Thank you for your enquiry into sailing with us at BVI Yacht Charters. We have designed this page to help you with the planning of your charter, and to help make your sailing vacation planning as stress free as possible. If you have not chartered in the BVI before we would recommend you read through the whole page. If you have questions that remain unanswered, please feel free to email us, and we will be happy to help.
PLANNING YOUR CHARTER
We do understand it is not always easy to find flights arriving in the BVI that coincide with the start of your charter. For $75 per person, a minimum of $150, you can board your yacht the night before your charter starts. Your sleep aboard will start at 5pm.
Your boat will come with a fully equipped galley, all linens, bath towels (not beach towels), face towels and hand towels, a charcoal barbeque, bimini, one roll of bathroom tissue per head, VHF, Cellular Phone, Chart, Cruising Guide, Binoculars, Flashlight, safety gear, Stereo with auxiliary jack & Cockpit Speakers, Cooler and a dinghy and outboard. Snorkel gear is available to borrow free of charge, and because we don’t know what sizes you will need, please come and chose it from our office before you depart from our docks!
We do not require a license or certificate, but we do need you to complete a sailing resume. Download the Sailing Resume We are looking for experience of you having sailed a similar sized vessel to the one you are looking to charter. Of course if you have a certification, do mention it, as it will help. If our insurance company feels your resume is weak, you will need to take a checkout captain for your first day to assess your skills.
We can organize a captain for you, whether you would like one just for the first day to brush up on your skills or for the whole week so you can put your feet up and relax. We can even hire an instructional captain for you, who can teach you and share his knowledge. Costs are as follows: Day Checkout Skipper $175, Regular Captain $175 per night, Instructional $200 per night. You must also provide any meals for your captain and at the end if you are happy it is customary to tip.
Please use the following links to view our suggested itinerary for the BVI. SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR THE BVI You can also check out the BVI’s online cruising guide for more details on the British Virgin islands. Your itinerary should be flexible, to take into account any change in weather. If you are unsure of where best to go, call us on the phone provided and we will be happy to make a recommendation.
We are quite happy for you to go to Anegada, weather permitting. We do ask that you call us in the morning before you set off so we can check the weather forecast. If you are looking to charter any of our monohull's with a deep draft (over 6.5ft) please bear in mind you will not be able to use the moorings at Setting Point, but you will need to anchor out.
All persons, including US citizens, require a passport when entering the British Virgin Islands. Your passport must be valid for another 6 months upon entering the territory. Visitors from some countries may also require a visa for entry. If in doubt about the necessity of a visa check with BVI Tourist Board, or contact your nearest British Embassy.
The currency is US dollars. You will find most of the bars and restaurants will accept credit cards and travelers checks. Due to the high bank charges in the BVI most establishments will charge a 3% to 5% fee on all card transactions. Always have some cash with you to pay for moorings, or to use in some of the smaller bars and restaurants.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
If you have pre-ordered a taxi your driver will be waiting for you when you come through arrivals. If there are lots of people around, you can ask for Mike and tell them you are going to BVI Yacht Charters. The airport here is small and you should not have any problems. If for any reason your driver is not there, don’t panic, and don’t even wait, just jump in any taxi. The rates are standard across the island, and you can expect to pay $12 per person, a minimum of $30.
If you have ordered rental equipment, or are coming by rental car yourselves, our physical address is BVI Yacht Charters, Joma Marina, Port Purcell, Road Town, Tortola, BVI. Most of the local people will know where we are by saying "opposite Fort Garden Centre".
Officially your charter starts at 12 noon on the first day and finishes 12 noon on the last day. If you stayed on island the night before, feel free to call us in the morning to see if your boat is ready, if it is you will be able to board early, but we make no guarantees before 12 noon. If you are sleeping aboard the night before your charter, your sleep aboard will start at 5pm. If you arrive on island prior to 5pm, feel free to drop your bags at base and head into town or to the grocery store.
When you arrive you will receive a full boat briefing on your boat and a chart briefing in the office. Our chart briefings usually take place between 9.30am and 10.30am. If you have sailed in the BVI before you can request an ‘Express Chart Checkout’. If you have done your paperwork and both your briefings you can leave the dock early. Please remember your charter begins at 12 noon, whether you slept aboard or not. We do our very best to get you off the dock beforehand, but should any issues arise during the morning, our staff may be working on your yacht.
Our office hours are 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week. If you arrive after this time, come to our office, where you will find a note on the door to tell you where your boat is. Your boat will be left unlocked with the lights and refrigeration turned on, and the keys on board. We will leave a flashlight, cell phone and a few other items on board for you that you may need for the night. Come to our office anytime after 8.30am the following morning.
Our base is at a private marina, dedicated to the BVI Yacht Charters fleet. Our on shore facilities are basic, but do include shore side toilets and showers, which remain open all night. The largest supermarket in Tortola, Riteway, is less than a five minute walk, and we are just a 2 minute dinghy ride from Village Cay in the heart of Road Town, where you will find a choice of restaurants and bars at your convenience. We do have free WiFi on our dock, a drinks machine and we sell ice from our office. Our marina has 24 hour security for your safety and comfort. The Sports Club Restaurant and Da Spot Restaurant are under 10 minutes walk away and both known for their typical local menu.
This is a mandatory fee of $40 per day, with a minimum charge of $200 and a maximum charge of $400, no matter how long your charter is. There is a deductible of $1000, which is taken as a pre-authorization by credit card on arrival. Your card will not be charged unless the boat or dinghy is damaged.
A National Parks Permit allows you to pick up day time mooring balls in any of the BVI’s fabulous marine parks. These include the famous Baths, the Caves, the Indians, Monkey Point and the Dogs. Anchoring is prohibited in these areas in order to protect the Territory’s vulnerable reefs. The cost of a National Parks Permit is dependent on the number in your party and will vary from $25 per week for 4 guests to $55 per week for 10 guests.
All charterers sailing the BVI waters are required to purchase a Cruising Permit. We will organize this for you prior to your trip, and the cost is dependent on the number in your group. Between the 1st December and the 30th of April expect to pay $2 per person, per day. From the 1st of May to the 30th of November it is $0.75 per person per day.
We require a $10 non-refundable cell phone deposit. Every charterer is required to take a cell phone from BVI Yacht Charters. This will be a direct contact between your boat, our office and our head mechanic and is pre programmed with the numbers you will require. Calls to our office and head mechanic are free. The phone also comes with $10 of pre-paid credit, for you to use at your discretion.
The Virgin Islands Search and Rescue is a voluntary organization dedicated to saving life at sea. It is the officially recognized search and rescue service in the British Virgin Islands, where it provides 24-hour cover every day of the year in close co-operation with the Royal British Virgin Islands police, fire and ambulance services. We ask for $10 for every charter, which we pass directly to VISAR.
Once the charter has been reserved and deposit monies have been received, the charter is considered non-refundable. Should a Charterer be forced to cancel, all monies will be forfeited. However, a Charterer may wish to purchase cancellation insurance for $150 per charter, which will allow the following: - A charter may be cancelled more than 90 days before the charter a full refund will be issued without penalty. - If the charter is cancelled within 90 days the scheduled charter an additional $300.00 administration will be deducted from the deposit monies, alternatively, the Charterer may reschedule for a future date - If the charter is cancelled within 45 and prior to 30 days the penalty is 50% of the charter fee, unless the charter dates are rebooked, alternatively, the Charterer may reschedule for a future date - If cancellation notice is within 30 days prior to the charter date the full charter fee is forfeited less all additional fees, unless the charter dates are rebooked. Alternatively, the Charterer may reschedule for a future date.
You will collect the boat with a full tank of fuel. At the end of your trip, when you return to our base, we will refuel the vessel, and you just pay for what you have used. Fuel is currently charged at $1.50 per litre, which is about $5.75 per gallon, but does change with the market rates.
DURING YOUR CHARTER
There are plenty of dive shops on Tortola that will deliver your gear to the boat for you. You can order this through us, just let us know exactly what you need and your sizes, and we will organize delivery. Particularly during the high season it is best to order in advance. For rendezvous diving check out Blue Water Divers.
There is WiFi installed on most of our boats, however there is a charge of $30/$40 for 1 day or $135/$205 for a week. There is free WiFi available on our dock, just ask in the office for the password. You will find as you go around the islands, that almost all the marina’s have WiFi, and many of the bars and restaurants.
We have a number of items available for rent including Double Kayaks, Single Kayaks, Blenders and Stand Up Paddle Boards and more. For details of availability and cost please email firstname.lastname@example.org. If you would like more specialized equipment such as Windsurfs, Surfboards or Water Toys, we can organize these for you from a local company.
In the BVI in April 2016 new legislation was brought in, which means that guests can no longer fish from our vessels. Our boats are set up for sailing charters and are not fishing vessels, therefore do not comply with the new regulations.
The last thing most people want to do when they arrive is go shopping. For your ease, If you would like to order your provisions in advance, we can organize this for you. All you need to do is fill out a form with your choices and send it back to us. Download the provisiong forms from our provisions page. Your provisions will be delivered to your boat, once you arrive. Unfortunately we cannot take delivery of goods in advance. If you chose to work with another bespoke provisioning company, other than Riteway, please ensure they are open and can deliver on the day your charter begins. We are not able to store orders, therefore if they are not able to deliver on your scheduled start day please find another provider. If you love to cook and eat on board, expect to pay from $28 - $35 per person per day for full provisioning. If you prefer to divide your time between quiet meals on board, or dining ashore, expect to pay from $24.50 to $30 per day. If you like to sample the local cuisine, go for just breakfast and lunch, and expect to pay from $18 - $25 per day. Prices depend on the store of your choice and will vary depending on whether you chose casual or Gourmet. If you prefer to do your own provisioning, Riteway, the largest supermarket in Tortola is just a five minute walk from our base.
Most of the bays have overnight moorings and a lot of our guests prefer the safety and comfort of an overnight mooring instead of anchoring. Expect to pay $30 per mooring per night. Moorings at the 5* Peter Island Resort are $65 per night. If you would like to get your land legs back, spend the night in one the BVI’s full service marinas. Hook up to the shore power, run your shore side AC, if you have it, and make use of a little luxury on shore. Expect to pay from $1.50 - $2.50 per foot for the night.
We have no issues with you sailing to St Thomas or St John provided you clear customs. However, if you wish to go further your resume will need to be approved by our General Manager. Outside of the BVI you will not be covered by our chase team and you may not have cell phone coverage on the phone we provide. Your damage deductible will be increased to $3000. Whether or not you regularly travel to the US by commercial carrier, if you are not a US Citizen, you will need a VISA to enter the US Virgin Islands by private vessel.
There is no bad time to sail in the BVI, the best time for your group really depends on you. December through April is our Mid/High season and can be busy. If you like a bit more action, like to be lively and get involved then this is a good time to come. BVI Kite Jam is hosted in February and the BVI Spring Regatta in April. Throughout this period winds average anything from 15-20 knots. During May and June the season starts to slow down a little. Everything is still open it’s just a little more peaceful. The water is a little warmer, the rates are a little lower and the wind is a little gentler. During September and October there is a very slight risk of hurricane. Whilst many people are concerned about chartering during this time, there really is a very low chance of a hurricane affecting your vacation. If you are looking to be alone in an anchorage, with the pristine beach to yourself, this is the time to come. In the unusual event of a hurricane heading directly for the islands, we may need to call the boat back in, and in this case we will refund you, pro-rated, your charter fee for lost days. Circumstances permitted, once the storm has passed you will be able to continue your charter as normal.
In case of any mechanical issues you must report them. Use the cell phone provided to call our head mechanic, Anthony, directly. Anthony will talk you through the problem, and where possible resolve the issue over the phone. Should you need a service call, we do have a dedicated chase team of mechanics and 2 chase boats, which will be able to reach you in a short time. If due to mechanical failure you cannot sail, and we are unable to repair the fault within 4 working hours from the time it was reported, BVI Yacht Charters will refund lost time. Sailing hours are deemed from 8am to 5pm, and no refunds will be issued for lost sailing time outside of these hours. Please understand that if you do not report any problems, we will not be able to fix them. You will not be covered by our chase team outside of BVI waters. You would be asked, where possible, to sail back into BVI waters.
Unfortunately you cannot use a hairdryer or other stylers aboard any of our yachts. Life in the islands is very casual and laid back, once you have wound down to ‘island time’, you probably will not want to blow dry your hair! We say let the tradewinds do it for you. You always have the option to go into one of the BVI’s marinas, and use the onshore facilities if necessary.
THE BOOKING PROCESS
Always try to book your charter as far in advance as possible, particularly if your dates are not flexible and you have a specific boat in mind. December through April is our busiest time of year, and these months generally book up well in advance. During summer months the yachts with Air Conditioning are always more popular. If you do wait until the last minute, try to make sure you are flexible on your dates and the boat and we should be able to fit you in.
Once you have decided on your dates, and the yacht you would like, the process is simple. Just let us know what you would like to book. We will need your full name, the dates you would like, the name of the boat, the number of guests on board and an email address. We will get together a contract, and send it out to you by email the same day.
In order to secure the booking you will need to put down a deposit, 50% of the charter fee. Your deposit is due within 2 weeks of receiving your contract. If you wish to purchase the cancellation insurance, you will need to include an additional $150 with this payment. Your final payment is due 45 days before the start of your charter, we will send you an email and a final invoice to remind you.
You can pay by online transfer, credit card, US personal check or cashier’s check. If paying by credit card please keep in mind there is a 3% surcharge, and let your bank know we will be processing the transaction. Just call our office, or ask us to email you a credit card form. If paying by online transfer, ensure you wire enough money to cover any bank charges that may be incurred. If sending a personal or a cashier’s check please mail to the following address: BVI Yacht Charters, PMB #450, 3202 Demerara Mall, Suite 6, St Thomas, USVI, 00802-6445. We can only accept personal checks in US dollars, issued by a bank in the USA.
Not a problem. We can hold the boat for you while you check on flight availability and cost, or check with your friends and family. We will keep the boat held for you for up to a week. After that time, if we do not hear from you, we will release the hold, and send you an email to let you know.
We do understand things crop up last minute, and may mean you need to cancel. We try to be as flexible as possible but please ensure you purchase the cancellation insurance when you make you make your first deposit, so you are not disappointed. You can find the details of our cancellation policy in this document under the ‘Extra Costs’ section.
With your contract you will receive a copy of our terms and conditions and the sailing resume. Download the Sailing Resume You will need to return to us the signed contract, initial the terms and conditions and complete the sailing resume. Either fax these to us or scan and email. We will also send you options for provisioning, dive gear rental, and other rental equipment. Fill these out then you are ready and send them back to us.
After you have booked if your situation changes and you need to change your boat, we will do our best to accommodate you. Try to give us as much warning as possible, as particularly during the high season it can be hard to find a boat.
A very reasonably priced delightful small, family run guesthouse located only minutes in a taxi from our base. Nestled in a quiet tree lined residential area and only a short walk from banks, shops and restaurants in Road Town. Visit http://www.hummingbirdbvi.com/ for more information. For reservations and availability contact Yvonne by calling +1 284 494 0039, or email email@example.com.
Ideally located in the centre of Road Town, close to the ferry, and a 5 minute cab ride from BVI Yacht Charters. Waterfront setting with a bar, restaurant, pool, laundry and internet services. For reservations visit http://www.villagecayhotelandmarina.com/Home.aspx.
Maria's is conveniently located in Road Town along the shore of Road Harbour, within walking distance of most major shops and offices yet isolated from the main traffic of Road Town. A basic, but clean and affordable place to spend the night. For reservations visit http://www.mariasbythesea.com/.
A comfortable, cozy, bed and breakfast located on Trellis Bay, Beef Island, Tortola. Walking distance from the airport, this is about as close as you can get. For availability and reservations visit http://www.beefislandguesthouse.com/guest_house.htm.
A small family run hotel nestled next to Josiah’s Bay, which features a restaurant with great food, bar/lounge and pool with swim up bar. Well known for their Sunday Brunch, Friday Quiz night, and often featuring live music and parties, this is a fun spot to relax. They do have a couple of friendly dogs so if you have allergies, or you just don’t like dogs, this is a no go. http://www.tamarindclub.com/.
A complete vacation resort, right on the mile long beach of Long Bay. Providing amenities and activities to meet the needs of every guest. From a gift shop, deli and car rental, to dive shop, tour desk, tennis and spa; everything is at your finger tips. Visit http://www.longbay.com/ for more information.
Located in Cane Garden Bay, just across the road from the beach, with a selection of bars and restaurants within a stone’s throw from the Ole Works Inn. An affordable, beach front location, with friendly service. Visit http://www.quitorymer.com/.
The Windward Passage Hotel is located almost directly opposite the Charlotte Amalie ferry terminal, making this hotel the ideal spot for someone with a late flight, looking to catch the early ferry. The hotel is clean, safe and has a small swimming pool. An ideal location to explore the shops of Charlotte Amalie and dine out in French Town. Visit the Windward Passage Hotel
Boutique Hotel, situated in the hills above Charlotte Amalie. Enjoy stunning views of the harbour from the fabulous restaurant. Free buffet breakfast included. Visit the Mafolie
The Sugar Mill is set among the restored ruins of a 17th Century sugar plantation. Renowned for its romantic atmosphere & world class cuisine, this the perfect place to relax and enjoy the lush tropical scenery. http://www.sugarmillhotel.com/