How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 11-04-2012 Thread Starter
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How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

I just did a internet search and was trying to find out how expensive $$$ it is to live in Virgin Islands, considering V I for 1 to 3 months out of the year.

I would guess, that the cost of renting (if open) a 37 ft. slip would be fairly high.
I could afford $ 700 to $ 900 +. Above $ 1,000... 'd think that it's a little too expensive for me. I don't get out much, in fact never before and want to see how fat my wallet needs to be before I make my travel plans.

I'd like to hear from cruisers that have traveled & lived there in the last few years. I heard that the retired military folks are there as well (I'm a ret. army guy).
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post #2 of 20 Old 11-04-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

Anchoring is free, and there are thousands of places.

I've been there 8 times now on bare boat charters. Others here have more time than that. You can grab a mooring ball, but most are owned and will run you 25 a day (that's pretty much regulated). I suspect you can work out long term rates with the owners - they are all private owners.

Food cost more, especially meat.
If you live like a native and bounce around the anchorages it can be reasonable.
If you live like a tourist you need to bring a tourist sized wallet.

Medically speaking (I'm retired Navy) last time I checked there is still a hospital at Roosevelt Roads in PR (only 90 miles away from USVI).

Based on what I understand having read your posts you have to do the USVI and the BVI, to not do so is just, well, wrong .

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post #3 of 20 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

Living aboard at a dock is going to be pricey, while anchoring is going to be a lot cheaper, as chucklesR has already stated.

I've spent months in the BVI at a time (well, 3 weeks then a trip to the USVI or St. Martin, then back again as the entry visa is usually 3 or sometimes 4 weeks. My only costs are the occasional mooring ball fee in the USVI and the BVI (anchoring isn't possible in some anchorages) at $20-$30 per night, groceries, and the unfortunately frequent bar tabs. The latter two are more expensive than in the USA.

Water and ice are rather a bother. Unless you have a watermaker aboard you need to occasionally go somewhere and dock in order to water up & fuel up.


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post #4 of 20 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

I just did a internet search and was trying to find out how expensive $$$ it is to live in Virgin Islands, considering V I for 1 to 3 months out of the year.

I would guess, that the cost of renting (if open) a 37 ft. slip would be fairly high.
I could afford $ 700 to $ 900 +. Above $ 1,000... 'd think that it's a little too expensive for me. I don't get out much, in fact never before and want to see how fat my wallet needs to be before I make my travel plans.

I'd like to hear from cruisers that have traveled & lived there in the last few years. I heard that the retired military folks are there as well (I'm a ret. army guy).[/quote]

Care for yourself (feeding/drinking/playing) and care for your boat will be the biggest expense.

Forget about a slip, that puts $$ over the top. You can find a mooring, either for rent, or buy, although they are not supposed to be transferred, it happens all the time.

Fuel/water refills, for 2 people (110 gal of water) would last 10 days to 2 weeks and we've never run dry. We would fuel up at the same time, taking 10-15 gallons.
We do move around the islands and are not on our mooring more than 3 or 4 consecutive nights.

Keeping your boat on the hard will take another chunk of change and add insurance to that.

I don't have #s at this time but hopefully can find them and post them here.

Last year we were on board for 3 months, before that, it was 4 six week visits, returning home in between.


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post #5 of 20 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

Joje,

How did you fare in OC from Sandy. My old house got hit hard.

Dave


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post #6 of 20 Old 11-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

Thanks All,

I have an idea now, it all depends how I live... like a native or tourist. I smile a little here, my bar days are about over but it sure was fun with my army (Air Cav. & Spec. Ops.) pals, very fond memories. I had priced water makers before and the 5 or 7 K price tag was $$$ salty. My No# I reason was the convience of having one, never held hostage by having to dock to get water (anywhere). I never tasted the water from one of them either.. wonder what it's like. I''ll look around and keep my feelers out, big boats get salvaged everyday. I'd pay 1/2 price for a good water maker that was in good shape.

I have lots to do before the US VI will come up on my radar screen, so no worry (now).
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post #7 of 20 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

HighFly - I have a watermaker and don't use my engine much (about 30 minutes a day to get into and out of anchorages) or the genset (1 hour every 3 days for battery charging and making water) so my diesel goes a long way and I won't dock for months at a time - it is a chore docking singlehanded so the watermaker is worth the price tag for me.

It is possible to live frugally even in the BVI/USVI _but_ I have met a number of cruisers whose dream it was to cruise around the Caribbean and they finally made it to discover that their cruising kitty wasn't sufficient to actually enjoy areas that they now can sail to.


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post #8 of 20 Old 11-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

Zanshin,

I'm glad you told me that (above) and gives me a better perspective. I just did a top to bottom search on Ebay. I found water makers at differnt price levels. I see them at the -- 4 & 6 and 10 GPM water makers cap. (12 V & 115 V.) from
$ 2.5 to $ 4.5 K and brand new with warranty. I found some higher ended units that are used or open box but about the same price.

I asked, earlier, what is the taste like ? I'd guess, the quaility of water may be.... cleaner & more healthful as compared to.. sea port type water. I will move the water maker up to a higher priority. i know now that it will be worth the money & the independence from having to get it all the time. I will smile everyday that I have one on board (good safe water).

One last question, are most of the water makers the types that use - reverse osmosis or what ? I like reverse osmosis water and use it here at my home.
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post #9 of 20 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

The watermakers available for shipboard use are all reverse-osmosis types, but somewhat different from reverse-osmosis filtration. They use very high pressure to force the reverse osmosis and that is what uses a lot of power. Although my system is a 24V DC one, I tend to use it when I know that I'll be running my engine for a large part of the hour or so I need to make 60 liters (it makes more, but 1-liter-per-minute is easy to calculate with). The water thus created is purer than tapwater; it is so demineralised that I recall reading somewhere that one shouldn't exclusively drink this water over extended periods of time. Any taste in the water would come from the storage system and piping, not from the watermaker.

I know get a secret pleasure (Schadenfreude, in German) when I watch other sailors do what I used to do - treck 5 Gallon jugs to shore in order to fill up on water from some tap. I hated doing it back then and now no longer need to do it. One feature of watermakers is that they need to be run rather often and a goodly amount of the product water is used to flush the system after use. But for extended stays aboard the wateraker is a huge creature comfort.


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post #10 of 20 Old 11-05-2012
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Re: How Expensive is the Virgin Islands to Live on Board ?

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Originally Posted by HighFly_27 View Post
I just did a internet search and was trying to find out how expensive $$$ it is to live in Virgin Islands, considering V I for 1 to 3 months out of the year.

I would guess, that the cost of renting (if open) a 37 ft. slip would be fairly high.
I could afford $ 700 to $ 900 +. Above $ 1,000... 'd think that it's a little too expensive for me. I don't get out much, in fact never before and want to see how fat my wallet needs to be before I make my travel plans.

I'd like to hear from cruisers that have traveled & lived there in the last few years. I heard that the retired military folks are there as well (I'm a ret. army guy).
As others have stated, you can live pretty cheaply if you choose to anchor out. Ongoing boat maintenance and repairs would be your largest budget variable that would depend on how sound your vessel is, how well you maintain systems and some shear luck!

Food will be more expensive than most places in the states. Milk is about $8/gallon. A liter of cheap rum is under $4 and is not so bad on cornflakes once you get used to it.

I keep a boat a little larger than yours in a slip and pay much less than your $700/month budget. I don't live aboard.

The mooring balls around St John are all $15/night. Assuming you are old enough to get the National Parks senior golden age pass (or something like that) mooring balls are only $5/night. St Thomas has very few legal mooring balls to rent and I would suggest just anchoring since it's free. Zanshin covered the BVI. The vast majority of the mooring balls in the BVI are owned by a company called Moor-Secure. There are private ones at the Bight, Bitter End, Saba and West End that one may be able to negotiate a longer term rate. I would just anchor.

Roosevelt Roads is only 40 miles from St Thomas unless one gets there via St Croix perhaps. I do not know for sure that the hospital is still open, the base is closed. There is a very large marina, Peurto Del Rey, about two miles and a $5 taxi ride away.

The water from a properly functioning water maker has no taste as water should be.

Enjoy your adventure.
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