Relocating and Sailing to VI
I have just been offered a job in the Virgin Islands and am in the process of considering the expenses associated with relocation. One thing I am uncertain of is how to move my boat, 30' sailboat. How best to get it there and what it will cost to moor it once I arrive. If anyone has information on either of these two questions I would really appreciate your input. Thanks, George
Where are you coming from? You can make the sail from Florida to the USVI. It is not too bad, but depending on the boat you may get a little wet. I have done it before on a 30 foot. Mooring is not cheap, at least it wasn't a few years ago. If memory serves me, we paid about 30 a day to moor on St Thomas.
The only way you are getting your boat there is to sail it yourself or hire someone to sail it over for you. If you hire someone else to do it, it is going to cost you about 2500-3000 dollars. This is just a guess, as I tend to see people paying that to move boats from the Lesser Antilles to Florida. If you are wanting some contacts for people that do this, shoot me a PM. My brother has done it quite a few times.
There are companies that transport boats.. If you do a google search you will find them.. I think the one that comes into St. Thomas is called Super Server (or servant, something like that). The $30 per day that Cody mentioned doesn't match my experience. Again, you can do a search on this forum for moorings, go about a year out, and there are lots of posts about the subject. Mooring fees are about $250 +/- per year, but there is a process that can be a bit tedious.
On a recent trip to STT someone told me that a mooring could be installed for about $200 and then the annual fee was about $150. I am finding slip fees at marinas to be exceedingly high. I will make contact Super Server. Thanks again, George
Yeah, I read a posting on installing a mooring and did not even think about it. I was only there for about a week and was renting it. I was not there long term.
The agency in charge of moorings in the USVI is the Dept. of Planning and Natural Resources -- www.dpnr.gov.vi --They are also where you register your vessel.
You may be able to ship the boat on a trailer on the container ships since it is only 30'.
Depending on your time frame and experience sailing it here is possible but for a vessel that size shipping it via the Yacht Transport or Container will be shorter and safer and the boat will arrive on a scheduled date, shrink wrapped and ready to rig.
My father shipped a 28' from MA to PR in the early 80s, so I would think it would still be doable.
I live here on a mooring. It took a very long time to obtain a mooring permit (a year!) and I have heard the DPNR is "not issuing new mooring permits" - though I am not aware of any change in rules that would alter their discretion in such a matter. You will find that there are rules and then there are "practices". Anyway, a substantial mooring that will let you sleep soundly in a squall will cost at least $500 in materials once you find a location suitable for you. The north side of Water Island in St. Thomas is a popular location as are a couple of areas in Long Bay (though the later seem a bit more rolly to me).
The annual mooring fee is $5/ft - renewable in June and the fee is prorated for the fraction of the first year. There is also a $2/ft anchoring fee which is due after you have been in VI waters more than 2 weeks and it is due monthly. Obviously the fee schedule is highly biased in favor of mooring and the agency is highly biased in favor of collecting exorbitant anchoring fees! As a practical matter, local enforcement of the mooring and anchoring is spotty and pretty much a 9-5 operation. If you are working and not aboard then, you might go years without seeing a DPNR official. There is also a USCG presence, and they have been a bit more active recently inspecting vessels around St Thomas, but that may well have run its course before your arrival. They did not check our local permits, only USCG requirements when we were recently visited at 7PM. Very polite and professional crew I must say - that is the coast guards guys I mean - I'M not polite. 🙂
The mooring rules say ownership of moorings cannot be transferred without DPNR authorization, and only the permitted vessel can use a mooring, but I have observed frequent boat changes on many moorings so this is obviously another rule that is only spottily enforced. Of course, they can enforce any rule they like any random time they like so you experience may vary! But I have heard some neighbors say they have not had dealings of any sort whatsoever with DPNR for a decade.
Thanks much for the information on moorings, I had expected this might be the best solution to docking. It is very doubtful that I would be a liveaboard. However, this does raise a question I have thought about. If at a mooring, obviously I would use my dinghy for travel to and from the boat. What is the situation for storing the dinghy somewhere when I am on shore? Does it have to be hauled out or is there some way to inexpensively and safely leave it somewhere in the water near a mooring? Also what has been your experience regarding storms?
I checked on shipping. $8,500 if anybody i interested. Too much for me.
Is the $8,500 for the Yacht Transport ship?? At 30' the boat may well fit in a closed 40' container -- which is far cheaper OR on an open 40' trailer which does cost more as it can't be stacked like the closed ones but should still be within affordable cargo rates. The yacht Transport ships give premium service and are used by some very big and expensive yachts. Most of the smaller boats do come by cargo/container ships.
If you haven't looked into the trucking option it could be a way for you. Truck to FLA,put on a ship to STT and offload, send the truck trailer back.
Sailing it down - considering the time it takes,[weeks or months], the expense of outfitting a 30' boat for full offshore sailing, the possibility of damage,danger,bad weather,crew difficulties etc., food and fuel expenses, may make $8,500 look like a bargain since the boat arrives in great shape and on a schedule you can predict.
That is probably the cost for shipping on Tropical or other ocean carrier. I had a quote of $6K to ship a 17' boat on a trailer on a trailer from NJ to STX. Ocean freight is calculated by cubic feet. For a boat on a trailer the length is from the tip of the trailer's tongue to the boat's stern, width the wheel base of the trailer, height from the ground to the highest point on the boat. Works out to be a lot of cubic feet.
I tried looking at www.dpnr.gov.vi but didn't see anything on registering or mooring boats. Anyone know where this information might be?
There is a DPNR publication on mooring and anchoring regulations available at the "Enforcement" office of the DPNR, upstairs in the airport terminal over major carrier ticketing counters. There are several different offices/departments of DPNR, but the Enforcement office is on the open hallway over the terminal - about the second or third door from the north end of the terminal. As I recall, they open about 8:30 and close [promptly] at 3:00 - or at least you cannot get much done after that time. There is also a quite lengthy lunch "hour" through the mid-day time. There are various forms available there too, if you contemplate making an application.