Ports of Entry:
- Road Harbour, Tortola
- West End, Tortola
- Great Harbour, Jost Van Dyke
- Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda
- Gun Creek, Virgin Gorda
Anegada is NOT a port of entry
West End 7:45am to 6pm Mon-Sat
7:45am-7pm Sundays & Public Hols.
Jost Van Dyke & Spanish Town – 8:30am to 4:30pm daily
Gun Creek –
8:30am to 4:30pm Mon to Friday
9am to 2pm Sat & Sunday
Immigration: Sundays and Public Hols
Mon-Saturday 4:30pm to 8:30am.
Customs Mon to Friday after 3:30pm, Sat & Sunday after 12:30pm.
Vessels entering the BVI should proceed directly to a port of entry. You may not proceed to a marina until you have cleared your yacht unless you are using a Ship’s Agent. Because space at the jetties is limited, vessels are allowed to anchor in the harbour before making their Customs entry. If you arrive after hours, you must raise your yellow flag and no one aboard may go ashore. You may seek permission in advance from Customs and Immigration for a late arrival by calling one of the ports of entry. Marina operators should ensure that vessels tied up at their marinas have been duly entered at Customs and Immigration. Only the Captain is required to effect the clearance procedures. The following documents are required:
• Clearance document from previous port
• Ship’s papers
• Valid Passports for all crew and passengers. The US Government requires that all US citizens traveling to the Caribbean must have valid passports to enable them to re-enter the USA. Some nationals require BVI visas – see page 16.
You will be required to complete a Customs and Immigration card for
each individual or family onboard. If you are a charter yacht and you are taking fee-paying passengers whilst in the BVI, you need to buy a Cruising Permit and a National Parks Mooring Permit. This permit allows you to use any dive or snorkel mooring buoy in the BVI for your yacht or dinghy.
Firearms are restricted imports and must be declared to Customs on entry into the BVI. Firearms and ammunition will be held at Police Headquarters until you leave the Territory.
Bathing suits and other beachwear are considered appropriate on the beaches, at the pool or on a boat. Topless bathing and nudity on the beach are frowned upon.
BVI Post Codes
The BVI postcodes are composed by four digits to the right of the locality name and preceded by “VG”.
Tortola Central ……………………. VG1110
Tortola East.. ……………………… .VG 1120
Tortola West… …………………….. VG1130
Anegada …………………………… .VG 1140
Virgin Gorda ……………………… .VGl 150
Jost Van Dyke ……………………. .VG 1160
It is important to maintain the BVl’s pristine natural and peaceful environment. It is illegal to use your own
imported jetskis whilst in BVI waters. As with firearms, these must be declared at Customs upon entry into the BVI. The penalties for using imported jet skis in the BVI are confiscation of the jet skis/wave runners and a $5000 fine.
Local Gov’t Offices
BVI Ports Authority ……………. 468-3435
BVI Tourist Board ………………. 494-3134
Conservation & Fisheries ……. 468-2781
Customs Department ………… 494-3475
Disaster Management ………… 494-4200
Immigration Department …… .468-4700
Information / Public Relations .. 494-2730
Post Office (Road Town) ……. .468-5160
Post Office (Virgin Gorda) ….. .468-6610
Dept. of Motor Vehicles ……. .468-4080
National Parks Trust …………… 852-3650
Immigration / Permits
Visitors are welcome for up to one month. If you wish to stay longer than one month, you must apply to the Immigration Department for an extension. This must be done at Immigration Headquarters in Road Town or Virgin Gorda; it cannot be extended at a port of entry.
If arriving by air, you must have a return or onward ticket, evidence of adequate means of support and prearranged accommodation. If arriving and leaving by sea, you are not required to have a ticket. However, if you plan to leave the yacht in the BVI upon arrival or shortly thereafter, you must have a valid ticket out of the country prior to clearing Immigration.
Crew arriving in the BVI by air or sea to join a yacht must have with them a letter from the Captain of the vessel stating that they are employed by the yacht and will be leaving with it when it departs the Territory.
If you wish to sign off crew and/or exchange crew, both captains must go to Immigration and sign off and sign on the crew members. If you fire a crew member, the law requires you to repatriate them back to their homeland at your expense.
Nationals of some countries must have BVI visas to enter the BVI. Please see page 16 for a current listing of nationalities requiring BVI visas.
• $4 per person / per day for non-BVI based charter yachts (year round).
• $2 per person / per day for BVl based yachts during winter and $.75 per person/per day during summer season.
Cruising permits are issued at Customs and are only valid for a specific charter period. Please comply with this law as failure to do so can result in a fine of up to $5,000.
Reefs, Pets, Customs
Anegada, Gorda Sound and Camanoe passages are exceptionally beautiful but contain many reefs and shallow areas. They are passable with good sunlight direction, a bow watch, and chart information.
Nightfall arrives quickly here, and even the most experienced sailors in the BVI prefer not to sail past dusk. Consult the sunrise/sunset guide located in the general island information section.
Sailors should use caution when anchoring to prevent damage to fragile coral reefs. Where mooring buoys are not available please anchor in sandy areas only.
Fishing and snorkeling are not permitted on Horseshoe Reef Marine Protected Area, Anegada. However, diving is now permitted as long as you go with a reputable dive company. You may not dive unaccompanied.
All animals entering the Territory must be declared at Customs. All pets must have current health certificates and vaccinations, especially with respect to Rabies. Contact the Chief Agricultural Officer (284-468-6123) for details of clearance regulations before entering BVI waters. For further advice, call the Humane Society on 284-494-2284.
Customs duties range from 5 – 20%.
Daily forecasts are broadcast on local stations as follows:
780AM Marine Forecast 0805am Monday-Saturday (0945am on Sundays), and weather updates broadcast every hour on the half hour from 0730am to 0930pm.
Caribbean SSB Weather Net
0630-0730 AST 8137kHz USB
0730-0830 AST 8137kHz USB
0830-0900 AST 8104kHz USB
0900-0930 AST 12359kHz USB
0930-1000 AST 16531kHz USB
WAH VI Radio Repeat NMN
0600 4357 Voice USB*
Caribbean Maritime Mobile
Ham Net (George)
0715 7241 Voice LSB
Southbound II (Herb)
1600 12359 Voice USB
*As well as 4357, WAH also does a simultaneous broadcast on VHF 85 in range. Also includes the NMN repeat weather summary, the cast Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands forecast, the Tropical Weather Outlook, and hurricane coordinates as appropriate. Updated broadcasts are also at 1400 and 2200 AST. A continuous broadcast can be heard on VHF WX 3 in range. The Antilles Emergency and Ham Weather Net does the same broadcast at 0645 AST on 7163 LSB. Additional information can be obtained via the Internet. Popular sites are:
National Hurricane Center
The Weather Channel’s “Tropical Update’
The Marine Weather Centre
The Kite and Windsurfing Guide
Tropical Weather Conditions
The official hurricane season starts on 1 June and ends 30 November. Information on tropical systems is available from many sources 4-5 days before these weather conditions are experienced in the BVI. CNN Weather Channel, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and the radio stations all issue regular 2-3 hour updates on any tropical disturbances. Additional information can be obtained via the Internet.
Tropical Wave – A shallow tropical trough system normally moving west. Ahead of the wave, the wind is generally north-east and behind is south-east.
Tropical Disturbance – Slight rotary circulation with no closed isobars. There are no strong winds associated with a tropical disturbance.
Tropical Depression – Rotary circulation at the surface with several closed isobars. The highest winds are 34 knots (29 mph).
Tropical Storm – Distinct circulation with winds up to 63 knots (74 mph). A hurricane track normally starts in the doldrums 10°N and 30°W to 50°W. It moves in a west-north-west direction, veers more north-west gradually curving to north and northeast as it reaches 30°N.
Hurricane Category Winds Storm Tide (above high)
1 64-82 knots / 74-95 mph 4-5 ft
2 82-95 knots / 96-110 mph 6-8 ft
3 95-113 knots / 110-130 mph 9-12 ft
4 114-135 knots / 130-155 mph 13-18 ft
5 above 135 knots / 155 mph over 18 ft
Fishing / Diving
It is a legal requirement that any non BVlslander over 18 years putting a line in the water must have a fishing licence. Temporary one month licences may be obtained at a cost of $45 per licence.
Licences can be obtained directly from the Department of Conservation & Fisheries, at the Quastisky Building which is located at the roundabout, Road Town, Tortola. Tel: (284) 468- 2700. Alternatively, you can use the services of Shore Side Yacht Services Ltd. who can obtain the licence on your behalf for a fee. For more information on SSYS’s services, call 284-494-5135.
Please note that Horseshoe Reef, Anegada is a protected area under the Fisheries Law and that fishing and anchoring in this area is prohibited. Fishing is also prohibited within the Wreck of the RMS Rhone Marine Park and from any National Park Trusts’ mooring buoy.
We have some spectacular dive sites, two of which are Marine Parks. In these parks, the following regulations apply:
• Use only mooring buoys around the Rhone. No anchoring is allowed in this area. If the buoys are full, anchor off Salt Island Bay and take your tender around to the dinghy mooring system provided.
• No fishing of any kind, or removal of conch or lobster.
• Please don’t remove any artifacts, coral or reef.
Further information on dive sites can be obtained from local dive companies or the National Parks Trust (284-852-3650).
1. Call on VHF Ch 16 – “Nearest dive boat, we have a diving accident”. State location, boat name and problem.”
If no immediate response,
2. Call VISAR on VHF Ch 16.
3. If phone available, dial 999, 911 or VISAR at 767.
Safety – Beware
Jellyfish arrive every summer and sometimes give an unpleasant sting, occasionally resulting in shock. However, it is rarely fatal. DO NOT RUB, leave the tentacle in place, and dab the area with rubbing alcohol or vinegar to neutralise. Later, use an antihistamine . cream. If shock occurs, keep warm, as it will pass in a few hours.
Fish Poisoning / Ciguatera
Ciguatera is caused by a neurotoxin which is only present in reef fish. Symptoms include tingling of the lips, mouth and tongue, itching skin, fever, chills, muscle and joint aches, muscular weakness, vomiting and diarrhea. Severity depends on several factors and medical attention should be obtained immediately. There is no way to tell if fish are contaminated so it’s best to avoid eating reef fish such as barracuda, grouper, snapper and parrot. Stick to deep water fish such as swordfish, dolphin, tuna and wahoo.
Before deciding to dive off your yacht or jump from the shore, check the depth of the water to avoid serious injuries.
If you’re fishing, get bloody fish out of the water as soon as possible or you’ll attract these potentially dangerous predators.
People get more injuries from fire coral (bright orange) than from anything else, so it helps to wear protective footies and gloves if you’re swimming around coral reefs. Also please don’t touch any type of coral as it is very delicate and can easily break.
These trees are recognized by their tiny apple-like fruit, yellow or yellow-green in color. Do not eat the fruit or sit under the tree in the rain. They grow along the shore and their toxin can cause a rash, and in extreme cases, death.
Pacific Lionfish are invasive predators destroying the coral reefs and the fish populations in the BVI. Mature Lionfish lay thousands of eggs every four to five days, millions annually.
Lionfish are territorial and can be aggressive. If stung, apply the hottest water tolerable to the extremely painful sting. Other potential negative health effects may occur. Call VISAR (see details below).
The first confirmed sighting of the Indo-Pacific Lionfish (Pterios Volitans) within the Virgin Islands waters was in 2010. Since then, several organizations tried to control their numbers during various fishing techniques but the numbers continue to rise.
These fish are venomous but not poisonous and if handled incorrectly, their venomous spines can cause severe pain and other potential health concerns. If persons get stung, get out of the water immediately and immerse the affected area in hot water. Once completed, apply first aid treatment.
The flesh of the fish is not poisonous. The Conservation and Fisheries Department is encouraging persons to try this fish as their next meal. By doing this, it helps the Department to keep their populations at bay.
For more information, please contact the Department at 468-2700.