VIPCA served as panelist at Workforce Summit Thursday 29th Sept 2022

VIPCA’s serving on the Workforce Development board is a privilege, and Executive Director Oriel Blake was grateful to be a panelist at the Governor’s Workforce Summit. Having the chance to engage with job seekers and professionals with an interest in the Marine Industry is an important part of VIPCA – Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association‘s work.

We have two exciting upcoming Webinars, attend one or both by signing up:

We have two exciting upcoming Webinars, attend one or both by signing up:

Travel Medical Insurance: What you need to know for 2022 (June 9th, 1pm AST)

The world looks vastly different today from two years ago. On June 9th, Rick Bagnall will be presenting on Travel Medical Insurance and the evolving market. Rick will be joined by special guest Kevin Leys, travel insurance head underwriter, and they will deep dive into key industry points including Cancel for Any Reason, Travel Medical, Travel Evacuation, Coordination of Care, Claims and more. Not a VIPCA member yet? Join now for immediate and future access to membership benefits.

VIPCA Shore-based Health Insurance: New to 2022 (June 22nd, 1pm AST)

In February 2022, the VIPCA health insurance coverage was extended to shore-based active members. In this webinar, Rick Bagnall will discuss the insurance program highlights. This health insurance program is underwritten by CIGNA and managed by the insurance specialist at Gowrie Group. CIGNA provides global benefits and assistance services to millions of members in almost every country of the world. This health insurance plan brings VIPCA members the products they need, backed by the service they deserve. Not a VIPCA member yet? Register for the webinar to learn more before joining with a personal membership!

Shore-based health insurance access for active VIPCA members.

The Gowrie Group, a leading marine insurance agency that manages the comprehensive crew health insurance and yacht insurance programs offered to active members of the Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA), is pleased to announce that starting February 1, 2022, coverage will be extended to shore-based active VIPCA members.


Gowrie Group Extends Health Insurance to Shore-based VIPCA Members

National Park Service seeks public input on Caneel Bay

Release Date: January 18, 2022

Contact: Nigel Fields, 340-776-6201 ext. 431

National Park Service seeks public input on Caneel Bay redevelopment options

ST. JOHN, U.S. Virgin Islands—The National Park Service (NPS) today released an initial set of

concepts that could guide the redevelopment of Caneel Bay at Virgin Islands National Park. The

public is invited to provide input on the concepts for 30 days beginning Jan. 18.

“We developed a preliminary range of options that prioritize the protection of resources and

expand public access to Caneel Bay,” said Virgin Islands National Park Superintendent Nigel

Fields. “Civic engagement is an important part of the redevelopment process. We look forward to

receiving the public’s feedback as we work together to create the best possible future for Caneel


While the Caneel Bay retained use estate (RUE) will remain in place until its expiration on

September 30, 2023, the NPS began planning for the Caneel Bay redevelopment last fall. The goals

of the redevelopment plan are to ensure the preservation and protection of natural, cultural and

marine resources, provide for economic development opportunities through commercial

services, maximize operational efficiencies, and ensure compliance with law, regulation and


In line with these objectives, four preliminary redevelopment options are proposed for the public

to comment on, including:

– Alternative A— The NPS preliminary proposed action balances enhanced public

access, recreational opportunities, resource protection and park operational efficiency,

while re-establishing a world-class overnight experience at a luxury resort. Additionally,

the concept calls for a mid-range overnight experience at Hawksnest Beach separate from

the resort, and the NPS would provide space for an organization to design, fund,

construct, and operate a community destination, such as an amphitheater, museum or

cultural center.

— more —

– Alternative B offers a similar management approach to Alternative A, except the resort

area is expanded and a mid-range overnight experience and public access at Hawksnest

Beach is removed.

– Alternative C includes all resort zone elements identified in Alternative A, and the resort

zone is similar to that of the historic boundaries of the Caneel Bay RUE. No visitor

services would be provided at the site for non-resort guests, and the NPS would not

provide a community space at the Caneel Bay area.

– No-Action Alternative assumes sole management by the NPS upon expiration of the RUE

in 2023. The NPS would not issue any permit, lease or concession contract. The NPS

would minimally restore the site to allow for safe access by visitors through existing roads

and trails, including safe access to beaches.

Additional information about the proposed redevelopment options can be found at and will be discussed at the public

engagement meetings.

NPS will hold a virtual public meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 6 p.m. AST. Members of the

public can attend the virtual event or submit written comments by visiting

Written comments may also be hand-delivered or mailed to the park headquarters at:

Caneel Bay Redevelopment and Management Plan

c/o Superintendent Nigel Fields

1300 Cruz Bay Creek

St. John, VI 00830

About Caneel Bay: Caneel Bay currently operates under a retained use estate (RUE), a unique

arrangement crafted by Laurance S. Rockefeller in 1983, setting aside the 150-acre resort for

independent operation and management within Virgin Islands National Park without NPS

oversight. The NPS expects to assume full responsibility for the property when the RUE expires on

September 30, 2023. The resort was severely damaged by Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and

remains mostly closed. In addition to long being an economic driver on the island, Caneel Bay is also

an important cultural and historical site and the location of the 1733 Akwamu Slave Rebellion, one

of the first sustained revolts of enslaved people in the Americas. Current information about the NPS

redevelopment of Caneel Bay is available at

About the National Park Service. More than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s

423 national parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and

create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at, and on Facebook,

Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.

VIPCA Work 2021 Synopsis

Jan 6: Meeting with Department of Labour Apprenticeship Executive to discuss expansion of the VIPCA Marine Apprenticeship
Jan 8: Meeting with Governor’s Legal Counsel to discuss direction of the yacht charter industry with VISA Waiver investigation during COVID pandemic to enable foreign crews to temporarily work a USVI-only charter
Jan 12: O.Blake gave birth to Indigo Blake!
The March 2: Presentation given by VIPCA to Bluetide Puerto Rico Inc. in collaboration with Tetra Tech for U.S. Virgin Islands contribution to the “Blue Economy Strategic Implementation Plan for the U.S. Caribbean”
March 2&18: Meeting with VI Port Authority to discuss both the usage of waterfront for a Spring Yacht Show and continued refurbishment of Charlotte Amalie’s Waterfront for charter vessel docking year-round
March 4: VIPCA Testifies in Legislature on the new Minor Water Permit for 200 Moorings. The Committee of the Whole vote favourably.
March 9: Oriel Blake presents on Marine Industry and Youth training initiatives at Rotary Club
April 4: VIPCA launches U.S. Virgin Islands investigation for “Social Assessment of Sargassum in the Caribbean” responding to a research initiative by the University of Rhode Island
April 13 & 16: VIPCA meets with various Government departments exploring funding sources for the proposal received for a VI Shipyard to be proposed for WICO.
May 4: Meeting with the Commissioner of DPNR and each Director of Division of Coastal Zone Management, Fish and Wildlife and Enforcement meet with VIPCA to discuss nature of regulating U.S. Virgin Islands coastal waters with regards to mooring and anchoring
May 6: Contract & Industry Standard Committee Meetings get underway
May 25: VIPCA secures a grant to run 2022 VIPCA Junior Marine Apprenticeship to operate between charter yachts and a program out of the St. Thomas Yacht Club on hobbies and optimists
June 9: VIPCA Meets with Property and Procurement to explore options for funding of My Brothers Workshop – Marine through Disaster funding
June 28 – August 5: VIPCA Marine Apprenticeship five-week intensive captains training for Virgin Islands Youth:
• Swimming
• Discover Scuba Diving
• 5-day practical & theory sailing course at St Thomas Yacht Club
• 7-day sail and power-boat operation with passengers including seamanship, upkeep and customer service with Cruz Bay Watersports
• Various sail training days onboard power and sailing vessels
• Technical skill and proficiency in marine systems and mechanics
• US Coast Guard – half-a-day at the MSD
• 5-day STCW Basic Training (Standards of Training and Certification of Watch-keeping) worth $1200 per student.
A mentorship and scholarship program follows these apprentices to careers as captains and crew with VIPCA’s continued support of their careers being made successful in the Marine Industry
uly 19: VIPCA meets with Stacey Plaskett’s office to provide Congress Woman Plaskett orientation of current state of the marine charter industry with areas for attention within Congress
Initiation of negotiation with the Department of Health for COVID-19 protocol implementation for Government approval of the USVI Charter Yacht Show Approval
USVI Charter Yacht Show Sponsorship liaison with all sponsors
August 19: VIPCA Meets with NOAA for a discussion on Marine Economy Data in the USVI
August 26: VIPCA chairs Marine Task Force meeting with the Governor of the Virgin Islands and his chief of staff
September 1st: Virgin Islands Shipyard meeting with WICO Board Director
September 17th: Full day meeting with DPNR and Coastal Zone Management regarding mooring placements throughout the territory
September 22nd: Meeting with Department of Heath “Mitigation Huddle” with order given for a vaccinated-only event for USVI Charter Yacht Show. Various meetings with Yacht Show Committee succeeded
September 23rd: Meeting with CYBA for their AGM to be hosted in USVI
September 24th: USVI Yacht Charter Promo video commissioned by VIPCA. Meeting with the Department of Tourism Assistant Commissioner and Director of Media for funding approval.
October 15, 19 & 24: VIPCA speaks with Commissioner of Her Majesty’s Customs, British Virgin Islands discussing new licensing requirements
October 16: VIPCA raises concern with USVI Government and a conference with the BVI Ministries relevant to marine issues
October 6: Craig Harms presents as panelist representing VIPCA in St. Croix at the Governor’s Workforce Summit 2021 presenting issues of Marine recruitment in the territory
October 7: Oriel Blake presents as panelist in St.Thomas at the Governor’s Workforce Summit 2021 presenting issues of Marine recruitment in the territory and offering training solutions
October 29: Meeting with Raquel Berry-Benjamin, Commissioner of the Department of Education to further the “Vision” of Marine Training
November 7-10: USVI Charter Yacht Show
November 7: Albert Bryan Jr. Governor of the Virgin Islands visits yacht show and makes opening remarks including VIP guests The Honorable Alani Henneman, Asst. Commissioner of the Department of Tourism; Lisa Hamilton, President of the Hotel and Tourism Association,
November 11: The Governor’s Office invites VIPCA to contribute current concerns with chartering in BVI with the new BVI legislation, requirements, enforcement and processes for an intergovernmental meeting between representatives of the USVI government and the BVI government, to discuss Marine Industry and Tourism concerns
November 15: Government inter-island meeting was held offering potential for follow-up meetings and discussions with VIPCA’s direct participation

Chartering the British Virgin Islands

BVI HM Customs

The licences, whether commercial and annual or non commercial and temporary run from November 1st through to October 31st. Commercial Recreational Licencing Act No. 8 of 1992 (CRVLA) – this law speaks to different types of licences: Commercial (Annual licence and a Per cruise/ temporary commercial licence) and non-commercial (temporary import licence).

For all commercial licences, the application process is the same for all charter vessels. You can visit

Step 1. Visit link above. Select the services tab on the right side below the Commissioners photo. Please select Charter Authorization tab. This will bring you to a page with all relevant information regarding this process and forms. The form is fillable online. Please follow guidelines provided to ensure that the processing time can be swift. (Please note this step is for Foreign Based Charter Companies ONLY)

Note: Charter companies has to get permission to charter in the Virgin Islands in accordance with the Commercial Recreational Licence Act, No 8 of 1992. Home based charter companies obtains a Trade Licence and Foreign based charter companies obtain charter authorization (see attached applications and guidelines).

Step 2. Visit link above. Select the services tab on the right side below the Commissioners photo. Please select Commercial Recreational Licencing. This will bring you to a page with all relevant information regarding this process and forms. The form is fillable online. Please follow guidelines provided to ensure that the processing time can be swift.
This process enables foreign charter vessels to obtain and annual commercial licence.

Types of licences;
A) the annual licences will be an annual certificate (effective November 1 to October 31), which further breaks into term charters (vessels that offer or has accommodations) and daytrips, diving and fishing CRVL (vessels not offering accommodations)
B) the temporary commercial licence know as a per-cruise (licence granted for a specific cruise, where fees will be paid before every cruise for that specific cruise (valid for just that one cruise).

It is very important to note that foreign base charter vessels are:
Any Charter Vessel that does NOT meet all three criteria;
registered in the Virgin Islands (BVI Flagged), or has registration exception certificate;
having an established base of operations in the Virgin Islands (BVI); and
Managed by a company registered in the Virgin Islands (BVI),
For a period of five months or more in any twelve month period.

Home base vessels are vessels that meet all three criteria.

Commercial Licences that are for Foreign based vessels under CRVLA No. 8 of 1992, has to record the number of charters pick ups (they are restricted to 7 charter pickups originating in the BVI territory).

The Temporary import licence are for vessels; owned by non-reseidence in accordance with the Customs Management and duties Act, No 6 of 2010, non-commercial/private and remaining in the territory for more than 30 days (120 days for vessels that are register in the USVI and home ported in the USVI) or as required by law, which is also an annual license which is effective for 12months after issue date.

After approval, payment of the license fees is to be paid and a certificate will be issued. This certificate is to remain on vessels and be presented to the Customs Officials at all times when checking in/ purchasing cruising permits. Cruising permit fee is $16.00 (foreign based vessel) and $4.00 (home based vessel) a person a day.


Best Yacht in Show – 66ft & Over
Winner: Burn Rate ◦ Crew: Evert Theron, Tanya Theron, Karien Koekemoer, Daan De Beer, Louis van Wyk
Runner Up: Lady Sharon Gale ◦ Crew: Keith Cressman, Annette Sharpe, Frans Cornelisse, Zara Browne

Best Yacht in Show – 56ft – 65ft
Winner: Aeolus ◦ Crew: Mayon Hight, Therese Gorsich, Elizabeth Bork
Runner Up: Le Reve ◦ Crew: Dirk DeLo, Sandra Anderson

Best Yacht in Show – Up to 55ft
Winner: Southern Comfort ◦ Crew: Ish Alexander, Julia Malone
Runner Up: Sea Dog ◦ Crew: Keagan Steyn, Olivia Boyd

Best Crew in Show
Winner: Justified Horizons ◦ Crew: Ryan Querry, Dani Querry, Christian Doyle
Runner Up: Aeolus ◦ Crew: Mayon Hight, Therese Gorsich, Elizabeth Bork

Broker of the Year – 2021
Winner: Nick Cirillo, Blue Ocean Charters
Runner Up: Lynne Campbell, Carefree Yacht Charters

Cocktail Mixologist Competition Grey Goose – 2021
Winner: Mixologist: Amy Cann, Let’s Play Too
Runner Up: Mixologist: Zara Browne, Lady Sharon Gale

Cocktail Mixologist Competition Captain Morgan – 2021
Winner: Mixologist: Ish Alexander, Southern Comfort
Runner Up: Mixologist: Ryan Querry, Justified Horizons

Culinary Competition – 2021

1. Tanya Theron, Burn Rate

Main Dish
1. Annette Sharpe, Lady Sharon Gale
2. Dani Querry, Justified Horizons

1. Annette Sharpe, Lady Sharon Gale
2. Therese Gorsich, Aeolis
2. Tanya Theron, Burn Rate

Sponsors of the USVI Charter Yacht show include the USVI Department of Tourism; Yacht Haven Grande; IGY Marinas; Offshore Marine; the Gowrie Group; Catamaran Central; Moe’s Fresh Market; Grey Goose, distributed by West Indies Company; Veuve Clicquot and Captain Morgan, distributed by Bellows International; Parts & Power Ltd., distributor of Northern Lights; Pamlico Group; the Charter Yacht Broker Association; Cardow Jewelers; Harbor Shoppers; Viya Business Solutions; and Ashburton Cookery School & Chefs Academy.

2021 Awards Winners

Best Crew in Show – 2021
Runner Up: Aeolus
Crew: Captain Mayon Hight, Stew Elizabeth Bork, Chef Therese Gorsich
Winner: Justified Horizons
Crew: Captain Ryan Querry, Chef Dani Querry, Stew Christian Doyle
Best Yacht in Show – 66ft & Over
Runner Up: Lady Sharon Gale
Crew: Captain Keith Cresman, Chef AJ Sharpe, Stew Zara Browne, Engineer Sean Rosen
Winner: Burn Rate
Crew: Captain Evert Theron, Chef Tanya Theron, Stew Karien Koekemoer, Mate Daan De Beer, Engineer Louis van Wyk
Best Yacht in Show – 56ft – 65ft
Runner Up: Le Reve
Crew: Captain Dirk DeLo, Chef Sandy Anderson
Winner: Aeolus
Crew: Captain Mayon Hight, Stew Elizabeth Bork, Chef Therese Gorsich
Best Yacht in Show – Up to 55ft
Runner Up: Sea Dog
Crew: Captain Keagan Steyn, Chef Olivia Boyd
Winner: Southern Comfort
Crew: Captain Ish Alexander, Chef Julia Malone
Broker of the Year – 2021
Runner Up: Lynne Campbell from Carefree Yacht Charters
Winner: Nick Cirillo from Blue Ocean Charters
Cocktail Mixologist Competition Grey Goose – 2021
Runner Up: “Stormin’ Mornin'”
Mixologist: Stew Zara Browne of Lady Sharon Gale
Winner: “Mermaid Rose”
Mixologist: Chef Amy Cann of Let’s Play Too
Cocktail Mixologist Competition Captain Morgan – 2021
Runner Up: “So Nice I Made it Twice”
Mixologist: Captain Ryan Querry of Justified Horizons
Winner: “Mango Lime in da Coconut”
Mixologist: Captain Ish Alexander of Southern Comfort

VIPCA’s Work 2021

VIPCA’s Year Round Work includes:

  • Virgin Islands Youth Training (5-week intensive Marine Apprenticeship)
    • 1-year Registered Apprenticeship for 12 young Virgin Islanders providing captains training for USCG OUPV Certification
  • Working year-round with VI Government Departments, National Park Service and CBP
    • Working with the Governor’s Office and on the Governor’s Taskforces
      • Chair of the Governor’s Marine Taskforce
      • Member of Restart VI Taskfoce
      • Member of Vision 2040 Taskforce
      • Director of Workforce Development Board
        • VIPCA is recognised as an Eligible Service Provider and is working on producing a Registered Apprenticeship Program with DOL
  • USVI Marine Infrastructure Development
    • Installation of 200 new moorings territory-wide – underway with EDA grant funding
  • Year-round international/national/local industry representation
  • USVI Charter Yacht Show 4-day event
    • Press releases and marketing for the industry
    • Same charter broker attendance as the December CCYS
  • Inter-Government Liaison and Relations
    • Bringing about a CBP Ruling to allow vessels tor charter between USVI and Puerto Rico
    • Working with the Governor’s office on licensing requirements for the BVIs