A guide to the local conditions and precautions that crews arriving by ship or yacht at Tristan da Cunha need to be aware of.

Arriving by ship or yacht at Tristan da Cunha after such a long journey is a thrilling experience - but crew must be aware of local conditions and take advice.

Yacht Jonathan anchored off Tristan on the 16th March 2019

A good start is to study this guide before you set out.

All mariners should follow the Essential Guide for All Vessels below.

Yacht skippers should additonally note the Special Information for Yachts.

Special Information for Yachts Visiting Tristan da Cunha

Following problems with yacht's crews that have not followed the published guidelines, the Administrator makes the following plea to yachts planning to visit Tristan:

  • Please give us as much notice as possible of your visit;
  • The Tristan community works hard from Monday to Saturday. As well as performing their day jobs, islanders spend a great deal of their free time looking after their livestock and crops. The Tristan Government is effectively closed after 1500 during the working week and all-day Saturday. Sunday is the community's only formal day of rest, spent quietly at Church and with families. Any yachts which call in at weekends should take this into account and be prepared to lay over until the start of the working week;
  • Deploying Tristan maritime services on behalf of visiting yachts costs the Government money. We do not want to be inhospitable, but we can no longer afford to subsidise visitors in this way, especially those who turn up at weekends;
  • Anchoring off Tristan can be challenging, especially without the right gear. Aluminium anchors generally do not work effectively;
  • Those yachts with their own inflatable tenders should be cautious in using them. The weather can deteriorate quickly, and it may not be as easy to get back aboard as it was to land. Please consult the Harbourmaster if in any doubt about prevailing sea and weather conditions;
  • The Tristan community will always do everything it can to help those in distress, or who need help with emergency food or fuel. But it will feel less warmly disposed towards those few who, because of poor planning or seamanship, get themselves into difficulties and need to be bailed out (either literally or metaphorically).

Essential Guide for All Vessels Visiting Tristan da Cunha

  1. Contact Point

    Advance arrangements may be made by contacting the Police Department by :

    Telephone: +44 (0)20 3014 2010, Fax +44(0)20 3014 2020 or email Police Dept <police@tdc-gov.com>
  2. Tristan Radio

    Tristan Radio acts as a coastal radio station and port control. Visiting vessels should establish contact prior to arrival & during their stay and advise ETD/proposed destination before departure.

    Operating channels: Channel 14, 16, 78 and 80. HF-SSB: 4000 / 4149 / 6230 / 8294MHz VHF

    Contact Communications Officer Andy Repetto Tristan Radio -

    By e-mail tristanradio@tdc-gov.com / andyrepetto1@yahoo.co.uk
    or by phone on +44 (0) 20 3014 2034 or after hours +44 (0) 20 3014 5024
  3. Clearance on Arrival

    Vessels that have not made advance arrangements to call at Tristan must obtain prior clearance from the Harbourmaster, Medical Officer and Immigration Officer before anchoring, or disembarking passengers or crew.

    Communications can be established via Tristan Radio on:

    VHF Channels: 14, 16 78 and 80. HF-SSB 4000 / 4149 / 6230 / 8294MHz
  4. Anchorage

    All visiting vessels should seek advice from the Harbourmaster on a safe anchorage position (GPS: Lat 37 03.10S/Long 12 18.60W or Lat 37 03.04S/Long 12 17.85W) in the open anchorage below the Settlement (max depth 100m – 50m due to shelving bottom).

  5. Outer Islands Anchorage

    To comply with wildlife conservation measures, visiting vessels are not permitted to anchor overnight off Gough, Inaccessible or Nightingale Islands.

  6. Harbour Access

    No vessels, including yachts must enter Calshot Harbour. Only shallow vessels eg dinghies or RIBS can be used.

  7. Harbour Closures

    The Harbour is normally closed to visiting vessels after 1900 GMT in summer (1 Oct – 31 March) and after 1700 GMT in winter (1 April – 30 Sept). It is also closed to visitors during early mornings and late afternoons on fishing days, and at other times at the Harbourmaster’s discretion, to permit local boat operations.

  8. Immigration & Customs Clearance

    The Visits Liaison Officer will arrange for an official party to board visiting vessels and complete local clearance procedures prior to the disembarkation of passengers or crew.

  9. Biota Ban and Biosecurity Rules

    There is a ban on the import without a permit of any live or dead animals or plants.

    Biosecurity is of very high concern at the Tristan da Cunha Islands to protect its unique wildlife. A separate page: Biosecurity Measures for Visiting Vessels sets out detailed requirements - also downloadable as a PDF.

  10. Landing Fees

    No visas are required. All visitors must hold a valid passport and obtain permission to land by having a landing stamp inserted in their passport. (Landing stamps may also be issued to passengers and crew not intending to go ashore, but who wish their travel document to be endorsed as a souvenir of the visit). Current landing charges are:

    Cruise Ship Passengers: Tristan £30; Nightingale or Inaccessible* £20

    (*Inaccessible Island is a World Heritage Site, and landings are restricted for environmental and wildlife conservation reasons).

    Yacht Passengers: Tristan £15

  11. Medical Insurance & Waivers

    All cruise ship passengers must sign an accident waiver (Passenger Indemnity Declaration) form before coming ashore, and all visitors to Tristan must have adequate travel insurance to cover the costs of any medical treatment including, if required, the costs of medical evacuation to Cape Town. Current medical/dental charges for all non-residents are available on request.

  12. Ship/Shore Transfers

    Visiting vessels are expected to use their own boats if suitable for use in the shallow harbour. Otherwise a small RIB and crew (£75 per day) can be hired by a visiting yacht, and a ferry boat and crew (£250 per day) for a visiting cruise ship. The Immigration/Police boat is not usually available for hire except by prior approval from the Administrator and Head of Police Department.

  13. Passengers & Crew remaining on board

    Subject to prior approval from the vessel concerned, the Visits Liaison Officer will arrange for an official group to come aboard to sell a range of postage stamps and souvenirs to those passengers and crew not going ashore. Permission may also be sought for a party of local schoolchildren to tour the visiting vessel.

  14. During poor weather

    If weather or sea conditions prevent the disembarkation of passengers, but still permit operations by local boats, the Visits Liaison Officer may arrange for an official group to board to sell postage stamps & souvenirs.

  15. General Conditions of visit

    All visitors staying on Tristan must have a confirmed and fully paid return passage, health insurance to include cover in case of medical evacuation to Cape Town and sufficient funds for the duration of their visit.

  16. Publicity

    Ships are invited to contact tristandc.com Webmaster Peter Millington on webmaster@tristandc.com to post notice of a ship's arrival, and to send a report, with JPEG files for the website and Tristan da Cunha Newsletter. Shipping companies may also request a link to their websites in return for a link to tristandc.com in the interests of mutual benefit.

  17. Tristan da Cunha Association

    Visiting crew and passengers are likely to be enthralled by the Tristan community and want to keep in touch and find out more. The UK based Tristan da Cunha Association produces two 44- page full colour newsletters each year and organises events, including a residential Annual Gathering.

    Join us by checking out the Tristan Association section: www.tristandc.com/association.php

Please note that whilst every effort has been made to make information of these pages accurate, the Government of Tristan da Cunha reserves the right to change local by-laws and charges. Visitors should check firm prices at the time of booking.