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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

How to select the right mooring buoy and what it costs.
by Lynne

July 2005

Since 1991, The British Virgin Island National Parks Trust has installed over 200 mooring buoys for DAYTIME USE ONLY throughout the BVI. These are designed to protect fragile, underwater marine ecology from physical damage (particularly by boat anchors), and to maintain the pristine reefs for the future. They should not be confused with the overnight mooring buoys.

All Virgin Island charter boats are required to obtain a National Parks Trust moorings permit. This permit is purchased through the charter company during your check out. The permits are also available at the National Parks Trust Office in Road Town, Tortola:

Up to 4 people - $25/week
6 people - $35/week
8 people - $45/week
10 people - $55/week

Each additional person pays $5/week. Each additional day is $3 per person per day.
This fee is used for maintenance of the system and for installing new buoys in other high traffic areas.

The National Parks mooring buoys are 13 inches in diameter (with the exception of the larger yellow buoys). There is a 90-minute time limit and they are on a first-come, first-serve basis. They are color-coded as follows:

ORANGE BUOYS: Non-diving.
YELLOW BUOYS: Commercial dive vessels only.
LARGE YELLOW BUOYS: Commercial vessels or vessels over 55 ft.
WHITE BUOYS: Non-commercial vessels, for daytime dive use only.
BLUE BUOYS: For dinghy use only.

Vessels over 55 feet in length or over 35 tons are not allowed to use any of the regular National Parks' moorings, but they can use the larger yellow buoys which are 18 inches in diameter.

In some of the areas where The National Parks' moorings are found, rough and unpredictable ground seas can be encountered, and some buoys are in the vicinity of shallow rocks and reefs. All are strictly for DAYTIME USE.

Overnight moorings, found in most anchorages, are white and are 18 inches in diameter. The average cost is $25 per night. We recommend you arrive at your overnight anchorage early, since these moorings are also first-come, first-serve. Details on moorings are included in the cruising guide and you'll get helpful advice during your chart briefing with the charter company.

If you have questions about specific anchorages or need help planning your itinerary, please call our office and our brokers will discuss the details with you.

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  Ed Hamilton & Company
24B US Route 1, Edgecomb, ME 04556

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