British Virgin Islands

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An online cruising Guide for yachts sailing to the British Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. The British Virgin Islands are perfect for sailing. First, the weather is warm year-round, with excellent trade winds blowing nearly constantly up to 25 knots, and a little stronger in winter - perfect for catching in sails. The islands are pocked with little bays and small anchorage points ideal for anchoring and snorkeling, swimming, or just enjoying the views of the closely-placed islands. Because the archipelago is so dense with islands, the waters stay exceptionally smooth, even where the channels run deep - this is great not just for sailing, but also for protecting the many beautiful reefs scattered throughout.

The British Virgin Islands (BVI) is a British overseas territory, located in the Caribbean to the east of Puerto Rico. The islands make up part of the Virgin Islands archipelago, the remaining islands constituting the U.S. Virgin Islands. Technically the name of the Territory is simply the "Virgin Islands", but in practice since 1917 they have been almost universally referred to as the "British Virgin Islands" to distinguish the islands from the American Territory. To add to the regional confusion, the Puerto Rican islands of Culebra, Vieques and surrounding islands began referring to themselves as the "Spanish Virgin Islands" as part of a tourism drive in the early 2000s.

The British Virgin Islands consist of the main islands of Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada and Jost van Dyke, along with over fifty other smaller islands and cays. Approximately fifteen of the islands are inhabited. The largest island, Tortola, is approximately 20 km (approx. 12 mi) long and 5 km (approx. 3 mi) wide. The islands have a total population of about 22,000, of whom approximately 18,000 live on Tortola. Road Town, the capital, is situated on Tortola.

British Virgin Islands
BVI map2.png
British Virgin Islands
BVI flag.jpg
Capital: Road Town, Tortola
Language: English
Currency: US dollar
Timezone: UTC +4
More notes about the country
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Content - news items, etc.

BVI Navigation Charts

Submit the chart details that are required for safe navigation.

Radio Nets

Also see World Cruiser's Nets

Submit details of local radio Nets.

BVI Climate & Weather

The British Virgin Islands enjoy a tropical climate, moderated by trade winds. Temperatures vary little throughout the year. In the capital, Road Town, typical daily maxima are around 32 °C (90 °F) in the summer and 29 °C (84 °F) in the winter. Typical daily minima are around 24 °C (75 °F) in the summer and 21 °C (70 °F) in the winter. Rainfall averages about 1150 mm (45 in) per year, higher in the hills and lower on the coast. Rainfall can be quite variable, but the wettest months on average are September to November and the driest months on average are February and March. Hurricanes occasionally hit the islands, with the hurricane season running from June to November.

Sources for weather forecasts:

BVI Check-in facilities

See ports on each island.

BVI Immigration and Customs


On arrival the "Q" flag must be flown until clearance formalities are completed. The skipper and all crewmembers must present themselves in person to immigration. The ship's papers, passports, last port clearance certificate, an inward and/or outward manifest, and full crew list must be presented.


Full customs formalities are required for clearing out and in when sailing between the islands in the group.

  • Firearms and ammunition MUST be declared on arrival and MUST be surrendered to Customs for safekeeping until your departure.
  • PETS: All animals MUST be declared on arrival. Dogs and cats are only permitted entry (allowed ashore by Customs) after the Ministry of Agrigulture's Veterinary Division has issued an Import Permit - applied for in advance. Details for requesting a pet Import Pertmit can be obtained from the Department of Agriculture, Veterinary Division, Tel (284)495 2532 or online
    Pets MUST have a valid Health Certificate (that must have been issued at least two weeks prior to arrival), and a valid anti-rabies certificate (dogs and cats) as well as proof that the animal is free from any disease. No animals can be landed without a permit and must remain secured on board at all times. For a charge of US$5, customs will then issue a permit that will contain the pet's full details (species, sex, age, colour, country of origin, owner's name and address, means of arrival). Do not allow the pet ashore until these formalities have been successfully completed.

Visiting yachts MUST obtain a fishing permit if they wish to fish in BVI waters. Catching lobster, spearfishing and collecting live shells is prohibited. No jet-skis are allowed to be used in BVI waters.

BVI Fees and Charges

Quote date for each entry

  • Entry fee: =
  • Exit fee: =

Islands in the BVI Group

British Virgin Islands - looking south
Photo supplied courtesy of Paradise Islands

Popular BVI Cruising Circuits

References & Publications

Publications, Guides, etc.

Cruiser's Friends

Contact details of "Cruiser's Friends" that can be contacted for local information or assistance.

Forum Discussions

List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)

External Links

Personal Notes

Personal experiences?


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