanche, Sint Maarten.