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British Virgin Islands: Major New Fees for Visiting Yachts

By Sue Richards last modified Jul 03, 2008 11:33 AM

Published: 2008-07-03 11:33:34
Countries: British Virgin Islands , US Virgin Islands

There has been widespread confusion of late over news of a new law, introduced by the BVI government, who intend to charge privately owned vessels visiting the Islands a daily fee, in addition to the cruising charges already in place.

Cruising Forums are alight with questions from the cruising community, most of whom find it hard to believe the BVI government would do such a thing and jeopardise such a healthy slice of the tourism sector.

However, following a recent meeting of government members with representatives from various sub sectors in the yachting community, it was confirmed that the BVI government intends to charge the fees to privately owned pleasure yachts and other vessels unless they are registered, licensed, or majority owned by a BVI Islander, though talks are ongoing. Exempt yachts will be required to pay the Harbour Charges of $1/foot per day. Subsequent days will not be charged

The start-date for the new fees has been pushed back until July 15th 2008.

The proposed port fees are as follows:
- $1 per foot for the first day in BVI waters
- $0.75 per foot for the second day
- $0.50 per foot for EVERY day thereafter

Customs are expected to be collecting these fees.

BVI Premier, Mr O’Neal, reportedly said “This is one source of tourism revenue that the VI cannot afford to lose any longer and all, I repeat all, attempts must be made to set the house in order and collect the tax.”

This will have a huge impact on private yacht owners not flagged in the BVI and non-BVI charter boats, who are going to be paying substantial fees for the privilege of visiting these Islands. The general consensus on the cruising forums indicates that many cruising yachts will bypass them from now on.

Hopefully the BVI government will quickly realise the drastic effect this will have on their yachting industry and repeal the law soon. But for now, this is the reality.

Our thanks to Russell Easby-Smith, Yacht Lady Pauline, for notifying noonsite of this new law. He comments, “I am not positive, but I am pretty sure this makes the BVIs the most expensive place in the world to visit by yacht”.

The exact text of the new law can be found here

For details of the current BVI cruising fees see here