Belize Sailing Stories

Sailing to the Belize Atolls

Below is an insert from the TMM website. In summary, it is very hazardous to sail out to the atolls without a captain.

Why doesn't TMM allow bare boating outside the reef?

The reefs are not very well charted, which makes it dangerous coming in through unmarked "cuts" in the reef. Once inside the atolls the shoal waters are full of coral rock formations that lie in many areas in such numbers that the charts simply say, "numerous coral heads or patch reefs". Additionally, communication is non-existent and we may not be able to come to you even if we knew you were in trouble. We do not have a dedicated search and rescue organization in Belize and therefore we prefer to steer people clear of any potential difficulty.

If for instance you put a hole in the hull of your vessel outside the reef, we would have to wait for a calm weather window to bring a crane and barge to assist us. Once out there, we would have to complete the repair and wait for another weather window at our expense before bringing the barge back inside the reef. These calm times in the blue can be few and far between, so it can turn into an expensive, time consuming operation. However, if you stay inside the reef we can be there in a day, and have our boat back in service within a week.

With so much to see inside the reef, it will not spoil your sailing adventure to avoid the outside. Many people want to go to the outer atolls for the diving, but in reality the southern reef is every bit as spectacular.

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