Charter Planning FAQ
Almost, we are closed on Sunday so our staff can spend time with their families. Sunday sleep aboards may be available - please check with the reservation department. We do not start charters on Christmas Day.
If you are visiting the USVI and not leaving the USVI, standard airline ID's are required. If you are visiting the BVI, every person on board MUST carry a valid passport as proof of citizenship. This includes minor children of any age who are US citizens. Minor children that are not accompanied by both parents have special rules so check with the State Department. You will be stopping at Customs and Immigration in both the BVI and USVI. Make sure all passports are signed and valid. No other ID's are accepted.
This advice is tailored for Americans; if you are visiting from overseas, please check with the State Department for the most current information, including whether or not a VISA is required for the US or British Virgin Islands.
This is one of those mysterious "Island Tings" that has a different answer every day. There are several fees that are collected by HM Customs – you will pay a vessel fee, a per person cruising tax, a per person exit tax, and a BVI National Parks permit fee.
Fees are based upon your statement to the authorities of what date you will be departing the BVI, how long your boat is and how many persons are on board. Fees are subject to change, but you can look at our BVI Customs Fees Page and get an idea of what to expect. Fees are payable in CASH, VISA, MASTERCARD or Travelers Checks.
CYOA offers the convenience of sleeping aboard the night before your charter begins for a reduced fee, if you have purchased a charter of seven nights or longer. This is far less expensive than spending your first night in a hotel, and allows you to get started first thing the next morning. Call us to ask about the fee for your yacht.
In addition to the normal stuff you expect that is listed below, you will enjoy a lot of personal attention – including a personalized, individual boat and chart briefing. Every client is asked to briefly sail the boat with a member of our staff so that you can satisfy yourself that everything is in good order before leaving the harbor.
CYOA includes linens, towels, galley gear, snorkel gear, RIB tender with 15hp engine and a small kit of basic necessities on each boat. Check out our Equipment List and Provisioning List for details.
Please review our Bareboat Qualifications to see if you qualify.
Hard to say but here are some guidelines.
Sailboats will burn about a half gallon of fuel per hour, per engine; don't forget the second engine if you are chartering a cat. For most sailboats you will probably run the engines for about 6 hours per day (12 in total for a cat) for propulsion and battery charging.
If your boat has a generator, you will need to add about three quarters of a gallon, per generator hour, to your total. Most boats with generators return with about 60 hours on the generator – more if you run the generator all day and all night to enjoy the air conditioning.
The U.S. dollar is the official currency of the U.S. and British Virgin Islands. Many spots you may visit have become more sophisticated over the years and now take credit cards, but many smaller establishments still use old-fashioned money. Please be prepared.
St. Thomas and Tortola have several banks with ATM machines. While you will find some access to money machines it is best to plan ahead and bring money with you!
Good question. Check out our CYOA Packing List for details!
Boat & Equipment FAQ
Sorry, no. Every CYOA yacht is individually owned and comes with a 10' – 12' tender and 15hp outboard. You might be able to arrange to rent another tender if you like. Call us to see what we can suggest.
Yes, all of CYOA's yachts are equipped with inverters which allow for the use of hair dryers, but most guests allow the sun and gentle Caribbean breezes to dry their hair naturally!
Yes, all CYOA yachts are equipped with inverters that will allow you to charge your cell phone and laptop but, HEY – you're on vacation – leave the laptop at home!!
CYOA yachts do not include wind scoops, but feel free to bring yours along if you wish. Most guests don't bother, as our regular trade winds do a good job of keeping you cool.
No. It is best that you bring properly sized life jackets to fit any children in your crew, as well as netting that can be attached to lifelines.
Of course! Complimentary snorkel gear is available on our dock; however, we recommend that you bring your own if you use a corrective mask, or if your fin (foot!) size is very small or very large.
We work with several local shops to provide SCUBA and other watersports equipment. You will be able to reserve this equipment during the charter reservation process.
Sorry, we do not. You may bring your own or buy some from a shop here in St. Thomas.
No, we all head home at 5:00 p.m. About one week before you arrive, just give us a call and we’ll let you know the name and location of your yacht. Even though we’ll be gone, the yacht will be left open for you and it will be well lit. Make yourself at home, and come up to office after 8:00 a.m. to check in.
1. When the taxi drops you off leave your bags in front of the office and walk right in. One of our friendly staffers will welcome you and help you finalize your paperwork and deposit.
2. You'll receive pre-departure checkout forms and be directed to your yacht.
3. Before you unpack, you'll want to go through the yacht to verify that the inventory items on the checklist are all aboard.
4. Select snorkel gear from our dock box and stow it on board.
5. If you ordered full provisioning, your food will be on board when you arrive - you're ready to go.
6. If you plan to do some grocery shopping, now is the time to do it. Pueblo Supermarket is about a 10 minute walk from our office, and there are always taxis waiting to help you get your provisions back to our dock.
7. One of CYOA's specialists will help you get acquainted with your yacht, its systems and operation, and go through a chart briefing with you. Both the captain and the first mate must attend the briefing! After the briefing we'll help you off the dock and give you a chance to briefly sail the yacht with one of our crew aboard so that you can be satisfied everything is in order before you leave the harbor.
*If you are sleeping aboard and arrive after 5:00 pm, the office will be closed but your yacht will be open and well lit. Make yourself comfortable, and check in at the office after we open in the morning at 8:00 a.m.
You should be able to complete the paperwork, pre-departure checklist and chart briefing in about 60 – 90 minutes if you and your crew are organized: longer, sometimes much longer, for disorganized crews. Allow extra time if you need to do some grocery shopping.
If you slept aboard, or if you arrive before 11:00 a.m., you'll probably be able to get off the dock that day and head for a beautiful first night's anchorage at St. John, Christmas Cove, Honeymoon Bay, or even Jost Van Dyke.
There is a Pueblo Supermarket about a 15 minute walk from our office. Most people walk there and taxi back with their groceries. Pueblo is a US style supermarket with all the items you’d expect to find in a major grocery store (although the brands may be different than you have at home.)
Further away is Cost-U-Less which is similar to a Costco or Sams Club. This is better suited for large groups who need to buy things in bulk.
During your charter you can pick up additional provisions in Cruz Bay, St. John, West End or Road Town on Tortola, or Spanish Town on Virgin Gorda.
If you leave before noon, you'll easily get to one of the anchorages along the north shore of St. John, Tortola, or Jost Van Dyke. If you leave after 2:00 pm, you can still anchor at Honeymoon Bay on Water Island. Check out our sample cruising itineraries for more information.
This is a very bad idea, as most islands and anchorages are very poorly lit and there are few aids to navigation. It is such a bad idea, that our insurance will not allow our guests to cruise between sundown and sunrise. Get to your anchorage early so that you can enjoy the sunset with a beverage, and have a refreshing swim before dinner.
It's not likely that you'll run into a problem, but boats are boats and anything can happen! If you have mechanical trouble, just call the service number that you were given during your briefing. If we can't talk through a solution to the problem by phone, we'll make arrangements for you to receive help at a nearby repair center, or for a reputable repair person to come to the boat. We do not send our "chase boats" to the BVI, as it is quicker to arrange for help from a qualified repair person nearer to your location.
All prudent mariners should listen to the marine weather on a daily basis. There is a page in the vessel operations or general info manual that lists numerous broadcast radio weather sources. In the unlikely event that a hurricane or tropical storm is forecast, please contact our office at 340-777-9690 for instructions. If it appears that the Virgin Islands will experience a severe weather event, we will instruct you where to leave the boat and where to seek shelter.
1. Be sure to clear back into US customs in Cruz Bay on St. John, or along the waterfront in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas (walk from our dock). Our personal favorite is Cruz Bay on St. John, where there are numerous island restaurants and interesting shops within just a few blocks of the dinghy dock. Cruz Bay is crowded and there's no room for a big boat, so make life easy and pick up a park service mooring ball at Caneel Bay or Lind Point, and take a quick dinghy trip into town.
2. Allow enough time to refuel the yacht as explained in your pre-departure briefing, and then call us on Channel 16 as you leave the fuel dock. A CYOA staffer will dinghy out to meet you to do a post-charter sail check and help you bring the boat into the dock.
3. We will meet you at your boat with the post-charter paperwork to conduct a debriefing and a dive check. While the crew is packing, we go through the checklist to make sure the boat and all equipment is in order.
4. We will return the paperwork to the office along with the fuel receipt. If everything is in order and there is no damage to the boat or dinghy, your deposit will usually be refunded on the spot.
At the end of your charter a CYOA representative will meet you at your boat to conduct a debriefing and a dive check. If everything is in order and there is no damage to the boat or dinghy, your deposit will usually be refunded on the spot.