would like to get your opinion and advise about moving to Virgin Islands - SailNet Community

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Old 05-25-2009
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would like to get your opinion and advise about moving to Virgin Islands

Me and my wife are seriously planning to move here this year. We live on the water and spend a lot of time boating on Great Lakes in the summer months.Because we work all the time we never have time to really pursue our passion for sailing here in Michigan.
I would like to sail a charter/ or something related to that, SPEND MOST OF MY TIME ON THE WATER. This would be the main point of this move. I would not be opposed to buying a business but I am not sure it would be a wise move at this point, as I do not know Island business environment yet. Do you have any advise for me, people to contact that can help us make this happen? So far I have completed Keel boat cruising+ basic coastal cruising courses. I need to have 6pack in order to run a charter business. But where do I start? Should I approach charter companies or network with private individuals? How do I find good and trust worthy people to collaborate with? HELP!!
Thanks AS
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Old 05-26-2009
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I assume you are talking about the USVI, since moving to the BVI involves a difficult and time-consuming visa process with limited chances of a successful conclusion unless you have good sponsorship/backing.

Is it the USVI you are thinking of?
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Old 05-26-2009
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My opinion is that opening up a charter business in the BVI/USVI is fraught with difficulties in this environment. There are people down there that have been doing it for years and grew up/lived there for a long time that are having considerable difficulties. Your boating experience is limited and I assume that is not "home".

I would instead tell you to find some type of venture that was not charter related (esp in this economy) and spend your off-time on the water. But there will be some considerable cultural issues you better brace yourself for when moving to USVI. I have a friend that was grew up/was raised down there and his stories fail to inspire.

You asked for opinions, those are mine.

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Old 05-26-2009
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Yes US VI is what I am talking about,you guys seam to have a lot of knowledge in this area. Do you think in this economy I would be able to find a job working for somebody on the boat or ship, so I can gain the knowledge needed to complete certifications?
The challenge getting experience and further certification here in Michigan, it will take me another 5 years at least.
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Old 05-26-2009
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There are too many challenges to moving here and surviving successfully to list in a couple of paragraphs. I have a few questions that may help your decision making process.
1) Have you visited the USVI for a long period of time?
2) Do you like camping?
3) Are you and your wife the most patient people you have every met?
4) Have you spent hours reading VImovingcenter.com ?
5) Do you have the financial reserves to last six months with no income?
6) Have you ever lived on an island or hours from a "real" city?

Generally if you can answer yes to the few questions I have listed you may be a good candidate for life here.

As far as chartering/boating employment there are always openings for "good, experienced" people. I see two decent options to follow your charter capt dream. First, you might be well served to both get your six-pack licenses and become SCUBA certified and contact every charter company you can and hope for a job before you commit to move here. Second, come down in the early fall, walk the docks and get jobs as crew on a day charter boat. Be seen, get known and aim for a day charter capt position and hope for an opportunity to work for someone doing longer charters and see if that is really what you want to do.

The market is very competetive right now for owner/operators and luck will play a big part in your success. I would strongly suggest you DO NOT invest in a charter business until you have lived here for at least a year. There are a lot of charter businesses for sale right now. That to me would be a big red flag. YVMV
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Old 05-29-2009
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Thank you guys for your explanation, this really helps a lot. I think when you start something new, you have to be humble and take one day at a time. Try to learn from people that have the experience and keep going toward the main goal. So far, I have just basic sailing
and scuba certifications , so it will take a full year to reach my goal.
I came to US from Russia 20 years ago with $500 in my pocket , no education and could not speak English. 20 years later, I am well educated and make a good living.
I know all about being humble and working hard, my EGO is always in check. At this point in my life I have nothing to prove to anybody,
just want to follow my dream and be happy.

Any recommendation where to stay ( something reasonable in the good spot) when we come out for couple of weeks on the scouting trip?

Thank you all
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