Saint Vincent & The Grenadines: Tobago Cays Marine Park Changes Anchoring Zones

Significant damages to corals caused by the anchoring of yachts in and around the Petit Tabac area of Tobago Cays in St. Vincent and the Grenadines has resulted in the Tobago Cays Marine Park management placing a ban on ALL anchoring in that area.

Published 4 months ago

Source:  Caribbean Compass Magazine

The change in permitted anchoring zones removes the small anchoring zone adjacent to the cay of Petite Tabac, which is located outside the main lagoon of the Cays, on the windward side of Horseshoe Reef.

The Tobago Cays Marine Park was decreed by St. Vincent and the Grenadines to protect and conserve the cays, corals reefs, sea grasses, fish, conch and species like sea turtles, sharks and rays that characterize this special area of the Grenadines.

The park’s coral reefs are regionally significant for their health and connectivity to other reefs—in fact, the park is a priority marine protected area for the United Nations Environment Program, for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute’s MPAConnect Network, and for the German International Cooperation Agency (GIZ), among others.

Tobago Cays is one of the Caribbean’s iconic marine parks, and the managers recognize that cruisers seek areas to anchor or moor in different parts of the park for seclusion and for access to good snorkeling.

“Currently, we are working on the installation of dinghy moorings at Petite Tabac, which will make it possible for visitors to dinghy over from the lagoon and snorkel there,” says Tobago Cays Marine Park Marine Biologist Marleya Adams.

“In the meantime, dinghies can pull up on the beach and water taxis are allowed to drop off customers at Petite Tabac.”

Anchoring in sand will still be permitted in the main lagoon of Tobago Cays, with cruisers requested to avoid anchoring in seagrass, which is home to an aggregation of juvenile green sea turtles that feed and grow in the park before making their way towards breeding areas in other parts of the Caribbean.

“We know that the majority of cruisers and visitors want to do the right thing and comply with anchoring regulations to protect coral reefs. We ask visitors to respect all the park’s rules for conservation, including no fishing and not disturbing the sea turtles.”

The fixed moorings in Tobago Cays Marine Park provide an excellent alternative to anchoring and are recommended to avoid the risk of anchor damage to coral reefs. Anchoring in the park now attracts a fee equivalent to the mooring fee, so there’s no cost saving to visitors from anchoring.


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