The Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority have announced a significant development to proposed changes to the regions charter passenger law that could positively affect the U.S. Virgin Islands yacht charter industry.
Announced last week by Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr. the 2014 Coast Guard Reauthorisation Act passed the full U.S. House of Representatives to bring the US Virgin Islands territory a step closer to recovering the yachting industry and with it the local economy.
De Jongh stated, “There is no doubt that the initiative brought forward by our Marine Council to Congressman Bill Shuster, the Chairman of the House Transportation Committee, during his November 2013 infrastructure visit to the territory has resulted in this step towards equity for our charter industry and an economic boost for our maritime industries as a whole… This is the first of a number of actions we will initiate to let this market know that we are open for business and we want their business.”
At the moment, an uninspected yacht chartering in the US Virgin Islands is restricted to carrying six paying guests. This rule was established in 1993 and has had a negative impact on marine economic development in the area, with larger charter yachts becoming more and more popular. This restriction on US vessels, along with increased regulations, was one of the primary reasons the local charter yacht industry moved to the British Virgin Islands.
Outlining the punitive effects of the ‘Six Passenger Rule’ when compared to the British Virgin Islands, the Council proposed a change, exclusive to the US Virgin Islands and as a result, House Bill 4005 passed the House of Representatives on April 1, 2014, allowing for alternative compliance standards for US Virgin Islands uninspected vessels that have completed BVI inspection standards. This, in addition to the newly passed 2014 Coast Guard Reauthorisation Act, means that the Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority and the local maritime industry professionals and businesses can look forward to welcoming luxury charter yachts to the islands.
Talk you your preferred charter broker about renting a charter yacht in and around the US Virgin Islands or in the Caribbean and explore this stunning area for yourself.