Call the harbour master on approach ( VHF Ch 11 call sign "St Johns Traffic") and request clearance to enter as the harbour is very busy with large oil rig support vessels leaving at all times of day and night. Likewise call prior to leaving.
St Johns is primarily a commercial port with berthing for yachts restricted to 2 short wooden pontoons located under the leading lights immediately in front of you after entering through the narrows. There is only space for 3 or 4 yachts on the pontoons, which are subject to a slight surge even in calm conditions, and have no facilities. Locals warn that petty theft from yachts has been a problem in the past although video surveillance cameras have now been installed and may act as a deterrent. We encountered no problems in this respect.
Taking on fuel and water can be a logistical challenge, but is possible. For large quantities of fuel, or several yachts refuelling at the same time, a tanker can be arranged to drive down to the quay. Smaller quantities have to be jerry canned from a local fuel station. To take on water you need to temporarily berth on one of the commercial wharves and arrange for someone to open a hydrant.
Large scale re provisioning ideally needs a car as all the larger supermarkets are in out of town malls. However, there are several convenience stores within easy walking distance of the pontoons, together with an excellent boutique supermarket "Belbins Grocery". The latter is perfect for stocking up on luxuries like pickles, mustards, chutneys, artisan cheeses, cold meats and other "goodies" not commonly found in other Canadian supermarkets. Its advertising strap line is "we have been serving fine meat since the time hippies first stopped eating it" so hopefully it will continue in business for a while yet!
Whilst the above description of the facilities may not make make St Johns like a terribly yacht friendly place to visit, to miss out on calling in here would, in our view, be a crime. With its long maritime heritage and historic downtown area it is a fascinating place to stay for a while. The downtown area boasts what are reckoned to some of Canada's best restaurants, microbreweries, and bars and a thriving arts and live music scene.