Wickhams Cay II
Beef Island Airport
No formal license
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Find everything you need to prepare for a charter in the BVI. From important base information to required documents for international travel, you can use this information as your guide before and during your charter. Don’t forget to pack a copy to take with you.
Before you go
Wickhams Cay II
The British Virgin Islands
The Sunsail base is located at Wickhams Cay II just outside Road Town.
The base is open 8 am until 5 pm, 7 days a week (evening staff will be on duty until all flights have arrived).
The BVI is – 4 hours GMT.
The language of the British Virgin Islands is English.
Cost of living
Prices vary from restaurant to restaurant; however, the following is a guide for your reference:
- A bottle of wine costs about $9 in a grocery or supermarket and roughly $22 in a restaurant.
- A bottle of beer costs about $3 to $4
- A cheap snack can be bought for about $5 (local chicken, rice dish)
- A budget meal will cost around $10 to $15 (burger, roti wrap – not including drinks)
- A mid-range meal will cost around $20 to $25 (fish, meat in sit-down restaurant – not including drinks)
- A top-end meal will cost around $60 to $80 (Brandywine Bay, Sugar Mill, etc., 3-course meal – not including drinks).
- The average shopping bill for 4 people for 1 week (suggesting all breakfasts, all lunches, and 4 evening meals are spent on board) would be approximately $350 to $400.
What to bring
Passport and visas
Please ensure your passport is valid for the period of travel and for six months after you return. Your passport name must match the name on the flight ticket otherwise you may not be able to travel and insurance may be invalid.
If you wish to sail to the US Virgin Islands during your yacht charter you must have a US Visa and a return flight ticket to your country of origin.
It is your responsibility to ensure relevant visas are obtained where necessary. Sunsail cannot be held responsible for the refusal of entry or travel due to a lack of visas. If you are in any doubt please contact your Embassy for full details.
You must fill in a Customs Declaration Form on entry to The BVI, whether you arrive by sea or air.
Please note country entry/exit requirements are subject to change. Please check https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice for the latest information before you leave. Sunsail is not accountable for any requirement changes.
Customs + immigration
Before leaving the airport, you will have to clear Immigration and Customs. A landing card will be given to you on the plane, along with a Customs declaration form. It is not possible to take fresh food into most Caribbean islands and airlines will assume no liability for perishable articles that may be confiscated by Customs.
On departure from Tortola a tax of $20 US per person will be charged – please organize departure tax payment prior to getting in line at the departure gate.
Environmental Levy: $10 USD per person, payable at the port of entry upon arrival.
Cruising Tax: Paid on the invoice prior to charter, $6 USD per person per day.
Although no sailing licenses are required for cruising in the British Virgin Islands, we strongly advise that you take any sailing certification on vacation with you. This may be useful should you be contacted by Customs or Port Police. If you have not already done so then Skipper and 1st Mate will be required to fill in a Sailing resume to confirm that you have the necessary skills to sail in this region.
National Park Day Time Mooring Permits
The National Parks Trust of the British Virgin Islands has established a system of daytime moorings in reef sensitive areas. This is to eliminate the erosion of reefs but also to help damaged reefs to recover.
For this reason, should you wish to moor, snorkel or dive in any of the BVI National Parks, a Mooring permit is required. The cost is dependent on the number of passengers but it ranges from $25 per boat per week for 4 people to $55 per boat per week for 10 people. Payment must be made to the sales office in advance with the final balance and the permit is issued on arrival at the base.
There is also a government tax that enables you to cruise around the British Virgin Islands which will be charged by the sales office.
Luggage + packing list
We would highly recommend packing prescription medicine and essential clothing (swimsuit, t-shirt, and shorts) in your hand luggage as occasionally your luggage may arrive at the base after you do.
Please pack using soft-sided bags, as these are easier to store on your yacht. A small storeroom is available at the base which can be used to store luggage while on charter.
What’s on board
Cool boxes are available at the base on a first-come first served basis at no additional charge. Please sign these out and return them clean and undamaged, otherwise, there will be a charge for replacement. Only one per boat.
Your cellular phone may work when in the BVI please check with your service provider for coverage details and call costs. You will need to activate international roaming on your contract.
Music + iPods
All boats are fitted with a radio and CD player. If you wish to listen to your iPod while sailing you will need to bring along an iTrip or FM radio transmitter.
The use of flying drones may be restricted in some areas. For current drone regulations in this destination, please visit http://www.bvi.gov.vg/media-centre/drone-users-are-subject-aviation-rules
The standard voltage on all yachts is 12 volts. In order to use electronic equipment that is 220v you will need an inverter suitable for use in a cigarette lighter. You may rent an inverter through your charter sales agent.
DVD / Internet / GPS packages
If you need to stay in touch or fancy settling down to a mid-week movie, you can consider the excellent packages available from Renport, pre-bookable through your sales agent or conveniently located at the base. Coffee Makers, inverters and blenders are also available for hire. These products can be purchased in advance via the Sunsail booking location.
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How to get there
How to get there
Tortola’s airport is situated at Beef Island, at the eastern end of Tortola. Airport Code: EIS. Beef Island Airport to Wickhams Cay II Marina: – Taxi ride: 30 mins
We have preferential rates at many hotels at the UK’s major airports. Please call the team for more details.
Sunsail can only assist with arranging your transfer from Ferry Port to the Base. * See Notes on rates, but we should also say OR the EIS airport to base.* The approximate taxi fare to Sunsail base from $16 per person.
St. Thomas Transfers
If you are landing into St Thomas in the morning or before 4 pm (approx) you should be able to take the ferry to Tortola.
If you are arriving later than 4:30 pm or wish to spend a night at St Thomas, we recommend staying at the Emerald Beach Resort. This hotel is within the downtown area of Charlotte Amalie, where you can walk to various restaurants and duty-free shops. If you are flying in the day before your 6 pm charter start, we would highly recommend that you enjoy a day in St Thomas prior to arriving at the Sunsail base.
If you travel via St. Thomas, enjoy the benefits of the BVI Tourism Board Meet and Greet service. Staffed with a professional team of tourism ambassadors, the USVI Greeter Program is structured to accommodate guests who seek connections to taxis, ferries, seaplane, luggage inquiries, and more. The service is accessible from kiosks stationed in the Cyril E. King Airport and the Edward Blyden Marine Terminal in Charlotte Amalie. The program is in place throughout the week, serving guests from the United States, South America, Canada, Europe, and the wider Caribbean.
We are unfortunately no longer able to offer a taxi service unless it has been pre-booked with the sales office prior to arrival. If you choose not to pre-book a taxi and have no other transportation arranged, then you will need to take the first government taxi available at the posted government rates. For more information including tariffs, please visit http://www.bvitourism.com/taxi-services.
For storage aboard, we recommend traveling light and using folding luggage.
Lost or damaged luggage while flying is the responsibility of the airline and is not covered by your travel insurance. You must not include in Checked Baggage money, jewelry, precious metals, computers, personal electronic devices, negotiable papers, securities or other valuables, business documents, passports, and other identification documents or samples.
If an incident occurs, immediately report it to airport officials and ensure Property Irregularity Reports (PIR) are completed and submitted. Claims will not be considered once you have left the airport.
Find latest schedules: https://www.bviports.org/ferry
Checking in + checking out
All boats are prepared, as per the booking, for a 6 pm boarding time. The first evening is a sleep aboard where you will have the time to unpack provisions and settle into your boat.
The following morning you will receive an on-board boat briefing that is mandatory and takes approx 1 hour. You are also required to attend a chart briefing.
Out of hours
If you have provided arrival details later than 5 pm, the night manager will be on the base to meet you. If we do not receive arrival details, (and there are no confirmed times for arrival) a message will be left on the front door indicating the location of your boat on the dock.
Please disembark by 11 am
Before disembarkation please complete your debrief form which is to let us know if you have encountered any problems with the boat or broken anything during the trip; this enables us to rectify problems for the next charter.
In addition to filling in forms, we also require you to bag dirty laundry and leave in the cockpit, empty all cupboards and refrigerator of food and throw away, return any lifejackets borrowed from reception and ensure that the boat is handed back to Sunsail in a clean and tidy state. We reserve the right to charge for boats left less than shipshape.
At the airport, you will need to pay the $20 departure tax, $5 for under 6 years old, which can be paid in cash or by credit card.
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About the marina
- The Moorings Yacht Club Hotel – Oceanview Rooms
- Amara Spa
- Shower facilities
- Restaurants & Bar
- Swimming Pool
- Nearby local supermarkets
- Selection of shops
- Water sport rental
- Sail Caribbean Divers – dive equipment rental
We would highly recommend that all clients’ pre-pay fuel due to the high volume of boats returning to the marina and requiring fuelling on any given day.
|Approx. $30 US (in & out)
|$3.50 US per bag
|Pre-paid fuel is more cost-effective
|Yes – use local supermarkets if within 14 days of departure
|Bar & Restaurant
|Road Town Monday – Friday only
|Available through reception
BVI is a Level 1 sailing area
Experience levels are based on sailing conditions and the length of passages within your chosen sailing area.
This rating scale is designed as a guide based on the prevailing conditions during the most popular season.
Skippered charter information
The skipper’s time is booked from 12 pm to 12 pm in 24-hour periods. If you have reserved him for the first day of your charter and have a 6 pm start, he will use this time to ensure he is happy with all aspects of the yacht and will be at the base to meet you upon your arrival. If you have reserved him for a later date on your charter he will start at 12 pm on that day.
The skipper is responsible for the safety of the yacht at all times. He is not permitted to dive with you, nor leave the vessel overnight, and must have his own cabin. He must conduct a safety brief with you before leaving the dock regardless of the duration of his contract with you.
For “check out charters” (anything less than the full duration of the charter) the checkout skipper’s time is booked from 6 pm to 6 pm to allow for a meet and greet in the evening and go over basic systems, then a full day with you the next day. This skipper is required to give you a thorough briefing on all aspects of the yacht and dinghy in addition to assisting you with planning an itinerary for the trip and advising you on how to contact the base, the return to base procedures, and the emergency assistance procedures. It is suggested that you attend the scheduled chart brief that will be supplemented by the skipper during his time with you on the yacht.
The skipper will be required to give you as much information as you require concerning the yacht and its systems, sailing skills, and navigation in general. For one-day check out skippers, it is the client’s responsibility to get the skipper back to the base. If you prefer not to come back to the base you must pay for his expenses (ferry, taxi, etc.) to get him back to the base. The average tip for a skipper is 15 to 20 percent of the skipper’s fee. This is, of course, at the client’s discretion.
More information on Skippered Charter Options.
Download Sunsail’s BVI Cruising Guide here.
Sailing area restrictions
BVI: All the British Virgin Islands, including Anegada and the US Virgin Islands (Chase boat coverage and a 4-hour guarantee are not offered if you visit Anegada and USVI).
For Bareboat Charter with Sunsail Crew NO sailing in the US Virgin Islands and the Spanish Virgin Islands.
Not all Sunsail yachts or sailboats are permitted to sail into the USVI. If you wish to sail into the USVI you must be a US citizen, resident, or have a US Visa which has to be obtained before arrival in the Caribbean. You must also submit a request ahead of time if you wish to sail to the USVI since it is outside our 4-hour guarantee area.
Rest of Caribbean: No further than 20 miles out from Puerto Rico to Grenada, excluding Saba, Montserrat, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago. ** Check all of this **
Night Sailing is not permitted; you must be moored at least one hour before sunset at all of our locations.
Charts + pilot books
All the charts and pilot books you will need for the sailing area are on board the yacht.
Formalities + taxes
A valid passport & crew list is compulsory for clearance.
- Checking out of BVI by boat: paid to Customs Office, $20 per person
- Checking into the BVI by boat: paid to Customs Office, $7.30 approximately
- Environmental Levy: paid upon arrival, $10 per person
- Departure tax and security: paid at the airport, up to $20 per person
- Departure tax: paid on the ferry, $20 per person
- Cruising permit: paid on the invoice, $6 per person per day
- Chartering from another country into the BVI’s, Customs will charge cruising tax on entry into the BVI set as $6 – $16 per person per day, depending on the yacht’s home port.
- National Parks Day Time Mooring Permit: paid on invoice $25 – $55 per boat, per week.
- Nighttime moorings: $30 per night (Although this can vary, with prices up to USD 65 per night at places like Peter Island).
- Virgin Island Search and Rescue (VISR): $2 per person.
Moorings fees + taxes
Most overnight stops in the BVI will be at mooring buoys/anchors as opposed to alongside quays. Fees are currently approx $30 – $40 f
Health & Safety
Illness or injury
If you are sick and visit the doctor or hospital during your trip please have a member of your party contact the Sunsail base manager as soon as possible.
Swimming is often a fun and important part of a vacation. However local rules, flag systems, currents, and where swimming may be permitted, can be different and vary from country to country. Snorkel vests, Life Jackets, and Diver Down flags are all available on board.
- Talk to children about water safety at the start of a vacation, making them aware of the potential dangers.
- Accidents can happen at any time on vacation, but often they happen on the first and last day, so keep watch and do not get distracted when your children are playing by, or in the water.
- Children in or near water should always be supervised by an adult and never left unattended.
- Get in the water with them, it is easier to keep an eye on them as well as good fun. Floatation devices are highly recommended for children but are not a substitute for supervision.
Be aware of your surroundings
- Check warning flags and signage on the beach and only swim where it is permitted.
- Beware of dangerous currents, these can be very powerful. Not all beaches have lifeguards and/or warning flags.
- Beware of underwater hazards, such as reefs, rocks, sudden changes in depth and marine life.
- Never swim where a sign says not to e.g. in zoned areas for jet boats or jet skis.
- Never swim at night or after drinking alcohol.
Look out for others
- Never swim alone, ‘buddy up’ with others in your party, and use the snorkel vests provided.
- Know how and where to get help. If you see someone in difficulty; raise the alarm, preferably the emergency services. Ensure you know the correct number for the country you are in.
Do not overestimate your ability
- Consider swimming lessons before you go if you think it would be useful to learn proper swimming techniques.
- Even if you regularly swim in a pool, remember that open-water swimming can be very different.
All yachts are equipped with adult life jackets, harnesses, snorkel vests & diver down flags. You can see all this equipment demonstrated in our online safety briefing, and we strongly recommend that you make use of this equipment during your vacation. This safety equipment will be displayed in the saloon of your boat onboarding – If you have any questions feel free to ask our base staff during your briefing.
We have a very limited supply of children’s life jackets on base so highly recommend that if you are traveling with children, you bring their own. This ensures that children have correctly fitting jackets that are comfortable for them.
Children should not be allowed in the dinghy without a life jacket or buoyancy aid and should wear a buoyancy aid or harness whilst on deck.
Children under the age of 16 should not operate an outboard engine and should be supervised at all times when in the dinghy.
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Order your provisioning in advance and enjoy more time on the water. Online orders must be placed 5 days prior to your departure date. If within 5 days of your charter, there are local supermarkets located near the base as well as throughout the islands.
As well as the three restaurants on the base, there are numerous restaurants a short taxi ride away from the base. Most restaurants within the BVI close at 10 pm
The Moorings Yacht Club: breakfast, lunch, and dinner (at the base)
Charlie’s: lunch and dinner (at the base)
Ginny’s: coffee and sandwiches (at the base)
Pussers Road Town – 5-minute taxi
For more information on restaurants in Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, Jost van Dyke, and other islands please speak to our base team who will be happy to provide information and recommendations.
Restaurants closed during September – Low Season
If you decide to travel in low season there is likely to be a limited choice of restaurants to eat ashore and you should provision accordingly. This would be a perfect time of year to enjoy a BBQ off the back of your boat.
Tipping is standard and expected in all restaurants/bars and for other services undertaken during your vacation. The rule of thumb is generally 10-15% of the amount charged. Some establishments automatically add this to the bill.
Around the base
The Allamanda Gallery showcases the photographic artwork of Amanda Baker, who has been capturing the British Virgin Islands (in all its hues) since her arrival as a delivery crew on a Moorings 432 in 1988. After ten years of owner, operating a private charter boat based in Tortola, she launched Virgin Portraits Photography and opened the first “Allamanda Gallery” in 2007 in Road Town. In July 2021, she opened Allamanda Gallery #5 located opposite Charlie’s at The Moorings base, offering an array of prints, books & souvenirs, as well as customizable metal prints, canvases, and beautiful scenic photographs all available to ship worldwide. Unique teak framing and creative displays are her forte’.
The Moorings Yacht Club Hotel
Located at the Sunsail base, The Moorings Yacht Club Hotel invites you to stay a few days on land. All rooms are fully equipped with air-conditioning, basic cable TV, refrigerator and local phone service. To book your stay at The Moorings Yacht Club Hotel, or for more information regarding pricing and availability, please speak with a Sunsail Vacation Planner or request a room online.
USD is the currency used throughout the British Virgin Islands. Credit cards are widely accepted except in smaller establishments.
US Banks are situated in Road Town, Tortola and Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda, and operate under normal banking hours, 9 am – 2 pm Monday – Friday. Local banks on Tortola include First Caribbean, Banco Popular, Scotia Bank, and First Bank.
ATMs are limited. Please bring the cash you will need for your entire stay.
Credit card information
Visa and Mastercard are accepted by most restaurants and hotels, as well as by local stores and supermarkets.
There is a deli and provisioning facility available at the base. Supermarkets are located in Road Town. Supermarkets are generally open daily and the hours of operation vary based on the day of the week as well as low or high season.
Located on Main Street, Road Town; Tel: 284 494 3701. Mon. – Fri: 8:30am/4:30pm, Sat.: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Note: A postbox is available at the Mariner Yacht Club Hotel front desk.
Things to do
Yoga by Yoganimity
Suitable for all levels, this flowing Hatha yoga class will teach you the fundamentals and foundations of yoga asanas (poses), to develop strength and flexibility in both body and mind. Creative sequencing and synchronizing breath work will have a calming effect on your nervous system leaving you feeling energized and centered. Private classes are available on request. Classes take place on the deck in the garden by the pool. Mats provided – $15 per class. Schedule is available at the front desk.
Water toys + sports
Sail Caribbean Divers is a PADI 5 Star Dive Centre, offering rendezvous diving at various points throughout the BVI, for Certified and Non-Certified Divers.
If you are interested in an unforgettable diving experience, please visit Daily Dive Trips – Sail Caribbean Divers to see prices and instructions on how to book. If you have any queries regarding the diving packages on offer, please email email@example.com.
We are unable to provide masks and snorkels to our customers, fins are available if you wish to use them. We are limited on children’s sizes so if you have your own you may wish to bring them with you.
If you plan to fish in the BVI, you will need to obtain your recreational fishing license directly from Sail Caribbean. For instructions on how to apply for a fishing permit, please visit Fishing Permits – Sail Caribbean Divers.
Please take note of the following:
- Once granted the fishing permit, it is only valid for one month.
- Taking lobster and spearfishing (any method) are prohibited.
- It is illegal to have billed fish in one’s possession or to have more than 30 lbs by weight in one’s possession per boat.
- Sail Caribbean Divers offers spinning rods and trolling rods for daily and weekly rental.
Please see the rental reservations form and pricing: SCD RENTAL RESERVATION FORM – WC2 MARINER INN & MARINA (sailcaribbeandivers.com). Send your rental forms to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any queries about fishing licenses, please email email@example.com
Watersports for rent We offer 1-man kayaks, 2-man kayaks, beginner SUPs, intermediate SUPs, and floats for rent.
For more information on what’s included on your yacht, please view the full list here.
Beef Island (Tortola)
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