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.
Arrival communications. SEE BELOW SPECIAL NOTICE REF covid-19
On approaching the Sea Buoy outside the BocaChica main ship channel (officially 10 miles from ) 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.
Due to coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns (from March 16, 2020) NO RECREATIONAL YACHT CAN ENTER CARTAGENA FROM A FOREIGN PORT, AND SPECIAL PERMISSION MUST BE OBTAINED TO PASS FROM ONE COLOMBIAN PORT DISTRICT TO ANOTHER. EXCEPTIONS FOR COLOMBIAN OR COLOMBIAN RESIDENT CREWED VESSELS THAT HAVE OBTAINED ADVANCE ARRIVAL AUTHORIZATION.
PLEASE CLARIFY WITH THE MARITIME AGENCIES
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 advisable to employ them to assist with all matters (Customs, Immigration and Port Captain's office).
Due to variations in Maritime agency charges it is recommended to clarify these charges before agreeing to contract a particular agent. Just ask them at the beginning of your stay. Or better still..before you arrive.