Getting Packed To Sail the BVI
What’s the best way to pack for your crewed charter yacht vacation in the British Virgin Islands?
Pack light! We’ve made this even easier for you with our packing for the BVI full checklist to make sure you don’t forget any essentials!
Pack your soft sided suitcases then take out half of your clothes and shoes. Soft luggage or luggage that packs flat is the best for stowing away in your cabin or locker as space is at a premium onboard most yachts. This is especially the case if you are occupying every cabin onboard. Remember: like the sea, flat is best.
Documents and Money in the BVI
Make sure you have your passport, travel documents and cash (United States Dollars) with you. When you arrive in BVI, the immigration authorities will need to know the name of the yacht and place of meeting (e.g. the name of the marina) so make sure your all party knows this as they enter. Most places in the British Virgin Islands accept credit cards but ATM machines may be spaced out around the islands. One of the advantages of having a chartered crewed sailing vacation is that you can just ask the crew and they will advise you as you sail around. The larger islands (Tortola and Virgin Gorda) have banks but the smaller ones do not.
Gratuity is at the discretion of the charter guests, traditionally based on 15 to 20% of the charter fee e.g. Charter fee is $18,000 then the gratuity would be between $2,700 and $3600. Tipping is a valuable indication to the crew of how you enjoyed your charter vacation and is considered part of their wages. Usually it is paid in cash and handed to them at the end of the charter as the guests are leaving, nowadays crews can accept the payment in different ways such as cheques and sometimes by card. Dynamic Charters can supply this information once your charter is booked. Please see FAQ page for more information.
Accessories and Devices When Sailing
You’ll be traveling on your own crewed charter yacht around scenic islands, swimming ashore to beaches, taking part in the water sports the BVI has to offer (if you want) or relaxing with a glass of wine and a good book. Ah yes, life in the British Virgin Islands is very laid back, with delightful weather and warm seas so sunglasses have to be high on your list! With all this relaxing and adventure it may be a good idea to bring a spare pair too.
Obviously, you’ll want to be taking photographs and this is where zip lock bags come in very useful. In some places you can swim ashore to a local bar for happy hour so zip lock bags are a must for keeping items such as money waterproof. They are easy to pack and extremely useful in a wet environment.
Telephones and cameras may be better in a proper waterproof container. Remember its very easy for these to go overboard so a floating container with some sort of handle would be the best or better still hang round your neck leaving both hands free for swimming. One great option is the waterproofing case for your phone or devices from SwimCell.
SwimCell have even been kind enough to offer a discount for Dynamic Charters BVI just use the code “dynamic10” at checkout.
Everyone travels with a camera and their music, great but bring a disposable waterproof camera too. You will enjoy trying to capture those elusive fish while snorkeling. Go-Pro are the most popular in the BVI as they have waterproof cases and are very versatile. Disposable batteries and cameras are quite expensive in the BVI so bring them with you for capturing those fish underwater. Remember to bring USB adapters and connecting cables for all your telephones etc. as the yachts cannot supply these.
Quick Tip! Check the specification of each yacht to see what they have onboard which will be compatible with your devices.
Yachts have snorkel equipment on board, however you may want to bring your own mask and snorkel, fins are bulky to carry so you might consider leaving them behind as they will have most sizes on board. Make sure you mention all your parties fin size on the preference sheet so the crew can double check they have them. For example – three of your party may have the same size 6 and the yacht may only have 2 sets, this gives them the chance to add extra if necessary. Also kids sizes make sure the crew is aware of the sizes before the charter begins by specifying on the preference sheets.
For a typical seven day charter you would need 2 or 3 swimsuits, t-shirts and shorts, a pair of casual long pants or dress for going ashore to eat or shop. Remember, clothes can get wet or splashed so leave your treasured t-shirt or hat at home. A cover-up is essential. While on-board, swimsuits are OK, but when ashore some places request more modesty and so cover-ups will be required. Your charter captain and crew will advise as you sail around the islands.
You will only need flip flops, sandals or boat shoes (no dark soles allowed) or shoes to go ashore in.
Remember when sailing it is quite likely that your hats will fly overboard, so bring at least 2 or invest in a clip such as Dr Slick Clip or similar to secure it to back of your shirts. Bring a sweatshirt and light raincoat for cooler evenings and choppy seas in the dinghy.
At night it can turn a little cool so pack a sweatshirt or light jumper, also occasionally it does rain when going ashore. I remember a charter where we anchored in Anegada to take guests ashore as they had ordered a lobster dinner at a local restaurant. The heavens opened just as we were about to get into the dinghy to go ashore. So we all arrived in matching black garbage bags, it was quite a laugh and fun!
Sailing in the caribbean calls for SP 30 Sunscreen or Stronger.
Sunscreen and after sun care is very very important from the very beginning. We consider SP15 only a moisturizer here! The sun can be brutal combined with the reflection from the water and the prevailing winds. If you do not want to be burnt, bring a minimum of SP 30, SP 50 is best for the first few days. Remember to use it on your feet too. No spray or oil-based sunscreens please.
Some yachts do not always provide sunscreen and you may prefer certain brands so make sure it high on your list. The non-perfumed sunscreen is the best. Sunscreen oils are not allowed on yachts because of the staining to the decks.
Make sure you bring all your personal medications, allergies pills and antihistamines. If you have any prescriptions bring those too. Plus bug fee repellent just in case. Extra contact lenses, sunglasses and regular glasses anything that will make your life comfortable and you cannot live without. See below for a separate note on insurance.
Insurance is very important not just for travelling cancelation. Medical insurance is important as the British Virgin Islands are not part of American health care or Canadian or anywhere else for that matter. Tourists will be charged for any hospital occupancy and medicine.
Food and Drink
Food glorious Food! Every luxury crewed yacht charter menu is unique, tailor-made for the guests and based on your preference sheets that are sent out well before the charter begins. The preference and information sheets are very important as they provide valuable information for the boat crew, especially on the food and beverage side. You can let the crew know exactly what your favourite dishes are and warn of any allergies. This will include beverages too. Every yacht available from Dynamic Charters BVI boasts a bar stocked with spirits and liquors.
Smoking is not allowed inside the yachts as it’s a fire hazard, however most yachts allow smoking on the aft decks outside and the crew will indicate exactly where they would like you to smoke. Each yacht might have different areas which will depend on the direction on the wind.
Fishing, most yachts troll for fish however it is required by law for the yacht and each individual guest to purchase fishing licenses for their charter. Please let us know so we can arrange this well in advance. We can supply the link and it can be purchased online before you arrive. The yachts crew arrange for this to be picked up before the charter begins.
The BVI has a wealth of things to offer for your crewed chartered vacation. Follow the tips above and you’re sure to have the most amazing time plus don’t forget to check out the packing for the BVI full checklist to make sure you don’t forget any essentials!