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
WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOUR CHARTERS START AND FINISH?
You can start and end your charter on any day of the week, it's your choice. Our only 2 exceptions are Christmas Day and New Years Day, as we are closed. Therefore, you cannot start, finish, or sleep aboard on either of these days.
CAN I SLEEP ABOARD THE NIGHT BEFORE MY 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.
WHAT IS INCLUDED WITH THE YACHT?
Your boat will come with a fully equipped galley, all linens, bath (not beach towels), face and hand towels. A barbeque, bimini, VHF, cellular phone, chart, Cruising Guide, binoculars, flashlight, safety gear, stereo with auxiliary jack & cockpit speakers, cooler and a dinghy with outboard. We have a variety of masks, snorkels & fins to choose from (free of charge!). You just help yourself on arrival!
WHAT QUALIFICATIONS DO I NEED TO CHARTER A YACHT?
A license or certificate is not a requirement, but you need to complete a sailing resume. What are we looking for? Recent experience of captaining a similar sized vessel to the one you are looking to charter. It should be within 5ft in length, and within the last 5 years. If you would like to rent a catamaran, you must have prior experience on a catamaran and of similar size. Of course, if you have a certification do mention it, as it will help. Depending on your experience, we may require you to take a captain for 1 or more days, or full time. If you would like to be pre-approved, don't hesitate to email us at email@example.com.
CAN I HIRE A CAPTAIN?
We can organize a captain for you. Whether it's just for the first day to brush up on your skills, or for the entire charter. We can even hire an instructional captain for you, who can teach you and share his knowledge. Costs are as follows: Day Checkout Skipper $200, Regular Captain $225 per night, Instructional $250 per night. You must also provide any meals for your captain and at the end, if you are happy, it is customary to tip. We recommend 10% of the charter fee (gross price). In the event that your captain is staying with you overnight, he will need his own cabin, within the main accommodation of the yacht, as our captains do not sleep in the Bow Cabins.
CAN YOU RECOMMEND AN ITINERARY FOR US?
Please use the following links to view our suggested itinerary for the BVI. SAMPLE ITINERARY FOR THE BVI 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.
CAN WE GO TO ANEGADA?
We are quite happy for you to go to Anegada, weather permitting. It is mandatory that you call us in the morning before you set off, no later than 9am. This way we can check the weather forecast. The winds should be under 20 knots with seas under 8 feet. 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 can always anchor out in the deep end of the mooring field.
DO I NEED A PASSPORT OR VISA TO ENTER THE BVI?
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.
WHAT IS THE CURRENCY IN THE BVI?
The currency is US dollars. Incidentally, you will find most of the bars and restaurants will accept Mastercard and Visa. However, American Express is NOT widely accepted in the islands. As a rule, you should always have some cash with you. For example, you'll need cash to pay for moorings, or to use in some of the smaller bars and restaurants.
WHEN YOU ARRIVE
WHEN WE LAND, HOW WILL WE KNOW WHICH TAXI IS OURS?
If you have pre-ordered a taxi your driver will be waiting for you when you come through arrivals. Although, if there are lots of people around, you can ask for Mike. He will have a sign with our name and logo. The airport here is small and you should not have any problems. However, if for some reason your driver is not there, don’t panic, and don’t even wait. Just jump in any taxi as the rates are standard across the island. You can expect to pay $12 per person, a minimum of $30, from the airport. From the ferry dock, the rate is $5 per person.
WHAT IS YOUR PHYSICAL ADDRESS?
If you have ordered rental equipment, or are coming by rental car yourselves, our physical address is: BVI Yacht Charters Ritter House, Lower Level Rear Entry Ritter Marina, Wickhams Cay 2 Road Town, Tortola British Virgin Islands. But most of the local people will know where we are by saying "The marina in front of the tall building in Wickham's Cay 2 ".
WHAT TIME CAN I BOARD?
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. In the event that it is, you will be able to board early. But keep in mind we make no guarantees for preboarding, i.e., before 12 noon. If you are sleeping aboard the night before your charter, that begins at. Although, please feel free to drop your bags at base should you arrive on island prior to 5pm.
WHAT TIME CAN WE EXPECT OUR BRIEFINGS?
In light of Covid-19 we are working diligently to provide you with a safe environment in which to receive your briefings. You will be sent a link to a video chart briefing in advance of your charter, which will be followed up with a personal phone call from our customer service team. Boat briefings will also be provided via online prerecorded video, specific to your boat. We will be able to answer questions in person on arrival.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I ARRIVE AFTER HOURS?
Our office hours are 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week. If you arrive after this time, come to our office. Posted on the door will be a sign with the location of your boat. Your boat will be 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 any time after 8.30am the following morning to officially check in.
WHAT FACILITES DO YOU HAVE AT THE BASE?
Our new base has women's and men's air-conditioned washrooms with private showers with hot water. We also offer fuel, water, free WiFi on the dock, ice, and just a short walk from the largest supermarket in Tortola. Our marina has 24 hour security for your safety and comfort. We are a two-minute dinghy ride from Village Cay in the heart of Road Town. Here you will find a selection of restaurants and bars at your choosing. Or just around the corner are two bakeries/deli's and two full service restaurants with bar service.
This is a compulsory fee of $40 per day. Although, the maximum charge is $400 for the charter, regardless of the duration. There is a deductible per incident dependent on the size of your vessel: $1500 for yachts 31ft–39ft, $2500 for yachts 40ft–46ft, and $3500 for yachts 47ft or larger. Pre-authorization with a Visa or MasterCard, prior to starting your charter, guarantees this insurance. Only if the boat or dinghy is damaged will your card be charged.
NATIONAL PARKS PERMIT:
A National Parks Permit allows you to pick up day time mooring balls in any of the BVI’s fabulous marine parks. However, you will need to move on for the night as it not allowed on theses moorings. A few of the parks are The Baths, The Caves, The Indians, Monkey Point and the Dogs. In order to the Territory’s vulnerable reefs, anchoring is prohibited in these areas. The cost of a National Parks Permit is dependent on the number in your party. Therefore, it will vary from $25 per week for 4 guests up to $55 per week for 10 guests. For a complete list of Nation Parks locations please visit National Parks Trust.
A cruising permit is government required for all commercial boats cruising BVI waters. We will organize this for you prior to your trip. As of August 1st 2017, the cruising tax increased to $6 per person per day all year around.
CELL PHONE DEPOSIT:
We require a $10 non-refundable cell phone deposit. Consequently, the phone comes with $10 of pre-paid credit. All BVIYC charters are required to take the provided cell phone. Because it is a direct contact between your boat, our office and our head mechanic. You will find the phone is pre-programmed with the numbers you will need. Calls to our office and head mechanic are free.
The Virgin Islands Search and Rescue is a volunteer-based organization dedicated to saving life at sea. Bear in mind that VISAR is the only officially recognized search and rescue service in the BVI. Therefore, they provide 24-hour cover every day of the year. Overall, they work closely with the Royal British Virgin Islands Police, fire and ambulance services. For that reason, we ask for $10 for every charter, which we pass directly to VISAR.
Once the charter has been reserved and the deposit has been received, it is considered non-refundable. Should a charterer be forced to cancel, all monies will be forfeited. However, by purchasing Cancellation Insurance, $200 per charter, it allows you the following:
- Cancellation more than 90 days before the charter: A full refund will be issued without penalty.
- Cancellation 90 to 61 days before the charter: A $300 administration fee will be deducted from the deposit monies. Alternatively, all funds can be held on account and applied to a new charter within 24 months.
- Cancellation 60 to 31 days before the charter: The penalty is 50% of the total charter fee. Alternatively, all funds paid can be held on account and applied to a new charter within 24 months.
- Cancellation notice within 30 days before the charter: The full charter fee is forfeited less the cost of additional extras. Alternatively, 50% of the total charter fee can be held on account and applied to a new charter within 24 months.
Your fuel tank will be full when you collect your boat. When you return to our base at the end of your trip, we will refuel the vessel. You'll need to settle up for the fuel you've used before you leave us for home. Fuel is currently charged at $4.50 per gallon, but does fluctuate with the market rates.
DURING YOUR CHARTER
WHERE CAN WE RENT DIVE GEAR?
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.
IS THERE WIFI ON THE BOAT?
We have installed WiFi on all of our boats for your convenience. The cost is $30/$40 for 1 day or $135/$205 per week, depending on the size of your boat,. There is free WiFi available on our dock, just ask in the office for the password. In fact, nearly all the marina’s have WiFi, as do many of the bars and restaurants.
CAN WE RENT WATERSPORTS EQUIPMENT?
We have a number of items available for rent including Double and Single Kayaks, Aqua Pads, SUPs and more. If you would like more specialized equipment such as Windsurfs or Surfboards, we can organize these for you as well. For details of availability and cost please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
CAN WE FISH FROM THE BOAT?
Yes! All our bareboats now have a fishing license, so we can offer our guests fishing onboard. Anyone over the age of 18 who is fishing in the BVI, must have a recreational fishing permit. For more info on how to obtain the required fishing permits go to: FISHING ONBOARD
HOW DO WE PROVISION?
The last thing most people want to do when they arrive is go shopping. For your ease, you can order your provisions in advance, we can organize this for you. Please visit our provisions page for more information. Your provisions will be delivered to your boat, once you arrive. Should you choose to work with a provisioning company, please ensure they can deliver on the day your charter begins. Unfortunately, we cannot take delivery of goods or store your 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-$30 per day. However, 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. Another option is to do your own provisioning. Riteway, the largest supermarket in Tortola, is just a five minute walk from our base.
ARE THERE OVERNIGHT MOORINGS OR MARINAS?
Most of the bays have overnight moorings. Subsequently, most of our guests prefer the safety and comfort of an overnight mooring instead of anchoring. You can expect to pay $30 per mooring per night. If you would like to get your land legs back, spend the night in one the BVI’s full service marinas. Once there, hook up to the shore power, run your shoreside 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.
DO WE NEED TO STAY IN THE BVI OR CAN WE HEAD FURTHER AFIELD?
We have no issues with you sailing to St Thomas or St John. That is, provided you clear customs and notify us before you do so. Bear in mind, your coverage changes once you are outside of the BVI. You will not be covered by our chase team nor will you have cell phone coverage on the boat phone. Our sailing perimeters are the BVI, St Thomas and St John. If you are not a US or Canadian citizen, you will need a B1/B2 VISA to enter the USVI by private vessel.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO SAIL IN THE BVI?
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. This is a good time to come if you like a bit more action, a little more wind and you enjoy the social scene ashore. Throughout this period, winds average 15-20 knots, sometimes higher with a front passing through. During May to July 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. We are closed August through mid-October due to hurricane season. In the fall, October and November, there is a very slight risk of hurricane. Although many people are concerned about chartering during this time, there's a very low chance of it 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. In this case we will refund, 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.
WHAT HAPPENS IN CASE OF MECHANICAL BREAKDOWN?
Should you have 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. BVI Yacht Charters will refund lost time if you cannot sail due to mechanical failure, and we are unable to repair the fault within 4 working hours from the time it was reported. Sailing hours are deemed from 8am to 5pm here in the BVI. So understandably 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. Unfortunately, if you are outside of BVI waters you will not be covered by our chase team. Therefore, you will need to sail back into BVI waters.
CAN WE USE A HAIRDRYER ONBOARD?
Unfortunately, you cannot use a hairdryer or other stylers aboard any of our yachts. Because life in the islands is 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 trade winds 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
WHEN SHOULD I BOOK?
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.
WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP?
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, your dates, the name of the boat, and the number of guests on board. Also, your address, phone number and email address. We will get together a contract, and send it out to you by email the same day.
WHAT IS THE PAYMENT SCHEDULE?
In order to secure the booking, you will need to put down a deposit, 50% of the charter fee. Your deposit is due within 7 days of receiving your contract. If you wish to purchase the cancellation insurance, you will need to include the additional $200 with this payment. Your final payment is due 45 days before the start of your charter. But not worry, we will send you an email and a final invoice to remind you.
HOW DO I PAY?
The first payment is due to reach BVI Yacht Charters within 7 days of making a reservation. As is your signed charter agreement and sailing resume. However, final payment isn't due until 45 days prior to departure date. Payments accepted by by ACH Payment, wire transfer or credit card. If paying by credit card we will add a 3% surcharge, and please let your bank know we will be processing the transaction. Unfortunately, we cannot accept credit cards over the phone. If paying by wire transfer, ensure you wire enough money to cover any bank charges that may be incurred. BVI Yacht Charters accepts Visa, MasterCard and Amex only.
CAN YOU HOLD THE YACHT FOR ME WHILE I CHECK ON AIRFARES?
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. You will receive an email to let you know.
WHAT IF I NEED TO CANCEL?
We do understand things crop up last minute, and may mean you need to cancel. We try to be as flexible as possible. When you make your first deposit, please ensure you purchase the cancellation insurance, so you are not disappointed. You can find the details of our cancellation policy in this document under the ‘Extra Costs’ section.
WHAT PAPERWORK DO I NEED?
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 the signed contract, initial the terms and conditions and complete the sailing resume. Either fax these to us or scan and email within 2 weeks of booking your charter. 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.
IF MORE PEOPLE WANT TO JOIN, CAN WE UPGRADE TO A LARGER BOAT?
We understand that plans can change. Should you need to change your boat, we will do our best to accommodate you. Try to give us as much warning as possible. Especially during the high season it can be hard to find a boat.
IN THE BVI – NEAR THE BEACH: COCONUT BREEZE VILLAS
Coconut Breeze Villas is a family-owned business where hospitality makes the difference. We are located right in heart of beautiful Cane Garden Bay, with a view that will take your breath away! Notably, we take pride in offering a family based atmosphere where you can relax and feel completely at home. Choose from one of ten fully furnished 1 and 2 bedroom villas. Most important, the beach is only a 2 minute walk away! So be sure to pack your swimsuit and sunscreen! 1-614-296-0866 or https://www.coconutbreezevillas.com
IN THE BVI – NEAR THE BEACH: ICIS VILLAS
Nestled in beautiful Brewer's Bay, Icis Villas are only fifteen minutes from Road Town on Tortola’s pristine North shore. Affordable, hospitable and most of all very comfortable, these villas offer a relaxing holiday experience at affordable rates. 284-494-6979 or www.icisvillas.com
IN THE BVI – CLOSE TO OUR BASE: HUMMINGBIRD HOUSE BED AND BREAKFAST
This family run guest house is very reasonably priced, charming, with a pool and honor bar. Although just five minutes from the ferry dock, it's nestled in a quiet tree lined, residential area. Moreover, it's conveniently located only minutes by taxi from our base, the grocery store and serval restaurants. For reservations contact Yvonne at The Hummingbird House Bed and Breakfast or by calling 1+ 284 494 0039.
IN THE BVI – CLOSE TO OUR BASE: VILLAGE CAY HOTEL AND MARINA
Ideally located in the center of Road Town. Equally close to the ferry, and just a 5 minute cab ride from our base. This resort offers a waterfront setting with a bar, restaurant, pool, laundry and internet services. For reservations visit Village Cay Resort and Marina.
IN THE BVI – CLOSE TO OUR BASE: MARIAS BY THE SEA
Maria's is conveniently located in Road Town along the shore of Road Harbor. It's 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 Maria's By The Sea.
IN ST THOMAS – NEAR THE FERRY: THE WINDWARD PASSAGE HOTEL
The Windward Passage Hotel is located almost directly opposite the Charlotte Amalie ferry terminal. Therefore, 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. You'll find it's an ideal location to explore the shops of Charlotte Amalie and dine out in French Town. Visit the Windward Passage Hotel
IN ST THOMAS – NEAR THE FERRY: HOTEL MAFOLIE
This boutique and historic hotel sits high atop of above Charlotte Amalie. Overall, you'll enjoy stunning views of the harbor from the stellar restaurant and pool. A free buffet breakfast included. Visit the Mafolie.
IN THE BVI – NEAR THE BEACH: THE SUGAR MILL
Amongst the restored ruins of a 17th Century sugar plantation, you'll find The Sugar Mill. Renowned for its romantic atmosphere and world class cuisine, it's undeniably the gem of the north shore. Set beside the sea amid lush tropical gardens, it's undeniably the perfect place to relax and enjoy the BVI. For inquiries please visit the Sugar Mill Hotel.