Frequently Asked Questions

BVI charter FAQs

We aim to provide the best service available when you charter with us in the British Virgin Islands. Below are our BVI charter FAQS, answering several questions that we hear frequently. If you happen to have other questions or concerns, please feel free to e-mail or phone us any time.

Base Details

Base Information

BVI Information

Boarding Information

Yacht Information



I am flying into St Thomas, how do I get to the Horizon Base from there?

There are plenty of taxies available at the Cyril E. King Airport to get you from the airport to the ferry terminal. The two main ferry terminals on St Thomas are Charlotte Amalie and Red Hook. Charlotte Amalie is about a 10 minute drive from the airport offering service to Road Town, Tortola. Red Hook is about a 30 minute drive from the airport offering service to West End, Tortola. You can view ferry schedules HERE .


From Charlotte Amalie to Road Town, the ferry takes approximately 1 hour each way.

From Red Hook to West End, the ferry takes approximately 30 minutes each way.
Depending on how busy the ferry is, clearing in could take approximately 45 minutes.


Upon arrival into the British Virgin Islands, you will be expected to pay an eco tax $10 p/p.

Departure tax is $20 p/p


We highly recommend that you make reservations on the ferries!


Alternatively, there are some great private water taxi services between the US Virgin Islands and the British Virgin Islands.


How much will it cost me to call home using my Horizon Mobile?

Current rates for outgoing international calls ranges from $0.20 to $0.80 per minute with the Flow mobile phones. All incoming international calls are free to Horizon Flow cell phones. For more information you may contact our office.


Does my cell phone work offshore?

The range tends to be around 4 miles offshore.


How does the HYC cell phone work and how much does it cost to rent a cell phone?

You will be required to rent a cell phone from Horizon for US$20 for the duration of your charter. It is a ‘pay as you go’ cell phone with US$10 added to it. Extra credit for talk time can be purchased from any Flow top up providers around the island or you may just call us at the base to get the credit placed on your phone. All Horizon Yacht Charter calls are free, all incoming calls are free. You only pay for any other outgoing calls you may make.



I would like to do some other water sports whilst I’m in the British Virgin Islands. Which other water sports are available to me?

Please visit our watersports page.


Can I arrange to go scuba diving while I’m in the British Virgin Islands?

You can arrange diving course with Blue Water Divers in Nanny Cay. Rendez Vous dives are easily arranged, where Blue Water Divers will collect you from your yacht!


Is there a place where I can rent snorkeling equipment?

You can rent snorkel equipment from Blue Water Divers in Nanny Cay Marina, located opposite the Horizon office. Alternatively, to ensure best fit, you can bring your own.


What sailing or cruising skills are required when boarding a yacht at your charter base?

  • Anchoring
  • Estimating Position
  • Sailed on to a Mooring
  • Docked stern to
  • 3 Point Fix
  • Sailing in winds 25 Knots+
  • Reefing a mainsail
  • Dead Reckoning

Do I have to pay mooring fees in the British Virgin Islands?

Yes, the majority of bays in the BVI provide overnight mooring balls to help protect the waters around the BVI. Cost ranges from $25 – $65 per night.


Will I have crew on my Chartered trip?

We provide professional skippers and cooks at all our bases. Their fees do not include food and beverages and optional gratuity. Crew gratuities are usually based on 10 to 15% of the charter fee.


Are there any Sailing instruction courses available?

We have experienced instructors should you wish to learn to sail or hone your sailing skills. Visit the Learn to Sail section of our website for more information.


What facilities are available at Nanny Cay?

Nanny Cay Marina has the following facilities:

  • Marina
  • Fuel dock
  • Supermarket
  • Gift Shops and Boutiques
  • ATM
  • Chandlery
  • Swimming pool
  • Tennis Court
  • Beach
  • Shower block
  • Hotel
  • Laundry
  • Hairdresser and Beauty Salon
  • Gym

Visit for more information.


Where can I get provisioning in the British Virgin Islands?


Can I use a credit card when visiting the supermarket at your charter base?

Yes, they accept Visa and MasterCard. They will ask you for picture ID.


Why does the supermarket open at 7am and close at 7pm?

These are the opening times for the supermarket. The supermarket opens at 7am and closes at 7pm daily (shorter hours for Christmas Day). Seasonal variations may occur.


Will I be able to get a refund if I need to cancel my reservation?

We are unable to offer refunds within 90 days of your charter start date unless we can re-sell your reserved dates. As we adhere to this policy, we strongly suggest that Trip Cancellation Insurance is purchased.


What methods can I use to pay for my charter?

You can pay by using Visa or MasterCard. Or you can mail a US$ Cashier’s Check or arrange a wire transfer. Please allow for the mail taking more than 14 days to arrive in the British Virgin Islands.

We accept VISA and MASTERCARD. We do not accept AMEX.



Why does your office open at 8:30am?

These are our office hours. Horizon Yacht Charters in the British Virgin Islands office hours are 0830-1730, 7 days a week. We are closed on Christmas Day.


What methods can I use to travel to your charter base in the British Virgin Islands?

Horizon Yacht Charters in the British Virgin Islands can be reached from various regions:

  • From the USA: Via San Juan (SJU), Puerto Rico, connection to Tortola (EIS) or via St Thomas (STT), taking ferry to West End or Road Town
  • From the UK: Via Antigua (ANU) or via San Juan connecting to Tortola or St Thomas, taking ferry to West End or Road Town
  • From Europe: Via Antigua, San Juan or St Martin (SXM) and connecting to Tortola or St Thomas, taking ferry to West End or Road Town
  • From Canada: Via Antigua, San Juan or St Martin connecting to Tortola or St Thomas, taking ferry to West End or Road Town

Further details are available here.


Where can I find your base and where are the Yachts Located?

Horizon Yacht Charters Base in the British Virgin Islands is located at Nanny Cay Marina, South coast of Tortola, 3 miles west of Road Town.

Yachts are located at Nanny Cay Marina on ‘F’ dock, opposite Omar’s restaurant. Horizon Office is on the right-hand side as you enter the plaza, upstairs of RiteWay Store.


Who are the base owner/operators?

Andrew Thompson is the Owner/Director. Kim Struiken is the Finance/Business Director. Henry Leonnig is the Director of Operations.


What types of mosquitoes can be found in the Caribbean and are they harmful?

Several mosquito-borne viruses are now reported to be in the Caribbean:

Please take precautions to minimise your risk of being infected.

  • Use mosquito repellents to avoid mosquito bites
  • Use mosquito screens
  • Wear clothing to cover your arms and legs

What is HDW Insurance and what does it cover?

You can review the HDW insurance explanation here: HDW Insurance explanation.


Do you have WiFi available at your charter base?

WiFi is available at Horizon Yacht Charter’s Base at Nanny Cay. WiFi is also readily available in numerous locations across the British Virgin Islands. It is free in many locations, some resorts charge for the service.

Please note we have Wifi units for rent at our front desk. Enquire to for rates & availability based on your charter dates.


Do I need a visa to travel to the British Virgin Islands?

A visa may be required depending on where you are from. Please check


Would a passport be required to travel to your charter base?

Yes – all nationalities require a valid passport. This includes all USA CITIZENS traveling between the United States and the Caribbean, who are required to have a machine readable passport.


Is there a clear way to travel in and out of each island?

Not in the BVI.


Do you have mosquito nets on your boats?

If you’re wondering “do you have mosquito nets on your boats?” Unfortunately, no. We don’t provide nets but the spray is effective. If you are prone to mosquito bites, then please take advice from your doctor before you leave home.


Are there mosquito’s in the Caribbean and what time do they come out?

Yes, you will find mosquitos in the islands and they tend to come out at dawn and dusk. Please use the complimentary can of OFF to spray on your exposed limbs (not on your face) or bring your own if you prefer.


Would you recommend travelling to the British Virgin Islands and what is it like there?

The British Virgin Islands comprise over fifty islands with the most populated ones being Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost Van Dyke. It is a British Dependent Territory, with its own local government and a British Governor.


  • It has a population of over 13,000 and an area of twenty one square miles
  • Its capital, Road Town, is home to lively bars, excellent restaurants with French, Asian, local and Italian cuisine
  • Anchor at Cane Garden Bay and enjoy live reggae music by Quito’s and The Edge or at many of the other beach bars
  • Visit Trellis Bay at the east end of the island (only a 5 minute walk from the airport) or Soper’s Hole, West End for great restaurants and local crafts shops

Jost Van Dyke

  • Enjoy live music by Foxy in Great Harbour or go to Little Harbour and swim ashore and spend your sea-soaked cash at the Soggy Dollar Bar
  • Enjoy the unspoilt anchorages, Sandy Spit and Sandy Cay for a quiet lunch stop

Norman Island, Peter Island, Cooper Island, Ginger Island and Salt Island

  • The islands, each with their own charm, are only a short sail apart from each other
  • You can enjoy quiet Deadman’s Bay on Peter Island, have lunch on a replica pirate ship at Norman Island, hang out at Cooper Island Beach Club or enjoy the uninhabited island of Ginger for some great snorkeling and diving
  • Salt Island is home of some of the purest salt in the world, check out the giant salt pond or snorkel and dive the famous Wreck of the Rhone

Virgin Gorda

  • The second largest Island in the BVI offers much of the same facilities as Road Town- great restaurants, full service marinas’ pristine anchorages and superb diving and snorkeling
  • The Baths are a MUST! Clamber through a purpose built path snaking between these huge boulders and enjoy what is known here as the 8th World Wonder
  • National Parks are in abundance in Virgin Gorda so go for a hike to a mid 18th century copper mine ruins, Devil’s Bay National Park or some of the other historic sites


  • The “Sunken Island” only 28 ft above sea level and home to its very own flock of flamingos
  • This island should only be attempted with appropriate sailing experience as its shallow reefs make it home to hundreds of ship wrecks
  • Enjoy world famous freshly caught Anegada Lobster at one of the quaint restaurants, such as The Big Bamboo at Loblolly Beach

Good times to go for local events:

  • BVI Music Fest – around the last weekend of May
  • Heritage Festival – first week in August
  • Full Moon – enjoy various late night full moon festivities such as at the infamous Bomba Shack on Tortola or the Mocko Jumbies (traditional stilt walkers) at Trellis Bay also on Tortola
  • BVI Sping Regatta – end of March, beginning of April (as a spectator only, as our boats are not allowed to race)


  • Dining, beach bars and great local entertainment
  • Museums
  • Art exhibits and galleries
  • Historic ruins of mines, mills, forts and rum distilleries

Is it possible to sail to Anegada from your charter base?

Anegada is not off limits, but you need to make your briefer aware that you wish to go there. At that time you will be given permission to go, dependent upon your experience.


Which itinerary or schedule should I choose when planning my charter trip?

Tortola – Peter Island – Cooper Island – Virgin Gorda – Monkey Point – Jost Van Dyke – Norman Island – Tortola. Please check our sample itinerary for full details.


What is the climate like in the Caribbean?

  • Winter – 12-22 knots with a few stronger gusts during the ‘Christmas Winds’
  • Summer – 10-18 knots
  • The climate of the BVI is considered subtropical with average temperatures of 26 to 31 degrees C (79 to 88 degrees F) in the summer to 22 to 28 degrees C (72 to 82 degrees F) in the winter.
  • Average annual rainfall is 27 inches.

Why can’t I drink tap water in the British Virgin Islands?

Have you found yourself asking “Is BVI water safe to drink?” We do not advise that you drink tap water. Bottled water is widely available.


Can I find beach-side restaurants in the British Virgin Islands?

Yes, throughout the BVI.


Which currency is used in the British Virgin Islands?

The currency in the British Virgin Islands is the US$.


Does my cell phone work in the British Virgin Islands?

It is advisable to check with your provider before you travel – mentioning each of the Caribbean islands that you intend to visit as this will make a difference. Please be advised that using your own mobile can result in very high roaming charges.


Will I have to pay a Departure Tax once arriving to the British Virgin Islands?

Yes. US$20 is payable per person (over 12 years of age) at the airport. Departure tax is US$15 if leaving by ferry for St Thomas.


Does my cell phone work in the Caribbean?

We recommend that you check with your provider before you travel. It’s worth mentioning each of the Caribbean islands that you intend to visit as this will make a difference. Please be advised that using your own mobile can result in very high roaming charges.


Will I need to have a cell phone to board a charter at your base?

Yes. You will need to use a Flow cellphone to enable communication between the base and the vessel for the duration of your charter. Communication between your vessel and the base is free of charge. This is a Horizon Yacht Charter requirement to ensure your safety whilst out at sea, in the event of emergency and to enable us to relay any messages that you may receive.


How much ice will I need on my charter boat?

We often get asked, “how much ice will I need on my charter boat?” You receive one complimentary bag from Horizon but you may want to purchase more. This can be bought from the Virgin Traders office.


Where will I be able to get water and fuel for my charter boat?

Your yacht is supplied to you with full fuel and water tanks. However, you can also pick up water and fuel at the entrance to Nanny Cay Marina.


Do you have a sleep-aboard service if my flight arrives too late in the day for me to start my charter?

Since some flights arrive too late in the day for you to start your charter, where possible, we offer the option of a sleepaboard on your first night at an additional charge. Boarding is after 5.00pm and the yacht will be prepared for your late arrival. Please enquire about this option should you require it.


How can I get to your charter base if I arrive to the offices after hours?

If an arrival is scheduled outside of office hours, on notification we will arrange for our taxi driver to collect you from the airport and escort you to your boat.


What time can I board my charter and do I need to arrive early?

Have you found yourself excitedly wondering “What are boarding times?” Well, you’ll be glad to hear you may board the yacht at noon (charter contracts start and finish at noon). Please ensure you allow a couple of hours to complete the chart and boat brief procedure before you are ready to leave the dock.


How does the HYC cell phone work and can I top it up?

You will be required to rent a cell phone from Horizon for US$20 for the duration of your charter. It is a ‘pay as you go’ cell phone with US$10 added to it. Extra top up can be purchased from Flow top up providers around the island.


What can I expect when I get to the office and is there anything I am required to do on arrival?

A sunny smile! When you arrive at the office, please have all your crew’s passports ready in order to complete the paperwork formalities. We will then undertake the paperwork in terms of paying for the Hull Damage Waiver, Cruising Permit, National Park Permit and any provisioning that has been ordered in advance and any other incidentals you may have requested. We will walk you through our INFORMATION FOLDER.

If you’ve not yet reviewed the chart briefing video (BVI Chart Briefing – Horizon Yacht Charters) we will then undertake a chart briefing where you will be given the appropriate Imray Charts for your cruise. The chart briefing will cover cruising areas, and questions you may have about navigation, anchorages, prevailing conditions, or any part of your itinerary.

Once you are boarded and after the Chart Briefing, you will receive your Boat Briefing (if you were unable to complete the video yacht briefing prior to arrival). This covers the operating systems, including rigging, electrical systems, windlass, stove, head, dinghy, outboard and emergency systems. It is sometimes a good idea to send some of the crew to the supermarket in order to provision at the same time if you have not pre-ordered.

During your check-in, we will also issue you with a mobile phone to enable communication between the base and the vessel for the duration of your charter. Communication between your vessel and the base is free of charge. This is a Horizon Yacht Charter requirement to ensure your safety whilst out at sea, in the event of an emergency and to enable us to relay any messages that you may receive. The range tends to be around 4 miles offshore.


Why don’t you have yachts for racing?

Many of our owners do not allow their yachts to be raced.


Does my sailing experience require a skipper on board?

“Does my sailing experience require a skipper on board?” If you aren’t sure on whether you have the necessary experience to sail the area of your choice, please submit a sailing resume through our website and we will be happy to assist you. We can provide a full chart and boat briefings to familiarize you with your cruising grounds and yacht, with prior notice, we can also provide a checkout skipper who will be happy to spend an extra couple of hours with you on a one-to-one basis, or an instructional skipper by the day.


Do you offer provisioning?

Yes, we offer 3 different packages. Alternatively you can order a la carte. You can also just buy beverages. Provisioning Forms are available for download on our website.


Will my boat have deck coolers on board?

YES upon request.


Does your Charter Base Supply Coals BBQ’s If I’m Not Provisioning?

Does Horizon supply coals BBQ’s if I’m not provisioning? You should pick up your own BBQ coals and lighter fluid if you have not asked us to provision for you.


What items will be supplied to me on board of my charter boat?

We supply linen, towels and a Welcome Starter Kit. This includes:

  • Bottle of rum
  • Bottle of spring water
  • Dish liquid
  • Roll paper towel
  • Antibacterial spray
  • Guest soaps
  • Coke
  • Salt, pepper
  • One roll toilet tissue per bathroom
  • Matches
  • Insect repellent
  • Handiwipes/2 trash bags

Do I have the option to obtain additional watersports equipment whilst on my charter experience?

Yes, we have Kayaks, SUPs, Floats, Noodles and Hammocks available for rent.

You can find our full list of watersports equipment here.

If you are interested in any of our extras, please contact our reservations team for further details.


Do you have a list of resources that are available on the charter yacht?

Yes, we have a list of resources which you can see below:

  • VHF radio
  • Dinghy and outboard motor
  • Autopilot on Yachts over 40feet
  • Charts and guide
  • Flashlight & spare batteries
  • Lifejackets
  • BBQ grill
  • Fire extinguishers
  • Through-hull plugs
  • Deck brush
  • Cockpit table
  • Bimini
  • Linens, pillows, towels
  • Clothes pegs
  • Cigarette lighter outlet 12V
  • Roller furling genoa
  • Hot water

  • Cell phone
  • First aid kit
  • Stove top coffee Percolator
  • Flare kit
  • Binoculars
  • Tool kit
  • Boat hook
  • Signal horn
  • Tape
  • Bucket with lanyard
  • Cockpit cushions
  • Inbuilt cockpit table cooler or deck cooler
  • All galley and cooking utensils
  • Log and depth sounder
  • Electric windlass
  • Refrigerator
  • CD player with saloon and Cockpit speakers

Yachts with Genset/AC also have toasters, blenders and coffee makers


Besides the GPS, what other navigational tools can I find on board for a charter and which chart is usually provided?

A231/A232 Imray-lolaire Charts for the Eastern Caribbean, Cruising guide, Dividers, pencil & sharpener, parallel plotter/rule


Do the charter boats have a Chartplotter?

Yes, all boats have chartplotters.


Will I be able to use my iPOD on board?

You should bring the iTrip or other broadcasting device, as only a couple of boats have the ability to plug directly into stereo.



How can I find out what types of electrical appliances are aboard?

If your yacht has an inverter on board then you may use electrical appliances that you have brought with you (hairdryer, recharging batteries, etc.) while sailing or at anchor. You may need to bring an adapter plug. Most of our yachts are 110V with U.S receptacles as in the BVI. We advise that you check with us first since the relevant information is dependent upon your yacht as well as which country you are visiting from. All yachts have 12V sockets.



Does my charter have a proper refrigerator and freezer on board?

The refrigerators will vary depending on which yacht you have. Bear in mind that you should not buy more than 3 days worth of fresh produce as the refrigerator is not going to be as efficient as your refrigerator at home.


Do I need to bring lifejackets for children or do you supply them?

We do stock standard size child life jackets, Type 1. It is better to bring your own if you have children below the age of 6, to ensure the proper fit.


What safety equipment should I expect when I board my charter yacht?

Each boat is fully equipped with a safety box containing all the sailing essentials that a skipper may need.


When I am on the boat, what do I do with the dinghy if there’s no dinghy dock?

You simply tilt the engine and pull the dinghy up on the beach and tie to the nearest palm tree, assuming there is no wave action preventing you from doing so.


Am I Able To Lock The Dinghy?

Asking yourself, “am I able to lock the dinghy?” Yes, we provide a lock with a padlock. You should lock your dinghy every time as cases of dinghy ‘mistaken identity’ do occur and you will be responsible for full value of the dinghy outboard if it is lost or stolen while unlocked.


Is it required to always lift the engine off the dinghy?

This is not necessary in the British Virgin Islands as you are provided with locks and cables. You are responsible for ensuring that the engine is secured safely to the dinghy transom before commencing each sail.


Am I Allowed To Get A Hard Bottomed Dinghy?

We often get asked, “am I allowed to get a hard bottomed dinghy?” Yes, all of our dinghy’s are semi-rigid inflatables.


Will I be able to get a bigger outboard engine?

The size of engine that we have is 9.9 or 15hp, both engines having the same performance.


Is there a spinnaker on my charter boat?

There is no spinnaker, we provide a Mainsail and Genoa.


What should I do if my bag is delayed after I arrive to your charter base?

If your bag is delayed, you will have to report this to the airline desk at the airport. Fill out a form and keep a copy with a reference number and a local telephone number. Please tell them that you are sailing with Horizon Yacht Charters and give them our office number – 494 8787. Typically, your bag will arrive in the next day (or two). The airline will deliver your bag to our office, so if you are out sailing we can arrange for this to be delivered to you. There will be a charge for our chase boat service which you can claim back from the airline. If the bag does not arrive after a number of days, the airline may give you a daily compensation figure to spend. Please check with your airline before you leave.
REMEMBER: this happens often so be prepared – pack some shorts, TShirts, flip-flops, toothbrush, toothpaste and any medical supplies that you may need, in hand luggage. If you are travelling in a party it is a good idea to mix belongings between suitcases.


How much do taxi fares cost to get to your base?

Found yourself wondering how much are taxi fares?

The taxi fare from the airport is US$12 per person, minimum payment is $36.
The taxi fare from West End ferry is US$10 per person, minimum payment is $30.
Taxi fares are subject to change without notice.

Tips are discretionary and typically 10 – 15% gratuity is offered.


How far is the base from the airport and the ferry terminals?

Horizon Yacht Charters Base in the British Virgin Islands ia approximately a 45 minute drive from the airport. It is 10 minutes from the Ferry Terminal in Road Town and 15 minutes from the Ferry Terminal at West End.


bvi charter faqs

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