It will soon be easier and more environmentally friendly to cruise the U.S. Virgin Islands. In March, the territory’s senate approved the strategic placement of 100 new helix-type moorings for transient yachts in bays throughout the U.S. Virgin Islands. The moorings will be placed and maintained through a public-private partnership between the USVI’s Department of Planning and Natural Resources (DPNR) and the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA).
The current COVID-19 pandemic has created an even greater need for moorings. Over the past year, more vessels have anchored in the territory’s bays for both business and pleasure as borders in other Caribbean islands have closed. Most noticeable is that with the British Virgin Islands’ seaports closed until recently, USVI-based charter yachts that would typically include the BVI on their itinerary, are now focused on charters solely in the territory, thus increasing vessel traffic significantly.
“Securing this permit was the last permitting hurdle to the installation of these new moorings,” says DPNR Commissioner, JP Oriol. “I think this represents exciting growth and development for the U.S. Virgin Islands. Consider that despite not having cruise ships for a year now, the Governor stated in his State of the Territory address that the Government of the VI had 30 days of cash on hand. I think that is due to diversifying our economy. In the past year, instead of the usual 200 to 300 vessels in the territory, we’ve had some 750 between territorial and the federal waters of the Virgin Islands National Park. This represents both recreational yachts and charter boats that have moved their businesses back to the territory.”