The US Atlantic Ocean Coastline is a vast and varied place, offering a wide range of sailing and charter experiences from capital cities to tropical reefs.
South of New York City is Chesapeake Bay, one of the world’s largest estuaries at 200 miles long and up to 30 miles wide. A charter boat is the best way to explore the varied topography and unique ecosystems that coexist here, while taking time to sample the famous Maryland blue crabs. There are marinas throughout the bay, from the city of Baltimore to the small fishing community of Tangier Island.
With clear, tropical waters heated year-round by the flow of the Gulf Stream, the Florida Keys is a yachter’s paradise. The archipelago contains over 1700 islands surrounded by the only living coral reefs in North America, home to an abundance of vibrant sea creatures. The best time to sail is from December until June. At this time, vision can reach several nautical miles, allowing views of distant islands and making traversing the coral reefs easier—though sailors should still take care to avoid damaging any of the living infrastructure. Sailing in winter or spring also avoids the harsh Atlantic winds that can strike in hurricane season, which occurs between June 1st and November 30th.
Fort Lauderdale—the “Venice of America”—is an ideal place to charter a yacht to start your exploration. Home to 100 harbors and interlaced with a network of canals, sailing reaches to the very heart of the city. Its position on the east coast of Florida not only offers yachters easy access to the Keys and the stunning Everglades National Park, but also a prime position to head south-east towards the tropical paradise of the Bahamas. Further south still are the sublime waters of the Caribbean, where trade winds and a tropical climate make for ideal yachting conditions. Visitors can explore the popular Lesser Antilles, home to palm trees, turquoise waters, and kilometer after kilometer of pure white sand. The infrastructure surrounding the Virgin Islands is particularly good, with excellent facilities and easy navigation around the islands. Chartering a yacht from Puerto Rico will also offer access to this area of unspoiled natural beauty.
The Atlantic Coast features a number of different climates. In the north, New York City sees freezing winters, mild springs and autumns, and hot, humid summers. Meanwhile, the Florida Keys, in the aptly named Sunshine State, enjoy tropical weather all year round. From June until October, the climate is hot, wet and humid, while the other months are slightly cooler and drier. Sailing visibility is best from December until June. The Caribbean has a tropical to subtropical climate, with year-round sunshine and average temperatures of 25º. The waters are warm—averaging up to 30º—and trade winds blow steadily from the northeast. Many sailors avoid the Caribbean and Florida Keys during August and September, the hurricane season.