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By No owner — last modified Jan 02, 2018 12:58 PM

 US Virgin Islands - Profile

Facts

  • The Virgin Islands are an archipelago comprising hundreds of small islands and cays. The western part is US territory, while the eastern half is a British dependency.
  • The USVI consist of the main islands of Saint Croix, Saint John, and Saint Thomas, and many other surrounding minor islands. The territory's capital is Charlotte Amalie on the island of St. Thomas.
  • St Thomas is the most developed island and gets busy with cruise-ship traffic. St John has most of the parkland and is equally popular for hiking and snorkelling. St Croix has great scuba sites and rum factories.
  • The islands are located to the east of Puerto Rico are in the Leeward Islands of the Lesser Antilles.
  • The population of 110,000 includes large communities of Caribbean, American, Danish, French, Asian, African and Middle Eastern residents. The official language is English, though Spanish and Patois are spoken.
  • The official currency is the United States dollar (USD), the currency also used by the British Virgin Islands. For specifics see General Info.
  • Time zone is (GMT-4). For specifics see General Info.
  • The climate is tropical rainforest, influenced by the trade winds. From December to March the daily average temperature is around 24/25 °C (75/77 °F), it is hotter and more humid during hurricane season; from May to October. See Weather below for more detail.
  • Hurricane Irma, the most powerful Atlantic hurricane in recorded history, hit the USVI in early September 2017. The storm had a sustained wind speed of at least 185mph.
  • The island uses the IALA-B (red right returning) buoyage system.
  • For information on services for yachts see Yachting Essentials.

Security

Overall Crime and Safety

Opportunistic crime against tourists has been on the rise, and muggings are frequent. Wandering the island at night, especially on the back streets of Charlotte Amalie, Christiansted and Frederiksted is not recommended.

Specific areas of concern:

Post Irma:

Infrastructure in the USVI was badly damaged in the September 2017 hurricane, but the islands are steadily rebuilding and there are no reasons to avoid them.

Women’s safety:

Incidents of sexual assault occur and women report being subject to harassment and verbal abuse.

Maritime Issues:

Locked dinghy and outboard thefts continue to be a problem. Be sure to lift and chain and lock your dinghy and outboard at night.

The Caribbean Safety and Security Net provides information by anchorage or by island. If you experience a boarding, robbery or attack on your yacht or have information about a yachting-related security incident, go to the CSSN homepage and click on the "Report an Incident" icon. Also be sure to check the noonsite Piracy & Security Pages

Reported Incidents:

St. Thomas Independent Boat Yard, March 2019: Theft of dinghy and outboard

St. Thomas, Elephant Bay, December 2018: Theft of dinghy/outboard

St. Thomas, Elephant Bay, December 2018: Theft of dinghy/outboard

St. Thomas, American Yacht Harbour, February 2018: Theft of dinghy/outboard

Emergency Numbers:

See emergencies.

Last updated:  April 2019

Weather

The USVI has a tropical marine climate; hot throughout the year but moderated by the trade winds. December to March the daily average temperature is around 24/25 °C (75/77 °F). June to November is the rainy season, daily averages are around 28 °C (82 °F). Apart from hurricanes, which can bring strong winds and torrential rains, rainy season usually consists of brief showers and intense thunderstorms.

Water temps are 26 °C (79 °F) from January to April, and 29 °C (84 °F) in September and October.

Tides rarely exceed 12 inches, though higher swells are experienced on the Atlantic shores from November through April. In areas, such as Pillsbury Sound between St. Thomas and St. John, the current can reach 1 to 2 knots.

National Weather Service
NOAA agency that covers weather forecasts and severe weather warnings for the USA, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam and American Samoa.

http://www.antiguamet.com/
Antigua and Barbuda Meteorological Office providing public weather forecasts for Antigua & Barbuda, the Leeward Islands and the BVIs.

See the Caribbean National, Regional and Island Weather Websites report for more.

For links to free global weather information, forecast services and extreme weather information see the Noonsite Weather Page.

Main Ports

Diane Selkirk
Diane Selkirk says:
Mar 25, 2019 05:37 PM

Thanks for this information. We've contacted the DPNR for clarification and have updated information on anchoring and listed it under 'restrictions'.

eaudree96
eaudree96 says:
Mar 13, 2019 02:31 PM

Update on the anchorage situation in the
USVI
Friday we have been boarded by 3 officers of DPNR in Brewer's Bay. We are on a Canadian sailboat in transit. The officers gave us a Notice of violation. On the notation we were asked to leave Brewer's Bay because we exceeded the 14 days. And we MUST contact DPNR for an anchoring permit.
Monday the 11 March 2019 we had a meeting with the Director of DPNR
Howard Forbes. I have insisted on the miss information of this regulation.
After the meeting we can stay in Brewer's Bay without passing the 14 days.

If you visit the USVI
.. IF YOU STAY OVER 14 DAYS IN ANY Anchorage IN A 6 MONTH PERIOD IN ST THOMAS you NEED an anchor permit in a DESIGNATED area.
IF YOU LEAVE USVI FOR A DAY AND COME BACK THE COUNT RESTARTS.
YOU can anchor in Brewer's Bay but you must respect the 14 DAYS. For the anchorage permit you must get a permit at DPNR office. Charles W. Turnbull Regional Library second flood. 84R6+86 Anna's Retreat, St Thomas, Îles Vierges des États-Unis tel. 340 773 5774

S/V Eaudree96

Olivier Trouvé
Olivier Trouvé says:
Feb 08, 2019 11:02 PM

Update on traffic and clearances between BVI and USVI. There is ferries traffic only from Road Town to Charlotte Amalie. Other lines are not available. US customs for private yachts are open in Charlotte Amalie and Cruz Bay. I just came in for clearing in and out and it took just the time to fill the paperwork.
For non US residents who have ESTA, do not believe the ferry companies in Road Town, who want to force you to buy a roundtrip ticket, saying it is requested by US officials. This is a lie, but there is little chance you can buy a one-way ticket to any company.

Margaret LeJeune
Margaret LeJeune says:
Jan 11, 2019 03:55 PM

The Leinster Bay Morning Radio Net is broadcast at 8:20 AM on channel 68. The net provides weather, announcements, requests for relay, and a daily fun fact about the Virgin Islands National Park.

Georgier
Georgier says:
Dec 21, 2017 07:25 PM

Update on clearing in at Christiansted. We had to go out to the airport to get both our passports stamped and have the boat cleared in. You cannot clear in at the wharf as the computer systems are not up and running there yet. The best is to call the airport st (340) 778 0216 to get the current clearing in procedure. It seems to be changing day to day as things come back on line. When I called I told them I needed to clear in a private vessel. Try to get there before 4pm. Immigration and clearing in the boat took about an hour but mostly due to the computer system being very slow.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Dec 11, 2017 10:44 AM

Update from Joan Conover (SSCA) - SY Growl Tiger - just arrived in the VIs.

St. Thomas is open for business..you just dont want to DRIVE anywhere..recommend taking a tour bus or taxi.

Crown Bay Marina is up and running since the storm, we have a slip with water..electric still being connected. Restaurant is open, laundry is open, free wifi thanks to VIYA and good grocery store here for provisioning (Publix). Good fuel as well.

Charlotte Amalie, all tourist shops (Gucci) are open, there is a museum display on hurricane damages(20.00 bucks entry!!) and three cruise ships in port, two in Charlotte Amalie, and one at Crown Bay.

USCG has cleared the channels but the main harbor has lots of white moorings/buoys which we can't tell what they are for (sunken boats or a new mooring field?). Damaged vessels line the western side of the harbor..and on the Water Island side near Crown Bay, boats are grounded - two or three on the eastern side and several on the northern Water Island side.

There is a great unsung hero on Water Island..a lady (Marion?) who flew back to the USA on at her own cost and came back with 20K worth of supplies and gensets for the island. Will try and find her.

Boat Taxis actively running from Crown Bay. Airport is open. American flying as well as a puddle jumper to San Juan then onto the USA from there. People are needing work..one dock worker is washing cars to put food on the table.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 30, 2017 08:35 AM

An update from Island Global Yachting (IGY):

In the wake of Hurricane Irma and Maria, the IGY Marina at Yacht Haven Grande – Charlotte Amalie and American Yacht Harbor Marina at Red Hook, are currently under repair.
As of September 19th, 2017, the airport at St. Thomas was not open to commercial carriers, however, was accepting private aircraft and humanitarian relief flights. At present, it is expected that the St. Thomas airport will be operational to commercial flights sooner than St. Maarten.
St. Thomas hotels have been affected by the hurricane, several hotels are closed and preparing for renovation. Many of the others are open, but are focused on accommodating relief agencies such as FEMA, the FBI, and other law enforcement personnel.
Several banks are open and welcoming customers with some having cash withdrawal limits in place.
All IGY Caribbean marinas will be partially operational for the the upcoming 2017/18 Winter Season and are expected to include crew amenities such as; the gymnasium, swimming pool, and food and beverage outlets within our facilities gated locations.

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Apr 26, 2017 08:45 AM

Please ensure you read Noonsite page
http://www.noonsite.com/Countries/USVirginIslands?rc=Formalities#Immigration
This explains that Canadian and Bermudan citzens DO NOT require a visa to visit USVI.

bobmackie
bobmackie says:
Mar 21, 2017 11:25 AM

Arrived in St. Thomas a few days ago. Prior to arrival I called Customs to confirm the Visa requirements as all of the guides and this site said it was required and yet when I went to the Government site and it appeared we were ok. I wanted clarification. As a Canadian (not landed immigrant in Canada) we did NOT require a visa, even though arriving on our boat. As explained to me, "as long there is no reason for you to be turned away at the boarder coming in from Canada, you are fine to come in here". That meaning, no DUI's, criminal record, dual citizen etc. When we arrived customs was a breeze.

Max Terragni
Max Terragni says:
Nov 21, 2016 03:37 PM

If you leave USVI for BVI it's not necessary going to the custom to clear out in USVI.

Solcina79
Solcina79 says:
Mar 18, 2016 02:00 PM

One of the most peacefull anchorage place in St Thomas Is in its north side, in magens bay, Is a very good sheltter And the Beach Is lovely

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Feb 22, 2016 04:32 PM

Posted on behalf of Lisa Torkelson:
St Thomas USVI.
Didn't realize Monday (15th Feb) was Presidents Day (been a few years since we've been in US waters) so just wanted to pass along that the Sundays/holidays overtime fee is $35. Normally free. Ouch.

As a US Citizen, we are free to leave without another visit to Customs, unless we're going to a foreign nation. In this case, we can go in to get a departure paper for the next country visited.

We were asked today if we had any trash on board. Knowing the US rules are stringent, we had already disposed of it before leaving for the USVIs. Peter was asked the same in 2012 when checking into Cruz Bay St John. Had to sign a paper that stated the waste would be disposed in a proper facility (i.e. pay to have it burned or something crazy thing like that). On the other hand, trash was not mentioned when we cleared in St. Thomas on Monday.

Easiest (and cheapest) solution - Best to deal with trash before entering any US waters.

pasdedeux
pasdedeux says:
Nov 12, 2015 04:20 PM

National Park Mooring Fees will increase January 1, 2016 to $26 per night. US citizens age 62 or older can apply for the Senior Pass which allows a 50% discount on National Park fees.

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