IVIC – Inter Virgin Islands Council (with the BVIs)

VIPCA shall present accompanying the USVI Governor Bryan to the BVI Premier on February 4th. VIPCA has submitted its requests of the BVI concerning foreign vessel entry fees and fishing vessel licenses.

On January 27th VIPCA presented to the USVI Government and on January 31st shall discuss the white paper’s proposals by conference call in advance and preparation of the meeting in Tortola with The Premier on February 4th 2020.

For more information contact Oriel Blake: info@vipca.org

Meeting with Sport Parks and Recreation

VIPCA has met with the asst. Commissioner of Sport Parks and Recreation and the following came about:

  1. VIPCA’s vision would be that all children at Virgin Islands Elementary schools are taught to swim. This could be facilitated with funding through the Department of Sports, Parks and Recreation of school bus transportation and lessons at the St Thomas Swimming Association pool (STSA).
  2. VIPCA would be interested to know if there is funding available within the Dept. of Sports, Parks and Recreation for the charter of a bus and driver and swim training with STSA? If not, VIPCA and its 501(c)3 Marine Rebuild Fund in CFVI would be willing to assist in raising a grant and partnering to run the school swimming program.

Governor Convenes First Meeting of Marine Task Force, 31 Dec.2019

Governor Convenes First Meeting of Marine Task Force
By Source staff -January 3, 2020

Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. convened the first meeting of his Marine Task Force
Tuesday, according to a news release issued by Government House.

The task force is a group of private sector individuals representing all
aspects of the marine industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands. According to
Government House, the Marine Task Force’s purpose is to revitalize and grow
the V.I. marine industry, to boost the economy, create jobs for residents
through workforce development and enhance the USVI’s tourism product.

The task force is intended to be a public-private partnership between
marine-based businesses and the Government of the Virgin Islands.

At its inaugural meeting, the group discussed a wide range of topics
– Building up marine infrastructure
– Increasing moorings throughout the territory
– Developing marine apprenticeship programs to broaden job opportunities for
residents in the marine industry
– Maximizing the potential of Benner Bay on St. Thomas
– Expanding the marine service industries to encourage additional vessels to
stay in the U.S. Virgin Islands for marine maintenance and annual vessel
– Streamlining the U.S. Customs process

Bryan described the meeting as “very productive” and a start to his
administration’s goal of increasing the marine industry and the revenue it
produces as well as offering more to visitors.

Those at the meeting reportedly discussed multiple actions that would be
productive including:
– Identifying derelict properties surrounding Benner Bay Lagoon and Salt
River Bay
– Identifying government properties for additional vessel haul-out and
marine service facilities
-Facilitating Krum Bay clean-up with a $2 million CZM Marine Debris Removal
Grant through the Department of Planning and Natural Resources
– Increasing the number of permanent and day moorings
– Providing funding for existing marine apprenticeship programs
– Increasing participation by Virgin Islands students in vessel charter,
marine service provider and shipbuilding employment opportunities

According to Government House, DPNR vessel registration for 2020-21 will be
available online and DPNR is mapping all registered vessel moorings in the
territory on Google Earth. When the mapping project is complete, it will
allow DPNR to connect the mooring to the owner quickly in the event of a

Also, the V.I. began installing new mooring cleats along the St. Thomas
Waterfront on Tuesday. The cleats will reportedly allow luxury yachts up to
23 metric tons to berth. Installation should be completed in two weeks, and
cleats will then be installed on the Crown Bay excursion dock next, followed
by Red Hook and Cruz Bay, St. John.

Along with administration officials, at the meeting were:
– Kelvin Bailey Jr., board chairman of the Virgin Islands Game Fishing Club
– Oriel Blake, executive director of the V.I. Professional Charter
– Scott Bradley, representing My Brother’s Workshop’s Marine apprenticeship
– Dare Blankenhorn, owner of Charter Caribe
– Rich Difede, owner of Gold Coast Yachts shipbuilders
– Guilderoy Sprauve, organizer of the USVI Poker Run
– Harald Tapp, representing Offshore Marine service provider

The task force plans to meet next in February.

December Fourth Quarterly 2019

170 new moorings to be installed in V.I. waters to help protect reefs

Virgin Islands Daily News

170 new moorings to be installed in V.I. waters to help protect reefs

The Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association and the Department of Planning and Natural Resources’ Division of Coastal Zone Management have joined forces to install 170 new moorings in the bays of the U.S. Virgin Islands that will reduce anchoring near ecologically important coral reefs as well as organize the bays to appeal to transient vessels.

Third Quarterly Newsletter

VIPCA October 2019 Third Quarterly.

Moe’s Fresh Market Named Official Provisioner & Caterer of the 2019 USVI Charter Yacht Show

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Over half (54 percent) of U.S. adults named food as one of the most important attributes when choosing their vacation destination, according to Statistica.com. Indeed, dining is one of the finest pleasures of a boutique crewed charter yacht vacation in the Caribbean. Thus, the Virgin Island’s Professional Charter Association (VIPCA), organizers of the 2019 USVI Charter Yacht, set for November 11 to 14, 2019 at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande, are pleased to announce that Moe’s Fresh Market, a locally owned and operated chain of upscale gourmet food markets located near St. Thomas’s major ports, is the show’s official provisioner and caterer.


“With our Moe’s Fresh Market locations in Red Hook, on the Waterfront in Charlotte Amalie and by year’s end at IGY’s Yacht Haven Grande, we look forward to providing the Virgin Islands charter yacht community and their guests with a wide selection of fine foods and beverages, as well as catering to charter chef’s special ingredient requests,” says Willie Hamed, vice president of Demah, Inc., dba Moe’s Fresh Markets.


Fresh foods departments are a signature feature of Moe’s Fresh Markets. Yacht crews can find pre-cut and cut-to-order name-brand selections of meats, poultry and seafood, including fresh fish and live lobsters. Produce arrives twice weekly on flights from the U.S. mainland, plus Moe’s staff has formed relationships with local farmers and those in neighboring islands such as St. Croix, Puerto Rico and Dominica, to supply just-picked fruits, vegetables and herbs. Moe’s Fresh Markets are the only approved Boars Head representative on St. Thomas, a signature feature of the store’s deli, in addition to a range of imported and domestic cheeses, house-prepared traditional and trendy salads, Moe’s StoneHouse Sub-brand sandwiches, and amply stocked salad and hot bars. The bakery offers daily fresh-baked crusty breads and artisan loaves. Catering with these items is available with 24-hour notice. Numerous organic, gluten-free and international ingredients are available throughout the stores.


On the beverage front, Moe’s Fresh Markets’ StoneHouse Cellars offer the largest fine wine selection on the island, with offerings, including spirits, sourced from around the world. There’s also local and specialty rums, beers, liquors, non-alcoholic beverages and waters. Of note, Moe’s Yacht Haven Grande location will boast a special wine room on its second level. Here, regularly hosted wine and food tastings can acquaint yacht crews with what’s new. Crews can Email their provisioning lists to provisions@moesvi.com


“We are very fortunate to have Moe’s Fresh Market in the Virgin Islands since an exceptional charter experience depends on a capable supplier for provisioning,” says Oriel Blake, VIPCA’s executive director. “Having Moe’s onboard catering all events throughout the yacht show as a sponsor attests to the company’s commitment to the charter yacht industry. Food and dining are a big part of both the charter yacht industry and the show. Moe’s representatives will be onsite throughout the show and look forward to meeting crews.”


Get Your Spot on the Dock! Register Now for the USVI Charter Yacht Show!


Some 70 crewed yachts are already registered for the USVI Charter Yacht Show. The largest to date is Columbia, a 141.37-foot steel hull replica of the original 1923- Gloucester-built fishing schooner of the same name, constructed by the Eastern Shipbuilding Group, in Panama City, Florida, and launched in 2014.


“It’s the first full winter season that the yacht is available for charter in the Caribbean,” says Captain Seth Salzmann. “We love the sailing grounds and would love to spend more time chartering in the Virgin Islands.”


What sets Columbia apart from other sailing yachts, says Salzmann, is the luxury vessel’s speed, grace and traditional beauty. Along with modern amenities such as air-conditioning, jacuzzi and satcom communications, Columbia is the perfect blend of history and elegance. Seeing the crew manage the sails as the ship effortlessly cuts through the crystalline waters of the Virgin Islands while receiving super yacht service is an un-paralleled experience.


Eros, a 115.16-foot, wood and steel hulled schooner launched in 1938 by Brooks Motor Craft, in Lowestoft, UK, and refit in 2016, is another classic beauty that will be on show.


“We are giving the USVI show a shot because the Antigua Show is now mostly large motor yachts and therefore we decided to join a sailing show,” says Cameron Riddell, manager. “We especially love chartering in the Virgin Islands. Therefore, we hope to introduce Eros to some new brokers, and spend much of our time in the idyllic waters of the US and British Virgin Islands.”


Recent upgrades to Eros include adding a second water maker in order to produce 1,300 gallons daily and the addition of a beautiful U-shaped couch in the saloon for relaxing, cocktails and movie watching. This upgrade actually adds two more bunks to the vessel, enable Eros to charter with up to 12 guests.


Crewed Yachts can register online at: www.vipca.org/vessel-registration/


Over 110 charter brokers registered last year, with even more expected for the 2019 USVI Charter Yacht Show. These brokers are based in the Caribbean, U.S. and Europe.


Charter Brokers are also encouraged to register online at: www.vipca.org/charter-broker-registration/ Visit www.visitusvi.com for accommodation. Accommodation discounts are available at the Emerald Beach Resort and The Green Iguana Hotel. Book transport at www.vitaxiassociation.com.


Latest Show Updates


“There are a number of exciting activities this year, including a culinary demonstration for yacht chefs by Chef ‘Benji’ David Benjamin at the Blue Eleven restaurant located on the Yacht Haven Grande property. This takes place during the final afternoon after the show, on November 14. Chefs can register for this at: vipca.org/chefs-network-demo-cook/. Best Stoli and Captain Morgan’s Cocktails will also be judged at the Blue Eleven restaurant on November 13,” says Blake.


The 2019 USVI Charter Yacht Show’s dynamic action-packed schedule features four days of yacht viewing: an outstandingopportunity for yachts and crews to highlight signature services, features and amenities to brokers. Plus, there will be a crew cocktail party, awards dinner, sunset cruise, marine expo, and the always anticipated ‘State of the Industry’ address, which highlights many of the off-the-beaten-track anchorages in these world-famous cruising grounds.


Sponsors of the USVI Charter Yacht show include the USVI Department of Tourism; Yacht Haven Grande; IGY Marinas; Offshore Marine; Gowrie Group; Denison Yacht Sales; Moe’s Fresh Market; Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; Stoli, distributed by West Indies Company; Northern Lights Generators, distributed by Parts and Power; the Charter Yacht Broker Association; Cardow Jewelers; Harbor Shoppers; La Royale Cosmetics; and the Pamilco Group.


ABOUT VIPCA: 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 include producing a marine directory of local information, technical advice and resources; improving Customs and Border Protection facilities; gaining ease of access for charter vessels between the USVI and Spanish Virgin Islands; compliance guidance; moving forward a proposal to manage territory wide new transient moorings; marine vocational training for V.I. youth; and surveying and cleaning up bays and mangroves under the organization’s charity fiscally sponsored by Community Foundation Virgin Islands (CFVI.net), VI Marine Rebuild Fund. vipca.org

Entry upon returning to the USVI from the BVIs

One our members brought to VIPCA’s attention the fact that some unidentified day charter operators (not necessarily VIPCA members) have been relying on a federal statute (19 U.S.C. Sec. 1441) to support their decision to not make entry with their passengers upon returning to the USVI from the BVIs.   On its face, an amendment to 19 USC 1441 in 1984, which exempted excursion boats departing from the USVI from having to report arrival or make entry upon return, seemed intriguing and worth investigating further.  On August 26, 2019 correspondence was sent to Director Todd Bellew, the CBP Area Port Director for the USVI. Promptly thereafter, VIPCA received both a telephone call from Director Bellew, as well as an email from Chief Supervisory CBP Office Allen Smith, regarding VIPCA’s inquiry.

As mentioned above, the amendment to 19 U.S.C. Sec. 1441 that was of particular concern to VIPCA was enacted in 1984 — and hence before the fateful 9/11/2001 attacks.  Following those attacks, new laws were implemented in 2003 that did away with the separate agencies previously known as the “Immigration and Naturalization Service” and the “Customs Service” as both agencies were absorbed into the newly formed US Department of Homeland Security.   A branch of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the single unified border and port of entry agency of the United States. The CBP joins together the Customs Inspector, the Immigration Inspector and the Agriculture Inspector at the nation’s points of entry — borders, airports, and seaports.

Importantly, 19 USC Sec. 1441 was a statute that applied solely to the Customs Service, not Immigration and Naturalization.  So, while the statute may have exempted an excursion vessel from having to undergo clearance with Customs, it did not address the Immigration requirements at the time.

As Director Bellow explained to Oriel Blake,  “formal clearance” is for vessels with cargo and that our members are exempt;  however, member vessels still need to report at a CBP facility in person for acknowledgment of crew and passengers.

CBP Officer Smith also emailed as follows:   “Customs and Border Protection was created in 2003 to merge the former US Immigration Service and US Customs Service. CBP not only enforces 19 CFR for Vessel entrance, also 8 CFR for Immigration affairs. [(§235.1 Scope of examination. (a) General. Application to lawfully enter the United States shall be made in person to an immigration officer at a U.S. port-of-entry when the port is open for inspection, or as otherwise designated in this section”.]

Officer Smith also offered these websites as a resource for our members:

In summary, while it would have been quite advantageous for both term and day charter vessels to be exempted from making entry upon arrival back into the USVIs from the BVIs, given the departmental changes in 2003 and the creation of the Customs and Border Protection, 19 USC Sec. 1441 does not provide legal justification for failing to make entry upon return to the USVI.   Notably, a failure to make such entry carries with it stiff penalties:


U.S. Customs and Border Protection Notice of Violation: Civil penalty: any master of a vessel who fails to report arrival is liable for a civil penalty of $5000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation, and any conveyance used in connection with any such violation is subject to seizure and forfeiture.[1][1]


Puerto Rico’s Offshore ‘Spanish Virgin Islands’ Expand Charter Itineraries, Offer New Cruising Grounds to Explore

September 4, 2019


Puerto Rico’s Offshore ‘Spanish Virgin Islands’ Expand Charter Itineraries, Offer New Cruising Grounds to Explore


St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. Visiting Puerto Rico’s eastern islands of Culebra, Culebrita, Vieques and more, often nicknamed the ‘Spanish Virgin Islands’, is now easier. Members of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA) have received a ruling from U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) in Washington, D.C., clarifying entrance and departure requirements specifically for VIPCA-member yachts. This development offers an alternative destination to the British Virgin Islands. For charter guests, this provides the chance to see, explore and enjoy lesser traveled cruising grounds, and is a great travel opportunity for U.S. Citizens who may not hold a U.S. passport to visit the islands of both the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) as well as Puerto Rico..


“I am ecstatic that our yacht Starfish is now able to offer the ‘Spanish Virgin Islands’ to our guests,” says Jennifer Augspurger, Chef/First Mate aboard the 46-foot Leopard catamaran, Starfish, and VIPCA president. “The Spanish Virgins do not receive a lot of crewed charter yachts, so this is truly virgin charter grounds for those who are looking for a new destination filled with turquoise waters, pristine white sand beaches, quaint villages, great snorkeling and diving, and a wonderful Hispanic vibe reflected in the local food, music and conversation. We can’t wait to share this ‘secret’ gem of a destination with our guests!” 


A small boat in a body of water Description automatically generatedPhoto: Anchorage at Carlos Rosario Beach, Culebra. Credit: SailCaribe


In an effort to offer guests new, exciting and nearby itineraries, the VIPCA board has worked with U.S. CBP legal staff in Washington, D.C. over the past 15 months and in August received an official CPB ruling that now makes it easier for VIPCA-member vessels to charter with guests between the USVI and PR. VIPCA has approximately 120 member vessels which are both crewed multi-day ‘term’ charter yachts and day charter yachts. 


“With another recent increase in fees in neighboring islands this is the perfect opportunity for day charter boats to market and explore both Culebra and Vieques. This will open up many new avenues for our industry,” says Garth Hudson, owner of Over The Line Charters, a powerboat rental and charter company based in St. Thomas. 


Culebra, a 10-square-mile island located 25 nautical miles downwind and west of Charlotte Amalie, the main harbor on St. Thomas, is notable for its lively town of Ensenada Honda, the National Wildlife Refuge where endangered sea turtles and seabirds live, and beautiful Flamenco Beach. Culebrita, right off Culebra’s eastern coast, is uninhabited, boasts six beautiful white sand beaches, spa-like tidal pools and one of the Caribbean’s oldest lighthouses. Fifteen miles to the south, the 52-square-mile island of Vieques is famous for its bioluminescent Mosquito Bay and seaside town of Esperanza with its many restaurants.


“Opening up charter cruising from the U.S. Virgin Islands to the Spanish Virgin Islands will be a huge benefit to both U.S. territories,” says Captain Brian Saupe who owns and operates the Lagoon 440 sailing yacht, Altitude Adjustment.


Indeed, Vieques and Culebra have long been a favorite of cruising sailors and USVI residents with private boat access, but a bit of a mystery to the passing visitor. No longer.


“We love to grab a golf cart, buy a ‘pincho’ or ‘mofongo’ from a street vendor and explore the beaches,” says Captain Cory Crowner, owner/operator of Phoenix Island Charters, which day charters its 30-foot mainship 30 Pilot Phoenix. “We let our imaginations wander as we explore lighthouses, forgotten military tanks and relics from another time. At sunset, we crack open a cold Medalla and soak in the culture while the locals keep their traditions alive with percussion performances and locally hand-crafted folk art, shirts and jewelry. This is truly a magical place and an authentic slice of unspoiled Caribbean.”


A small boat in a body of water Description automatically generatedPhoto: Yachts at Carlos Rosario Beach, Culebra. Credit: SailCaribe

Term charter Captain André Stroebel, who, with wife Alison, operates the Voyage 500 catamaran, Turquoise Turtle, is also excited to be able to offer this new destination. “We love the Spanish Virgin Islands. The people are wonderful, warm and friendly. The islands are gorgeous, and the sea life offers a variety of critters not commonly seen elsewhere. Our guests asking for ‘something new’ on their return are going to love exploring this destination with us.”


Charter brokers too, such as Lynne Campbell, who with husband Joe are yacht charter brokers and owners of Carefree Yacht Charters, in Fort Lauderdale, FL, are also looking forward to the new Virgin Islands’ itineraries.


The ability to add the Spanish Virgin Islands to our destination options for new and repeat clients is truly exciting news,” says Campbell. “Many of our clients return to the USVI and BVI repeatedly due to the easy sailing, abundance of islands and anchorages, world class snorkeling and diving, stunning beaches and unique beach bars. Being able to now offer the Spanish Virgins as an alternative to or in addition to our typical USVI and BVI itineraries will only add to the reasons our clients will continue to return to the area. Plus, with easy and affordable flights in and out of St. Thomas or Puerto Rico along with a new and unique set of islands to explore, this will keep many clients with interest in ‘the next destination’ from exploring options beyond the VI.”


Vessels, crews and brokers can learn more about chartering in Puerto Rico’s offshore Spanish Virgin Islands during the always-anticipated ‘State of the Industry’ address presented at the USVI Charter Yacht Show, November 11 to 14, at IGY’s Marina at Yacht Haven Grande. Listen to details about this unique destination and celebrate the exciting new ruling that was driven by the consistent and professional efforts of VIPCA.


For more information and to learn how to become a VIPCA member, please Email: info@vipca.orgor visit: vipca.org


ABOUT VIPCA: 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 include producing a marine directory of local information, technical advice and resources; improving Customs and Border Protection facilities; gaining ease of access for charter vessels between the USVI and Spanish Virgin Islands; compliance guidance; moving forward a proposal to manage territory wide new transient moorings; marine vocational training for V.I. youth; and surveying and cleaning up bays and mangroves under the organization’s charity fiscally sponsored by Community Foundation Virgin Islands (CFVI.net), VI Marine Rebuild Fund. vipca.org


Media Contact:

Carol Bareuther

Tel: 340-998-3650

Email: bareuther@earthlink.net

Skype: Carol.Bareuther

Meeting with the Governor – Marine Strategy Plan for the Territory discussed

A 19 page, 8500 word document submitted today, by VIPCA, to the Virgin Islands Government: How the Marine Industry Will Return the U.S. Virgin Islands to its Place as the Caribbean’s Premier Tourism Destination.

In this document we offer the following immediate, short-term and long-term strategies:

❖ Immediate: Improved Investment into International Marketing and Support of Marine Events by the Department of Tourism
❖ Short-term: Training and Human Resource Development in the Marine Industry
❖ Long-term: Development of Marine Infrastructure
➢ Increase revenue stream to DPNR through an effective enforcement team
➢ Streamline the process of registering boats in the territory, and applying for or renewing a business license
➢ Rejuvenate Charlotte Amalie Waterfront by opening town quay access to vessels
➢ Rejuvenation of Benner Bay
➢ Improvement of Customs facilities for charter vessels
➢ New dock access for charter vessels at Cyril E. King Airport
➢ Amend visa requirements for visiting yacht crew
➢ Promote the growth of waterfront restaurants on U.S. Virgin Islands’ beaches with accessibility to charter vessels and their dinghies
➢ Marine Industrial Park with trade school and dry dock to include a state-of-the-art marine haul out facility with vessel tie-down to protect vessels from hurricanes
➢ Solutions to marine ecosystem decline
➢ Develop the racing yacht and yacht transport industry

Oriel Blake, executive director of VIPCA concluded with the following statement:

The U.S. Virgin Islands’ Marine Industry is falling behind that of neighbouring Caribbean islands, and even the rest of the world. The Territory’s gifts of ocean-based offerings with its ease of travel should mean that the Marine Industry should be thriving, yet despite a recent apparent boom in the number of home-based charter yachts, these vessels relocate both for charter and for maintenance to other islands. Even yacht crew and technical service personnel are recruited from the U.S. mainland or overseas.

The marine tourism product including crewed yacht charter, sport-fishing and bareboat charter, must be strengthened in the Virgin Islands to leverage its most important tourism attracting asset; ready access to the sea. If at present these charter vessels directly contribute approximately $45 million annually to the economy whilst the industry is not at its full potential, then the economic contribution could be expected to more than double were the strategies in this document to be enacted (not taking into consideration the yacht transportation, marine haul-out and boat yard services or marine vendors, which could significantly further increase the direct contribution to the economy). It is vital for the Territory’s tourism to continue to compete internationally, and the marine service industries similarly must be strengthened to support the marine tourism product. By starting with an immediate investment into international marketing by the Department of Tourism we shall see more yachts and therefore a demand for more marine services. As the number of yachts in the Territory increases, increasing numbers of skilled captains and marine service technicians will need to be sourced from within the Virgin Islands, which requires training facilities to be developed here in the Virgin Islands. The development of marine infrastructure is also paramount to supporting the Marine Industry’s continued growth and success. We ask that the Government act now in its role as a facilitator, to create an appropriate enabling environment for the private sector to continue and increase investments in the sector.

In the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) 2009 Report, Subcommittee on Economic Development for Tourism, Hospitality and Retail (1. Goal 5, Objective 5) it is stated that there is a vision to “… develop and promote vibrant and sustainable tourism that provides exceptional experiences for the benefit of our guest and our community…. Support and expand the existing ocean tourism and recreation industry.”* Why, ten years later, are we asking the same questions? If “Tourism is the main business and we have to be extraordinary at it”**, let’s get to work, starting with the Marine Industry.


31 Governor Albert Bryan said at the July 2019 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Meeting

© Copyright 2019, Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association

Web Design Donated By Pamlico Group