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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

Read Lynne's article and then TAKE OUR SURVEY at the foot of the page.

April 2009

Tamarind Club Hotel, Tortola, British Virgin IslandsiPods and MP3 players
Gone are the days of packing 15 or 20 of your favorite CD's! Now we carry thousands of our favorites songs on our belt hook or an armband. Can you use your iPod or MP3 player onboard your charter yacht? YES. Most crewed yachts can plug an iPod into their stereo system, but ask us if this feature is not listed. Many bareboat charter companies are in the process of changing their boats' old CD players with ones that will have iPod capabilities. It's a slow process, because they replace them as needed, so we suggest you bring an iTrip or something similar which allows your music to transmit through the boat's stereo system. If you don't already have one, you can pick one up anywhere music accessories are sold or order one online. iPhones will generally work on any iPod connection providing the phone feature is turned off (airport mode).

Will I be able to use my cell phone in the Islands?
Check with your provider to see if your cell phone agreement allows you to use your phone abroad and which services are available in your destination. Your provider will also tell you if they have a "roaming agreement" with an operator in the country you are visiting. They'll also be able to tell you if your phone supports the radio frequency in that country. GSM services are provided in several bands (e.g. 850, 900, 1800 and 1900 MHz). Most phones are multi-band, but you should check that your phone will operate once you get to your destination.

With that said, roaming charges can be quite expensive. In the BVI, many bareboat companies now offer bMobile Cell Phones for rent ($10-$20 for the duration of your charter). The phone comes loaded with a credit (usually $10) which is non-refundable. Once you have used the initial credit, additional minutes may be purchased through the charter company or at locations throughout the islands. Calls to the charter company are FREE as well as any INCOMING CALLS you receive from inside or outside of the BVI. Outgoing calls are as low as .15 to .60/minute depending where in the world you are calling and whether it's day, night or weekend. Calls to the US and Canada range from .20 to .30/minute. Text messages are .20/minute. For more information on using these pre-paid phones including rates and "TopUp" locations go to bvi.mybmobile.com/bvi/index.html. If the charter company doesn't offer phone rentals - check out www.renport.com for rentals in the BVI. Some of the charter companies with locations in St. Martin, Antigua, Grenada and The Grenadines offer similar pre-paid phone rentals. Just call us if you have any questions. Alternatively, www.travelcell.com offers cell and satellite phone rentals for any destination.

If I bring my laptop, will I be able to access the internet while sailing?
Ideally you set your email to auto-answer with a message saying you are away and don't have access to emails! If you don't have that luxury, or you prefer to stay connected, you do have options. In the BVI, you can rent a wireless pyramid-shaped antenna about 12 inches high that plugs into either 110v or 12 v. All you need is a computer with an ethernet port and/or Wifi capability. ICE BVI
www.icebvi.com provides this service. Everyone onboard can have access or even two boats traveling together. It works on both Macs and PCs. Rental is $35 - $40 per day and we may be able to arrange this through the charter company. Moorings and Sunsail use Renport www.renport.com which is located on-site at their marina complex in Road Town. Renport offers a wireless cellular modem for your laptop ($27/day) allowing your computer internet access. These services will keep you connected and give you access to your email and Skype messages. BVI WiFi Marine www.bvimarinewifi.com has installed DSL transmitters in the BVI giving many anchorages a high-speed wireless signal. Throughout the BVI and other Caribbean destinations there are internet cafes and internet services available at most charter companies and some hotels and restaurants, but some locations may charge a fee.

HOW ESSENTIAL ARE THESE FEATURES? Click on the buttons to vote.
(remember to click the submit button at the end)

iPods and MP3 Players

I would definitely want to bring my iPod or MP3 player and feel this is a feature charter yachts should offer.

I would probably bring an iPod if this feature is available, but wouldn't miss it.

I don't think portable music players are important on yachts.

Cell Phones

A cell phone is essential. Bareboat companies or crewed yachts should provide them or have them available for rent.

A cell phone is essential, but I prefer to bring my own.

I'm not interested in a personal cell phone. If necessary I will use USA Direct or a similar discount program from a land line ashore to check for messages or call home.

Internet Access

CREWED BOATS: I would look for a boat that provided internet access as I will require it.

CREWED BOATS: It's not essential that the boat provide internet access. I will use wifi or shore facilities when available (or bring my own).

BAREBOATS: I will rent a wireless antenna or modem from a local supplier (or bring my own).

EITHER: I go on a charter vacation to get away from computers, so won't be accessing the internet.

(remember to click the submit button below to send us your vote)

Feel free to add comments in the box below if you have other ideas/comments. We will print a selection of comments we feel will be helpful to clients.


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Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556

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