Sitting 7°56' south of the Equator in the middle of the tropical south Atlantic, the history of Ascension Island is inextricably tied to the sea and those that navigate it. Laying midway between Africa and South America, Ascension remains a popular stop for many yachts as well as cruise ships.
Cruise ship visitors are issued with a landing permit only. Landing permits are handled by the cruise ship company directly in conjunction with the Travel and Shipping office. Landing permits restrict independent access to Georgetown alone. Further exploration of the island is offered by guided tour only, which may be organised through the Travel and Shipping office. Arrangements for tours are made in advance by the cruise ship company.
Independent car hire is not permitted for those issued a landing permit. Disembarkation, by means of passenger ferry to and from the Tartar Steps at the pierhead in Georgetown, is dependent on favourable sea conditions.
If the swell makes coming ashore too difficult arrangements can be made for members of the Ascension Island Heritage Society and AIG Conservation and Fisheries Department to board the ship to share information about the island and offer souvenirs for sale, often while the ship circumnavigates the island. This often provides a good opportunity for individuals to see and learn more about Ascension, including the more difficult to access areas such as the Letterbox peninsula.
Ascension Island warmly welcomes members of the sailing community.
Arriving yachts may anchor in the area to the north of the pier head at Georgetown. They must not anchor in any position that could obstruct the arrival and departure of ships or cargo operations. They must not tie on to any buoy or mooring in Clarence Bay. Yachts must use their own anchors.
Landing is only permitted at the pier head steps. When approaching the steps, dinghies must tie on to one of the moorings adjacent to the landing steps and not the landing steps themselves.
At the earliest opportunity after arrival, the yacht’s Master must contact the Assistant Harbour Master on channel eight to agree a time to come ashore to register the vessel and carry out port formalities. Immigration procedures will also be carried out at the port office which is situated on the pier head.
Yachts arriving after 16:00 and over the weekend must report their arrival to Ascension Radio on VHF Channel 16. All crew must remain on board the yacht until the following morning unless a time is arranged by the Assistant Harbour Master for the Master to come ashore to register the vessel. The Assistant Harbour Master can also provide advice on where the vessel may anchor.
The Master should bring ashore details of their vessel, a crew list and crew passports and proof of medical insurance and clearance from their last port of call when registering the vessel.
All visitors to Ascension Island must first apply for an e-visa to land here. The applications can be obtained from AIG enquiries or from either the immigration or customs/port office on St Helena. This authorisation must be obtained prior to arrival.
E-visas should be paid at the time of application. Light Dues of £15.00 per vessel is payable at office of the Assistant Harbour Master. These fees are mandatory.
The Master and crew are required to take out medical insurance prior to arriving at Ascension Island. This cover must include medical evacuation. This insurance cover must be for more than 10 days in case of any unscheduled delays at Ascension Island.
The landing of animals is strictly prohibited and they must therefore remain on board the vessel at all times.
Anyone arriving by yacht must, in advance, provide information concerning their last port of call and as to whether anyone on board is displaying, or has recently displayed, symptoms possibly consistent with COVID-19. This information may be provided in the form of a Maritime Declaration of Health to the Harbour Master.
Any vessel which has travelled from an affected area within the last 14 days, or which has on board any person who is displaying (or has recently displayed) symptoms possibly consistent with COVID-19 will be allowed to enter the harbour, but nobody aboard will be permitted to land until they are able to satisfy the Senior Medical Officer they do not pose a risk to public health.
Shower and laundry facilities are available on the pier head. This is priced at £1.00 per shower and £2.00 per laundry cycle. Visitors are requested to keep the facility clean and tidy at all times when being utilised.
Fresh drinking water is available from a coin operated meter at the fishermen’s bench near the pier head landing steps. The meter will only accept £1.00 coins and supplies 45 litres for every £1.00 entered.