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would like to get your opinion and advise about moving to Virgin Islands

 
ashane
(@ashane)
New Member

Me and my wife are seriously planning to move here this year. We know that a lot of things will need to change, including our spending habits. My wife is an Architect and I am a Product designer, is there any work for that here? We live on the water and spend a lot of time boating on Great Lakes in the summer months.Because we work all the time we never have time to really pursue our passion for sailing here in Michigan.
I would like to sail a charter/ or something related to that, SPEND MOST OF MY TIME ON THE WATER. This would be the main point of this move. I would not be opposed to buying a business but I am not sure it would be a wise move at this point, as I do not know Island business environment yet. Do you have any advise for me, people to contact that can help us make this happen?

thank you

AS

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Topic starter Posted : May 25, 2009 8:04 pm
Greg _STT
(@Greg__STT)
Advanced Member

buy the Settler's Handbook for the U.S. Virgin Islands, it has provided us a wealth information, moving down at the end of July. You can buy the book on this website.

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Posted : May 25, 2009 8:27 pm
East Ender
(@east-ender)
Expert

Yes, there are architects here. You might contct Springline or one of the other firms, possibly through the AIA.

If you really want to be on the water, what about doing term charters? You might contact the Virgin Islands Charter Yacht League: http://www.vicl.org/index.html. You would need a boat...;)

Have you been to the VI? You might read through this site, lots of help. As for opinions and advice, we can surely come up with that!!

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Posted : May 25, 2009 8:45 pm
Peggy
(@Peggy)
Advanced Member

You'll need at least a 6 pack lic before you can run as a captain here. you may need to pursue that befor you come to VI. It will make things much easier. then at least you will be able to work out of the bareboat charter company's when they need a captain. GL.

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Posted : May 25, 2009 8:57 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

To work as a Captain with passengers for hire you will need a USCG MMD , an STCW certification, current Drug Consortium registration, a TWIC card, possibly, depending on the vessel an FCC Radiotelephone Operators license, a CPR certification and a Sailing Endorsement. You cannot apply for a license until you have accumulated 360 DAYS on an official Sea Service form.
Many people find it easier to get this documentation done in the States before they arrive. However--- Since you are from the Great Lakes area be sure your sea service time allows you to get a Near Coastal MMD and not just an Inland Waters class designation.

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Posted : May 26, 2009 12:30 pm
ashane
(@ashane)
New Member

Thank you ExitZero for this information, you seam to have a lot of knowledge in this area. Do I need all that to run a 40-50 foot cat? Do you think in this economy I would be able to find a job working for somebody on the boat or ship, so I can gain the knowledge needed to complete certifications?
The challenge getting experience and further certification here in Michigan, it will take me another 5 years at least.

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Topic starter Posted : May 26, 2009 7:35 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

You will need the 1st four documents to run any vessel that takes paying passengers - 40-50' Catamaran or 12' dinghy. You will need at leasyt 360 Days of sea service to receive any level of Captains License/// [MMD] Merchant Marine Document.
You can find crew jobs on boats here - good luck.

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Posted : May 26, 2009 10:15 pm
ashane
(@ashane)
New Member

Thank you again Exit Zero, this gives a good idea as what I should do. My question is this: Would this job on somebodies crew
pay to cover my living expanses? What kind of hourly rate can I expect based on my limited experience?

Also, we have a 2 year old child, is there day care or camps for kids on the island?

Which Island would be best to settle in the beginning for us?

thank you for everything!

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Topic starter Posted : May 27, 2009 3:56 pm
Linda J
(@Linda_J)
Expert

The 2 year old makes a big difference. Have you ever been to the USVI? If not, I strongly suggest you come down for 2-3 weeks, Stay someplace cheap. Rent a car. Spend most of your time checking out groceries, neighborhoods, day care facilities. Go to the bank, do your laundry at the laundromat. You need to be sure this will work for you before you make a decision.

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Posted : May 27, 2009 5:04 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

Its going to be hard to pay for day care based on what you'll get working on a boat. My best suggestion would be to work different shifts so you don't have to pay for it. Living here is very expensive. Doing it with a low paying job and kids is not a good recipe.

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Posted : May 27, 2009 8:00 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Boat crewing will not support a family - maybe if you get a Divemasters Certification which would be available to you before you arrive you can move up the payscale to start.. Also many crew jobs are long days and many are weeklong trips or even deliveries which can be weeks -- this won't work out raising a 2 year old and may not even be fair to your other half in any case. There are plenty of day care options - someone else will have to give help here.
Why not plan a 2-4 week visit to see what kind of circumstances you are looking at?

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Posted : May 27, 2009 10:55 pm
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

Ashane,
i recall you stating you live on the water,& spend a lot of time boating, do you live on a boat?
Many people have gotten their required sea time just living on a boat, you can usually prove that with registration & that it it was your primary residence.
Don`t let some of the above statements discourage you,it`s not nearly as hard as they say!

Don`t take counsel of your fears or nay Sayers

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Posted : May 27, 2009 11:48 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

Not being a naysayer - a day for sea service time accepted by the USCG requires at Least 4 hours underway -- living on a boat that does not move and is not underway for 4 hours is not a legitimate sea service day under any definition .

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Posted : May 28, 2009 12:12 am
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

Not being a naysayer - a day for sea service time accepted by the USCG requires at Least 4 hours underway -- living on a boat that does not move and is not underway for 4 hours is not a legitimate sea service day under any definition .

Ok,I know 4 current captains who got all,or most of their sea time living aboard(I`m NOT making this up).
This is so common,I`ve herd it brought up during conversation regarding others who acquired their captains sea time the same way.
So,how IS that?
I do not wish to engage in a $hit slinging match @ this time with you,but explain the disparity.

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Posted : May 28, 2009 1:16 am
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

CFR 46 USCG
A day of sea service has at least 4 hours underway.

Anyone who signs time that is false stands to lose their license.
Download a sea service time form 719s - or simply call the Coast Guard -- and ask.

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Posted : May 28, 2009 3:15 am
terry
(@terry)
Expert

There are always some people who will or try to circumvent the rules.
I know of one dive operation that allows it's Dive Masters that are trying to become instructors to gain the number of dives required by coming to the surface every 20 minutes on a 1 hour dive, That counts as 3 dives. Legal, yes, smart, NO. The required number of dives as the number of hours required to become a captain are there for a good reason. EXPERIENCE! IMHO the person may have the required 360 NUMBER, but instead of 360 days of experience they have one day of experience 360 times. There is a difference.

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Posted : May 28, 2009 1:02 pm
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

OK,thanks for the explanation,obviously,this is hard to police/enforce.
In Terry`s above example,the same is occurring in another occupation.

As I said before, this is so common(maybe more common then I thought).

Do you think we should call everyone in who has ever bent the rules then & hang them at once?

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Posted : May 28, 2009 1:31 pm
Exit Zero
(@exit-zero)
Trusted Member Registered

For anyone interested in obtaining USCG credentials a good starting place for info is :
www.uscg.mil/nmc/faq.asp

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Posted : May 28, 2009 1:51 pm
Betty
(@Betty)
Trusted Member

No the uscg enforces EVERYTHING. You really do not want to get on their bad side. They simply DO NOT mess around. DUN you may know some captains but I've done the books for a boat charter company. Ashane I would take exit zero's advice and get it done right and avoid the fines and other nightmares.

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Posted : May 28, 2009 2:07 pm
billd
(@billd)
Trusted Member

Don't, Don't Don't move without coming down and lining up everything. All the advice given was the result of people that live here. But it does not replace your situation, how you live, etc. Come down and do a PMV. LINE THING UP BEFORE YOU COME.

It is like LOOK BEFORE YOU LEAP!

And bring down lots of cast to support your self. Like three months rent just to get into the door. Then assume that you will need some small things like food, transportation, and utiltiities.

AGAIN COME DOWN AND LOOK!

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Posted : May 29, 2009 2:16 am
ashane
(@ashane)
New Member

Thank you guys for your explanation, this really helps a lot. I think when you start something new, you have to be humble and take one day at a time. Try to learn from people that have the experience and keep going toward the main goal. So far, I have just basic sailing
and scuba certifications , so it will take a full year to reach my goal.
I came to US from Russia 20 years ago with $500 in my pocket , no education and could not speak English. 20 years later, I am well educated and make a good living.
I know all about being humble and working hard, my EGO is always in check. At this point in my life I have nothing to prove to anybody,
just want to follow my dream and be happy.

Any recommendation where to stay ( something reasonable in the good spot) when we come out for couple of weeks on the scouting trip?

Thank you all
ashane

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Topic starter Posted : May 29, 2009 9:52 pm
EmJohnson8
(@EmJohnson8)
Advanced Member

www.stjohninn.com

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Posted : May 29, 2009 11:52 pm
DUN
 DUN
(@DUN)
Trusted Member

The CG aren`t nazis(I know many of them stationed here).
Like anything else, some will bend the rules,others won`t.
The USCG isn`t the all knowing & all policing entity some think they are(they don`t want to be,nor do they have the funding to do so).

For instance, If your in distress, the USCG won`t help you either, your mayday call will likely be answered with what was your last known position, how many persons onboard, & (the question they keep asking over & over) how many PFD`s do you have?

You will then need to call a towing or salvage company (depending on your predicament).

While I haven`t done bookkeeping for any term charters vessels here,(I`m a crappy book keeper)I`ve worked on most of the charterfleets vessels,power & sail. electrical,mechainical & hydrolic systems for over 20 years here, 8 in the states.

I have worked on dingys, to 700' bulk carriers here,in STT.frequently travel to STX to work on a tugboat fleet that visits there.
I also fly to Puerto Rico as I have many private boat accounts there as well.
i work with ships agents, engineers,owners, captains & their crews.
I have been involved in many CG inspections, & are frequently hired to attend these inspections to correct any possible CFR violations that may pop up.

The point I was making was, perhaps Ashane has more experiance then suspected, has spent alot of time boating(as he points out).
And is ready (or nearly so).
I wasn`t encoraging anything illegal, but trying to keep someones dream alive.
Don`t give up, but do plan/investigate!

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Posted : May 30, 2009 12:58 am
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