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kwaltersmi 10-20-2006 09:29 AM

Living aboard in St. John (USVI)?
I've been offered a very stable job in St. John (U.S. Virgin Islands) with great benefits. However, real estate and rentals are terribly pricey there. Does anyone if it's feasible to liveaboard a sailboat in St. John longterm?

There are many obstacles to overcome before I make a decision. For instance, how would the islands be for my 2 young children & wife? What's the St. John culture like? Is it safe? Luckily, I've got until January '07 to make a final decision.

Any info., advice, etc. you can provide will be much appreciated! Thanks!

camaraderie 10-20-2006 01:08 PM

Last time I was there (2 yrs. ago) there were a number of liveaboards in both the main harbor on moorings and at the east end of the island in coral bay/hurricane hole. I understand the Park Service has been tightening things down there so I don't know the current situation. I think Bill Trayfors might know or you could try the forum.
The other thing to consider with wife/young kids is the hurricane season. You have to be prepared to get off the boat and lose it if you are gonna stay there year round. It is not a LIKELY scenario but big weather does come through there. Insurance is prohibitively expensive for most people if you are gonna be there "in season". Nice island...some black/white friction and crime but not as bad as St. Thomas. Lots of incredible places to sail to on your time off! Good luck.

Fareast 11-15-2006 08:33 PM


If you decide not to take the job please let me know. Hell I would live in a shack on St John.

Good luck I hope it works out for you

CherokeeSailWench 11-25-2006 08:45 AM

I can't help with the liveaboard part but I can tell you two things: St John is the best of the US Virgin Islands and the schools were absolutely horrible about 8 years ago when I was there. You might want to check out the schools before you decide (maybe they have improved) or consider private school or homeschooling your children there.

gilsurf 12-14-2006 10:25 AM

St. John is a beautiful place and a variety of nice people. The people range from local west indians to very rich statesiders to statesiders working very hard to get by on the island. There is a building boom of giant multimillion dollar houses going on and thus affordable housing is an issue. This influx of big money has caused some tension on STJ, but overall, it is much more peaceful than on STT.

Livaboard places:
  • Coral Bay: 20 min drive east of Cruz Bay (main town, port for ferry to St. thomas). Quiet, boating centered, safe, can be packed with boats. Close to Hurricane Hole (only good hole on STJ, new chains going in, etc.)
  • Johnsons Bay: S of Coarl Bay, nice place, but Dept of Nat Resources (DPNR) is trying to kick all out, even those with legal moorings.
  • Chocalate Hole: S Shore, legal moorings available, not sure about dinghy spot.
  • Great Cruz Bay: protected bay w/ Westin at beach, tons of boats, Dinghy dock. Not sure if legal moorings available.
  • National Park: The best deal is to be a Bay Host (like a campground host in the USA). free mooring for a few hours of greeting visiting boaters a day. Many prtected bays on the N Shore to choose from.

Schools: Public are horrific. No public HS on STJ. Private: lower and upper private schools merged into St. John Gift Hill school and it is a good school. 20 min ferry ride to Red Hook on STT and you have VI Montessori school which is a great school with a good community and some STJ folks there.

Cost of Living: it is not cheap here. Food in the markets on STJ is expensive. Restuarants are all high... a $15 entree is considered cheap.

Cruising area: This is a big +++... lots of gorgeous places within a few hours sail. And a day sail to the Spanish Virgins or St. Barts, etc.

Convenience: This the USA and thus we get many things via USPS, direct dial to the US, 2.5 hour flight to Miami, etc. Much easier than down island in that regard. There is even wireless internet (long distance) that works in many places on STJ on a boat.

Hope this helps you in your process.


kwaltersmi 12-14-2006 10:33 AM

Thanks everyone for your replies. I'm still weighing all my options and taking things very slow. It's a huge decision.

trodzen 12-14-2006 10:49 PM

You would have no problem buying/moving any boat to the east end to live aboard. I met a guy that lived aboard east end and worked in cruz bay. He hitch-hiked every day to and from work. Said he had never been late to work in a year hitch-hiking across the island.

As far as cruz bay, you won't get in there with a new boat for liveaboard unless you pay-off someone.. too small and too full.

It's a top island on my list but I don't think I would consider taking kids to school there.

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