Boating and Sailing Near the BVI

Travelers find many reasons to take to the waters around the British Virgin Islands

Photo credit: © Silmaril Sailing

The British Virgin Islands are known for their excellent sailing, and sea-loving travelers will be inspired to hit the seas. Below are tips and guidelines for ensuring a safe and enjoyable passage.

If you're just wanting to spend some time on the water, without the cost and responsibility of sailing on your own you can take an excursion. See the table that follows to obtain names and phone numbers for area boating excursions.

Boat Excursions
Name Phone Location Island
Aaron Rentals (284) 494-8917 Downtown Road Town Tortola
Aristocat Daysails (284) 499-1249 Village Cay Marina - Downtown Road Town Tortola
Aristocat Daysails Nanny Cay (284) 499-1249 Nanny Cay Marina - Nanny Cay Tortola
Aristocat Daysails West End (284) 499-1249 Soper's Hole Wharf & Marina - West End Tortola
B&B Charters (284) 496-9341 Leverick Bay Marina - Leverick Bay Virgin Gorda
BVI Yacht Charters -- Road Town Tortola
C&D Power Boat Rentals (284) 495-1401 3.9 mi. (6.2 km) East-Northeast of Road Town Tortola
Conch Charters (284) 494-4868 Fort Burt Marina - Road Town Tortola
Day Trips BVI (284) 340-3434 Soper's Hole Wharf & Marina - Frenchman's Cay Frenchman's Cay
Footloose Sailboat Charters (284) 494-0528 Wickhams Cay 2 - Road Town Tortola
Island Surf & Sail (284) 494-0123 Soper's Hole Wharf & Marina - Frenchman's Cay Frenchman's Cay
Kuralu (284) 495-4381 West End Tortola
La Boheme Charters (284) 541-4861 Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor - Spanish Town Virgin Gorda
Sea It Clear (284) 343-9537 North Sound - Spanish Town Virgin Gorda
True Blue Power Boats (284) 541-6666 Prospect Reef Marina - Road Town Tortola

Boat Rentals and Charters

The Virgin Islands are known around the world for their incredible sailing and fishing. Here it seems the water is always warm, and conditions are always picture-perfect. From hardened sailors to those just acquiring their sea legs, many people travel via yacht each year to explore these beautiful islands, participate in annual races, or just enjoy the Caribbean's wintertime warmth.

Almost every charter will offer travelers the option of having food provided by the charter company, or providing their own food. Remember that on a crewed charter you are responsible for providing food for everyone onboard, and stocking a ship can be difficult. It can be a hassle to get foods through customs into your departure country if leaving from a country other than your own.

The most popular large yacht charter companies currently serving the Caribbean region are The Moorings BVI and Sunsail BVI. Both serve the British Virgin Islands. However, there are more than just these two, including some local companies.

Considering chartering a boat or yacht? You can take a look at this next chart to find out how to get in touch with regional charter services.

Charter and Rental Services
Name Phone Location
B V I Marine Charters Ltd (284) 494-0303 Downtown Road Town
B&B Charters (284) 541-9341 B&B Charters - Leverick Bay
Dream Yacht Charters (284) 345-2185 Hodge's Creek Marina - 3.2 mi. (5.1 km) East of Road Town
Epic Yacht Charters (954) 543-1270 Downtown Road Town
Horizon Yacht Charters (284) 494-8787 Nanny Cay Marina - Nanny Cay
Island Time (284) 495-9993 Nanny Cay Marina - Nanny Cay
Regency Charter Services (284) 495-1970 Downtown Road Town
Sheppard Boat Rental (284) 495-4099 Frenchmans Cay - Tortola
Sunsail BVI (888) 350-3568 Downtown Road Town
TRC Boat Rentals & Charters (284) 546-0026 3.9 mi. (6.2 km) East-Northeast of Road Town
The Moorings BVI (888) 979-0673 Road Town
Virgin Motor Yachts (284) 495-2526 Nanny Cay Marina - Nanny Cay

Each type of charter will come with its own expenses:

  • Bareboat charters include only the cost of the charter.

  • Skippered charters will cost vacationers the charter rate, and an additional per-day fee for the skipper. These usually range between $80(USD) and $120(USD) per day, but will vary skipper to skipper.

  • Crewed charters will cost more than bareboats to begin with, but the crew is also tipped at a rate of 10 to 15 percent of the charter's total cost. . Traveler's tip: These tips make up 30 to 50 percent of a crew's income, so this is an important addition to remember.

Travelers should make sure they've read all the fine print. While this is always a good idea, deposit and insurance fees can be added to the cost of a charter. It is suggested that these charges may best be made on a credit card, in case of mistakes or problems. Cancellation policies can also be and important and overlooked piece of the fine print.

Those interested in sailing to and around the Virgin Islands can find their perfect choice in charter yachts available throughout the region.


Travelers may enter the the BVI at any of four ports of entry: Road Harbour and West End Bay on Tortola; Great Harbour on Jost Van Dyke; and Gun Creek Ferry Dock on Virgin Gorda. Customs and immigration offices are open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturdays, excluding holidays.

Arrivals and departures outside these times are possible but must be scheduled, and will incur additional fees. To schedule an arrival or departure, travelers should call customs at 284-494-3475 and immigration at 284-494-3701 ext. 2538. When sailing into the islands outside of office hours, raise the Q flag and enter customs as soon as possible.

To clear customs, be sure the crew and ship have all required identification and paperwork and that all are present. Visas are not required for nationals of commonwealth countries, most European countries, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Ecuador, Japan, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Russia, Turkey, Tunisia, Uruguay, Venezuela, and the United States, if the visit does not exceed six months. However, residents of other countries will need a visa for entry.

Customs will not allow firearms to remain on the boat. they will be retained at customs until the ship leaves port. Certificates of health and rabies shots for animals must be shown to customs officers, and there is a $5(USD) fee per pet.

Some fees are paid according to the size of the boat, but other taxes and fees are flat. The British Virgin Islands cruising tax states that all visiting yachts from other Caribbean islands or from outside the territory must obtain cruising permits from Customs officers upon entering its territorial waters. This will cost $4(USD) per person, per day. Foreign boats must also pay $10 to $15(USD) per visit per boat, as well as a $4(USD) departure tax per person.

Yachts registered in the British Virgin Islands and chartered by visitors will also need to purchase a cruising permit, at $2(USD) per person per day from Dec. 1 through April 30 and $0.75(USD) per person per day from May 1 through Nov. 30. Crewed charters do not require captain and crew to pay the cruising fee, but guests will have to pay. Bareboat charters require the fee from all passengers.

For further questions, the British Virgin Islands' customs offices can be reached at 284-494-3475.

Do you plan to reach the BVI in your own vessel, or a boat you charter in a different location? Take a look at the table below to get summary information concerning nearby marinas.

Name Phone Location Island
Biras Creek Marina (800) 223-1108 Oil Nut Bay Virgin Gorda
Bitter End Yacht Club (800) 872-2392 North Sound Virgin Gorda
Bletiner's Marina (284) 494-1000 Kingstown Tortola
Clipper Marina -- Road Town Tortola
Cooper Island Beach Club Docks (284) 495-9084 Cooper Island Beach Club - Cooper Island Cooper Island
Diamond Cay Marina (284) 495-9258 Foxy's Taboo Restaurant - Jost Van Dyke Jost Van Dyke
Footloose Marina (284) 494-0528 Road Town Tortola
Fort Burt (284) 494-4200 Road Reef - Road Town Tortola
Frenchman's Cay Slipway -- Frenchman's Cay Frenchman's Cay
Hannah Bay Marian -- Nanny Cay Tortola
Hodge's Creek Marina (284) 494-5000 3.2 mi. (5.1 km) East of Road Town Tortola
Leverick Bay Marina (284) 495-7421 Leverick Bay Resort & Marina - Santu Patia Virgin Gorda
Manuel Reef Marina (284) 495-2066 Albion Tortola
Mega Surface Marina (284) 494-2393 Road Town Tortola
Moorings Marina (284) 494-2332 Road Town Tortola
Nanny Cay Marina (284) 494-2512 Nanny Cay Tortola
Penn's Landing Marina (284) 495-1134 3.9 mi. (6.3 km) East-Northeast of Road Town Tortola
Peter Island Resort & Yacht Harbour (284) 495-2000 Peter Island Resort & Spa - Peter Island Peter Island
Prospect Reef Marina (242) 494-3773 Road Town Tortola
Pusser's Marina (284) 340-5678 Pusser's Marina Cay Resort - Marina Cay Marina Cay
Quarterdeck Club Marina (284) 494-2745 Bitter End Yacht Club - Oil Nut Bay Virgin Gorda
Road Reef Marina -- Road Town Tortola
Sea Breeze Marina (284) 494-2263 Parham Town Tortola
Soper's Hole Wharf & Marina (284) 495-4589 Frenchman's Cay Frenchman's Cay
Tortola Yacht Club (284) 494-2124 Downtown Road Town Tortola
Tortola Yacht Services -- Road Town Tortola
Village Cay Marina -- Downtown Road Town Tortola
Virgin Gorda Yacht Harbor (284) 495-5500 Spanish Town Virgin Gorda
YCCS Marina (284) 393-2000 5.6 mi. (9.0 km) Northeast of Spanish Town Virgin Gorda

Vacationers will need to acquire a permit for recreational fishing in order to fish in the waters surrounding the British Virgin Islands. However, be aware that spearfishing, lobstering, and collecting live shells, as well as the use of jet-skis, is prohibited.

Boats have caused damage to the national parks in the British Virgin Islands, thus there is a new program in effect. Sailors will need to make use of mooring buoys in areas that have had damage due to anchoring. To cruise, travelers must obtain a National Parks mooring permit and hold to the following regulations:

  • Buoys are color-coded
    • Red Buoys: non-diving, day use only
    • Yellow Buoys: commercial dive vessels only
    • White Buoys: non-commercial vessels for dive use only, on a first-come, first-serve basis, these have a time limit of 90 minutes
  • Ships larger than 55 feet LOA or weighing more than 35 tons may not use the mooring system
  • Ships must use the mooring line provided, however, the line may be extended as neccesary to avoid chafe

Travelers assume responsibility for any damages they cause to themselves or their crafts as a result of using these moorings. The rules and regulations of seafaring in the British Virgin Islands have kept the waters safe and watersports enjoyable.

Nearby Anchorages
Location Latitude Longitude
Trellis Bay - Beef Island 18.4462147917 -64.5318245888
Maya Cove - 3.3 mi. (5.3 km) East of Road Town 18.4234765283 -64.5670044422
St Thomas Bay - Spanish Town 18.4487752893 -64.4405651093
Pond Bay - 1.8 mi. (2.9 km) Northeast of Spanish Town 18.4689757697 -64.4155454636
Cow Bay - Mosquito Island 18.5058816152 -64.3987226486
Brandy Wine Bay - 2.1 mi. (3.4 km) East of Road Town 18.4150685122 -64.5858979225
South Bay - Mosquito Island 18.5117765367 -64.390193224
Boughers Bay - Downtown Road Town 18.425369802 -64.6168184274
Malone Bay - 4.5 mi. (7.3 km) Northeast of Spanish Town 18.4985561456 -64.388422966
Bakers Bay - 4.5 mi. (7.2 km) Northeast of Spanish Town 18.4918408474 -64.3819856644
Dog Bay - 4.0 mi. (6.4 km) Northeast of Spanish Town 18.4816752606 -64.3840456009
Manchioneel Bay - Cooper Island 18.3855965005 -64.5139074326
Prickly Pear National Park - Prickly Pear Island 18.5085921411 -64.3720185757
Hallovers Bay - Cooper Island 18.3757815527 -64.5102918148
Robins Bay - 5.1 mi. (8.3 km) Northeast of Spanish Town 18.4919222465 -64.3694114685
Salt Island Bay - Salt Island 18.3742950085 -64.5316529274
Eustatia Sound - Prickly Pear Island 18.5096603971 -64.3619227383
Lee Bay - Salt Island 18.370588774 -64.5344638824
Little Bay - 5.5 mi. (8.8 km) Northeast of Spanish Town 18.4932042777 -64.3639612198
Vixen Point - Prickly Pear Island 18.5030735617 -64.3601846695
Deadman's Bay - Peter Island 18.3558600614 -64.5705556817
The Spring Bay - Peter Island 18.3513387814 -64.5789670944
White Bay - Peter Island 18.3476931496 -64.5752549171
Little Harbour - Peter Island 18.3545716361 -64.6005105972
Manchioneel Bay - 6.5 mi. (10.4 km) West-Northwest of Road Town 18.4512933371 -64.7107601166
Sprat Bay - Peter Island 18.3495057942 -64.602162838
South Bay - Peter Island 18.3391185 -64.5730018616
Long Bay - Little Jost Van Dyke 18.4506826981 -64.7237849236
Sopers Hole - West End 18.3869913161 -64.7011792656
Newfound Bay - 3.0 mi. (4.9 km) East of Coral Bay 18.3462878415 -64.6686172485
Haulover Bay - 2.4 mi. (3.9 km) East of Coral Bay 18.3489666445 -64.6780157089
Great Harbour - Great Harbour 18.4425771113 -64.7512936592
Pomato Point - Anegada 18.7268280231 -64.4036364555
Princess Bay - 1.6 mi. (2.5 km) East-Northeast of Coral Bay 18.3550657952 -64.6928215027
Cow Wreck Bay - Anegada 18.7233893856 -64.3846786022
Borck Creek - 1.0 mi. (1.5 km) East-Northeast of Coral Bay 18.3532939462 -64.702091217
Coral Harbour - Coral Bay 18.3446327255 -64.7128415108
Leinster Bay - 1.9 mi. (3.1 km) Northwest of Coral Bay 18.3653299419 -64.7365951329
Francis Bay - 2.3 mi. (3.7 km) West-Northwest of Coral Bay 18.3615013236 -64.7460579872
Lower Bay - Anegada 18.7134820631 -64.315713644
Saltpond Bay - 2.7 mi. (4.3 km) South of Coral Bay 18.3081565879 -64.7068762779
Grootpan Bay - 2.6 mi. (4.2 km) South of Coral Bay 18.3089103318 -64.717862606
Trunk Bay - 2.0 mi. (3.3 km) Northeast of Cruz Bay 18.3526829645 -64.7707557678
Hawksnest Bay - 1.4 mi. (2.3 km) Northeast of Cruz Bay 18.3480801242 -64.7795963287
Caneel Bay - Caneel Bay 18.3436245459 -64.7874498367
Cruz Bay - Cruz Bay 18.3316454562 -64.7969716787
Chocolate Hole Bay - Chocolate Hole 18.3165137946 -64.7845959663
Great Cruz Bay - Cruz Bay 18.3200756271 -64.7891288996

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