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Yacht Charter US Virgin Islands

Yacht Charter US Virgin Islands

A US Virgin Islands Yacht Charter is an opportunity to enjoy a sailing holiday around some of the most beautiful Caribbean islands in excellent sailing conditions so don't hesitate to book your boat today.

When considering a trip the three main islands of the US Virgin Islands and the several smaller islands can be just a case of cruising this archipelago or as the starting point of a wider Virgin Island yacht charter, taking in the British Virgin Islands and Spanish Virgin Islands as a longer cruise.

Focusing on US Virgin Islands, a US Territory since 1917, you can indulge in diving and snorkeling on the coral reefs that abound, as well as enjoying the dozens of beautiful beaches and mountain hiking. For those after a more cosmopolitan experience, on St Thomas you can enjoy the hundreds of Duty Free shops in the vibrant and fun towns.

The US Virgin Islands are more accessible from Europe than the British Virgin Islands. Flying in from Europe you will only need to change planes once to start a Virgin Islands yacht charter while you will need to change twice to fly to the BVI's. This makes a US Virgin Islands yacht charter a more convenient proposition if the 60 islands of BVI's are what you want to see.

The Spanish Virgin Islands are a well kept open secret. To the west of USVI's these were maintained by the US military as bombing ranges until 2003 so are largely undeveloped and present an opportunity for a desert island escape quite unlike anywhere else in the region. Expect pristine beaches and a chance to lose yourself in peacefulness.

As to the sailing, outside of hurricane season, the sailing conditions are almost unrivalled anywhere in the world. Expect temperatures ranging from 25-30 degrees C all year round and 10-20 knots of steady trade winds. Altogether this makes for a perfect sailing holiday, no matter what you seek from a yacht charter.

Hiring A Yacht In the US Virgin Islands

On a crewed yacht charter you can just turn up at St Thomas or St Croix, meet the skipper, unpack in your cabin and off you go.

For those who are on a bareboat charter you will need to present your sailing qualifications and final fee to the boat owner or charter company representative, inspect the boat and get ready to sail away. The sailing conditions can be fun but the waters are well charted and though you should always keep a good watch, you shouldn't accidentally discover an uncharted coral head with your keel as in other parts of the Caribbean.

Getting to the US Virgin Islands

All flights to the US Virgin Islands from Europe involve a change of planes on the US mainland. There are airports on St Thomas and St Croix that have airlines flying in from the US mainland and Puerto Rico. Choose your flights according to your charter base.

Best Areas To Charter

A USVI yacht charter can involve three sailing areas - staying in the US Territory itself or as a launching point for a wider Virgin Islands yacht charter.

US Virgin Islands

There are three larger islands and several smaller islands in the USVI chain. Sailing out of St Thomas or St Croix you can explore the pristine beaches, coral reefs and resorts of USVI over a week's sailing holiday. Highlights include the shopping and nightlife of the capital, Charlotte Amelie and the national parks of St John and Buck Island Reef off St Croix. While sailing around the US Virgin Islands, Caneel Bay with its beautiful beaches like Honeymoon Beach on St Johns is an absolute must. Though the Caneel Bay Resort was hammered in the hurricanes of 2017 it has largely been rebuilt and is certainly an important stop for those on a yacht charter vacation.

Virgin Islands Yacht Charter

Thanks to it being easier to access the British Virgin Island chain by boat than by getting on a third plane from Europe, USVI is an easier way to begin your BVI yacht charter. With 60 islands to enjoy including Anegada, Tortola, Norman Island, Cooper Island and Peter Island, and very easy formalities to complete on sailing there from USVI, it could make a lot of sense to fly to USVI to get to the bigger British adminstered chain.

For the Spanish Virgin Islands, if you've never heard of them it would be no surprise. To the east of USVI and close to Puerto Rico, these have only been opened up to civilian sailors in the last 15 or so years. The US military used them as bombing ranges until 2003 but they are safe to visit now and could well go down in your memory as special moments of peace and quiet surrounded by beautiful scenery and uninterrupted, pristine beaches.

Best Islands To Charter A Yacht In USVI

There are marinas on St Thomas and St Croix but none on St John.

St Thomas

There are nine marinas on St Thomas that can accommodate yachts of various sizes from luxury yachts and superyachts (to 400ft LOA) to smaller fishing and sport boats.

St Croix

There are three main marinas on this island that can accommodate yachts of up to 200ft in length.

Types Of Yachts To Hire

There are three broad types of charter - bareboat charter, flotilla charters, and crewed yacht charter. Where it comes to the types of boat, you can hire a motorboat charter, a monohull sailboat charter, catamaran charter, superyacht charter or luxury yacht charter and RIBs or day boats. Each have their benefits.

Motor yacht

Coming in all shapes and sizes from 7 metres to 70+ metres, motor boats are as different as their uses. A seven metre RIB will be a great day boat and can be hired for as little as $110 a day for fishing trips or just blasting about the bay. The 15 metre plus size of motor yacht will have cabins and often en suite heads and cost upwards of $400 a day.

Superyacht

Starting at around $10,000 a day a superyacht charter will come with skipper and crew as part of the package. On the crewed motor yacht or sailboat you will be treated like kings and queens on your personal mini-cruise-ship that will often come with tenders and toys such as jet skis and even sailing yachts.

Luxury Yacht Charter

Coming with or without skipper and/or crew, a luxury charter yacht will cost upwards of $700 a day and will come fully fitted out with all the modern conveniences and comforts of the very best sailing craft afloat. Expect en suite heads and comfortable staterooms but also a lot of fun under sail!

Catamaran

Starting at $450 a day, catamarans are luxury yachts that offer lots of space, a fair lick of speed on a reach and a shallow draft for mooring close into shore. They have twin engines in the hulls so while large they are incredibly manoeuvrable when in marinas and so forth.

Monohull Sailing Yacht

Ranging in size from 10 metres up to 20 or so, monohull sailboat form the backbone of the USVI yacht charter industry. Very good to windward, you will find yourself chewing up the miles at all points of sail without relying on the engines. Costing as little as $120 a day you will enjoy comfort and fun for a good budget price.

Crewed Yacht charter or Bareboat?

Where it comes to a Virgin Island yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat or crewed yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.

Crewed charter

No sailing qualifications or not confident enough to bareboat charter yourself? That's no problem when it comes to yacht charter - you can take on a skipper and crew for the week or two touring USVI waters! With a crewed yacht charter you have someone aboard who knows the ropes and the best places to visit on your sailing holiday. They will know the best spots for what you want, be it hideaway restaurants or the best diving and snorkelling reefs on the islands! Costing as little as $100 a day (depending on the size and type of vessel) you will get the very best from your yacht charter holiday with one aboard. Don't forget the tip at the end of the week!

Bareboat yacht charter

A competent sailor? Have the qualifications required? Dreaming all year of casting off and exploring the islands with just you and your friends? A bareboat charter is just the thing for you. This is cheaper than a skippered yacht charter but you also get the privacy of being in your chosen group without a stranger in your midst. You get to choose your own adventure and go at your own pace - not a bad thing for a holiday to recharge your batteries ahead of rejoining the rat race...

Do you need a licence to charter in USVI?

If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification, below is a list of relevant qualifications:

International Certificate of Competence (ICC): Standard European Qualification for bareboat sailing

ASA 104 Bareboat certificate: The American Sailing Association's skipper standard qualification for hiring bareboat yachts.

RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum Day Skipper level) is necessary for bareboat hire, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course as well as some private yacht owners will require this.

There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too, it's worthwhile checking these details before hiring.

If you want a skippered boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up and off you go.

Best Times To Hire

The best time to enjoy a charter vacation in the US Virgin Islands is often a question of taste and time. Throughout the year the temperatures never really dip below the 20 degree C range and can get as high as 32 degrees in high summer. The rainy season coincides with the hurricane season between June and November.

That allows you to make a choice - do you like crowds and 'the buzz' or do you want an escape? To escape, do a US Virgin Island yacht charter during school term. For the buzz, visit around Christmas or Easter.

The Climate

The sailing season runs from December to June with the hurricane season hitting in June and ending in November. Winds are dominated by the NE Trade Winds and can sit at up to 20 knots, firm and steady all day.

Hurricanes have recently given the Virgin Islands a big kicking and are not to be underestimated. Generally speaking it is impossible to hire a yacht during this time.

How much does it cost for a USVI Charter

There's almost a yacht for every budget when it comes to chartering. For US $120 a day - $840 a week - you can take a sailboat monohull out with five other adults. That is going to be cheaper than a week in a hotel for everyone.

Catamarans cost a lot more - expect to pay anything from $500 to $2,000 a day depending on the season.

Motor boats taken on a bareboat basis can cost as little as $500 a day if they have sleeping acommodation - much less if they are day boats.

RIBs can cost as little as €50 for an afternoon.

In each of the examples above you can take on a skipper starting at $150 a day depending on what the vessel is and their required qualifications to sail it.

Superyachts and luxury yachts are a different league - expect to pay $15,000 a day and up to $100,000 a day if your budget can manage it.

Explore the US Virgin Islands By Renting A Yacht

Whatever you want from a boat charter you are likely to find it in the US Virgin Islands. Want top end partying and shopping and fun on smaller windsurfers and jet skis? USVI have that. Want a desert island adventure with endless beautiful beaches and a chance to hike through virgin rainforest? The US Virgin Islands have that too. Want world class sailing and snorkeling? They also have this! For a sailor, this is paradise and many choose to remain forever. Could you be one of them? Book a boat charter with Borrow a Boat today to see what we mean!

FAQs

Is Yacht hire in USVI Legal?

Yacht chartering is big business in the US Virgin Islands. It is legal and a very popular way to enjoy this part of the world.

What kind of Yachts can I hire in the US Virgin Islands?

You can hire everything from a small motor boat to a large superyacht. Monohull sailing yachts are common, though catamarans are more comfortable and spacious metre for metre.

What should I consider when hiring a Yacht?

Your budget for the sailing holiday should come first. Travelling - both getting there and what destinations to explore. What do you enjoy on a yacht charter? Work out your itinerary from there. Who are you taking with you and what are your limitations as a sailor?

What are the best times to hire a Yacht in USVI?

Sailing conditions are excellent year round, but the sailing season runs between Novemmber and June outside the hurricane season. If you are after a bit of peace and quiet, visit during school term. If you want the buzz, come in school holidays.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht in US Virgin Islands?

There are two deposits to consider. Firstly you will normally have to pay a 50% deposit on booking. This secures your trip. On arrival you will have to pay a refundable security deposit for the trip on your credit card though you can get yacht charter insurance - though non-refundable this can be cheaper.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.

What should I think of before I hire a Yacht in USVI?

Do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book? Where do you want to go? You won't require warm clothing but do bring some windproof layers.

Do I need a visa to visit US Virgin Islands?

If you are from a North American, Oceania or European country you shouldn't normally require a visa to sail in the US Virgin Islands. Check with your US Embassy if unsure.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when hiring a Yacht or Boat?

The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht?

​You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.

What should I think of before I hire a Yacht or Boat?

You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.

What Qualifications Do I need to hire a boat or yacht?

If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.