top of page

Welcome to Our Blog Page

Life is Better in Flip Flops!

USVI Now Offers Online Payment Option
for Overnight Mooring Fees

By Kristi Query
June 2023

The US Virgin Islands National Parks just announced that mariners overnighting within the National Park can now make mooring payments online. 


To access the online payment system, simply download the mobile app.  You will still dinghy to one of the fee pay stations that are located throughout the park and scan the QR code through the app.  

If you choose, you can still use the envelope payment system in cases where connectivity is unavailable, but
online payments are the new preferred method of payment.  

Mooring Pay Station.jpg
Mooring Guide Map.png


My charter is booked and I'd like authorization to charter in the BVI.

Virgin Islands Yacht Charters Boats Cleared for BVI
By Kristi Query

After months of setbacks and changes in policy, we are happy to finally announce that all the boats in our fleet, with the exception of three boats that have not been delivered to us yet, are licensed and cleared for the BVI.  It has been an arduous and expensive endeavor, and we would like to thank our boat owners for literally paying the price for our charter guests to have the ability to take their vessels into the British Virgin Islands cruising grounds.

We, of course, take this responsibility of making sure those boats are going in legally and all procedures are followed, all fees are paid, and that our guests have a very good understanding of the process.  So, if you are planning to go to the BVI as part of your charter, please click on the button below and we will help you start making plans.

You can also read more about our new BVI clearing procedures by visiting the Planning and FAQ page of our website and scrolling down to the Customs and Immigration section.


BVI Premier Attempts to Clear Up Confusion Caused by Recent Public Announcement

"The territory’s leader has offered new information in relation to a change in the government’s policy that is expected to provide a more efficient and streamlined experience for the BVI’s guests entering by sea.

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley recently announced that the government will no longer require BVI trade licenses for foreign-based water taxis and commercial recreational vessels conducting day or term charters nor will it require work permits for the crew working on these vessels.


But some operators expressed concerns following the Premier’s announcement over what they perceived as unfair competition and an uneven playing field between local boat operators and USVI operators with the change in policy.

Yesterday in the House of Assembly (HOA), Premier Wheatley clarified that some restrictions will still remain in place for foreign vessels.

“I wish to underscore that with the ease in requirements stated, foreign-based water taxi operators are still restricted to passenger drop off at the ports of entry and persons operating foreign charter companies are still required to obtain a commercial recreational vessel license from His Majesty’s Customs,” the Premier said.

According to the Premier, the territory must continue to do business within a legal framework.

Dr Wheatley further advised that other requirements such as the certificate of registration, safety commercial vessel certificate, and insurance for the vessels remain in effect. He further said the requirement for a captain’s license, valid STCW (Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping) certificates, and a valid passport for all crew and guests remain. Applicable fees based on the level of charter engagement will also still apply. 

He assured that updated guidelines will be published by HM Customs for foreign charter companies to ensure everyone remains knowledgeable about the revised requirements. 

Premier Wheatley said the decision to remove the requirement for business trade licenses is an interim measure while the government continues to work on broader ranging reforms in the marine industry.

The Premier also pointed out that in making the new policy, the territory was able to avert retaliatory measures threatened by the neighbouring USVI government."





"Hi Kristi,


My apologies for the delay in responding to your email, as you may be aware this announcement by my Premier has caused quite a stir with everyone!


However, we are at a stand still at the moment as customs will not issue any CRVL for the vessels unless the company has a trade license. The law has not changed, and even though the Premier made that announcement Customs is still guided by the law. So they are not accepting any applications for CRVLs if the company has not obtained their trade license. This situation basically has everyone who has yet to obtain a trade on a stand still. 


We are currently trying our best to figure out what this means for our clients and what is the way forward which seems very unclear at the present moment."


We'll keep you posted!  Keep checking back here.



We were able to glean a little more information today concerning the new requirements related to foreign vessel chartering within the BVI Territory.  As discussed in our last two updates, the BVI opened for Trade Licensing and Charter Recreational Vehicle Licensing on November 1st and our application/documents have been submitted for approval. 

After the November 12th announcement, we no longer need the Trade License for VIYC, and our Captains who work our Captain-only charters do not need a work permit to take our guests into BVI waters.  

Our boats DO need MCA Small Commercial Vessel Code of Safety, better known as Blue/Yellow Code.  This is the same vessel safety inspection standards used by the BVI Shipping Registry inspections.  US flagged vessels can no longer obtain these inspections from the BVI Shipping Registry, so we use a local company based here in St Thomas.  

Young woman snorkeling in turquoise tropical water among huge granite boulders at The Bath

A US flagged vessel of a USVI charter based charter company wishing to operate in the BVI must have either the SCVC (Small Commercial Vessel Certificate or Letter of Compliance) from CVLA or the Certificate of Inspection (COI) from the USCG to meet the requirement for a valid Vessel Safety Inspection Certification.  

The CRVL (Commercial Recreational Vessel License) issued by the BVI Finance Department is what we applied for earlier this month.  THAT is what we are waiting for at this point.

Again, hang tight . . . we're getting there!  LITERALLY!



Well, never a dull moment . . . . 

For those of you keeping up, you will understand the excitement AND frustration we are feeling right now in light of the continued difficulties over travel restrictions into the British Virgin Islands.  After being closed to foreign-flagged vessels for over two and a half years, the BVI Government and other agencies put into place a strenuous application process and opened up for registration/applications on November 1st (see blog below).  

Our team spent the last three months preparing for November 1st so we would be one of the first to get our applications submitted and approved in order for our guests, who choose to do so, to head into the BVI Territory.  And, as promised, we did just that.  

TWELVE DAYS LATER, the rules changed.  Well, at least some of them from what we can figure out.  

I know you all will see videos and posts from local publishings, but they are making it sound much easier than it actually is.

So, here's what we know:

The BVI and USVI Governments have come to an agreement that will hopefully make traveling between the two territories much easier.  Yep, that pretty much it.  That's all we know.

We will learn more over the next few days, so just hang tight if you have a charter coming up soon and know we are working on getting clarification on all the details and will pass that along as we possibly can.





Hard to believe, but it has been two and a half years since the British Virgin Islands first closed their “doors” to the world and effectively shut down a flourishing charter industry.  Companies, like ours, are still having to jump through seemingly endless hoops to in the hope of sending charter vessels into the BVI Territory.  Even after re-opening to charter companies based within the BVI and ferry service to and from St Thomas, foreign-flagged vessels, like ours, have not been allowed to travel between the two cruising grounds.


The impact on the charter business in the USVI and the local businesses in the BVI, especially on islands like Jost Van Dyke, has been tremendous.  But the US Virgin Islands answered the call as many new restaurants, beach bars, and other local industries stepped up to offset the resistance put in place by the BVI Government.  And, in doing so, tourism is alive and well in the USVI and doing better than ever before. 


With that being said, the BVI still calls, and we miss her.  Long days at Soggy Dollar with a Painkiller in hand or quiet nights at Cooper Island or Saba Rock are beginning to look like possibilities again.  With a new, cooperative effort between the two tourism boards and other government entities, there is hope.  Maybe not for the day charter business, but certainly for bareboat and crewed yachts wanting to spend a few days in the old familiar waters of the BVI. 


Beginning November 1st, charter companies like ours will be able to officially apply for BVI Trade Licensing and other special permits that, in the past, have not been required.  This is a significant expense to our boat owners and to our company alike, but we feel it would be doing our valued and loyal charter guests a huge disservice by not working through the process to make traveling to the BVI an option.


As mentioned in previous posts, we are working directly with an agency based in Tortola that is assisting us in pulling together all the required documents for our company and each vessel within our fleet to ensure we are ready to submit our application on November 1st.  Each of our yachts is going through extensive inspections to meet the rigorous requirements, (one might say obstacles), put in place with the recent changes.


Unfortunately, we do not know how long it will take to receive the final approval but are optimistic it will not be an extensive process once the paperwork is in place.  We also do not know what the fees will be to charter there and are hoping for clarification and clear guidelines for entry through BVI Customs and Immigration.


All we can say is that we feel you . . .  and our team here at Virgin Islands Yacht Charters is working hard to make available BOTH options when chartering with us.


We'll continue to keep you posted!

BVI Entry Application/Licensing Begins November 1st
for Foreign-Flagged Vessels and Charter Companies

October 15, 2022

We all are very anxious for the full-reopening of the BVI and a return to normalcy. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misinformation, or better yet misunderstanding of information, on social media and other unreliable sources, so we just want to clear up any confusion. Rest assured, we are very in tune with the protocols, requirements, and obstacles that directly relate to and impact our ability to have our boats and charter guests within the navigational waters of the British Virgin Islands and are working diligently with BVI authorities to ensure our USVI fleet can legally operate in the BVI without complication or issue.

Currently, Virgin Islands Yacht Charters is in the process of working with three independent government agencies to gain approval for entry. With that being said, we do not have a clear estimate of the timeframe in which we will get the full go-ahead. We wouldn't even venture to guess.

And, hopefully, by the time we get through the entire process, the BVI Government will also grant us permission to conduct chase services in their waters or enter for emergency reasons on short notice, which is imperative in protecting our boats and charter guests alike.

Hang in there and know we are making steady, forward progress and will keep you updated on any changes.

With all that being said, it has actually been very exciting to see our charter guests discovering, or perhaps re-discovering, the beautiful and unique US Virgin Islands and we've just been overwhelmed by the positive feedback we have received. It's been a strange and interesting year, to say the least, but we are here to help you make the most of your well-deserved vacation and look forward to seeing you soon!

After well over a year of gearing up and preparing for the eventual re-opening of the Territory, the BVI and the ever-changing protocols have continued to cripple the charter business and all those who serve the charter industry. From maintenance shops to restaurants, the impact has been devastating and seemingly, no clear plan for reclaiming any sense of normalcy.

Here's the specific wording in the latest protocols that prevent VIYC boats from entering the Territory:

"(4) Streamlines the Territory's approach to, and oversight of, small vessels to enter the Territory; recongnising that entry procedures and measures to regulate business conducted by foreign entities are in place. Of note it:

(a) Defines "Small Vessel" as a vessel under 78 feet length overall; (b) Enables both private and commercially registered small vessels to enter the Territory;

(c) Precludes:

i. Foreign-based small vessels from entering the Territory with [paying] passengers on board, or

conducting commercial activities while in the Territory; and

ii Small vessels day-tripping to the BVI given the heightened risk of COVID-19 exposure, unless the

vessel is a pre-authorised water taxi operating in accordance with published protocols."

Since all our boats are considered foreign-based and every charter has paying passengers onboard, VIYC boats are not allowed to sail into the BVI.

As of July 10th, as reported by Dr. Ronald Georges - Ag Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, the BVI has seen an exponential growth in active COVID cases with a trend of increasing number of daily reports of new cases. "Persons should stay at home and respect the stay-at-home order and limit all non-essential movements. Respect the curfew order and limit non-essential activities and opportunities for person to person spread."

In quite the contrast, the US Virgin Islands has been open since June 1st of 2020 and is absolutely thriving. The influx of travelers has brought a much needed boost to our economy and the tourism industry as a whole. Local businesses have responded well to the call and the USVI continues to welcome our most valued guests.


bottom of page