Main Ship channel
The main ship channel is Bocachica. Controlling depth 40ft.
Clearly marked by channel buoys.
Convention: Red Right Returning.
Until you have some local knowledge keep inside channel as you go around the inside of Tierra Bomba island.
Passing Punta Arenas you may well go aground if you go just outside the Green channel buoys.
Small craft only channel
One set of channel buoys only.
Max allowed draft 8 ft.
Channel only 60 mtrs wide passing over submerged defensive wall joining the Bocagrande peninsula with the island of Tierra Bomba
Actual depth passing submerged wall inside the channel is around 11 ft but swells can reduce this significantly when passing.
Note: entering the Inner bay there is a coral shoal marked by the statue of the Virgin. Ships can pass either side within the buoyed channels.
On approaching the Sea Buoy outside the BocaChica main ship channel (or 5 miles from BocaGrande) call CARTAGENA PORT CONTROL on VHF 14/16.
They will ask for some details and advise you of outgoing/approaching traffic. If arriving from another zone OR country be sure to ask them for an entry security number (NUMERO CONSECUTIVA) which is required to start entry formalities with your maritime agency.
For assistance the Coast Guard (Guarda Costa) can be hailed on VHF 13/14/16.
‘GUARDA COSTA SAN JOSE (HoSay)’ is the Coast Guard station to call approaching Cartagena.
A note on Maritime agents.
Officially they are needed when dealing with the Port Captain's office. However, it often adviseable to employ them to asisst with all matters (Customs, Immigration and Port Captain's office).
Make sure they share responsability to advise you in good time for any document application or renewal.
The written rules (not always strictly applied but don't be complacent) require that applications for Temporary Importation and other matters are made on time.