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Yacht Charter Industry Expected to Improve in the US Virgin Islands

Yacht Charter Industry Expected to Improve in the US Virgin Islands

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BOAT TYPE: Sail boat
LENGTH: 0
YEAR: 1000
NUMBER OF ENGINES: 0
FUEL: Gasoline
DESTINATION: Caribian,31.225552,-89.429054
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The Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority has announced a significant development to scheduled changes on the zone’s charter passenger law that could positively affect the U.S. Virgin Islands yacht charter industry and overall economy. As announced by the Governor John P. de Jongh, Jr., the 2014 Coast Guard Reauthorization Act passed the full U.S. House of Representatives, bringing the USVI territory in the Caribbean inching towards its efforts to regain the yachting industry’s leadership mantle that was once a major part of the local economy.

‘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.’ De Jongh stated. “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,” he added.

The measure now awaits actions of the U.S. Senate as the bill introduced in the House on February 6 provides different conformity to U.S. Coast Guard safety regulations for certain U.S. vessels which are now restricted to only six passengers when operating in the waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands, whereas foreign boats do not have the same restrictions. This rule was established in 1993 and has had a negative impact on marine economic development in the area, with larger charter yachts becoming increasingly popular. This restriction, along with increased regulations, was the primary reason for the local charter yacht industry to move towards the British Virgin Islands.

In July of 2013, the Governor summoned the first meeting of the Virgin Islands Marine Economic Development Council, to address revitalization of the area’s maritime industries. Council members are representatives of all of the maritime industries including sports fishing, diving, marine manufacturers, and charter yachts. One of the first issues the Marine Council focused on was proposed relaxation to the existing charter passenger regulations.

The Council summarized the vindictive effects and overall inequity in standards of the “Six Passenger Rule” comparing it to the neighboring British Virgin standards and urged a change to Congressman Bill Shuster, Chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. This regulatory relief will positively affect both the local charter fleet and the mega yacht industry.

The Virgin Islands Economic Development Authority and the local maritime industry professionals and businesses are thrilled to welcoming luxury yacht charterers to their magnificent islands, and are always attempting to increase their appeal by providing the ultimate in guest hospitality and vessel support.

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