Turks & Caicos Islands Navigation Chart Notes (TC001 & TC002)

Turks & Caicos Islands Navigation Chart Notes (for TC001 & TC002)Please click on one of the links below to ‘short cut’ to that subject:


If you would like to contact one of the government departments for more details, you may wish to visit the government pages of the Turks & Caicos Islands Gateway – TCI Mall website.

Customs and Immigration – Procedures & Fees

Customs Clearance. Vessels arriving from foreign parts are required to proceed to a Port of Entry and notify local authorities, Customs and Immigration, by calling ‘Harbour Master’ on V.H.F. Ch.16 when within radio range. Vessels will then be instructed to either anchor in a designated anchorage zone or to moor alongside the dock and await the boarding officer who will accept reports and issue clearance. Boarding officers will give information regarding Docks, Fisheries and National Parks Regulations and will also give pleasure craft details of regulations that affect cruising throughout national waters.

Customs Clearance Charges. October 12, 2012 Note – local currency is the U.S Dollar. Pleasure yachts that clear in or out during working hours (these being 8am to 4.30pm weekdays), pay a $15.00 boarding fee. If you need customs services outside of the above working hours then you will be required to pay a $15.00 fee for clearing in or out plus an overtime fee of $6.00 during weekdays or $8.00 for weekends or public holidays.

There is now a $50 fee for clearing in which is good for one week’s stay; then there is a $50 fee for clearing out. If you wish to stay longer, a Cruising Permit is available for $300 which is good for three months. (Vessels remaining in these Islands after the cruising permit has expired will be liable for import duty.) Vessels cruising between islands are required to show their cruising permit to Harbour Masters upon arrival.

Dockage Fees (charges for mooring alongside government docks)
Pleasure Craft. If not required by commercial shipping then pleasure craft may use dock space when authorized by the Harbour Master. There is no charge for pleasure craft that clear in or out or take on fuel and water at government docks, but should they wish to remain alongside then a charge of $20.00 for the first 12 hours and $2.00 per additional hour will apply.

Commercial Cargo Vessel Fees. Up to 5 tons – free. 5 to 20 tons – $25.00 for the first 12 hours and $2.50 per additional hour. 20 tons and above – $180.00 for the first 12 hours and $20.00 per additional hour. Dive Vessels – $5.00 for the first 3 hours and $2.00 per additional hour. Fees have recently increased – ask Harbour Master for current fees.

Cargo Dues are payable by vessels over 5 tons, at $9.00 per ton on all goods loaded or unloaded at government docks. Cargo, dock dues and overtime fees shall be payable on demand to the Chief Dock Officer or any dock officer authorized in writing by the C.D.O.
Thanks to Mrs. Clarabell Garland for the above information.

Ports of Entry.

  • Grand Turk: Commercial and Yachts – Freighter Dock.
  • South Caicos: Commercial and Yachts – Government Dock (Conch Ground Dock).
  • Providenciales: Commercial and Large Yachts – South Dock or designated anchorages.
  • Yachts – Leeward Marina, Turtle Cove Marina, Sapodilla Bay, Caicos Marina & Boatyard, Southside Marina.
  • West Caicos – Isle of West Caicos Marina (under construction as of Oct 04).

Navigation Beacons. All lighted Navigation beacons excluding the South Caicos Harbour Red & Green channel lights, were refurbished between 2002 and 2004 and made operational.

Notice N004 Oct 2, 2005: The recently formed Maritime Department, telephone 649-946-3148 – Mr Henry Wilson (Head of Department), is seeking funds to refurbish the South Caicos channel lights.

Notice N003 Oct 2, 2005: Department of Port Administration and Security, telephone 649-945-1613, a recently formed deparment that is responsible for the security of the three Turks & Caicos commercial ports – South Caicos, Providenciales and Grand Turk.

Notice 001, Oct 2, 2005 – Hazard to Navigation – CAUTION

Marker buoys were noticed to be missing from the ‘pick up lines’ of several moorings in December 04 on the West coast of West Caicos. These long floating ‘pick up lines’ are a hazard to vessels being hard to see until almost upon them. If caught in propeller, these heavy lines will bring a vessel to an abrupt stop, possibly causing injury to crew and damage to engine mountings and running gear. Always use extreme caution and keep a good lookout when travelling near dive boat mooring areas.

Large Vessel Anchorage Zone

There are ten designated Large Vessel Anchorage Zones, eight of which are in National Parks. These are:

  • Providenciales – Malcolm Roadstead Anchorage, Turtle Cove Anchorage, Forbe’s Pt. Anchorage, Stubb’s Cut Anchorage.
  • South Caicos – Cockburn Harbour Anchorage.
  • Grand Turk – Northwest Reef Anchorage, Cockburn Town Anchorage, South Dock Anchorage.

The remaining two are Fort George Anchorage and Provo South Dock Anchorage.

These zones will be marked by PVC post shore markers and spar buoys – three blue bands on white background marked by a letter A.
: These buoys are markers not moorings.

Vessels over 18m (L.O.A.) are prohibited from anchoring within the marine parks, other than in various designated anchorage zones.

Vessels under 18m (L.O.A.) may anchor in a sand bottom – but not within 90m of a scuba dive site mooring.

All vessels are forbidden to anchor within 120 metres of the low water line surrounding cays that are classified as sanctuaries or nature reserves.

Grounding in any national marine park, excluding designated anchorage zone areas, may result in prosecution.

In an emergency permission may be granted by the Harbour Master for vessels to anchor in restricted areas during emergency situations or during times of hurricanes.

Large Vessel Pilotage

Anchorage / Dockage at Turks & Caicos Islands
These Islands have always posed a challenge for large visiting vessels for they are surrounded by very deep or extremely shallow water with only a narrow 75 to 12 metre deep ledge between the two. This ledge affords smaller vessels at best a precarious open roadstead anchorage but has been of little use to vessels such as the visiting British warships and large cruise ships. Although there are no all weather deep-water harbours, recent dredging of the Grand Turk Freighter Dock, 23 feet (7 metres), depth MLW on south side of the Jetty and the new Cruise ship jetty, dredged basin to 32 feet, (11 metres) MLW to accommodate two ships, have greatly improved facilities at Grand Turk. Note that the Freighter Dock and Cruise Ship Jetty are open roadstead facilities without breakwater protection and untenable during large swells (ground seas) and fresh winds from Southwest to Northwest. The Freighter Dock (plan T7.2) has a deep-water approach (100+ metres depth just 100 metres off from dock), but the close proximity of this very deep water makes for a poor nearby anchorage. This Dock has a design envelope for one vessel to 82 metres (L.O.A.) and 2,000 tons on each side. North side can accommodate a maximum draft of 4 metres. The dock has two 50-ton bollards and six 30-ton bollards per side.

Grand Turk Cruise Ship Pier is owned by the Carnival Corporation and administered by the Grand Turk Cruise Ship centre. Visiting warships and Super-Yachts may be able to use this facility with prior arrangement. See plan T7.2 The pier has an overall length of 1,440 feet and width of 40 feet. It can accommodate two vessels 960 feet in length. Contact the Cruise Ship Centre 561-515-6500 or 310-241-0310 for information.

Grand Turk – The Large Vessel Anchorage Zone that extends north and south of the Grand Turk Freighter Dock, has become very crowded with moored Cruise Ship excursion boats ranging from giant 100ft sailing catamarans to Semi submersibles. Visiting pleasure craft mat be able to find room to anchor just north of the prominent stand of Casuarina trees.

Marina Facilities
Island development in recent years has produced various marinas that cater to transient and resident small to large pleasure craft. The Caicos Marina & Boatyard and Turtle Cove Marina cater to vessels up to 38m (130 ft.), but both have fairly shallow approach channels–about 2 metre. The New Leeward Marina is a Mega Yacht facility that is currently closed due to administration issues. The channel was dredged to a 3.8 meters depth in 2008, to carry 10 foot draft vessels to 200 feet LOA., but channel is subject to shoaling in two particular areas – check for current controlling depth. (See the TCI Marina Directory for more information on individual marinas.)

The western shore of Grand Turk is now a National Park.
Regulations protect the lush coral reefs, which are the Island’s economic lifeline and only natural resource. Consequently, anchoring is prohibited for vessels over 18m (L.O.A.) except in two designated areas. The rule of thumb is – both anchorage areas are unsuitable for vessels larger than the Freighter Dock can handle.

Large vessels visiting Providenciales must use the designated anchorage zones or moor at the South Dock – 3.6 m alongside (controlling depth of about 3m on the sand flat South of the dock). Anchorage can be found in 3.3m (M.L.W.), clear sand, at 21º44.00N / 72º17.00W. Approach via the Freighter Channel, 3.6m – 5.4m.

Very Large Vessels visiting Providenciales may maintain station at 21º49.00N / 72º12.50W. This is the medi-vac and pilot boarding position for approach to anchorages and is approximately 1½ miles offshore and half mile off from the 100meter line. Contact Turtle Cove Marina or Provo Police, VHF Ch.16.

Note: Shore stations in Provo extensively use VHF. To spread the load, many stations stand by on channels other than Ch.16. Taxis use Ch.06 and commercial marine stations use Ch.68 as a CALLING FREQUENCY – Please use channels other than 06 and 68 as working channels.

Anchorage in National Marine Parks

Mariners need to be aware that most of the traditional anchorages within the Turks & Caicos Islands now fall within National Marine Parks. Vessels using Park areas must comply with numerous regulations. (See National Parks Regulations – by accessing www.environment.tc.)

WARNING – Anchorage Restrictions – Coral Reef Damage

  • Anchoring, grounding or wrecking that causes damage to live coral within the National Parks, i. e. Provo- North and West shore, West Caicos – West shore and Grand Turk – West shore, will usually result in a fine. (See boundary co-ordinates on Provo TC002 and Turks Islands TC003.)
  • Mariners need to be aware of fishing and water pollution restriction as detailed in National Parks, Fisheries and Dock Regulations. (See plans of the nine anchorage zones on TC002 and TC003.)
  • Vessels over 18m (L. O. A.), are prohibited from anchoring within the Marine Parks, other than in various designated anchorage zones.
  • Vessels under 18m (L. O. A.), may anchor in a sand bottom – but not within 90m of a scuba dive site mooring.
  • All vessels are forbidden to anchor within 120 metres of the low water line surrounding cays that are classified as Sanctuaries or Nature Reserves.
  • Grounding in any National Marine Park excluding designated anchorage zone areas may result in prosecution.
  • Emergency: Permission may be granted by the Harbour Master for vessels to anchor in restricted areas during emergency situations or during times of hurricanes.

Park Marker System
A park marker system is currently being deployed to mark Park boundaries, anchorage zones and various activity zones within the Marine Parks. Most markers share a common shape being either ‘Nun’ or ‘Spar’ buoys. The distinguishing features lie beneath the orange cap – i.e. three blue bands on white background for large vessel anchorage zone, green or red for channel markers deployed as ‘Red Right Returning’.

Summary of Fisheries Regulations for Visitors
Spear gun or spear sling fishing or fishing with scuba and hookah is illegal in the Turks & Caicos Islands. Visitors intending to line fish from beach or docks do not need a license. Visitors intending to fish from vessels are bound to comply with local Fisheries regulations. These require that persons over 16 years of age purchase a fishing license (this allows line fishing only). The license states that fish may not be sold and that there is a bag limit of 50lbs (23.7kgs) per day.

No fishing is allowed within National Parks and all marine mammals are protected. Visitors are not permitted to take conch or lobster (these being reserved species for Islanders). The dumping of refuse or noxious substances or damage to any coral reef is prohibited.

Primary Approaches (sea areas adjoining commercial Ports of Entry) are also ‘Designated Anchorage Zones’.

Mooring Etiquette

All dive site moorings are the property of the Department of Environment and users do so at their own risk. The moorings are primarily for commercial dive vessels, but local pleasure craft and visiting yachts with cruising permits may use them if engaged in diving. Some popular dive moorings are used several times daily so please vacate moorings when diving has finished. It’s courteous to limit mooring use to about 2 hours. Please give commercial dive vessels priority.

Visiting vessels arriving at night may use the moorings but must be prepared to allow access to live-aboard dive vessels that usually start their diving day at around 7:00 a.m. Some transient vessels have abused this courtesy in recent years and there is now some animosity towards transients from a few dive operators who use West Caicos and Grand Turk areas. Peak mooring usage is between 8:30 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Use an extension line of at least 6 metres when attaching to the pickup line. This will enable the mooring buoy to fulfil its vital role as a shock absorber, taking the strain of wind gusts and sea surge thus protecting the rig and bottom fastenings.