As of February 1, 2005 all charter vessels should be aware of the following:
What is this?
The regulations are a safety code issued by Maritime Coastguard Agency and are being applied in the BVI waters. The applicable codes are “Blue Code” (sailing vessels), “Yellow Code” (motor vessels) and “Mega Yacht Code”. These codes apply to vessels in commercial use for sport or pleasure. This code is in effect as of 2-01-05.
Do these regulations apply to US flagged or other foreign flagged vessels?
What do we need to do?
Go to Road Town and locate the pink Hodge building on the west side of the main drag next to the cab association stand. The Island Department Store is approximately on the other side of the street. The Department of Licensing is on the third floor at the rear of the building. There is signage, but it is not visible from the road. Ask for an application for COI. Submit the application with the necessary documents (see below). They will give you back a copy with a stamp on it as proof of compliance. You will need a BVI phone number for contact for the inspector to call you with date of inspection. They will not call St. Thomas to find you. The inspection process will have two steps. The BVI has hired Bill Bailey, a local surveyor to do a pre-inspection. He will tell you what has to be fixed, added, etc. After completion you will then go to the chief inspector to obtain your COI. The idea is that they don’t want the chief inspector spending a lot of time per boat. There is a lot of conjecture about the boatmaster’s and radio licenses but it is necessary to obtain them at this time. The clerks in the office claim that if the boatmaster license is issued it will meet BVI requirements and that nothing further need to obtained for the skipper. This license will be typically issued for a two year period. You must obtain a radio license. The costs of the radio licenses are $10 for operator and $30 for station license. Make sure you have the serial number and make of the radio. You will need a physical for the boatmasters license. This can be easily obtained ($40) at the B & F Medical Complex near Sea Urchin. You will need four passport photos. Get them for Top Photo near the doctor’s office ($15).
Plan on spending at least half a day! You will need approximately $100 plus Bill of Sale, Vessel Title documents, Certificate of Survey, Radio serial numbers and make, Birth Certificate or Passport (notarized copy), two recent passport photos (you can get these in Roadtown), Captain’s license and STCW certificate.
What are the penalties for non compliance?
Under these provisions, a vessel that does not comply with the requirements shall be liable to be detained. For more information consult your local authorities.