Common General Questions
- Is there a deadline for signing up?
No. We accept applications year round. As long as there are openings on the programs, you can sign up. It's rare, but we have actually had students sign up the day before a program starts! Please call us for program availability.
- Is there contact by Sail Caribbean before the program starts?
Yes. Once you submit an application, we'll contact you with a few additional forms (eg. a medical form) and help you navigate the rest of our enrollment process. We'll introduce you to your own secure online account, My Sail Caribbean, where you'll be able to check your progress and manage the rest of the enrollment process yourself.
And as the summer approaches, you will hear from us frequently with helpful hints to make your trip a complete success. You'll receive our "Book of Seamanship", a detailed "What to Bring" list, a program itinerary, and a other helpful documents related to your travel to the Caribbean. Diving students will receive PADI instructional materials to begin their education for the selected certification level. Basic Keelboat students will also receive their instructional materials prior to the program.
- What kind of boat will I be living on?
We live on modern 50-foot monohull sailboats with five cabins that sleep 14 people. Each boat has four bathrooms, a main salon, and a fully equipped galley. Foxtrot and Tango programs use 42-46 foot catamarans to accommodate the community service and diving activities. The Echo program uses both types of boats.
- What are the supervision arrangements on shore?
Our voyages go ashore almost every day and our students are given clear boundaries. During daytime excursions, staff join the students ashore and provide area supervision. Students must travel in buddy groups and check in on a regular basis. During evenings ashore, students and staff are together at all times. The venues are carefully chosen for the students' enjoyment and with foremost consideration for safety and supervision.
- Are cell phones permitted?
Cell phones can be used while in transit to and from the Caribbean, but we collect them once students arrive at their destination. Cell phones would detract from the purpose of our programs.
During the program, there are opportunities for students to call home every 3-4 days. On those occasions when public phones are available (eg. when the boats are docked at a marina) students' cell phones will also be made available for a short period of time on the boats so that those with international service may use them to call home. Cell phones must be returned to storage after the designated period. If you plan to use your cell phone for communications home, please be sure your service is set up to work in the relevant Caribbean islands, and bring your charge cord. There can be no assurances that there will be an opportunity to charge student cell phones so calls should be kept to a minimum to preserve the batteries.
Parents can reach their son/daughter with messages through our base office on Tortola at 284-495-1675, and in case of an emergency, each fleet carries a cell phone. Additionally, Mike Liese is in daily contact with all our programs and can be reached during the summer 24-hours a day on his cell phone at 284-499-1759.
- What are the advantages of selecting combined programs?
Combining two different programs is often done to create a longer summer experience. Students who attend two programs can experience diverse Caribbean locations, participate in different activities, and advance their learning even further. And, they meet an entirely new group of crewmates on their second program. Those who choose these longer voyages receive a 10% tuition discount on both programs.
- What type of students join your program?
Students join us from all over the United States and from all around the world. Their ages typically range from 12 (finishing sixth grade) to 18. Our Echo program is for college age students. Each boat has 10-12 students of similar age with a balance of males and females. Our fleet size is 20 to 60 teenagers, depending on the program. Each day offers sailing and meals with your crew and then activities, electives, and socializing with the entire group. The majority of our students come alone, and friends are certainly welcome.
Our Foxtrot and Sierra Programs accept students completing grades 9-12 who have an interest in marine science, wildlife conservation, cultural exploration, and outdoor adventure.
- Can friends be assigned to the same boat?
Yes, as long as they are within the same age group, and they both make the same request
- How much of a time commitment is the Basic Keelboat optional course on Bravo?
Free time is always incorporated into our days and evenings. When we're not sailing, students can take advantage of a wide range of activities, including watersports and optional courses.
The Basic Keelboat certification is a bit different because it is a "challenge course". Candidates will learn the theoretical requirements for this certification along with everyone else during our regular sailing instruction. Additionally, BK candidates will participate in a few seminars and have two or three opportunities to practice their sailing skills on small keelboats, before being challenged by a practical exam, during which they must competently and single-handedly demonstrate certain sailing maneuvers on small keelboats. A passing grade on a written test and the practical exam complete the certification requirements. This elective involves about one-fourth of the participants' free time.
- Have students ever been sent home? Why?Our policies are clearly outlined on our application and are stated emphatically by Mike Liese to all students upon their arrival. Sail Caribbean students are strictly prohibited from using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. Those who violate these rules, as well as those who remain in the company of anyone violating the rules, are sent home immediately. Students and parents often say they appreciate that our rules are fair, well understood, and enforced without exception.