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Rainbow from yacht deck over cliffs in St. Lucia, British Virgin Islands

USVI or BVI? Recent Rule Changes May Affect Your Yacht Charter Choices

Winter 2022/23 will be a Season of Choice in the Virgin Islands

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) and the US Virgin Islands (USVI) are equally popular destinations for charter yachts today.  At this writing,  a new BVI regulation is affecting yachters’ choices among ports of embarkation and cruising areas. Here we briefly outline that change and how it affects you, dear client.

We’ve got sandals on the ground so we’ll keep you posted on all updates

I and my team will be attending the yacht charter shows this November and December to inspect yachts and get current updates on these regulations so you can confidently plan. You can start planning now, and I will keep you posted on these changes.

Read the update here!

Presently, each island group has its own standing rules (which may change soon) that may require you to choose between BVI and USVI, rather than hop between them.

In October 2021, the BVI  announced a change in policies for foreign-based charter yachts and companies to operate in the BVI waters. Foreign charter vessels who wish to operate commercially in the British Virgin Islands must now complete a Trade License for Individual yachts and Companies and a Commercial Recreational Vessel License (CRVL).

Too much information?

Perhaps, but at least now you understand the current politics between these outstanding cruising areas. Currently, talks between the US VI and BVI governments are ongoing with the shared goal of more reciprocity and mutual benefits. We believe this will occur during the 2023 season.

The Question for You

The question for you, dear yacht charter client, is: how do you decide between island groups for a yacht charter?

What factors should you consider?  Sometimes, the main concerns are:

How do you get there by air?

Do you need a passport?

Here, we explain.  For a taste of what’s possible today, you can click the two links in this sentence to view a sample suggested USVI-only Itinerary and a suggested BVI-only Itinerary.

USVI Advantages 

  • No passport = no worries, if you are a US citizen
  • The 3 main islands to explore are St. Thomas, St. John, and St. Croix. Added bonuses are the Spanish Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico.
  • How to Arrive: Direct flights from many major US airports into St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King International Airport

Sample Yachts for Private Charter in the USVI


65ft Lagoon motor catamaran

5 Cabins | 10 Guests | 9 Crew

From $235,000-$275,000/week + all expenses

Virgin Islands Professional Charter Assoc. (VIPCA) 2021 Winner: Best Crew

2021 Runner-up: Cocktail Mixologists and Culinary


141ft custom-built motor yacht

5 Cabins | 11 Guests | 8 Crew

From $139,000/week + all expenses

Has assorted water toys, a towable banana boat, floating pool, jet skis multiple (standup), kayaks, paddleboard, wakeboard, water skis – adult, water slide, wave runner (sitdown)

BVI Advantages 

  • All entry COVID-19 testing requirements have been revoked. Travelers are no longer required to submit a negative Covid test upon arrival.
  • Referred to as the “Pearl of the Caribbean”, BVI boasts over 40 anchorages; this means yachties can visit unspoiled areas not easily available by foot or car.
  • How to arrive: Travelers from the USA can take a connecting flight from San Juan, Puerto Rico with Cape Air (www.capeair.com) or Seaborne Airlines (www.seaborneairlines.com), or fly to St Thomas, USVI and take a ferry to Tortola.

Sample Yachts for Private Charter in the BVI


116ft Azimut

5 Cabins | 10 Guests | 5 Crew

From $75,000/week + all expenses

Includes jet skis, snorkel gear, floating mats, and more.


141ft custom-built motor yacht

5 Cabins | 8 Guests | 3 Crew

From $49,500/week + all expenses

Includes beach games, floating mats, kneeboard, paddleboards, towable tube, wakeboard, water skis – adult, wave runners (sitdown)

As a reminder, these BVI and USVI regulations are subject to change, and we will help you navigate those changes.  Thanks for reading and, if you haven’t already subscribed, please do so. Meanwhile, let’s make a plan for your yacht charter!

Related reading: UPDATE! Reciprocal Charter Boating in USVI and BVI Waters

It’s smarter to charter.

Start browsing for your dream yacht charter here.


You can reach out to us on our Contact Us page.

Already have dates in mind? Let’s make a plan.

Email us vacation@carolkent.com

Calling us works, too! +1 781 631 1800


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