VIPCA Presented twice at the USVI Governments Community Business Forum 2020 – keeping the Marine Yacht Charter in the foreground as a Covid-19 prepared and safe to remain open industry.
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS Update Nov 12th 2020:
These conditions apply to each inbound person over 5 years old:
1) Visitors need to be issued a Travel Certificate via the app bvigateway.bviaa.com
2) Valid negative PCR Covid 19 test within 5 days, submitted and approved, prior to BVI arrival from low risk countries and within 3 days for medium and high risk countries.
3) Covid Insurance
4) Testing at Port of Entry for each person arriving.
5) A subsequent test 4 days later.
6) Each person to have a wristband and a tracking app on their phone.
7) Combined cost for items 4), 5) and 6) $175 per person.
Negative results from the day 4 test allows unlimited exploration of the BVI.
Charter Yacht Bubble. A charter vessel can be your isolated safe place. Charter Yachts can move between designated safe haven anchorages, (TBD by the BVI Government) until the 4 day test negative results open up the itinerary.
Regulated Garbage and Garbage Removal Upon Arrival to USVI
What is Regulated Garbage?
Garbage containing or associated with plant or animal materials; generated onboard conveyances arriving from any place outside the United States, except Canada, is subject to requirements and safeguards for handling once in the United States.
Garbage becomes regulated by APHIS per 7 CFR 330.401 and 9 CFR 94.5 (c) when generated onboard a conveyance (ocean vessels and aircraft) only when the garbage is on or removed from the conveyance.
Additionally, the conveyance generating the garbage has either:
·Moved outside of the U.S. or Canada within the previous 2 year period; or
·Moved to or from Hawaii, U.S. territories, or possessions within the previous 1 year period
Regulated garbage must be disposed at a site approved to handle regulated garbage. Vessels may remove or “purge” their stores and garbage and disinfect, to attain “domestic status.”
By purging their stores and garbage, vessel owners are provided an opportunity to reduce their costs associated with garbage removal.
What is purging?
Vessels may purge (remove, in accordance with APHIS requirements, all garbage or stores that might introduce foreign plant and animal pests and diseases) their stores and garbage and disinfect if necessary to attain “domestic status”. Purging allows the garbage generated after the purge to be disposed of without grinding, incineration, or sterilization.
Procedures for Purging:
CBP Agriculture Specialists will monitor the purging of the vessel’s regulated stores and garbage and subsequent cleaning and disinfection.
As part of the purging process, the vessel has to dispose of the following items:
Meat and meat products regardless of origin, except shelf stable canned meat/poultry.(Special note: All ruminant material from BSE affected countries (regardless of processing/even if shelf stable canned) and canned perishable poultry material from END and/or HPAI countries are prohibited and must be disposed of).
Fresh and condensed milk and cream from countries in which Foot and Mouth disease exists
Fresh fruits and vegetables
All garbage aboard the vessel
To get a head start, the crew can remove the food items from their rooms, kitchen cabinets/refrigerator/freezer and place them in strong plastic bags(keep them on the vessel until the CBPAS arrive).
Following disposal, all storerooms and locations which held the previously purged material must be cleaned and disinfected (with authorized/approved disinfectant) by the crew also under direct supervision of a CBPAS.
The purged material is to be incinerated or sterilized.
The captain will be given a CBP Form AI288 Ship Inspection Report with “Purged-now domestic” written in the Remarks Block
Schedule the purge when you have consumed most, if not all of your stores.
Items that are not considered regulated:
Processed condiments(ketchup, mayo, mustard)
Paper and plastics not associated with food
You will remain in the domestic status as long as you remain in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Once you leave the Virgin Islands, to visit a foreign country or anywhere in the Continental United States, your status returns to regulated garbage.
Keep one bin for regulated garbage and another one for dry waste, to simplify this process since not all garbage is regulated waste.
If you would like to schedule a purge please send an email ONIQUEE.WINSTON@CBP.DHS.GOV or call Oniquee Winston 340-774-4554 or 340-626-1542. If you haveany further questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me.
find more information in the USDA website at:https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/planthealth/sa_import/sa_garbage/ct_regulated_garbage/c
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 14, 2020
Gowrie Group Official Insurance Sponsor of the 2020 USVI Charter Yacht Show Set for November 12-15
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI). Gowrie Group, a nationally-focused, leading marine insurance agency that manages the comprehensive health insurance and yacht insurance programs offered to active members of the Virgin Island Professional Charter Association (VIPCA), has been named by VIPCA as the official insurance supplier of the USVI Charter Yacht Show for the fourth year in a row. The 2020 Show, set for November 12-15, at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande, will offer in-person and virtual elements all with COVID-19 Safety Protocols designed to assure the well-being of attendees and island residents alike.
“Gowrie Group, a Division of Risk Strategies, is extremely proud to sponsor the 2020 USVI Charter Yacht Show,” says Rick Bagnall, senior vice president of Gowrie Group. “We are excited to announce a major change to the health insurance for active VIPCA members starting January 1, 2021. CIGNA, one of the largest U.S. carriers, will be the new group carrier for VIPCA’s group health insurance. The new plan is not only more robust and comprehensive, but we expect to also see a decrease in the current rates. Health insurance is extremely important for those working in and around the marine industry. If you need medical assistance when in the Caribbean, you often will find yourself transported to the mainland U.S. medical system. Having a plan that provides access to providers worldwide is extremely important, along with having coverage for medical transport and/or medical evacuation.”
Photo: L to R: Oriel Blake, VIPCA executive director; Rick Bagnall, Gowrie Group senior vice president; Mark Gargula, Gowrie Group yacht insurance specialist at the 2019 USVI Charter Yacht Show. Courtesy Gowrie Group.
Gowrie Group offers two key products to active VIPCA members. One is the Health Insurance Program and the second is the Yacht/Fleet Insurance Program, both managed by the insurance experts at Gowrie. One new trend Gowrie is seeing in the Health Insurance market is a significantly increased demand for Travel Insurance and Travel Medical Plans, says Bagnall. Bagnall advises that yacht charter brokers inform their charter clients about the various insurance options that are available to them. Gowrie has multiple options for this coverage and can assist charter clients in the selection process.
The Yacht Insurance market has also been evolving rapidly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many insurance carriers have exited the marine insurance market, including some of the primary Caribbean focused options. Mark Gargula, Gowrie Group’s VIPCA Yacht Insurance Specialist, has been proactively working with his yacht clients to review their policies and optimize their coverage for premium savings and to align with their current usage, given the COVID-19 environment and cruising restrictions. Gargula expects the Yacht Insurance market to continue to evolve and go in new directions through the end of 2020 and deep into 2021. These changes open opportunities for yacht owners to work with Gowrie Group to secure the best coverage possible.
Gowrie Group will feature a Virtual Presentation on November 13 at Noon (Atlantic Standard Time: UTC−04:00) The title is: ‘Understand Your Options: Crew Health Insurance, Yacht Insurance, and Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance’.
“Gowrie Group has been a steadfast partner with VIPCA through thick and thin, insuring our member yachts through hurricanes, and insuring our member crews through viral pandemics,” says Oriel Blake, VIPCA’s executive director.
2020 USVI Charter Yacht Show Offers the Best of Both Worlds – In-Person & Online
The U.S. Virgin Islands is a key Caribbean cruising ground that, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, has re-opened to visitors both on land and sea, including for crewed yacht and day charters. Hence, VIPCA is indeed hosting a live 2020 USVI Charter Yacht Show and doing so with rigorous COVID-19 safety protocols. For the full text of the protocols, please visit https://vipca.org/covid-19-safety-protocols/. However, to accommodate brokers unable to attend in person, organizers are adding a virtual element. It’s the best of both worlds approach to showcase the U.S. Virgin Islands-based boutique charter yacht fleet to the widest possible audience and assure a successful upcoming season.
In-Person – Top Yachts at the Docks
Over 50 yachts are registered to exhibit at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande marina for the USVI Charter Yacht Show, with an anticipation of 60 yachts to be registered to exhibit by November. The show fleet, which collectively averages 55-foot LOA, includes a diverse mix of vessels: sailing monohulls and catamarans up to 80-feet and longer and motor yachts in the 80- to 120-foot range. To register, visit: https://vipca.org/vessel-registration/
Photo: The 92-foot Sunseeker, Elite, will be on show at the docks at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande Marina. Courtesy: Bluewater Yachting
Three of the larger motor yachts showing on the docks at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande, which was recently named Towergate’s Superyacht Marina of the Year for the third time, is Valere, Elite and Outta Touch. Stylish and modern, the Azimut 84, Valere, offers four staterooms; al fresco dining on the aft deck, flybridge and bow; luxurious sunbeds on the bow; and a retractable sunroof on the flybridge. The 92-foot Sunseeker, Elite, is a 4-stateroom yacht notable for its huge main salon windows with aft deck doors that open completely to bring the outdoor dining area and bar inside; a spacious flybridge equipped with a wet bar, BBQ grill and brand new hot tub, and water toys including two Seabobs, wakeboard, and large floating mats. Outta Touch is a 105’ Intermarine Savannah, with beautiful gloss wood finishes and bright interior that provide classic elegance, an intimate ‘in-kitchen’ dining table to watch the chef work their magic, and a Jacuzzi on the flybridge with sunbeds for lounging. These three yachts are represented by Bluewater Yachting and new to the charter market.
Over 150 individual charter brokers from the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe attended the 2019 USVI Charter Yacht Show, and with this year’s new online element, more still are expected to virtually attend. The Governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands effective November 9 will allow mass gatherings of up to 100 people indoors and outdoors. Therefore, physical charter broker attendance will be capped at 100 this year, so anyone considering attending in-person should register soon. Brokers can register to attend the show physically or virtually at https://vipca.org/charter-broker-registration/
“For us as charter managers, it’s especially important to provide as much marketing assistance as possible to our owner clients and retail brokers with first-hand visits and crew interviews,” says Ami G. Ira, yacht sales and charter specialist for Bluewater Yachting, headquartered in Antibes, France, with eight offices in six countries. “Charter show participation shows that the owner is business-minded and serious about booking charters, instead of private yacht owners hoping to offset their tax liability by placing the yacht on the charter market with a freelance crew. Those owners rarely understand the charter agreements and the terms they’re meant to respect in times of dispute, which results in unhappy clients and brokers, but it’s impossible to tell who those owners are based solely on their online profiles. Likewise, rarely do freelance captains and crew know the vessel like the back of their hand, so can’t possibly deliver the same stellar experience that a permanent crew can. That’s why we at Bluewater recommend our fleet yachts to participate and expect our retail brokers to attend to do their due diligence on behalf of our retail charter clients.”
Online – a Virtual Element to the Yacht Show
The virtual element of the 2020 USVI Charter Yacht Show will offer VIPCA broker members remote digital access to yacht tours, crew interviews and yacht show seminars with industry updates for the upcoming season upon payment of $50 for individual password access. The fee for non-VIPCA members is $100. Attending in-person is free to VIPCA-member brokers and is $100 for non-members. Register for in-person or virtual attendance at https://vipca.org/charter-broker-registration
Local companies have stepped up to assure a non-interrupted virtual charter yacht show experience.
“Viya is 100% committed with the U.S. Virgin Island and the boating community,” says Rolando Texidor, director of produce and enterprise sales for Viya, the largest telecommunications provider located in the USVI, providing a full suite of telecommunications and entertainment services. “For the show, we will be providing a state-of-the-art Wi-Fi connection backed up with our wireless LTE Network. The two combined will allow a transmission during the show regardless of the area. Inside buildings, outdoors and inside yachts, ‘no waters will be left uncharted’.
aLGLink, Ltd, a British Virgin Islands-based provider of marine Wi-Fi for charter fleets and private yachts, will also provide support to the Show.
“We are providing a dockside HotSpot service for guests to use,” says Jason Eitel,
At no extra cost to the yachts, VIPCA has arranged for The Pamlico Group, LLC, with offices in Florida and Connecticut, to film all registered yachts at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande Marina during the show dates. Additionally, yachts can schedule Pamlico’s professionals to film virtual 360-degree photographic tours pre-or-post-show at extremely discounted rates. These tours show the yacht’s exterior and interior and can be viewed on a mobile device, computer, or using VR goggles. Exhibiting yachts can arrange their 360-degree virtual tour directly with the Pamlico Group by contacting Ted Norris: email@example.com
Latest Show Update
The 2020 USVI Charter Yacht Show has moved away from group gatherings and events, and towards time focused on networking opportunities between the yacht crew and brokers with a restriction to four brokers per yacht at a time. In place of ashore events, both lunches and dinners will be hosted on board, whether catered by the yacht chefs or by the show’s exclusive catering sponsor, Moe’s Fresh Market. All onboard dining will be organized through the clearinghouses with invitations extended directly to the in-person attending charter brokers.
Sponsors of the USVI Charter Yacht show include the USVI Department of Tourism; Yacht Haven Grande; IGY Marinas; Gowrie Group, a Division of Risk Strategies; Denison Yacht Sales; Offshore Marine; Northern Lights, distributed by Parts and Power; Moe’s Fresh Market; Grey Goose, distributed by West Indies Company; Veuve Clicquot and Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; the Charter Yacht Broker Association; Cardow Jewelers; Harbor Shoppers; and, La Royale Cosmetics.
VIPCA is the territory’s 501(c)(6) nonprofit marine association, whose purpose is to promote, protect and further the capabilities of charter yachts and the marine businesses that sustain them. Projects and initiatives VIPCA membership supports includes producing a marine directory of local information, technical advice and resources; improving Customs and Border Protection facilities; facilitating access for charter vessels between the USVI and Spanish Virgin Islands; compliance guidance; installation of territory-wide new transient moorings; and marine vocational training for V.I. youth under the organization’s charity fiscally sponsored by Community Foundation Virgin Islands (CFVI.net), the Marine Rebuild Fund.
Board Director Jennifer Augspurger participated on the panel speaking at the CYBA Inclusive Charter Agreement V.2020.02: Click here to download.
- Changes made:
- Page 1 Broker now joins this agreement for Clause 10
- Page 1 The Owner and Charterer have read, understood, and agreed to the terms
- Clause 7: Broker is liable for funds on his account and stakeholder on theirs
- Clause 10. C. ii. Cancelation is 35% of the charter fee. We changed 65% refund to 35% cancellation to make it less ambiguous in the case when the client only made one payment
- Clause 10. C. If FM happens within 2 weeks of the commencement then the owner should communicate within 24 hours
- Clause 12, Captain’s authority shortening
- Added various “the” to the Owner, Broker, Stakeholder, and Charterer
- Changes made:
CYBA: We, as an association, understand the importance of one standard agreement. This view has been also shared by many other players like Central Agents, Crews, and Owners. It is also a fact that the current COVID pandemic has accelerated this need. We all understand that in order to resolve situations like the one we are going through, standard terms and conditions are a must. The goal is to go through challenges as an industry and stay together.
We have made a huge effort to try and listen to as many voices as we can. CYBA and other contributors to this Agreement have endeavored to really give attention to all points of view and as a result, many concessions have been made. However, it is also important to consider that it is impossible to address everyone’s point of view in one single document. We believe we have covered the most common scenarios in a fair and practical way, nevertheless, if a yacht owner or client has unique terms that are not covered in the Contract, then these can always be addressed in the Special Conditions.
We look forward to the adoption of this Agreement by all players in the industry. We hope this contract will set the basis to grow our industry by providing more and clear terms to common scenarios we occasionally face.
Thursday July 23 O.Blake met with Senator Hodge to discuss his proposed bill of $2/person surcharge for USVI day-charters and $12/person foreign day-charter surcharge. Email sent requesting follow-up Aug 25th. No subsequent responses or replies to VIPCAs continued follow up.
October 5th Executive Director of VIPCA, O.Blake, Testified in Legislature against the Bill 33-0349 regarding the Tourism Revolving Enhancement Fund.
Thank you, members of this Committee, for providing the opportunity to speak. My name is Oriel Blake, and I am the Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association, the non-profit supporting marine tourism businesses in the territory. VIPCA’s membership is 455 strong today comprising of 150 charter vessels, 185 yacht crew, and 120 marine vendor members all with their bases of operation in the U.S. Virgin Islands.
In principle, VIPCA agrees with the end purpose of the Tourism Enhancement Revolving Fund being the support of sustainable tourism development. Allocating money to the restoration and improvement of touristic and historic sites, parks, marine parks, Government beaches and marine excursions is undeniably needed. However, as we are not experts in Government management for sustainable tourism development, we cannot comment as to whether the administration of the fund should be from within the Division of Sports Parks and Recreation or the Department of Tourism. What we do know is that in order to avoid a change in strategy and direction every time there is a new Commissioner or Director appointed, then the proposed administration of the Tourism Enhancement Revolving Fund through either Director or Commissioner is unsound. To maintain continuity in the long-term goals of sustainable tourism a development plan should be, if anything, administered by a committee with public and private participation in order to be fully transparent. Furthermore, VIPCA is concerned with the source of funding for either a Tourism Enhancement Revolving Fund or a Territorial Park Trust Fund, since a connection has been drawn between Bill 33-0349 to Bill 33-0365 which provides for the implementation of a passenger tour excursion surcharge on excursions and boat tours. Were marine passenger surcharges to be considered the source of funding for the Tourism Enhancement Revolving Fund or Territorial Park Trust Fund, then VIPCA would be strongly opposed to Bill- 0349, regardless of from which Department it is administered.
Further, we are concerned that if the restoration of historical sites are included under the same category as the improvement of parks, marine parks, beaches and marine excursions etc., then, since upward of $4 million would likely be needed for the restoration of Catherineberg Kings Quarter alone, the shorter- and medium-term tourism development funding objectives will never be reached. Instead an historical site grant should be independently sought with allocation from the General Fund, and not from a Tourism Enhancement Revolving Fund which we pre- empt shall seek taxes and surcharges as its fund source.
As for the funding of marine parks, Government beaches and marine excursions this needn’t be provided through a new funding source required for the new Territorial Park Trust Fund, but by levying current and existing taxes and fees by the all Government departments and these channelling into the Division of Sports, Parks and Recreation or Department of Tourism directly. Speaking for marine tourism, the annual direct economic contribution through fees collected by the Department of Planning and Natural Resources, Department of Licenses and Consumer Affairs, Port Authority, National Park, the USCG and IRB is $17,615 per vessel. For 150 week- term-charter yachts this equals $20 million and $15 million additionally by all day charter or excursion yachts. That is $35 million dollars direct economic contribution per year. Were each Government Department to tighten their administration of taxes and fees, they could avoid evasion, and their consistent fee application would increase Government revenue. Focus then could be put into working on what is required to increase the volume, the number of tours and the number of passengers. This is what will raise monies for the funding of marine parks, Government beaches and marine excursions, not by creating a new Fund.
Vote against Bill 33-0349 if you believe that, while recognising investment into sustainable tourism development is required, the Tourism Enhancement Revolving Fund with its proposed amendment of administration, is too broad, questionable for its transparency, and without tenable funding sources.