Preparation & Responsibilities

Be Prepared for Your Yacht Expedition to Antarctica...

Serious ocean

  • Be prepared to make your own repairsAll Antarctica-bound yacht expeditions must be authorized by the operator's own country or the vessel's flag state. The authorization process is a good way to prepare for Antarctica, and heavy fines can result from non-authorized visits. A list of contact points for selected countries can be found on this page. If you are traveling on a charter yacht, ask to see your skipper's Antarctic authorization.
  • Be prepared for extreme weather conditions. You, and your vessel must be prepared for extreme weather conditions: a knockdown, storm-force winds, cold, drifting ice and bad anchorages. Bad weather and strong winds can hit hard and fast, with little warning.
  • Be completely self-sufficient. Do not expect rescue, outside assistance, fuel, or other supplies. Make sure you are capable of sustaining full-speed groundings, loss of engine, propeller, steering, rigging/mast, anchor, etc. without outside assistance. Remember to carry sufficient tools and knowledge to make your own repairs. Scientific research stations and ships are "outposts" with limited resources and cannot be used as a resource for supplies, repairs or buying additional fuel. They must only be contacted for assistance in life-threatening emergencies.
  • Tight lineStay Safe. Remember the weather can change in just a few minutes in Antarctica and ice can drift in. Use anchor watches while onboard and, when going ashore, take shelter and emergency supplies in case you cannot return to the yacht. Please do not take anything from bases or emergency huts, except in a life-threatening emergency. Many of the ice fields and glaciers are crevassed and dangerous to cross without the correct skills and equipment. Icebergs and ice cliffs can collapse with no warning, swamping vessels. Keep a respectful distance.


For some examples of Antarctic yachting best practices - developed by IAATO yacht operators with more than 50 years of combined experience - go to Helpful Guidelines.