sailing tobago

The Lat Long coordinates for Scarborough, Tobago’s main port, are 11 degrees 12 minutes north and 60 degrees 44 minutes west. There are two main ports of entry to Tobago, Scarborough on the south side of the island and Charlotteville on the northeast of the island.

Tobago is a very pretty island twenty-seven miles long and seven miles wide with many bays to anchor and discover all parts of the island. The approach to Tobago is made from all cardinal points, but popular approaches are from the north of Grenada, from the east an Atlantic crossing from Cape Verdi, from the south, Brazil, Venezuela or its sister island Trinidad, and from the west is more difficult for sailing yachts due to the prevailing trade winds from the east.

There are no marinas in Tobago yet, but there are plans that may come to fruition in the future. The main anchorages are on the Caribbean side, the north coast of the island and three on the south side, I will list the Caribbean side first as it is the most popular.

Milford Bay (known locally as Store Bay) 11 degrees 9.5 minutes north – 60 degrees 5.5 minutes west.

A very popular anchorage that can accommodate up to probably 60 yachts, there are mooring buoys but unfortunately these are not to be trusted so it is advisable to go to anchor. The only marine facilities on the island are Store Bay Marine Services, in Store Bay where you can get repairs, fuel and water, an internet cafe with wi-fi and laundry services. In this area there are bars and restaurants with takeaway food. Shopping for supplies is a short walk or a small taxi ride away. Places to visit are Pigeon Point, a very popular tourist beach facility with fantastic views over the turquoise sea to Buccoo reef, a glass bottom boat trip to the reef and nylon pool which I would recommend and its excellent snorkeling.

buccoo bay

Located to the east of the reef is a small shallow anchorage normally used by local fishermen, it has a small jetty for offloading your catch. Mount Irvine Bay. Located to the north of Buccoo Bay, also known as Little Courland Bay, it is a good anchorage at about 6 meters deep, there are good beach facilities, a hotel and main road access.

Stone Haven Bay.

A not too popular anchorage with 6 meters of water, you should get in at the north point, which helps in a northerly swell. There are two hotels and a beach bar and probably the best restaurant on the island, The Sea Horse Inn.

Great Courland Bay

Located north of Mt Irvine Bay, the town of Plymouth is north of the bay and has a jetty, shops and small bars and restaurants close by. Anchor around Courland Point, but watch out for the shallows running south of the point.

North of Plymouth there are a number of small bays for anchoring, snorkeling and swimming, Arnos Vale Bay, Anse Fromager, Culloden Bay, Washerwomen’s Bay, King Peter Bay, Gordan Bay and Celery Bay,

Castara Bay.

Now halfway up the island and set against a backdrop of rainforest mountains, this is a very pretty bay with plenty of facilities, shops, bars, restaurants, hotels and apartments should you want a break. At this anchorage, you need to get into the north point and get closer, as it is a deep anchorage.

Englishman’s Bay 11 degrees 17.5 minutes North – 60 degrees 40.5 minutes West

This is one of my favorite anchorages for its views and access to the rainforest. It is a very deep anchorage with around 14 meters of water, the east coast being a little shallower for anchoring. On the coast there is a beach restaurant and bar with palm trees, bamboo, entrance to the river and a good and exciting bath and snorkel.

Parlatuvier Bay.

Another local fisherman with a small jetty and 13 meters of water. There is a bar and restaurant a bit up the hill on the main road, overlooking the bay for good pictures.

Bloody Bay.

This bay is fed by the Bloody River and nearby is quite shallow with rocks and drying areas, no beach facilities but access to the main road.

Man of War Bay (Charlotteville)

Port of Entry One of the largest and deepest bays on the island, smaller cruise ships use this bay on occasion. The mid depth contour runs to 50m and has restricted anchorages which are shown on the chart, the best place to anchor is off Pirates Bay to the east but it will be 15m deep.

The city of Charlotteville is a port of entry with immigration and customs facilities, shops, restaurants and bars; It has a dingy jetty and dock which is a luxury in Tobago. Again, the backdrop of the rainforest at 500 meters makes this a popular favorite anchorage. Off the boat you can fish very well here and I would recommend you visit this bay, it’s a paradise, fabulous.

Brissant and Tyrrel bays.

Having left Man of War Bay, we now go around the north of the island and sail between the mainland of Tobago and the island of Saint Giles towards the Atlantic side of the island. As you head towards Brissant Bay you will see Goat Island and Little Tobago, there are five anchorages in this area, two in Little Tobago, two on Goat Island and one on the mainland with a jetty.

This is a paradise for bird watchers, in fact the other name for Little Tobago is Bird of Paradise Island, Goat Island is famous for Bond film author Ian Fleming who was confined there for many years before his death . Towards the mainland there are hotels, shops and, not far away, one of the best seafood restaurants on the island, Jemma’s Kitchen on Speyside – well worth a visit for fresh lobster!

Kings Bay.

Pointing south, this bay is a good shelter from a northerly swell, some beach facilities and main road access. A deep anchorage between 15 to 20 meters and is fed by a river.

Scarborough (Port of Entry)

This is the main port of entry into Tobago which has a passenger terminal for Sea Cat ferries and cruise ships, customs and immigration and RoRo facilities. The anchorage is on the starboard side of the terminal as you enter and the entrance may be occupied. Scarborough is a typical capital city with all it has to offer, shops, taxis, buses and local restaurants and bars. This is the place to stock up on water and diesel available but you need to get permission to go through the jetty!

Conclusion.

This is a fantastic place to visit for a sailor and a great place to explore some of the best anchorages in the world with the most beautiful bottoms, very friendly and helpful locals who are great people, as they say “file with” and enjoy the day.

Disclaimer.

While this article has detailed information, it should not be used for navigation purposes, it is a guide only. A caution on the charts indicates that anchorages should be avoided along the north coast of Tobago during the winter swell season from November to April. I hope this article has given you some inspiration about Tobago and its sailing area and we look forward to welcoming you to this Island Paradise.

For more information on sailing and Tobago, please visit my websites and blog:

Thanks and great sailing Clive Peterson Author of “The Complete Guide to Learning to Sail”

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