A few questions!
I'm in the mid-to latter stages of planning a move to (most likely), STT.
I'm in my early thirties, come from a policing, fire and medical background. Literally the only hold up at the moment is gaining good employment.
It is my understanding that a reasonable expectation is that I should add 25% to all budget costs for living on the island. I plan on selling my existing yacht and purchasing a slightly larger one to live aboard, at least for the first couple of years.
I am also a licensed private pilot - Can anyone confirm if there is much of an industry for tourism flights or similar in the region? Working toward a commercial license may be an option.
My intent at the moment is to load my car with personal belongings (I have gotten rid of furniture and such already) so would easily be able to load my life in to the back of my Tahoe and have it shipped over. How long is the wait time for transporting a vehicle?
I currently operate a medical courier business on the mainland. While I would not be overly interested in creating another similar business on the island (unless there is a need), I am curious what are the hospitals like? Are they primarily larger facilities or smaller independent offices with trauma capability?
Rejoining the fire service is always an incentive - Are there options to join as a volunteer like is typical on the mainland or is it primarily a paid system?
On the mainland, I can pay my bills and survive on less than $2000 a month as a single male. In a worst case scenario, how easy is making that sort of money in a simple, no frills job on the island?
@jaldeborgh Thanks for the info. I pretty much am at this point! Clothing is 95% of what I have. The rest is crockery and tools!
If you are anchored or on a mooring and are planning a separate fund for vehicle and vessels maintenance and insurance apart from the $2K after taxes- MAYBE !! - but the 1st emergency, travel plan, medical problem, savings idea, etc, will be a drastic event.
Car must be empty as mentioned and owned outright or get the bank permission. Plan on 2 weeks from FL port. Research costs to register too, road Tax etc.
Research RLS Hospital for that question. Maybe ACE flight Center for the flying question, The VI Government has the Fire Service as a public service employer.
A serious plan for Hurricane season and vessel placement is well needed every year. Dockage with utilities will set your budget back quite a bit if you are considering that.
Thanks! Vehicle is already paid for and I currently operate on the 'digital envelope' system so I have a lot of budgets for things that don't exist such as emergencies. It appears I am unable to get a mooring on a permanent basis, so have been fortunate to find a marina at a very reasonable cost (Considerably less than rent).
I was actually offered a job on the island today which pays around $4k a month, so on my own this should be considerably easier.
Are there any facebook or social groups for UK expats on the island? I am of course hoping to find a special someone, so these networking opportunities would be important!
Thanks for the advice!
Dear TX: Welcome to the VI Moving Center.
Re: the hospitals. There is one hospital on St Croix, one on St Thomas, with a clinic on St John. All of the facilities were severely damaged during the infamous storms of 2017. This was to the point that discussions were held to tear them down and start anew. This was not really possible and the delay in repairs continues to this day. https://www.srmedicalcenter.org/ is the site for Schneider Regional on St Thomas. Because these are community hospitals, they do it all, but probably not to the standards to which you may be accustomed. There is no dedicated trauma unit, just the ER. They see more than their share of GSWs.
The Fire Service is part of the territorial government. The wages are lower than you may know. Jobs are typically for locals. I've not heard of volunteers. BTW, Fire and EMS are separate departments, although there have been discussions (forever) to join them. The government controls many areas that are privately run in the states.
If you have not visited, it is really recommended that you do. You only can judge if there is something in the medical field for you.
Welcome to the forum, @thattxguy!
This site has some good information on shipping a car down (check out the link at the bottom of this page for starters https://www.vimovingcenter.com/car/ ), and searching the forum will provide you with more first hand experiences.
Cars have to be empty (only keys and a COPY of the title in it). Depending on the volume you have of other things and whether you're shipping from Texas or Florida, you might be able to deliver the car and take your other items to the shipping company in a small trailer (all boxed up and inventoried for shipping) and save a few dollars. I shipped a car down about a year ago and it cost me $750 Atlanta to Miami, about $2,400 Miami to STX and about $500 in taxes and fees.
Depending on your flight hours and experience, you may want to consider reaching out to the small island hopping airlines (Cape Air, Seaborne, Silver, etc.) to see if there might be any demand for pilots... It would probably be cheaper to get your hours and finish your training in Texas. (My daughter just had her first official lesson today towards her private pilot's license with a goal of flying for a regional airline within 2-3 years.)
Fire and EMS were officially merged here, but there was a story in the VI Consortium ( https://viconsortium.com/vi-government/virgin-islands-health-commissioner-says-d-o-h-aiming-for-thursday-to-finally-provide-all-emts-with-promised-salary-increases-) that most of the EMTs might finally be getting the raises they were promised a year ago...
The problem that a lot of small business owners (current and former) have mentioned to me almost universally when I told them I was thinking of opening a business was getting good employees. Aside from any job specific skills required, there are 3 things that many of them said they can't find very often: people willing to show up 1) on time, 2) sober/drug free and 3) every day they're scheduled to work. Although it seems simple, their challenge (the way they explained it to me) is finding people who will do all 3 - finding people that will do 2 is not that difficult, but all 3 for any period of time seems pretty rare!
Expect salaries to be lower than you're used to seeing, but jobs seem to be more available for people willing to work.
Let me echo the advice to make a pre-move visit. You may also be able to meet with some potential employers to gauge their interest and your possible opportunities on the island.
Best of luck!