Sailors looking to enter or even pass through the U.S. Virgin Islands will need to be aware of the following rules and regulations.
If you just want to enjoy some time on the water, without the stress and cost of sailing on your own you can join an excursion. Check out the table that follows to obtain information on area day sailing companies.
|Adventures St. John||(340) 777-2665||Red Hook Plaza Suite 16 - St. Thomas||St. Thomas|
|(340) 344-1190||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|Big Beard's Adventure Tours||(340) 773-4482||Hotel Caravelle - Downtown Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 777-7245||National Park Docks - Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 690-2583||9715 Estate Thomas - Downtown Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 998-1940||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 344-6812||Crown Bay Marina - Frenchtown||St. Thomas|
|(340) 777-1368||Cruz Bay National Park Dock - Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 775-5055||Upper Havensight Mall - St. Thomas||St. Thomas|
|Day Sail Fantasy||(340) 775-5652||Sapphire Village - St. Thomas||St. Thomas|
|Daydreamer Charter||(340) 775-2584||Dreams Sugar Bay Resort & Spa - 1.4 mi. (2.2 km) North-Northwest of Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 690-0587||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 344-3336||Sapphire Beach Resort & Marina - East End||St. Thomas|
|(340) 643-7733||Yacht Haven Grande - Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(626) 824-5039||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-1408||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|Island Wilson Excursions||(340) 626-2583||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|Isle-mon Charters||(207) 475-8578||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|Jester Sailing Adventures||(340) 513-2459||Point Pleasant Resort - East End||St. Thomas|
|(340) 513-2508||Christiansted Boardwalk - Downtown Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 626-9685||Lovango Cay||Lovango Cay|
|(340) 642-1998||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(631) 946-9292||St. John||St. John|
|New Horizon Sailing||(340) 775-1171||1-A-9-19 Dorothea - St. Thomas||St. Thomas|
|(800) 707-7303||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|Roseway Sailing||(340) 626-7877||Gallow Bay Dock - Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 690-1659||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 514-0778||Cruz Bay National Park Dock - Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 771-7011||Coral Bay||St. John|
|(340) 626-8181||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(443) 831-1911||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-7467||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(717) 602-3536||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 998-4399||Cruz Bay National Park Dock - Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 775-7990||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 626-6785||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 244-8600||3108 Estate Bethesda - 1.6 mi. (2.6 km) North of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 677-1320||St. Thomas||St. Thomas|
|Treazzure Sailing Adventures||(340) 690-2735||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 998-5106||Water Island||Water Island|
|(340) 626-2875||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 344-5429||Secret Harbour Beach Resort - Nazareth||St. Thomas|
|Wayward Sailor||(340) 473-9705||Cruz Bay||St. John|
When chartering a yacht, prospective charterers have several options: "bareboat," "skippered bareboat," or a "crewed charter." Experienced sailors may choose to be both captain and crew on a bareboat, while skippered bareboats mean a captain is hired, but no crew. Crewed charters are fully-staffed ships, including a cook.
Those who can prove their bareboat qualifications may be given a tutorial of the seas surrounding the Virgin Islands, including reefs and safe harbors. However, some companies may insist that travelers bring along a skipper, at their own cost, for at least the first days of the journey. The skipper is paid by the day, and lends his own knowledge. This can be a personal choice as well for travelers uncomfortable with their skill level.
There are many charter companies throughout the Caribbean region, and these are divided in two manners. Larger and smaller companies offer different fleet sizes, which can be a good or a bad thing. Larger companies may not have such dedicated customer service, but, should any problems arise with your charter, will have a much easier time replacing your ship with another one, sometimes larger. These are more often recommended for first time charterers. Two different tiers also divide charter companies, those these divide companies by age of their ships. Those with ships no older than 4 or 5 years are first tier companies, while second tier companies often buy the best maintained older ships from the fleets of first tier companies.
Evaluating the option of chartering a boat or yacht? Check out the following chart if you want to get in touch with area charter companies.
|(340) 775-0860||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-2584||19-2-53 Smith Bay - Anna's Retreat||St. Thomas|
|(340) 514-2270||Strand Street - Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 776-9070||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 718-3161||Green Cay Marina - The vicinity of St. Croix|
|(340) 715-3379||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-7990||6300 Smith Bay 16-3 - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 779-4994||Coral Bay||St. John|
|(340) 776-6922||Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 776-4811||3801 Crown Bay - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 777-9690||62 Honduras Frenchtown Marina - The vicinity of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 774-5630||Long Bay Road - The vicinity of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 514-7403||Coral Bay||St. John|
|(340) 771-3474||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-1800||Bolongo Bay Beach Resort - 2.8 mi. (4.6 km) Southeast of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-6666||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 244-7245||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(603) 781-9864||3280 Golden Rock - Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 755-3203||Compass Point Marina - St. Thomas||St. Thomas|
|(340) 773-9027||6.6 mi. (10.7 km) East of Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 774-5530||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-5066||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 693-9030||Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 693-8809||Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 775-7990||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(866) 820-6906||The US Virgin Islands|
|(340) 775-6265||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-7292||Veteran's Drove - The vicinity of Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
|(340) 227-5144||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 227-5144||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 775-7990||American Yacht Harbor - Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 776-6462||Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 776-1510||Compass Point Marina - East End||St. Croix|
|(340) 776-6412||Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 677-0739||201 6501 Red Hook Plaza - East End||St. Thomas|
|(888) 493-2114||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
Cost can be effected by many different factors, as can your comfort. When choosing a yacht, you'll want to note these considerations to help you find a balance:
Larger ships are more costly, as are ships with more extras.
Travelers often prefer to charter a yacht with one more room than they intend to use, for their comfort.
A three cabin/two bath monohull, which ranges in size from 36 to 50 feet, is the most popularly chartered boat size.
Experienced sailors often prefer monohull boats, but families and groups may want to consider their design: Thin plywood walls are far from soundproof between rooms.
Families and first time sailors may consider catamarans the best option, as they generally experience less roll in port and are said to have more comfortable cabins.
Other additions may include a power windlass for anchoring, canvas tops for cockpit sun protection, and kayaks, windsurfs, and electronic extras like GPS. These may come at an additional cost, but can be worth the fees.
|(340) 244-9070||St. John|
|(340) 643-5172||Coral Bay|
Other additons can also cost travelers, though crewed charters often come with more extras. Food will always be a concern, but feeding more people on a crewed charter can make it more expensive - though these charters also include a chef to prepare all of the meals. High season chartering will cost more than off-season charters as well. Travelers picking up a yacht far from home will also need to consider the cost of airfare to their pickup location. Customs and luggage fees are sometimes added as well.
Travelers should remember basic entry requirements for entering the the USVI, but there are additional considerations when sailing your own or your chartered craft into the islands.
Ports of entry are located on each of the U.S. Virgin Islands. Sailors may enter at Charlotte Amalie on St. Thomas, Christiansted on St. Croix, and Cruz Bay on St. John. Once you have entered via one of these ports you must go through immigration, unless you are traveling to the U.S. Virgin Islands directly from .
Travelers planning to travel to Puerto Rico from the U.S. Virgin Islands should obtain a cruise permit in the Virgin Islands. If they do not, they will need to purchase one upon arrival in Puerto Rico, but such permits are issued free in the Virgin Islands. If leaving the Virgin Islands for Puerto Rico, sailors must clear out of customs.
Passengers are not allowed to disembark until they have cleared customs. All travelers should have their paperwork ready. Foreign travelers from countries other than Canada will need a valid U.S. visa or they will be fined $160(USD). Firearms must issued a permit, and all pets must have documented rabies and health certificates.
Customs offices are open 8:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Overtime fees will be charged to those entering the islands outside these times. For more information about customs and immigration, travelers may contact the offices directly in St. Croix: 340-773-1011; St. John: 340-776-6741; and St. Thomas: 340-774-9700.
Is your plan to sail to the USVI using your own vessel, or a boat you charter elsewhere? This next chart contains a list of marinas in the area.
|(340) 775-6454||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|--||Downtown Cruz Bay||St. John|
|(340) 775-6144||East End||St. Thomas|
|(340) 776-6665||Coral Bay||St. John|
|(340) 774-2255||Frenchtown||St. Thomas|
|--||Water Island||Water Island|
|(340) 775-9058||Maroon Town||St. Thomas|
|(340) 777-9690||Frenchtown||St. Thomas|
|(340) 718-1453||Tamarind Reef Hotel - 2.4 mi. (3.9 km) East-Northeast of Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 776-0466||East End||St. Thomas|
|(866) 609-2930||Downtown Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 715-7700||East End||St. Thomas|
|(340) 998-1203||East End||St. Thomas|
|--||Downtown Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 773-0289||Christiansted||St. Croix|
|(340) 773-9531||6.7 mi. (10.7 km) East of Christiansted||St. Croix|
|--||Red Hook||St. Thomas|
|(340) 774-9500||5304 Yacht Haven Grande - Charlotte Amalie||St. Thomas|
Authorities have issued some important restrictions within the U.S. Virgin Islands to protect the health and safety of humans and nature.
The U.S. Virgin Islands' government is working to cut down on drug trafficking. A special task force patrolling the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands means travelers are cautioned to avoid being caught with illegal substances.
Sailors traveling within the Virgin Islands National Park will have a few other regulations to consider:
It is prohibited to anchor on or damage a coral reef.
It is prohibited to take any marine features (coral, shells, and fans) alive or dead.
Boats may not be tied to shoreline vegetation.
Anglers may not spear fish within the park. Line fishing is permitted in certain areas only.
Travelers may take no more than two male spiny lobsters (minimum size 9 in/23 cm) and may only trap them by hand or handheld snare.
For more information about park regulations, sailors should contact the National Park administration, on St. John at 340-776-6201 and 340-773-1460 in St. Croix.
|Saint James Bay - Great Saint James Island||18.3088030981||-64.8322427273|
|Jersey Bay - East End||18.3104328047||-64.8603093624|
|Cowpet Bay - Catadupa||18.3159353548||-64.8440605402|
|Salt River Bay National Historic Park and Ecological Preserve - 4.1 mi. (6.6 km) West-Northwest of Christiansted||17.7746851892||-64.7581708431|
|Chocolate Hole Bay - Chocolate Hole||18.3165137946||-64.7845959663|
|Secret Harbour Bay - Catadupa||18.3179978645||-64.8531746864|
|Benner Bay - East End||18.3172441599||-64.8676478859|
|Bolongo Bay - Bolongo Bay||18.3122940744||-64.8966747522|
|Great Cruz Bay - Cruz Bay||18.3200756271||-64.7891288996|
|Vessup Bay - Red Hook||18.3241271069||-64.8509216309|
|Redhook Bay - East End||18.3264540377||-64.8443555832|
|Grootpan Bay - 2.6 mi. (4.2 km) South of Coral Bay||18.3089103318||-64.717862606|
|Saltpond Bay - 2.7 mi. (4.3 km) South of Coral Bay||18.3081565879||-64.7068762779|
|Cruz Bay - Cruz Bay||18.3316454562||-64.7969716787|
|Flamingo Bay - Water Island||18.3120649004||-64.9588000774|
|Druif Bay - Water Island||18.3169080477||-64.9584138393|
|Caneel Bay - Caneel Bay||18.3436245459||-64.7874498367|
|Careening Cove - Hassel Island||18.3302349154||-64.9345636368|
|Elephant Bay - Water Island||18.3234061061||-64.9531835318|
|Water Bay - Coki Point||18.3478734848||-64.8659580946|
|Hawksnest Bay - 1.4 mi. (2.3 km) Northeast of Cruz Bay||18.3480801242||-64.7795963287|
|Long Bay - Charlotte Amalie||18.3357116584||-64.9253153808|
|Trunk Bay - 2.0 mi. (3.3 km) Northeast of Cruz Bay||18.3526829645||-64.7707557678|
|Christiansted Harbor - Downtown Christiansted||17.7486307362||-64.7050631046|
|Turtle Beach - Buck Island||17.7860968649||-64.6279120445|
|Coral Harbour - Coral Bay||18.3446327255||-64.7128415108|
|Chenay Bay - 3.1 mi. (4.9 km) East-Northeast of Christiansted||17.7611179762||-64.6587789059|
|Lindbergh Bay - 2.6 mi. (4.2 km) West of Charlotte Amalie||18.3352533727||-64.96753335|
|Francis Bay - 2.3 mi. (3.7 km) West-Northwest of Coral Bay||18.3615013236||-64.7460579872|
|Borck Creek - 1.0 mi. (1.5 km) East-Northeast of Coral Bay||18.3532939462||-64.702091217|
|Leinster Bay - 1.9 mi. (3.1 km) Northwest of Coral Bay||18.3653299419||-64.7365951329|
|Frederiksted Harbour - Frederiksted||17.7119103678||-64.8869007826|
|Haulover Bay - 2.4 mi. (3.9 km) East of Coral Bay||18.3489666445||-64.6780157089|
|Princess Bay - 1.6 mi. (2.5 km) East-Northeast of Coral Bay||18.3550657952||-64.6928215027|
|Newfound Bay - 3.0 mi. (4.9 km) East of Coral Bay||18.3462878415||-64.6686172485|
|Hull Bay - 2.6 mi. (4.1 km) Northwest of Charlotte Amalie||18.3700901401||-64.9520140886|
|Teague Bay - 6.7 mi. (10.7 km) East of Christiansted||17.7562455281||-64.6021413797|
|Cottongarden Bay - 7.8 mi. (12.6 km) East of Christiansted||17.7605164931||-64.5845514536|
|Sopers Hole - West End||18.3869913161||-64.7011792656|
|Sprat Bay - Peter Island||18.3495057942||-64.602162838|
|Little Harbour - Peter Island||18.3545716361||-64.6005105972|
|South Bay - Peter Island||18.3391185||-64.5730018616|
|White Bay - Peter Island||18.3476931496||-64.5752549171|
|The Spring Bay - Peter Island||18.3513387814||-64.5789670944|
|Deadman's Bay - Peter Island||18.3558600614||-64.5705556817|
|Great Harbour - Great Harbour||18.4425771113||-64.7512936592|
|Lee Bay - Salt Island||18.370588774||-64.5344638824|
|Boughers Bay - Downtown Road Town||18.425369802||-64.6168184274|
|Salt Island Bay - Salt Island||18.3742950085||-64.5316529274|
|Brandy Wine Bay - 2.1 mi. (3.4 km) East of Road Town||18.4150685122||-64.5858979225|
|Maya Cove - 3.3 mi. (5.3 km) East of Road Town||18.4234765283||-64.5670044422|
From quiet St. John to tourist friendly St. Thomas, and to historic St. Croix, sailing in the US Virgin Islands can vary greaty from island to island. Local guides to the major USVI islands can be found below.
|Guide to St. Croix Sailing|
|Guide to St. John Sailing|
|Guide to St. Thomas Sailing|
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.