Legal Aspects

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Chartering LEGALLY in the Virgin Islands

While the Virgin Islands were at one time known for pirates, times have changed and we do have certain legal responsibilities to our owners, crews, brokers and guests. Requirements change from time to time and you will be informed as changes occur. Following are the requirements currently.

If your vessel is US flagged and your crew are US citizens or US Green Card holders you may charter in the US Virgin Islands waters with little or no restrictions.

  • Captain must hold a valid US Coast Guard Masters license with STCW (Standards of Training and Coastal Watch) endorsement.
  • Captain or appointed designee must file an electronic notice of arrival/departure prior to leaving and re-entering US waters. For more information on e-NOAD, please see link to your left – e-NOAD filing.
  • There is a limit, unless a Coast Guard inspected vessel or over 100 gross tons, of six paying passengers at any time during the charter. To carry more than six (6) passengers you must operate outside of US waters. In essence, perform your charter in the British Virgin Islands.
  • The British Virgin Islands allows you to pickup / dropoff seven (7) charters annually. The fiscal year runs from November 1 through October 31 for this calculation. A cruising permit and passenger tax must be paid for each charter. Alternately, you may apply for a BVI Trade License and work permits for each crew member.
  • You must hold a current BVI Boatmaster’s License and be in compliance with MCA regulations. For more information click on the button to your left labeled MCA Compliance.

If your vessel is Foreign flagged and your crew are US citizens you may not charter legally in US waters. Your cruising grounds are restricted for foreign or international waters

If your vessel is Foreign flagged and your crew are not US citizens, you may legally charter in US Virgin Islands IF your crew carry valid C-1/D visas.

  • Although a B-1 visa (a businessman’s visa) is often used in the megayacht industry for near coastal cruising in the US mainland waters it is not valid in the US Virgin Island waters. Steps to obtaining a valid C-1/D visa can be accessed by clicking the button to your left labeled Visa Application Process.
  • Your Captain must hold a valid license equivalent to a US Coastguard Masters license issued from a source appropriate to his/her nationality.
  • Captain or appointed designee must file an electronic notice of arrival/departure prior to leaving and re-entering US waters. For more information on e-NOAD, please see link to your left – e-NOAD filing.
  • There is a limit, unless a Coast Guard inspected vessel or over 100 gross tons, of six paying passengers at any time during the charter. To carry more than six (6) passengers you must operate outside of US waters. In essence, perform your charter in the British Virgin Islands.
  • The British Virgin Islands allows you to pickup / dropoff seven (7) charters annually. The fiscal year runs from November 1 through October 31 for this calculation. A cruising permit and passenger tax must be paid for each charter. Alternately, you may apply for a BVI Trade License and work permits for each crew member.
  • You must hold a current BVI Boatmaster’s License and be in compliance with MCA regulations. For more information click on the button to your left labeled MCA Compliance.