BVI News

Large number of vessels fleeing BVI for hurricane season

Vessels at Nanny Cay. (File photo)

By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff

A large number of vessels are leaving the British Virgin Islands and fleeing to southern shores as the peak of the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season draws nearer.

Executive Director at the Charter Yacht Society Janet Oliver told BVI News between 80 and 85 percent of their members have gone to islands such as Grenada and the twin-island state of Trinidad & Tobago to wait out the season.

She said those figures represent roughly 25 percent more than the usual number of boaters who leave the territory for vacation and other reasons during this time.

“It is true – lots of boats have gone down but I can’t put an exact figure [on it],” added General Manager at Nanny Cay Marina Miles Sutherland Pilch.

Pilch, however, said vessel owners should not be blamed for being cautious and leaving for a while.

Revenue loss

Chairman of the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) Louis Potter has said fleeing boaters will mean a drop in revenue for the territory.

“This is the time boats [usually] tend to do their repairs, and a whole lot of things,” he said.

Potter said part of the reason for the mass movement hinges on insurance companies which have insisted that vessels move to ‘safe areas’ during the hurricane season. Vessel owners who chose to remain are threatened with higher insurance premiums, Potter explained.

Hurricane shelter for vessels needed

Both Potter and Pilch have now underscored the importance of building a vessel storage facility capable of withstanding major hurricanes. The men told BVI News they hope such an initiative be given consideration.

In that way, boaters will be more likely to remain, Pilch explained.

Boat owners usually utilize Sea Cow’s Bay and Paraquita Bay lagoon to secure their boats during a hurricane season, BVI News understands.

Government, in the meantime, has also been told they can assist stakeholders in the marine industry by lowering the taxes and improving service delivery and customer service.

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  1. strupes says:


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  2. Albion says:

    Presumably a big reason for this is that they cannot use Paraquita Bay for safe mooring right now because it is still full up with sunken boats from last hurricane season.

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  3. Hmmm says:

    80% of 80 boats wth Charter Yacht Society is only 64 boats out of the over 800 boats we still have in the BVI? Why do we only push negativity and sensationalism and not the full truth?

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    • true says:

      All Moorings boats that arrived new this season ar being sent south, they all leave by 1st September due to Insurance underwriters . The only charter company opening during September is Dream Yacht Charters, so perhaps the story is true.

    • resident says:

      WTF, there are much more than 800 boats in the BVI. Please quote your sources….

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  4. Retired says:

    Thanks for this news article about the yacht exodus from the BVI this summer of 2018. The public should be aware of the following:

    1)There are 3 types of yachts operating in the BVI; namely, private, bareboat and crewed yachts.

    2)All the foreign owned private yachts have left the Caribbean in general due to the 2018 changes(rates & location) in their annual insurance policies. The private BVI registered/owned yachts that chose to stay in the BVI will be competing for the limited hurricane hole protection areas in 2018.

    3)Some of the bareboats have departed, mostly sailing mulithulls, but most of the monohulls are still here. These yachts are competing for either haul-out space in a boatyard or the aforementioned limited hurricane hole protection.

    4)As Janet Oliver stated approx. 80% of the crewed yachts have departed the BVI. This may only be approx. 64 yachts but just about all are large sailing catamaran yachts that spend much more money in the BVI than the departed private yachts or bare boats.

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  5. Mango says:

    and she said that’s 25% more than normal so really we’re only talking about 20 more boats than usual. Hardly an exodus. Why go to Grenada? They got hit by hurricane Ivan in 2004.Why go to Trini? Hurricane Brett got them last year. We live in the Caribbean. Hurricanes happen. Most of the time they don’t. Isn’t that wonderful?

  6. Jus saying says:

    How many boats ayo seeing out there right now?

  7. Crap headline says:

    Fleeing? Really??? Nobody is fleeing the BVI. Taking the boat south happens each year. More are this year due to the lack of protected dockage due to most still being rebuilt or cleared of sunken / damaged boats. Could have been a much better story.

    • Resident says:

      Yes, many boats are indeed fleeing. Correct there is a lack of dockage but that lack of dockage was created by the hurricanes and is not the main reason why this year, many boats are heading south for safe haven. The main reason boats are heading south is because of insurance restrictions, me being one of them…..Maybe you could have written a better story hiding behind your moniker Crap Headline….?

  8. Boat fleeing? says:

    Well, wait until you hear a hurricane is heading our way, than you will see people fleeing; highjacking the airplanes to get out of here. Were can we go in the BVI to survive another hurricane? It appears the only safe buildings were the hospital and Multi Purpose Complex

  9. Unhappy!! says:

    Insurance restrictions are just one reason so many yachts have chosen to leave, another is the inhospitable reception owners, crews, and even customers on the charter yachts are given at Customs, Immigration and Labour. These agencies are as much to blame as the insurance companies for the near collapse of the marine service industry, which has resulted in a number of service companies closing their doors and leaving the country. Crewed charter boats find it much easier to be based in the USVI; private yachts (I had a customer who averaged 30K expenditure here for four years who left because of his reception at the airport) aren’t coming because of the horror stories on the cruiser nets of nastiness and heavy handedness at Immigration and Customs. The fees have become exorbitant and the reports on the internet are of being “nickel and dimed” by every government agency.
    Our tourism industry is in tatters with marine, once a bright light, dimming rapidly as government does all that it can to turn off its lights!

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    • No help in sight says:

      Agreed the marine industry is dimming rapidly and not the tourism board nor the government are of any help!

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