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Relocating to St. Thomas - Marina Living on Boat  

 

Joven32
(@Joven32)
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March 3, 2016 1:12 am  

Hey All,

I have been following this forum for a while and want to first thank everyone for some great advice!

My wife and I think the Virgin Islands is the best place on Earth, as most of you would agree. We want to buy a boat and spend 6 months out of each year living in a marina on St. Thomas. We dry dock the boat during hurricane reasons since boat insurance costs are said to increase significantly if kept in water.

I'm looking for advice on which marinas would be recommended and can accommodate a live in boat? What is the general cost? We work remote jobs so we would need fairly reliable phone and Internet, is that even do-ableare is this a crazy idea?

Also, is anyone on this forum currently living in a marina and what sort advice would you give? Do we need any special licenses to do this and cruise the BVI's on weekends?


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Alana33
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March 3, 2016 2:08 pm  

You'll have to check around on costs per ft.
There's Compass Pt. Marina, Independent Boat Yard (if you have a very deep draft vessel, these may not be accessible for you), American Yacht Harbor and Sapphire Bay Marina. These are all located on the east end, in and around Red Hook. There's also a small marina in Frenchtown.
I didn't include Yacht Haven Grande as I believe their costs may be excessive.

Independent Boat Yard is the only place you can dry dock.

As for working remotely, I'm sure it's doable but someone else will have to chime in on that with regard to internet connections or you might ask the various marinas directly.

As far as cruising the BVI, you'll have to clear in and out of customs when you do so.
Good luck.


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Joven32
(@Joven32)
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March 3, 2016 3:17 pm  

Thank you for the advice Alana33!

What about Crown Bay Marina? I see it has good reviews online but I'm not sure if it is a live in marina or not. I can't seem to find very much of any information online for the other marinas as I don't think they have websites.


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OldTart
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Alana33
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March 3, 2016 3:38 pm  

Yes, sorry.
Forgot about Crown Bay Marina.
It's a very nice marina. They have a bar and restaurant, (live music at nite may be a consideration for liveaboards), message and mail service, grocery store (expensive), laundromat and other businesses located there.
Honestly, not sure about their policy on liveaboards.
They tend to be pretty filled up during our winter season with visiting yachts.
Must say, it's a long beat upwind from Crown Bay to Pillsbury Sound, St. John and to get over to the BVI.


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STTsailor
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March 3, 2016 8:42 pm  

I keep a sailboat at Benner bay. I do not live on the boat so I can't comment on broadband Internet access but AT&T LGE network works well. The marina costs are very high and for anything between 40-50 foot expect $900-1100 per month plus electric and water. Compass point marina has a lot of live a boards.

Independent boat yard is the only haul out option and is very expensive for storage. $16 per foot per day. They do not offer monthly rates. I think they give annual discount. A lot of people store in PR or BVI because of the prices here.


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Joven32
(@Joven32)
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March 4, 2016 12:36 am  

Thank you all for the advice! I would have a 40-50 footer and would like to keep the cost as close to $1000 as I could but with a bit more amenities I would pay more.

The things that are most import is good cell service, close to reasonable grocery and convienince stores, great boat neighbors :), and it would be great if it was close to a few bars/restaurants.

Just from what everyone has been telling me, even if a marina has wifi there is a 50/50 chance of it working that day! I could always use cell Internet.

Quick question, everyone keeps telling me electricity is additional...what is a reasonable monthly payment for a live in boat using electricity pretty much everyday?


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STTsailor
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March 4, 2016 12:47 am  

Budget $200 for water and electric. More if you are planning to use AC. If living on the boat I would rather opt for mooring or hook especially if you have solar panel and wind turbine.


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Alana33
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March 4, 2016 12:57 am  

East End location gets you close to bars, restaurants, resorts, beaches, shopping and grocery stores. You can get around during the day with safari taxis.
Having a car is a nice option however for exploring, getting to beaches, coming and going, at your convenience, grocery shopping, going to movies or out in evenings.


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Joven32
(@Joven32)
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March 4, 2016 11:45 pm  

Thanks everyone!

Is anyone on this forum currently living on a boat in the USVI? I'd love any pointers!


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Juanita
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March 9, 2016 3:02 pm  

Since Internet is important to you, I recommend having 2, or 3, service options available to you. Marina's wifi, maybe your own service with a different company (Choice used to offer a portable modem, which worked well.) and use your phone as a hot spot or get a USB device. But...be prepared for all of them not to work at any given time!! I think services ARE getting better, but still.....

I also agree with STTsailor. Would much rather be on a mooring, but a lot of people prefer the convenience of marina living. It was always a treat for us to be in a marina for a few days, but always felt good to get back on the hook!!


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Scubadoo
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March 10, 2016 12:18 am  

Put a BBVI antenna on a pole on the dock next to the boat if there is visibility to the tower?


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NJoy
 NJoy
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March 10, 2016 1:59 am  

Sounds like a fun adventure! I have been following this forum for a while too and always take a second look for others wanting to live in STT and live on board a sail boat there.

I currently live in California and plan to relocate there soon. I vacationed there 2015 and plan to visit again est April 2016 for more research and financial planning research.

All the posts I have read seem to suggest it is expensive and most [ eventually ] get a second option for the winter months you mentioned for hurricane season; like a rental or purchase a home. Ref the internet connection business/connections available, I would visit and try it out to see how reliable it is. If your income rests on having a reliable broadband connection the only way to be certain is to visit and test it out--- in real time there. When I visited in 2015 Broadband connections were not a problem; connected 24/7 no down time, but I was in port with a large ship that had WiFi.

I don't think the Broadband connection will be a problem if you pay for the right service provider.

I suspect it is do-able and reasonable as many are doing it. I have a "Social Media" friend who does live on their sail boat, but they always post they sail a lot and move around a bit so they don't appear to live there in STT 12-months out the year.

I would love nothing more than to live on a sail boat in STT all year so I applaud your post. Looking forward to the replies you get because they will give me more information to make a informed decision.

Kudos for following your passion!

Best of Luck!


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Exit Zero
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March 10, 2016 3:45 pm  

NJOY posted:
I don't think the Broadband connection will be a problem if you pay for the right service provider.

That kind of assumption is often what we try to warn people considering a move here about - It may sound reasonable but things happen and once you get here you soon realize:
"You just can't make this stuff up!"


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crosscr
(@crosscr)
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March 12, 2016 3:08 am  

I was there this past October checking out marinas. Compass Point was $18/ft/month. Crown Bay was higher but they have a weird seasonal pricing structure. The American Yacht Harbor at Red Hook was also significantly higher. The Marina at Sapphire Beach only have privately owned slips. Over on St Croix Green Cay Marina was $18.50/ft/month. I like that marina, nice. The marina at Palmas Del Mar over on Puerto Rico was around $13.50/ft/month, Very nice marina. Hope this helps.


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Wojo in NC
(@Wojo_in_NC)
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March 14, 2016 1:39 pm  

I'm relocating to St Thomas in September. I was originally heading to St Croix by my company changed things slightly. I've used the search function on this forum trying to find info on boat storage and this post is the closest thing I can find. I'm bringing my 21ft center console boat with us. I keep it on a trailer here in NC just to avoid having to bottom paint it. Are there boat yards that allow storage of boats on trailers? If so, can someone recommend a place for us? I'm also open to suggestions on wet slips if you think storing on a trailer will be too problematic given the roads, mountains and other assorted issues. I'm bringing my full-sized pickup truck with us so i will have a vehicle capable of towing it. We are planning on living on the north side of the island. Thanks in advance!


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Alana33
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March 14, 2016 2:10 pm  

Yes, there are boat storage racks on east end of STT at various locations.
Hull Bay Hideaway on north side has a storage yard for boats on trailers and has a boat ramp on the beach.

All fuel docks are either on east end, AYH and a couple others, town at Yacht Haven Grande marina or down at Crown Bay. Can't remember if Frenhtown has
a fuel dock.


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Exit Zero
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March 14, 2016 2:14 pm  

On the Northside there are boats stored on trailers next to Hull Bay Hideaway and a launch ramp there - a few locations offer rack dry storage on the South side adjacent to the Lagoon, and various wet slip options are available.
Driving with the trailer is doable but [imo] challenging if you plan on doing it often - it will probably come down to a personal choice once you are here and see how often you want to take the boat out and the destinations you usually head to.


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