BVI News

Big plans coming for local charter boating industry

Premier Dr Natalio Wheatley

In addition to the relaxed measures the BVI has put in place to facilitate foreign charter boats, Premier Natalio Wheatley said special measures are being put in place to benefit local charter companies and other players in the marine industry.

Recently, the government announced that it no longer requires BVI trade licenses from operators of charter vessels and water taxis who are not based in the BVI and will also not require work permits for crew members working on those vessels.

This news was not welcomed by some sections of the local marine industry, as some charter operators say those measures will make it more difficult for them to remain competitive against their USVI counterparts.

Speaking in the House of Assembly on November 15, Premier Wheatley said the government is working on measures that will make business easier for local charter companies and ensure they remain economically viable.

“As a result of stakeholder discussions, we are now at an advanced stage with formulating new policies and seeking amendments to existing legislation that will recognise transient vessels, modify fees and provide greater ease of access while ensuring that the economic value of locally-based charter operations is protected,” Wheatley explained. “Stakeholder consultations are ongoing and all the relevant stakeholders will be fully involved.”

Dr Wheatley added that the mechanisms being worked on will provide significant economic and operational advantages to vessels that are home-based in the BVI and provide further advantages to vessels owned by BVI companies and registered in the BVI as well.

The Premier also said the government has realised the territory’s economy benefits from synergies of the BVI financial services, shipping registration and tourism products. As such, he said the government is monitoring these areas to see how it can capitalise on them.

He added that lawmakers are looking at upgrading the Commercial Recreational Vessels Licensing Act (1992) and the Cruising and Home Porting Act (2021) to facilitate the developments in the marine industry.

When the Premier announced relaxed measures that will make it easier for USVI charter boats to cruise the BVI’s waters, some sections of the local charter boating sector were disgruntled as they said no corresponding benefits were announced for them amid the numerous challenges they face.

But Premier Wheatley said the relaxed measures were necessary to stave off retaliatory measures the USVI was planning to implement.

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21 Comments

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  1. 1st district original says:

    Who are the owners!! Encourage the locals who have waddled of cash to invest into the industry. Instead, one club member in charge of the subject granting a favor to the USVI governor the other club member to the death of us

    Like 7
    Dislike 3
  2. citizen says:

    His only plans is to sell out we need an election

    Like 10
    Dislike 1
  3. LoveMyBVI says:

    What the heck is this premier talking about. What are the Big Plans? The BVI has much better sailing waters the the USVI. What is the USVI offering us? When we travel down to ST Thomas, they questioning us like we are fugitives – How much cash you have, how long are you going to be in St Thomas etc. and all most us going to do is to spend money down there – going to doctors, shopping or traveling the the US mainland.etc. No way Mr Premier You did not think this one through at all. By the way, this should have come to the People of the The Virgin Islands (our real name) for discussion. The USVI are the Danish West Indies.

    Like 6
    Dislike 6
  4. Roger Burnett says:

    The problem with sailing in the BVI, be it by charter or by private vessel, is that the pristine anchorages that once served a few boats are now overcrowded. What was idyllic for a handful of boats becomes a nightmare when numbers are increased beyond the tipping point.

    The balance needs to be restored.

    Like 10
    Dislike 4
  5. townie says:

    Clear as Mud

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  6. @LoveMy BVI says:

    BVI has better sailing waters but ZERO ACCESS which is why the USVI can flex their muscle. We cannot continue to say no to the airport extension while bitching about the noose USVI has around our necks. They are in full control of our access from North America and other areas and that will not change anytime soon. You can’t play hard ball with no ball!

    Like 6
    Dislike 5
  7. word to the wise says:

    Government officials and Mr. Premier; please take this advise from a person whome has kept one’s vessel in BVI for the past number of years yet traveled the Island chain yearly. The issue at hand for your government to attract foreign yachts to visit and spend extended time within your territory is the dreadful Customs and Immigration Dept. Each year we spend with our vessel docked at Nanny Cay, we are innodated with fellow sailors having the same issue as we have……we as a group just can’t get over the ignorance and the inept shown to us all by Customs and Immigration officers when we approach to extend our stays past 30 days. We each have a horrible experience and it has now gotten to the point where we are all saying “is the pain of applying for a past 30 day extension really worth the hardship one has to go through”. Please realize that this is a real issue for us all who are just wanting to stay in the territory and spend our cash. In all of the other islands within the Caribbean chain that we have visited each year, there has never been such a horrible procedure of waiting for hours to get in to see an officer just to be told “sorry, we don’t do extensions today, come back tomorrow”….This after waiting 4 hours and actually having an appointment for 9:30am. It’s time for the Government to understand what is happening and look at the root issue here. Want to hear it for yourselves, then just spend some time walking and talking to boat owners at Nanny Cay and the issue will become evident.

    Like 32
    Dislike 1
  8. A total revamp needed says:

    The last premier and his cronies did everything in their power to ruin the charter industry. The exurbanite fees and requirements had gotten out of hand. The charter industry never saw anything given back to the industry. The charter industry became their cash cow.

    Like 9
    Dislike 2
  9. BLAH BLAH says:

    What are the facts ? Making everything up along the way.

    Like 4
    Dislike 2
  10. Clueless says:

    Clueless people should not be in politics but should remain followers because they are not leaders.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  11. ??????? says:

    What are the big plans for DOUG?

    Like 2
    Dislike 2
  12. Me says:

    We as a community will always suffer because our leaders never include us in decision making.Listen to this idiot WHAT’S COMING, we don’t know.This is like sellout period cause this Govt
    Can’t lead,can’t be trusted

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  13. @ word to the wise says:

    It’s not just boat owners that wait hours at Immigration…. it’s all of those that are here full time on work permits too!

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  14. Irma Chisit says:

    All stakeholders you say! This is a lie. I would like to know when these meetings took place.

  15. Mad Max says:

    A promise from the current government. Always coming, never arrives.

  16. @word to the wise says:

    Besides Nanny Cay, who in the BVI benefits from your keeping a yacht tied to a dock so you can go sailing down the island chains whenever you like?

    Like 1
    Dislike 4
  17. Tooth&Claw says:

    Big plans to benefit his associates in the USVI. The H’s and the rest of them will be thrilled at this news.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  18. Jim says:

    The big news is that it will be more of the same

    More fees, taxes, permits, duties etc. This will
    Continue the exodus of term charter boats to the USVI and elsewhere.

    USVI has and will continue to supply a tourism boating product that is above and beyond anything we can match

    Like 1
    Dislike 1
  19. @lovemybvi says:

    USVI has incredible sailing waters that rival the bvi. USVI is better at customer service and delivering a tourism product. Bvi needs the assistance of expats to run tourism. Fact

    Like 1
    Dislike 3
  20. Ausar says:

    I am NOT happy with this arrangement!

    As far as I’m concerned, a charter company doing business in St Thomas, can, just encourage boaters to do charters here instead of the BVI.

    And currently, we have BVI based charters, having a sister branch on St Thomas.

    Can’t you see the gobbling up of the BVI industry from St Thomas?

    I’m Soo disappointed in this misdirection, that I am just vex!

    Perhaps, it’s time to GET RID of all of the “dregs”, left over from the Andrew Fahie wash!!

    New leadership that PROTECTS the rights of BVIslanders and their ability to earn a living in the land of their birth,UNHINDERED, is needed, IMMEDIATELY!!!

    Like 1
    Dislike 2
  21. Wisdom says:

    What i do know is that the USVI does not all us to work in their territory(legally) without proper paperwork..NOT EVEN FOR 1 DAY!!

    This decision by the premier can only benefit boaters from the USVI as they now has “free access” to do business in our territory at NO COST to them..that is a BAD business decision!

    How does such decision benefits Virgin Islanders? Im sorry but i just cant see how. However what i do see is added competition for BVI Boaters and stakeholders. That decision by the premier needs to be revisited and amended.It appears that the premier et al. allowed themselves to be bullied by the USVI powers that be.

    Like 1
    Dislike 1

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