Advice for Sailing in Fiji
Fiji is calling, a 333-island nation which is a product of volcanic activity in the tropical waters of the southern Pacific Ocean. Needless to say, Fiji makes for some seriously stunning sailing grounds, offering luxury resorts to humbling villages all in one country. Diving and snorkelling in the “Soft Coral Capital” is sure to keep you more than occupied in between island hikes, beachcombing and experiencing the unique culture of the friendly locals. So if sailing in Fiji sounds right for you, start planning with this quick list of tips for sailing in Fiji.
1. Looking for Beautiful Beaches and Resorts? Head to the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands!
The first thing you might want to establish when planning a sailing trip to Fiji is where to sail to. There are five distinct sailing regions in Fiji, which we go over in The Sailing Guide to Fiji. Each sailing ground has its own vibe, such as the Mamanuca and Yasawa Islands with their scattering of idyllic islands with fabulous island resorts. There is a variety of anchorages across the archipelago, as well as the Musket Cove Marina. Learn more about what these island groups have to offer in The Complete Guide to the Mamanuca Islands and The Complete Guide to the Yasawa Islands.
2. Looking for some Serious Diving? Head to the Lomaiviti Islands, Vanua Levu and Taveuni!
For those looking for some incredible dive sites, the Lomaiviti Islands, Vanua Levu and Taveuni all have amazing reefs to explore. In the Lomaiviti Islands, serious divers will have fun in the Vatu-i-Ra Channel, while anchorages at Viani and Vatudamu bays in Taveuni and Buca Bay in Vanua Levu give you access to the amazing Rainbow Reef. There’s more to love about these islands, which you can find out more about in The Complete Guide to the Lomaiviti Islands, The Complete Guide to Vanua Levu and The Complete Guide to Taveuni.
3. Looking for a Remote Sailing Paradise? Head to the Lau Islands!
While there are more sailing grounds to look at, one we can’t miss is the Lau Islands. This sparse scattering of around 57 islands in the eastern waters of Fiji is an example of time stood still in the South Pacific. Visit remote villages where traditional protocols are observed, visit untouched islands and snorkel among pristine reefs. Check out The Complete Guide to the Lau Islands for more information.
4. Submit an Advance Notification Form
Once you have an ETA to Fiji, you have a minimum of 48 hours notice to give to Fiji Customs for your arrival. This must be submitted through the Advance Notification Form, which you can download from the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service website.
5. Have All of the Paperwork Ready
Upon arrival to Fiji, you must fly the yellow Q flag and contact Port Control who will connect you to the officials of Fiji Customs. For when the officials board the vessel, you need to have the following paperwork ready:
- Completed Inward Report (including two copies of the crew and passengers lists)
- Completed Passenger Arrival Card
- Valid passport
- Clearance from last port
- Valid outward airline ticket if crew/passenger is disembarking at the port of entry and leaving the country by air.
See the Fiji Revenue and Customs Service website for more information.
6. You Can Stay in Fiji for up to Four Months
Fiji has one of the more relaxed visitor visas in the South Pacific, where visitors from select countries can stay for up to four months! With so much to do and so many sailing grounds to cover, this is certainly enough time. Learn more about the immigration side of things in Do You Need a Visa to Visit Fiji?
7. Know Your Village Protocol
Many anchorages and coral reefs in Fiji are overseen by local villages who use the areas as their fishing grounds. While you’re welcome to anchor in many village bays across Fiji, it is customary to present a sevusevu (gift) first to the village chief. The most accepted gift is yaqona (kava root), which is a good idea to buy in bulk from the mainland before you visit various villages. More remote villages will also appreciate basic stores, schoolbooks, stationary and both school and medical supplies. Learn more about village protocol in Fiji Village Etiquette: What to Do When Visiting a Fijian Village.
8. Be Aware of the Marine Reserves
Marine reserves and marine protected areas are for looking not touching! While Fiji has a small number of marine reserves, such as the Namena Marine Reserve, Kiuva “Koula-Mai-Wai” Marine Reserve and Atlas of Marine Protection website.Marine Reserve, there is a whole lot of marine protected areas, especially around resort islands. See a full list of MPAs in Fiji on the
9. Consider a Sailing Charter
Don’t have your own yacht? It hardly matters when Fiji has an array of yacht charters to make the most of. There are crewed sailing catamarans and yachts coming and going to Fiji each year, as well as permanent yacht charters from Coral Cats in the Mamanuca Islands (more info on Viator and Tripadvisor) to Looping in Taveuni. Find out more in the 10 Best Sailing Charters in Fiji TTD217 and the 10 Best Sailing Tours in Fiji TTD218.
10. Arrange Your Departure Clearance
Yes, there are even formalities for leaving Fiji via a yacht, starting with advising Fiji Customs at least 24 hours before your intended departure. You will need to berth your yacht at a Port of Entry and pay your port fees at the port office before proceeding with the Customs clearance procedures. You will need your inbound clearance papers, crew details, the details of your vessel and next port of call. You must then leave Fiji within 24 hours.