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How to Navigate Marine Insurance in 2021

  • By Jennifer Brett
  • Updated: June 30, 2021

Sailboat wrecked by Hurricane Matthew

If you’ve been on the hunt for a marine insurance policy over the past year or so, you likely already know that it’s a challenging market. Sailing and cruising groups on social media and web forums are filled with frequent posts about people struggling to find coverage, keep coverage, or just afford it. It’s a problem that seems to be affecting beginning cruisers and circumnavigators, with old boats or new. So what gives? How did the situation get to this point, and what can sailors do to protect their dream?

“I’ve been doing this for 30 years, and I’ve never seen a market this hard,” said Morgan Wells, a yacht-insurance specialist with Jack Martin and Associates. “There’s been a great reduction in the number of insurance companies writing boat and yacht insurance, and the international-cruiser segment of the market has been more adversely affected, particularly for boats anywhere on the US East Coast, and even more so for people looking for new policies for Florida, the Bahamas and the Caribbean.”

Indeed, cruisers across the spectrum of locations and sea time are feeling the pinch. When looking to renew their current insurance policy last year, circumnavigators Behan and Jamie Gifford, who live aboard their 1982 Stevens 47, were met with a surprise. “When it came time to renew, we were quoted more than double our cost for insurance the year we planned to cross the Indian Ocean, 2015—an arguably very risky navigational area—and we now had the added requirement of a third adult for passages,” Behan said. “In the end, we didn’t renew at all, and currently have liability-only insurance. I’m not pleased about that and hope to get back to full hull insurance when the market comes around.”

Owners of newer boats don’t seem to be having an easier time either. “We bought a 2015 Jeanneau 64 in October 2020,” Dan Stotesbery said. “I have a lot of experience sailing, but none of it was logged, so I don’t have any credentials like a Yachtmaster or anything like that. My wife has even less experience. When we heard it was tough getting insurance, we were definitely worried about getting covered. Complicating the situation was that the boat was in Turkey, and I needed to sail it across the Atlantic to get to my wife and family. We reached out to the company that insured our house to see if they could find us a company that would insure the boat and especially the crossing. We received two quotes back and ended up getting insured with Concept Special Risk. They did put in a lot of stipulations, like we needed to have a captain for the crossing and at least two other people with bluewater experience, a list of countries we aren’t allowed to go in, and a 250-miles-from-land limit once the crossing was complete. It was extremely expensive, and there was an additional cost for the crossing.”

Young man steering a sailboat

Changing Marketplace

So how did it get to this point? “We need to put it into context of a market that was very soft for many years—underwriters were looking for business,” Wells said. “There was a bit of a hiccup in the mid-2000s with some fairly significant storms, but generally it didn’t cause much change, and underwriters were still looking for ways to say yes. But then in 2017 came hurricanes Irma and Maria, then Dorian in 2019—these were extremely large losses to very large fleets of boats. Since 2017 we have seen the market flip from a soft to a hard market, and in fact, a very hard market by early 2021. We really have a big change now with fewer insurance companies and greater demand for insurance. And the pricing is much higher than it was a year ago. Irma and Maria showed the vulnerability in the market.”

Laura Lindstrom-Croop from Legacy Underwriters, noted that “many insurance companies left the Caribbean market in 2019-20. Pantaenius America was the first to leave,” she said. “The agency that I work with had YachtInsure, which lost its underwriter, Aspen Insurance, last summer. They have recently secured a new carrier, Clear Blue Specialty, that is writing new business but has new guidelines. Our second underwriter, Concept Special Risk, lost its company, Great Lakes Insurance, on January 1, 2021, but now it has a new company, Clear Springs Property and Casualty, that is writing new business with new guidelines.”

Suzanne Redden, mid-Atlantic branch manager for Gowrie Group, has had a similar experience. “Traditionally, when we would have someone coming in with a sailboat who wanted to do extended cruising, we had five, six, seven…at least that many companies who were willing to write that policy,” Redden said. “So there really wasn’t too much of an issue finding coverage for the customer, depending on where they wanted to go and their level of experience, that sort of thing. What we’re really struggling with now—and it’s a struggle—is that so many carriers have basically pulled out that our options are very limited as far as who is willing to write Caribbean navigation and worldwide navigation. Our choices are few. And what happens then is, of course, the prices go up because the company’s philosophy is ‘no one else wants to write here; we’ll write here, but this is what our actuaries tell us it’s going to cost to allow us to do that.’ So that’s why the rates have gone up.”

The cost to insure his Jeanneau 64 was definitely a bit of a surprise to Stotesbery: “The policy had to be paid upfront. That was the biggest surprise to us because we are used to paying car insurance monthly. This is also a hurdle that I think can be hard to overcome for some people. Not a lot of people have that kind of cash on hand to just fork out.”

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Underwriting Difficulties

Along with higher costs, Redden also pointed out that the underwriting has changed a lot too. “Where before you would have had somebody who maybe had just a year or two experience, or they had just bought a boat, more companies would have been willing to let them take a trip. They look at it much more closely now when a new submission comes in. That’s made it more difficult, I think, for that sort of person to find insurance.”

According to Emma Whittemore, a service manager for BoatU.S./Geico Marine Insurance, underwriting has become much more sophisticated. “With the growth of data, insurance companies can really tell what group is a high-risk group,” she said. “We’re monitoring a lot more to make sure that the right people are behind the helm on these big, 35- to 60-foot boats. We want to make sure it’s not these customers’ first boat, and that they really know what they’re doing. Underwriting is fluid, but in general we always like to look at the ownership experience.”

This has been a particularly vexing problem for potential cruisers. Dana Fairchild and her husband live in Minnesota and have been planning for their cruising dream for the past few years. The couple has taken ASA sailing courses and chartered on Lake Superior but never owned their own sailboat. “Our cruising plans are to buy a boat large enough to live aboard; a 35- to 38-foot Island Packet is what we have in mind,” she said. “Due to the price point of Island Packets, we are looking at models from the 1990s. We plan to keep it on the East Coast of the US—somewhere above the hurricane zone during hurricane season, and probably down to Florida in the winter—for the first six months to a year while getting comfortable with the boat and used to the liveaboard lifestyle. After that we want to head to the Bahamas for a while, and eventually work our way down to the rest of the Caribbean and stay there.”

While the couple hasn’t purchased a boat yet, they’d heard the news that insurance might be difficult to find, so they reached out to a few companies to explain their plans and intended boat. “The short answer to what we’ve been hearing from insurance agencies is no. The reason for this is predominantly that we have not owned our own boat that is of comparable size, or at least within 10 feet. They don’t take into consideration that we have sailed and chartered boats of the same size, but really only want to see that a boat of comparable size was titled to us for at least two years”

This boat in Coconut Grove, Florida, nearly sank from all the debris.

Looking Ahead

So when faced with a denial, a notice of nonrenewal or a steep increase in premiums, what can a cruiser do? Is there coverage available? “What I am seeing, you have more choices if you limit your cruising to the US East Coast down to the Turks and Caicos,” Lindstrom-Croop said. “If you go to the Eastern Caribbean, you have fewer carriers, and some are writing coverage that doesn’t include hurricanes.

“I think cruisers are going to have to be patient and flexible. Also, update your sailing resume so when you shop around, you are giving the company a reason to give you the maximum credit available. Lower rates are probably not going to happen for a couple of years, climate change is weighing heavily on insurers, and the large number of storms recently is worrisome.”

Communication is crucial. Each of the insurance professionals I spoke with made it clear that underwriters are looking much more closely than in years past, and detailed sailing resumes and hurricane plans can help your chances. For newer cruisers, scaled-back sailing plans could help as well because finding coverage for a smaller cruising area will likely be much easier than, say, the entire East Coast and Bahamas. And for older vessels, a survey might be required for renewal.

“Some of the companies have gone to where they won’t write a boat over 40 years old,” Redden said. “Gowrie Group offers the Jackline program, which is a cruising program through Markel Insurance, which is really one of the last US companies still doing extended cruising, but they’re very restrictive on what they will write and how they’ll write it. But they will take older boats. Experience is the key.”

“It is harder to insure an older boat, but it can be done,” Lindstrom-Croop said. “There are just fewer markets. An older boat needs to be maintained well and have a current survey, within three years. I like to submit the survey along with the application when marketing so the underwriters can see the boat.”

For the time being, it seems that cruisers, such as Stotesbery, who currently have—albeit expensive—coverage are doing what they can to keep it. “We have had several major repairs to do on the boat, which we probably could have put in a claim for, but we are too worried about getting dropped or not covered next year, so we just paid for the repairs,” he said. “So it’s sort of a Catch-22. Unless we have a catastrophic type of claim, we don’t want to make one, but we still pay the high premium without really being able to take advantage of the protection. We will definitely start shopping again once we get closer to our renewal date. Unfortunately, there just aren’t a lot of insurance choices out there, so it is quite limiting, and they hold all of the cards.”

Others, such as the Giffords, are going without full coverage for now, while potential cruisers, such as the Fairchilds, might need to put their dream on hold. “As for how this is impacting our plans, it has really made us start to second-guess that this is even a possible plan. We have become discouraged, and this has really put a halt to most of the steps we were taking,” Fairchild said.

Wells, Redden and Lindstrom-Croop are optimistic for things improving in the insurance market over the next year or so, but all emphasize having patience. “We’re hoping that things will change for the better,” Redden said. “We’ve got some companies now that pulled out that are coming back, but it’s a very slow process.”

Jennifer Brett is CW’s senior editor.

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Boats are part of everyday life in the Caribbean. Regardless of whether your boat is used solely for recreation or it’s part of your trade, it’s essential to protect your investment from common risks. Not only can boats be damaged or destroyed in hurricanes, tropical storms, and other extreme weather events, but they may unexpectedly strike underwater objects. Unfortunately, boats can also be subject to criminal mischief such as theft and vandalism.

At Caribbean Risk Group, we assist private and commercial boat owners in safeguarding their vessels with tailored insurance policies that meet their specific needs.

Comprehensive Coverage for Boats

There are many considerations when it comes to tailoring a boat insurance policy, including the age and condition of the boat, the value of the watercraft, and where it will be operating. Specifically, these types of policies are generally divided into two parts — physical damage and liability. While physical damage coverage applies to accidental loss or damage, liability pays for damage that your boat might cause to others.

A boat insurance policy typically covers the following:

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Although taking out an “all risk” policy offers a significant amount of protection, it’s critical to understand that not every type of loss is covered. In certain situations, it may be a good idea to secure additional coverage for the boat’s trailer and any accessories. Other add-ons to your policy can include salvage, towing, cruising, and consequential damage costs.

The insurance team at Caribbean Risk Group understands that your boat isn’t just a piece of property to you — your boat helps you create memories with friends and family and gives you the opportunity to explore new places. We take the time to evaluate your needs and will customize a policy that provides you with peace of mind knowing that the value of the vessel you worked hard to acquire is safeguarded.

Protecting Your Livelihood with Charter Boat Insurance

Charter boats have very specific insurance requirements that are vastly different from recreational boats. Whether you operate a charter fishing or sightseeing business, it’s crucial to have insurance coverage in place that protects your vessel — and your livelihood. Importantly, carrying passengers comes with a significant amount of responsibility and it’s vital to shield yourself from liability arising from unforeseen accidents or injuries.

Insurance coverage for charter boats can include the following:

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Making sure you have adequate and affordable coverage for your charter operation should be a top priority. The coverage you need can vary, based on how many passengers your boat will be carrying, how often you will be chartering, and the type of charter operation. The experienced team at Caribbean Risk Group can help you navigate the complexities of charter boat insurance and help you select coverage that fits the needs of your business.

Safeguarding Your Goods and Cargo with Ocean and Inland Marine Insurance

Manufacturers and commodity traders have unique insurance needs — weather events, fires, and theft are just a few of the many risks associated with shipping and logistics that can threaten your business. Having the protection of a solid marine insurance policy is imperative to safeguard your investment from these exposures. While ocean marine insurance covers cargo and merchandise as it is transported over water, inland marine insurance shields you from losses in connection with transportation on land.

Marine insurance is highly specialized, and each policy must be tailored to meet the needs of your industry. At Caribbean Risk Group, we understand that there are multiple levels of risk involved when it comes to transporting goods. We skillfully assess your company’s insurance requirements and will create a comprehensive plan to ensure your assets and bottom line are protected from loss.

Contact Caribbean Risk Group to Learn More About Our Services

Caribbean Risk Group is committed to assisting boat owners, charter companies, and cargo shipping businesses with a wide variety of insurance needs. Located in St. Thomas, our team will discuss your options and help you implement cost-effective solutions for your charter, boat, and marine insurance needs. Contact us for a free quote today by calling (340) 774-2323.

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  • Sep 7, 2023

Unlocking the Future of Marine Insurance in the Caribbean: Challenges and Opportunities

Introduction: the caribbean's boat insurance conundrum.

With its kaleidoscope of vibrant cultures, crystal-clear waters, and countless scenic islands to explore, the Caribbean offers an unparalleled haven for boat and yacht enthusiasts. However, the current state of boat and yacht insurance in the region is far from idyllic. Real and perceived risks have led many underwriters and reinsurers to withdraw from the Caribbean market, making marine insurance options increasingly scarce and expensive. At Mainstay Consulting Group Ltd., we believe it's high time to innovate, improve risk management, and revitalize the market.

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Why is Marine Insurance Hard to Get in the Caribbean?

Real risks in the caribbean: a deeper dive.

Weather Hazards : Hurricanes and other severe weather conditions have left a lasting impact, making insurance companies hesitant to offer policies.

Piracy and Theft : Maritime crime poses a constant threat in certain areas.

Accessibility Challenges : Remote locations complicate logistics for rescue, repair, and salvage operations.

Navigational Hazards : Coral reefs, shoals, and other maritime hazards add another layer of risk.

Environmental Liability : Spills and other environmental risks can be costly to manage, often leading insurers to back out.

Perceived Risks: Separating Fact from Fiction

Weather Overestimation : The risk of extreme weather is often overestimated, leading to inflated premiums.

Regional Generalization : Insurers frequently bundle different geographic areas into a 'high-risk zone,' driving up costs across the board.

Legacy Data : While historical data is essential, it is not always indicative of current or future conditions.

Mainstay Consulting Group's Unique Insights: An In-Depth Look at Closing the Gap Between Real and Perceived Risks

Drawing on extensive experience as a Surveyor and Adjuster, our Managing Director is formulating a strategy for closing the risk perception gap and mitigating real risks.

Standardizing Risk Assessments

Accredited Standards : We propose creating a new set of optional accredited standards for vessels, fleets, and facilities. These standards will provide a clear risk profile, allowing underwriters to make more informed decisions specific to the risks of their operating area.

Data-Driven Decisions : By utilizing modern data analytics techniques, we can offer a more nuanced view of risk factors, potentially leading to lower premiums.

Localised Risk Zoning : Differentiating between high-risk and low-risk areas based on accurate, up-to-date data can further optimize insurance costs for boat and yacht owners. Many vessels, especially commercial yachts in charter fleets stay in one area, which defines their risk profile and mitigation strategies much more clearly.

Effective Risk Management Strategies

Weather-Proofing : Simple, economical modifications can make vessels more resilient to severe weather, reducing the risk of catastrophic losses. Accredited standards for marinas and boatyards can seek to lower collective risk.

Security Protocols : Implementing advanced security measures can deter theft and piracy, thereby making the asset more insurable.

Emergency Response Plans : A well-crafted emergency response strategy can drastically reduce the time and cost involved in salvage and repair operations.

By bringing these elements into play, we can align the perceptions of insurers with the actual risks, creating a more balanced and fair marketplace for boat and yacht insurance in the Caribbean.

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Inviting Partnerships: A Safer and More Productive Marine Economy

We are reaching out to Underwriters, Reinsurers, Assureds, and Industry Bodies to collaborate with us on this transformative initiative. Together, we can establish new standards and innovative risk management strategies, thereby rejuvenating the insurance market in the Caribbean.

Conclusion: Charting a New Course in Caribbean Boat Insurance

The challenges may be formidable, but so are the opportunities for innovation and improvement. By bridging the gap between real and perceived risks, we can pave the way for a safer and more financially sustainable maritime community in the Caribbean.

Are you an underwriter, reinsurer, or industry body interested in this initiative? Contact us today at Mainstay Consulting Group Ltd. to discuss how we can work together to create a safer and more profitable maritime economy in the Caribbean.

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Welcome to bluewateryacht insurance | boat insurance | sailing insurance.

BluewaterYacht Insurance (BWYI) is headquartered in Jupiter, FL, but we insure boats and cruisers worldwide. For over 30 years, BluewaterYacht has insured boats and cruisers all over the world, including the Caribbean Sea (Bahamas, Virgin Islands, Grenada, Lesser Antilles, and all over the West Indies), Trans-Atlantic Passages, transit through the Panama Canal, Mexico, Canada, Hawaii, Japan, and Italy. We also provide quotes and insurance for trips to Cuba.

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Our boat insurance policies are specific to active cruisers. BluewaterYacht Insurance is backed by A+ rated underwriters who are leading underwriters of marine insurance policies worldwide. We cater to the offshore cruising community, skipper charters, captain charters, and Caribbean cruisers.

Thirty years ago, BluewaterYacht Insurance developed the first two-crew, worldwide navigation program for the Seven Seas Cruising Association. Today, we insure thousands of cruising yachts all over the world. We also offer single-hand sailing quotes and policies.

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Our exclusive online boat insurance quote system allows you to get a  quote for yacht insurance, sailing insurance, or boat insurance  in a matter of days (occasionally, same day). If you compare our quotes "apples to apples" to your current policy or to another quote, our marine insurance policies have the lowest prices and best coverage!

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You require expertise and experience in your sailing yacht insurance specialist, and for over three decades w.r. hodgens marine insurance has delivered. se habla espanol, sailing yacht insurance, our background and knowledge make navigating to the correct sailing yacht insurance coverage for private yachts, charter or bareboat, catamarans, or fleet operations simple and clear, with proven results and satisfied customers. your sailboat investment needs protection, and the critical peace of mind. w.r. hodgens marine insurance brings through personalized and comprehensive underwriting experience helps smooth out every passage. we have programs for all sailing yachts and our sailboat insurance coverage extends worldwide, from the usa, bahamas, cuba, and caribbean through the panama canal, pacific ocean, and the mediterrranean and all other areas..

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The sailing yacht lifestyle you've earned deserves an insurance specialist dedicated to preserving both that lifestyle and your substantial investment. W.R. Hodgens Marine Insurance brings that commitment along with the sailing and insurance expertise to keep you underway, on course, and secure anywhere your sailing yacht takes you. Contact W.R. Hodgens Marine Insurance for all your yacht insurance needs.

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Alden Allied Amel Angleman Arcona Baltic Bavaria Bayana Beneteau Bruce Roberts C and C Cal Cantiere del pardo Grand Soleil Catalina CCYD Cheoy Lee Damstra Dean Dehler Delphia Deutsche Werke Dufour Duwamish Erickson Fisher Fountaine Pajot Freedom Freeport Fuji Gib Sea Gulfstar Hanse Yachts Hallberg Rassy Kelly Herreshoff Hinckley Hunter Hylas Kanter

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Boat Insurance in the Caribbean

If you’re looking for boat insurance coverage in the Caribbean for your yacht or boat, then Admiral Marine have the experience and knowledge to put together a bespoke boat insurance quote  for your exact requirements.

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With over 30 years of experience within the UK boat insurance sector, we can tailor your sailing plans to ensure that you have the best boat insurance coverage for your yacht or boat, whether you’re sailing in the UK, Europe, Caribbean, USA or Worldwide.

We currently insure UK domiciled clients only, with boat insurance coverage to sail anywhere in the world.

As specialists in cruising boat insurance and long standing corporate members of the World Cruising Club, we can also provide exclusive cruising boat insurance for both the ARC and the World ARC sailing rallies.

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With our combined knowledge of sailing experience, ocean crossings and our specialist contacts within the sailing community, we can provide our clients with the best boat insurance coverage that suits their sailing needs at all times.

We very much pride ourselves on our personal boat insurance service and we provide an in-house claims service to ensure that any claims are processed fast, efficiently and stress free for our clients.

Cover for Bluewater Cruising

So, whether you own a  Beneteau ,  Jeanneau ,  Hallberg Rassy ,  Cornish Crabber ,  Oyster Yacht ,  Hanse Yacht ,  Discovery Yacht  or even a  Rustler Yacht  just to name a few, then make sure that you choose Admiral Marine for your boat insurance coverage in the Caribbean.

If you would like to request a boat insurance quote , please complete our online quote request form and our experienced and friendly team will get back to you. Alternatively, if you would like to call or email us please contact Admiral Marine .

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Frequently Asked Questions

Our standard policy allows you to take part in any race or regatta, but does not cover for the rig unless it is damaged by collision, stranding, sinking or fire. The hull is covered, but with double excess during racing.

Contact us as soon as possible to inform us of any changes. We’re happy to accommodate changes at any time during your year, whether that be changing contact details or an aspect of your policy. Adjustments may result in an additional premium, but we never charge administrative fees for mid-term changes.

On occasion. For instance, for participants of a long distance rally such as World ARC, we prefer a 1st January renewal date allowing for boats to be in St Lucia at the start of the policy and in South Africa when the policy is due for renewal.

We have chosen to remain a specialist insurer and can’t quote for commercial vessels or boats valued over £1million. However we can refer you directly to Hayes Parsons Insurance Brokers, our award-winning parent company, who may be able to help.

Yes. We’re happy to accommodate changes to cruising area or any other aspect of your policy at any time during the year. Adjustments may result in an additional premium, but we never charge administrative fees for mid-term changes.

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Admiral Marine is a trading name of Admiral Marine Limited which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FRN 306002) for general insurance business. Registered in England and Wales Company No. 02666794 at 1st Floor, One The Square, Temple Quay, Bristol, BS1 6DG

If you wish to register a complaint, please contact the Compliance and Training Manager on  [email protected] .  If you are unsatisfied with how your complaint has been dealt with, you may be able to refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS).  The FOS website is  www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

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Horizon Yacht Sales

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Insurance for Privately Managed Yachts with Horizon Caribbean Yacht Management

Yacht Insurance for Privately Managed Yachts and Powerboats with Horizon Caribbean Boat Management

Horizon places yacht insurance for Owners on over one hundred privately managed yachts and powerboats.

We would welcome the opportunity of giving you a quote, with a competitive premium from an A-rated Underwriter, with year-round coverage in the Caribbean, in or out of the water.

Contact us today at Horizon

Contact Horizon for a competitive yacht insurance quote, or if you have another enquiry.

Please complete the form on our Contact Us page .

Alternatively, you can call us today on  +1 844 494 8787  or email us at  [email protected] . Our staff are always happy to help and have years of experience in all facets of yacht management.

We also have yacht guardianage management available. Find out more here .

Horizon Yacht Sales provides yachts built and commissioned to your customised specifications, and as we deal directly with the yacht manufacturers themselves, you are assured of an extremely competitive price.

Not only that, but your Caribbean yacht ownership purchase is tax-free! We also offer the ultimate test sail; charter a yacht in our  Caribbean charter fleet , and if you buy a yacht within three months, we will deduct up to a week’s charter fee from your purchase price!

Horizon Yacht Sales are present at many of the major European and US Boat Shows, including the Annapolis Boat Show (officially known as the United States Sailboat Show).

Find out which shows, which yachts and when by visiting our boat shows  page here .

Horizon Yacht Charters  is a premier charter yacht management company offering excellent first-class Caribbean charter ownership programs.

Our meticulously well-maintained yachts, truly impeccable customer service, and utterly fantastic value for money, ensure happy charter guests, competitive financial returns and a busy charter fleet for our yacht owners.

We have expert knowledge of the Caribbean region and the requirements for yacht ownership programs.

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Boat and yacht insurance

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The marine insurance leader

Your boat is more than "just a boat" to you. It represents a lifestyle that deserves to be protected by the best marine insurance on the water. With over 45 years of marine insurance experience, Markel provides a level of expertise that is unsurpassed in the marine industry.

Plus, unlike a typical homeowners insurance policy, we focus on marine insurance and have developed a wide variety of marine insurance coverage for almost any type of boat or watercraft.

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Our marine insurance offerings include:.

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Specialized coverage designed specifically for boats 26 feet or less, such as pontoons, runabouts, fishing boats and more.

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For watercrafts greater than 26 feet in length, such as a yacht, sailboat, sport fishing boat, trawler or houseboat.

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Taking Your Yacht Abroad For The First Time

By: Sue Richards Editor, Noonsite.com Cruising Tips , Destinations , Inside Sailing , Partners , Sailing Tips

If only sailing to a foreign country was as easy as taking a flight. Forms to fill in on the aircraft, passport control and customs all in the airport on arrival and nothing to pay. Unfortunately, the process for foreign recreational craft and their crew arriving in a foreign port is way more complex, so understandably, the thought of casting off the dock lines and venturing abroad can feel a little daunting. Not only does it mean you have to check out of your own country and familiarise yourself with the various processes involved, but you also need to fully understand what the authorities in the country you plan to sail to will expect (likely quite different to that of your home country).

CONTENTS OF THIS ARTICLE

  • EVERY COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT
  • GETTING ORGANISED
  • WHERE TO GO FOR RESEARCH
  • CLEARANCE SUMMARY CHECKLIST

Every Country Is Different

The USA has an efficient clearance system for recreational craft that in most cases is straightforward, can be done electronically and doesn’t require any “leg-work”. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for the majority of other countries.

While the authorities that deal with yacht clearance are pretty standard, no two countries have the same exit and entry procedures. Even in the Caribbean, where a number of the island nations use the same advance online clearance system ( SailClear.com ), some countries are resistant to going digital and prefer to stick to the old school of form-filling.

There are countries that operate small craft clearance strictly by the book and want yachts to clear in as soon as they arrive and follow the rules or face severe fines ( Australia for example). Other places are happy for yachts to wait until the next working day to clear in (or if arriving on a Saturday – wait until the Monday).

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While it’s true there are still some countries that permit yachts to turn up from abroad unannounced (the Dominican Republic and the Azores for example), more and more countries are introducing advance registration systems with some form of pre-arrival notification. For example, Bermuda now has a pre-arrival questionnaire which needs to be completed online and mainland Ecuador requires a sailing permit ( Autografo ) to be applied for 30 days in advance of arrival.

Getting Organised

There are many things you can do in advance to prepare yourself for cruising abroad. Getting all your paperwork in order (for both the boat and the crew) is a good start. Make hard copies of your precious documents (like boat registration and insurance), even though they may be digital, so officials have something to see. Have extra copies for them to handle and keep if necessary. Organise everything in a suitable wallet or document holder that can cope with being dragged ashore in the dinghy countless times.

Research what other documents you might need for your boat, plus those you need for your crew from passports and visas to vaccinations, health insurance and licenses. Your countries’ foreign office will have useful Immigration information for the country you want to sail to, but it’s important to bear in mind that these rules often differ for crew on visiting yachts, as do rules for crew arriving by plane and departing by yacht (or vice versa).

Find out what the authorities want you to do in advance (if anything) and what procedures they will follow on arrival. Some countries want visiting yachts to obtain a cruising permit, and many require these to be applied for and obtained in advance. This can take time, so start researching early just to be on the safe side. Other countries (like some of the Caribbean islands as previously mentioned) have online forms that you can complete prior to arrival to speed up the clearance process once you get there. A few countries want pre-application before they will grant you permission to enter, which can also be denied, so be meticulous and find out and record everything that’s required.

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Where To Go For Research

Noonsite.com   is the only place on the web dedicated to cruising sailors who are planning a foreign voyage and need to find out what formalities to expect in the various countries en-route. Noonsite has been supporting cruising sailors around the world for over 20 years and it is the best place to start researching the next country you plan to visit. Simply select the country you wish to research and icons guide you to the procedures and requirements of customs, immigration and other authorities – clearly laid out and regularly updated with useful links to official websites. Using Noonsite saves you hours of trawling the web looking for information (much of which is not readily published online by the country authorities).

Other sources for finding out the latest information are cruiser Facebook pages and simply talking to cruisers in your departure port who may well have visited your intended destination and can give hard-earned advice.

Cruising guides are very useful for getting a quick overview of a place and detailed pilotage, however the entry procedures quickly date. Always check Noonsite for the latest details and ask their editorial team if you want confirmation.

Over the next few months, as the experts for country formalities worldwide, Noonsite will be bringing you a detailed step-by-step guide to venturing abroad in your boat and how best to deal with foreign formalities. All the points in this introductory article will be covered in detail plus additional topics such as planning and paperwork, boat equipment, the mechanics of the arrival and departure process, cruising to the EU, top 5 destinations from the US and how to research country information on Noonsite .

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Clearance Summary Checklist

Here is a quick summary of how to prepare for and carry out foreign clearance (all of which will be discussed in depth in subsequent articles):

✓ Make sure your boat registration is up to date and will be in date for the duration of your time abroad. If you need to renew it, be sure to do this early so there is no lapse in coverage. Boat registration renewal can mostly be done online. If you boat registration has expired you will be denied entry into a foreign country and risk legal consequences. See further information on the US Vessel Registrar website .

✓ Plan ahead well in advance , particularly for visas and/or cruising permits if needed, some can take many weeks to obtain.

✓ Always make sure you get an exit zarpe showing the date and port of departure when you clear out of your home country and any subsequent countries. The authorities in the next country you visit will want to see this.

✓ Do careful research to make sure there aren’t any pre-arrival notifications or paperwork you need to complete prior to arrival.

✓ Does the country you want to visit demand you use an agent? If not, do you feel you need one? This will have to be arranged in advance.

✓ Know the ports of entry in the country you want to visit and determine the best one for you.

✓ Have some foreign currency for paying for clearance – there may not be banks near the port of entry or arrival officials may not permit you to visit an ATM to get money.

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Fly the Q flag when entering the territorial waters of the foreign country and don’t take this down until you have completed Customs clearance.

✓ Fly the Q flag when entering the territorial waters of the foreign country and don’t take this down until you have completed Customs clearance. It should then be replaced with the country courtesy flag. ( Purchase Courtesy Flags Here ).

✓ Prepare to visit Customs, Immigration, Port Authority and in some ports Quarantine/Biosecurity. You may be lucky and all the authorities will be housed in one building, or you may have to travel all over town by foot or taxi to visit all the offices.

✓ Enquire about fees and what you are expected to pay on arrival, and any on departure, and be sure to get a receipt. You may find you can clear in and out at the same time, depending on how long you intend to stay.

✓ Dress smartly for clearance and be courteous and patient. Clearance can take anything from half an hour to all day or even several days – depending on the country.

✓ Get a boat stamp – with your boat name/logo and your registration number/homeport etc. This can speed up signing documents and officials love a boat stamp.

✓ Keep all the clearance paperwork and receipts carefully filed away, you may be stopped by the local Coast Guard or marine police once cruising in foreign waters who will want to inspect your entry clearance and boat documents.

✓ Remember all foreign countries have a time limit as to how long you can stay – both for your crew and your boat. Know how long you and your boat have and plan your cruising accordingly. Research the options to extend your stay prior to arrival.

✓ Do your homework and give yourself plenty of time to get organised.

Our next Noonsite article for ASA will look in detail at Destination Planning (including visas, cruising permits, advance notification, ports of entry, security, agents and tips on getting organised). Stay Tuned!

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About The Author: Noonsite provides a wealth of knowledge and information for cruisers sailing beyond the horizon. For over 20 years Noonsite has been the trusted source for country entry and exit formalities and ports of entry for private yachts cruising the globe. Led by their experienced editorial team, their worldwide network of cruising experts and marine authorities verify all essential information. As well as formalities, Noonsite has information on all major sea ports for cruising boats worldwide and their marine facilities, plus cruising reports and news.

Noonsite’s cruising resources section has articles and links on a wide range of cruising-related topics, from cruising with kids, to insurance, to piracy and security. The feature sections include “cruising off the beaten path”, “cruising insights” and “portraits of a cruiser”, to name a few. Noonsite is a free resource, however there are various ways to get more out of the site. Free registered members can post comments and feedback on the website and receive notifications of new features, plus see the latest information as and when it’s published. Non-paying members are, however, limited to viewing just 3 country formalities a month. If you are planning a long-distance cruise and want to have unlimited access to all country formalities then taking Noonsite’s Basic Membership option at just $2.99 a month will enable unlimited viewing of the site, plus access to the Noonsite map, which is a great tool for viewing ports of entry, marinas, boatyards and anchorages posted by our users. Noonsite also has a Premium membership option which gives members the ability to download Noonsite information for use offline. Noonsite’s monthly newsletter is packed full of cruising news and reports from around the world and registration is free .

Additional information ab out Noonsite’s history and content can be found here by clicking here >>

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Donor and consultant convicted again of trying to bribe North Carolina's insurance commissioner

A major North Carolina political donor and his associate have been convicted a second time of attempting to bribe the state's insurance commissioner to secure preferential regulatory treatment for his insurance business

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- A major North Carolina political donor and his associate have been convicted a second time of attempting to bribe the state’s insurance commissioner to secure preferential regulatory treatment for his insurance business.

A federal jury convicted insurance magnate Greg Lindberg and former consultant John Gray on Wednesday of bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds and conspiracy to commit “honest services wire fraud” — when a person through a bribe seeks to deprive citizens of their right to honest services by a government official.

Both were convicted of the same crimes in 2020. In 2022, a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, vacated convictions for Lindberg and Gray and ordered new trials, ruling that the trial judge gave jurors misleading instructions before they began deliberations. Soon after that ruling, Lindberg was released from an Alabama prison where he had been serving a seven-year sentence.

The retrial began last week in federal court held by U.S. District Judge Max Cogburn, who also presided over the 2020 trial.

“The defendants planned and executed an intricate scheme involving substantial campaign contributions to an elected official in exchange for favorable treatment," western North Carolina U.S. Attorney Dena King said in a news release. “This was not a lapse in judgment. It was a calculated bribery attempt and a blatant violation of federal law.”

Lindberg and Gray were among four people indicted in 2019, accused of trying to give $1.5 million to Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey’s election campaign in exchange for the removal of an insurance official who would be in charge of regulating Lindberg’s company. Before the indictment, Lindberg had given millions of dollars to North Carolina candidate and party committees and independent expenditure groups.

Their codefendant, former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, pleaded guilty in 2019 to making a false statement to FBI agents conducting an investigation while he was state Republican Party chairman.

He agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and received probation. The federal government said Hayes had agreed to help funnel money going to the state GOP to Causey’s 2020 reelection campaign. President Donald Trump later pardoned Hayes.

Causey wasn’t accused of wrongdoing. He alerted authorities and recorded conversations that served as the basis of the 2019 indictments against Lindberg and Gray.

The fourth person indicted was acquitted at trial.

At the 2020 trial, Lindberg's lawyers argued in part that he didn’t commit a crime and that he was entrapped by Causey’s participation with authorities.

Lindberg attorney Brandon McCarthy said late Thursday “we were genuinely surprised by the verdict. We will continue to fight,”

“We thought there was straightforward and clear evidence that both Mr. Gray and Mr. Lindberg acted at all times in good faith and without any criminal intent,” Gray lawyer Steve Cash said in a separate email, adding that Gray's team was evaluating options.

Last year, Lindberg was indicted on separate federal criminal charges stemming from accusations that he conspired to skim large amounts of money from his insurance companies, then lied about it to regulators to hide the scheme with two co-conspirators. The counts in that case include wire fraud, conspiracy and making false insurance business statements to regulators. A trial on these matters has been delayed while awaiting the retrial.

Lindberg and Gray face a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office. A sentencing date has not been set.

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Nude cruise and a Taylor Swift cruise: 8 themed ships leaving Florida ports in 2024 and 2025

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From swinging to Swifties, there's truly a themed cruise for everything nowadays.

Seasoned cruisers know you can take your travel up a level by boarding a themed cruise, exploring the seas with those with the same passions and interests as you.

Whether you adore the cheesy Christmas movies that come out every year or you're a hip-hop fanatic, here are some of the top-themed cruises sailing out of Florida over the next year.

Big Nude Boat

The " Big Nude Boat " cruise is an 11-day adventure set for 2025 on the Norwegian Pearl, departing from the Port of Miami on Feb. 3 and returns to the same port on Feb. 14 (just in time for Valentine's Day).

"Bare Necessities’ newest nude cruise is a private island double-dip with a brand new travel partner," the company wrote on its website .

The itinerary includes stops at the Bahamas, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, Dominica, Martinique and St. Lucia. Rates for an inside cabin start at $2,000 per person and go to up to $33,000 for a top room.

Guests are encouraged to park their bare behinds on towels provided on board in areas including the pool deck and the buffet area, according to the website.

"Passengers can easily follow our rule on nudist etiquette by always placing a towel down before sitting," it reads. "Remember to pack a swimsuit; not all excursions are clothing optional."

In My Cruise Era

The “ In My Cruise Era … ” is a  Taylor Swift-themed cruise  that is set to launch from Port of Miami on Oct. 21,

The cruise, on a Royal Caribbean ship, leaves for the Bahamas the day after Swift's final show of her three-day stop in Miami. According to the website, the cruise fare includes stateroom accommodations, dinner in the main dining room nightly as well as additional buffet and a la carte options around the ship. It also includes entertainment.

All aboard the Taylor Swift ship! Popstar-themed cruise sets sail in Florida next year

"This cruise is for all fans, so bring your besties, your moms and dads, your baby fans, and if you need someone to room with, post on our page and ask," the organizers wrote on the  website .

The itinerary, though not finalized and "subject to change," includes:

  • " We can’t make any promises now can we babe, but you can make me a drink " Welcome Cocktail Party
  • " Make the friendship bracelets, take the moment and taste it " Friendship Bracelet Swapping
  • " I don't wanna dance if I'm not dancing with you " ThemedDance Party
  • " Heartbreak is the national anthem, we sing it proudly " Themed Karaoke
  • " Can I ask you a question? " Taylor Trivia
  • "Lately she’s been dressing for revenge " Nightly eras outfit themes

Halloween on the High Seas on the Disney Cruise Line

Looking for a more family-friendly option? The Disney Cruise line has you covered.

The Disney Cruise Line will offer its " Halloween on the High Seas " cruises in September and October. Patrons can choose from sailings ranging from 3-7 days, most of which travel to the Bahamas or the Caribbean islands. The Halloween-themed cruise is offered on four of the Disney cruise ships, including the Disney Magic, Disney Wish, Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy.

While on board the Halloween on the High Seas cruise, AAA writes guests will enjoy magical, spooktacular entertainment every day, such as:

  • Meet and greets with your favorite Disney characters, all decked out in their own Halloween costumes.
  • Halloween parties with Mickey, Minnie and the whole gang.
  • Ghoulish menus at every meal.

Hallmark Christmas Cruise

In case Halloween isn't your preferred holiday to spend on the seas, why not pretend you're in your own made-for-TV Christmas movie?

The Hallmark Channel, holiday season film factory, will host a Christmas Cruise that will embark on a four-night sailing on Nov. 5 from Miami. According to USA Today, passengers will be able to experience holiday cheer on the high seas, complete with cookie making, “carol-oke,” photo ops with network stars, and an exclusive movie premiere of one of the famed Countdown to Christmas films.

The Christmas cruise will take place aboard the Norwegian Gem Cruise Ship, a 965-foot Jewel-class ship.

The company announced that the cruise has already sold out, sharing to USA TODAY via email last year: "Christmas cheer filled every tier, and now the first ever Hallmark Channel Christmas Cruise is SOLD OUT."

Rock the Bells Cruise

Hip Hop Hooray! The Rock the Bells Cruise: A Hip-Hop Experience is a four-day jam session founded by LL Cool J back in 2023. After seeing major success last year, the cruise is returning for 2024.

MCs, DJs, and producers will lead nonstop parties and live performances on the Norwegian Gem from Nov. 13 through 17. The cruise leaves from Miami to Great Stirrup Cay and Nassau.

Some of the acts lined up for the cruise include Busta Rhymes, DJ Jazzy Jeff, Method Man & Redman, Scarface, Kid Capri and more.

Comic-Con: The Cruise

Get ready to join the CCU (Cruise Cinematic Universe). San Diego Comic-Con and Entertainment Cruise Productions have team up for Comic-Con: The Cruise . It will run from Feb. 5 through 9 of 2025.

Sailing on Royal Caribbean's  Serenade of the Seas  from Tampa to Cozumel, participants will interact with Comic-Con icons and attend nonstop activities on board, such as cosplay events, trivia, parties and more

Some of the stars who are slated to be on board include:

  • George Takei
  • Robb Pearlman
  • Mary McDonnell

Star Trek - The Cruise

Live long and prosper! Trekkies can geek out with one another on best cruise experience in the galaxy, according to U.S. News .

Sailing on Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas, the Star Trek cruise will sail from Miami on Feb. 23-through March 2 of 2025. Passengers will head to Costa Maya, Cozumel and Belize.

"Each night of the cruise celebrates a different dimension of the Star Trek experience and, since the cruise's debut in 2017, guests have knocked it out of the park with show-stopping costumes," U.S. News writes.

Norwegian: Ultimate Disco Cruise

Dig out those old bell-bottom pants and practice your dance moves while you have time!

Norwegian Cruise Line Ultimate Disco Cruise leaves from Miami on Feb. 19 through 24, 2025. During this groovy cruise, you will travel aboard the Norwegian Pearl to ports of call such as Cozumel and Costa Maya. Awhile attending the hottest disco parties along the high seas.

AAA notes these are some of the performers and guests that are going to be on board alongside you:

  • Kool & The Gang
  • Original Stone City Band
  • The Spinners
  • Shalamar featuring Howard Hewett, Carolyn Griffey and Jeffrey Daniel

When is the best time to cruise?

Here are AAA’s trend forecasts for the best times to cruise in 2024, according to the kind of cruise you choose:

  • The Caribbean  is popular year-round, but spring and summer are the most popular sailing times. 
  • Alaska cruise  season runs from May to September. Because this is an abbreviated period, there’s more competition for availability.  
  • Weekend cruises  have gained popularity in recent years. Weekend warriors have realized the value an all-inclusive cruise compared to a weekend getaway in a big city resort. Cruise lines have recognized this growing trend and are making weekend cruises more of a priority in 2024, by mobilizing some of their newest ships to accessible ports for weekend excursions. 
  • European river cruising  is now operational year-round. Because European travel is most popular during the summer, travelers can avoid the crowds and find lower priced cruises and airfares in the early and later parts of the year.

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Out of the Centre

Savvino-storozhevsky monastery and museum.

Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery and Museum

Zvenigorod's most famous sight is the Savvino-Storozhevsky Monastery, which was founded in 1398 by the monk Savva from the Troitse-Sergieva Lavra, at the invitation and with the support of Prince Yury Dmitrievich of Zvenigorod. Savva was later canonised as St Sabbas (Savva) of Storozhev. The monastery late flourished under the reign of Tsar Alexis, who chose the monastery as his family church and often went on pilgrimage there and made lots of donations to it. Most of the monastery’s buildings date from this time. The monastery is heavily fortified with thick walls and six towers, the most impressive of which is the Krasny Tower which also serves as the eastern entrance. The monastery was closed in 1918 and only reopened in 1995. In 1998 Patriarch Alexius II took part in a service to return the relics of St Sabbas to the monastery. Today the monastery has the status of a stauropegic monastery, which is second in status to a lavra. In addition to being a working monastery, it also holds the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum.

Belfry and Neighbouring Churches

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Located near the main entrance is the monastery's belfry which is perhaps the calling card of the monastery due to its uniqueness. It was built in the 1650s and the St Sergius of Radonezh’s Church was opened on the middle tier in the mid-17th century, although it was originally dedicated to the Trinity. The belfry's 35-tonne Great Bladgovestny Bell fell in 1941 and was only restored and returned in 2003. Attached to the belfry is a large refectory and the Transfiguration Church, both of which were built on the orders of Tsar Alexis in the 1650s.  

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To the left of the belfry is another, smaller, refectory which is attached to the Trinity Gate-Church, which was also constructed in the 1650s on the orders of Tsar Alexis who made it his own family church. The church is elaborately decorated with colourful trims and underneath the archway is a beautiful 19th century fresco.

Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral

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The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is the oldest building in the monastery and among the oldest buildings in the Moscow Region. It was built between 1404 and 1405 during the lifetime of St Sabbas and using the funds of Prince Yury of Zvenigorod. The white-stone cathedral is a standard four-pillar design with a single golden dome. After the death of St Sabbas he was interred in the cathedral and a new altar dedicated to him was added.

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Under the reign of Tsar Alexis the cathedral was decorated with frescoes by Stepan Ryazanets, some of which remain today. Tsar Alexis also presented the cathedral with a five-tier iconostasis, the top row of icons have been preserved.

Tsaritsa's Chambers

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The Nativity of Virgin Mary Cathedral is located between the Tsaritsa's Chambers of the left and the Palace of Tsar Alexis on the right. The Tsaritsa's Chambers were built in the mid-17th century for the wife of Tsar Alexey - Tsaritsa Maria Ilinichna Miloskavskaya. The design of the building is influenced by the ancient Russian architectural style. Is prettier than the Tsar's chambers opposite, being red in colour with elaborately decorated window frames and entrance.

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At present the Tsaritsa's Chambers houses the Zvenigorod Historical, Architectural and Art Museum. Among its displays is an accurate recreation of the interior of a noble lady's chambers including furniture, decorations and a decorated tiled oven, and an exhibition on the history of Zvenigorod and the monastery.

Palace of Tsar Alexis

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The Palace of Tsar Alexis was built in the 1650s and is now one of the best surviving examples of non-religious architecture of that era. It was built especially for Tsar Alexis who often visited the monastery on religious pilgrimages. Its most striking feature is its pretty row of nine chimney spouts which resemble towers.

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Geographic coordinates of Elektrostal, Moscow Oblast, Russia

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Coordinates of Elektrostal in decimal degrees

Coordinates of elektrostal in degrees and decimal minutes, utm coordinates of elektrostal, geographic coordinate systems.

WGS 84 coordinate reference system is the latest revision of the World Geodetic System, which is used in mapping and navigation, including GPS satellite navigation system (the Global Positioning System).

Geographic coordinates (latitude and longitude) define a position on the Earth’s surface. Coordinates are angular units. The canonical form of latitude and longitude representation uses degrees (°), minutes (′), and seconds (″). GPS systems widely use coordinates in degrees and decimal minutes, or in decimal degrees.

Latitude varies from −90° to 90°. The latitude of the Equator is 0°; the latitude of the South Pole is −90°; the latitude of the North Pole is 90°. Positive latitude values correspond to the geographic locations north of the Equator (abbrev. N). Negative latitude values correspond to the geographic locations south of the Equator (abbrev. S).

Longitude is counted from the prime meridian ( IERS Reference Meridian for WGS 84) and varies from −180° to 180°. Positive longitude values correspond to the geographic locations east of the prime meridian (abbrev. E). Negative longitude values correspond to the geographic locations west of the prime meridian (abbrev. W).

UTM or Universal Transverse Mercator coordinate system divides the Earth’s surface into 60 longitudinal zones. The coordinates of a location within each zone are defined as a planar coordinate pair related to the intersection of the equator and the zone’s central meridian, and measured in meters.

Elevation above sea level is a measure of a geographic location’s height. We are using the global digital elevation model GTOPO30 .

Elektrostal , Moscow Oblast, Russia

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Gagarin Cup Preview: Atlant vs. Salavat Yulaev

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Gagarin cup (khl) finals:  atlant moscow oblast vs. salavat yulaev ufa.

Much like the Elitserien Finals, we have a bit of an offense vs. defense match-up in this league Final.  While Ufa let their star top line of Alexander Radulov, Patrick Thoresen and Igor Grigorenko loose on the KHL's Western Conference, Mytischi played a more conservative style, relying on veterans such as former NHLers Jan Bulis, Oleg Petrov, and Jaroslav Obsut.  Just reaching the Finals is a testament to Atlant's disciplined style of play, as they had to knock off much more high profile teams from Yaroslavl and St. Petersburg to do so.  But while they did finish 8th in the league in points, they haven't seen the likes of Ufa, who finished 2nd. 

This series will be a challenge for the underdog, because unlike some of the other KHL teams, Ufa's top players are generally younger and in their prime.  Only Proshkin amongst regular blueliners is over 30, with the work being shared by Kirill Koltsov (28), Andrei Kuteikin (26), Miroslav Blatak (28), Maxim Kondratiev (28) and Dmitri Kalinin (30).  Oleg Tverdovsky hasn't played a lot in the playoffs to date.  Up front, while led by a fairly young top line (24-27), Ufa does have a lot of veterans in support roles:  Vyacheslav Kozlov , Viktor Kozlov , Vladimir Antipov, Sergei Zinovyev and Petr Schastlivy are all over 30.  In fact, the names of all their forwards are familiar to international and NHL fans:  Robert Nilsson , Alexander Svitov, Oleg Saprykin and Jakub Klepis round out the group, all former NHL players.

For Atlant, their veteran roster, with only one of their top six D under the age of 30 (and no top forwards under 30, either), this might be their one shot at a championship.  The team has never won either a Russian Superleague title or the Gagarin Cup, and for players like former NHLer Oleg Petrov, this is probably the last shot at the KHL's top prize.  The team got three extra days rest by winning their Conference Final in six games, and they probably needed to use it.  Atlant does have younger regulars on their roster, but they generally only play a few shifts per game, if that. 

The low event style of game for Atlant probably suits them well, but I don't know how they can manage to keep up against Ufa's speed, skill, and depth.  There is no advantage to be seen in goal, with Erik Ersberg and Konstantin Barulin posting almost identical numbers, and even in terms of recent playoff experience Ufa has them beat.  Luckily for Atlant, Ufa isn't that far away from the Moscow region, so travel shouldn't play a major role. 

I'm predicting that Ufa, winners of the last Superleague title back in 2008, will become the second team to win the Gagarin Cup, and will prevail in five games.  They have a seriously well built team that would honestly compete in the NHL.  They represent the potential of the league, while Atlant represents closer to the reality, as a team full of players who played themselves out of the NHL. 

  • Atlant @ Ufa, Friday Apr 8 (3:00 PM CET/10:00 PM EST)
  • Atlant @ Ufa, Sunday Apr 10 (1:00 PM CET/8:00 AM EST)
  • Ufa @ Atlant, Tuesday Apr 12 (5:30 PM CET/12:30 PM EST)
  • Ufa @ Atlant, Thursday Apr 14 (5:30 PM CET/12:30 PM EST)

Games 5-7 are as yet unscheduled, but every second day is the KHL standard, so expect Game 5 to be on Saturday, like an early start. 

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