Inter Island Ferry Services
Both the British and US Virgin Islands are interconnected by a reasonably efficient network of Ferry services. They run on time (for the most part) are fairly comfortable, have a good safety record, and, while not exactly inexpensive, are usually cheaper than flying on the small island puddle jumpers they compete with.
Since most of our clients fly in from either the Mainland (usually Miami or Fort Lauderdale) or fly in from Europe the PREFERRED DESTINATION AIRPORT will always be St Thomas (STT) in the US Virgin Islands that can handle large commercial jets.
Even if you are flying in to the islands on a private jet, Tortola’s Beef Island Airport (EIS) has restrictions on the size of the aircraft. Check with your pilot during the trip planning stage.
So, depending on the yacht or catamaran that you have chosen, decisions need to be made about how to get to the BVI from the airport.
The good news is that many charter boats can pick you up in St. Thomas. In fact the Coast Guard regulations have recently been changed and now almost any sized charter group can be picked up in St. Thomas.
The bad news is that there are several reasons why your charter vessel MAY NOT BE ABLE to pick you up in St. Thomas:
Registration issues, non-US flagged vessels not authorized to charter in US waters.
One or more crew members may lack the appropriate American visa and cannot either enter or work in the US.
Charter vessels based in the BVI may charge extra to come to St. Thomas to pick you up and drop you off. Usually a nominal sum.
You lose about a half day’s charter when checking back in to US waters on the way back because you have to clear customs and immigration in Cruz Bay, St. John, prior to being dropped off in St. Thomas.
For whatever reason, sometimes it is necessary to board the charter vessel in the BVI and so you need to get to the BVI by ferry. Assuming you have flown into STT, the closest ferry terminal is downtown Charlotte Amalie. Since taxis are not exactly cheap in St. Thomas, this is the shortest distance away. If there is no ferry from the down town terminal when you need it, you can take a cab to the East End Ferry Terminal which has regular rides to West End Tortola. The latest ferry schedules are shown here.
In summary, depending on the time your flight arrives in the USVI, you can take a ferry across to most locations in the BVI to pick up your charter boat.