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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Chartering > Island hopping between BVI and USVI?
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Thread: Island hopping between BVI and USVI? Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
06-12-2014 07:10 AM
Minnewaska
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
In my experience, simply having the head open doesn't assure that the holding tank is empty. Rather, you have to pump the tank empty it. Even then, you need to observe the brown trail to assure that the pump was actually evacuating the tank when you do this.
Every bareboat I've been on had a gravity drained holding tank: Bavaria, Beneteau, Jeanneau.

I would love to contribute funding to a scientific study of dumping recreational holding tanks. I believe it has zero impact in large bodies of water, such as Drake Passage and Narragansett Bay (illegal in the latter). I also believe it is inappropriate in closed harbors, whether illegal or not.

However, human intuition is not good enough to lay down the law, IMO. I want to see a study on the effect of dilution. While gross, I've witnessed the "cloud" exit our bareboat in the clear blue water of the BVI. It was completely indistinguishable within 10 ft. There are millions of cubic feet of water even in a closed harbor. Someone really needs to do study.
06-12-2014 07:09 AM
SVAuspicious
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
Perhaps it is past time for the charter bases to insist on closed heads and provide for pump outs at the charter base.
A couple of thoughts:

First, as noted above just what do you expect to happen to the product? In the BVI all waste gets pumped out into the Sir Francis Drake Channel anyway. So shall we expect the BVI Government or the charter companies to spend a lot of money on pump-outs to consolidate the waste and pump it into the Drake? Where is the value in that?

Second, although part of the UK, the BVI is "managed" by a third-world government. They have trouble with basic infrastructure like electrical power. The government is riddled with corruption and incompetence. Waste treatment has been on their agenda for a long time but nothing happens, overwhelmed by catering to the cruise ship companies and trying to attract more offshore financial business.
06-11-2014 11:10 PM
fallard
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
I don't know how every company does things. The policy where I work is that the valves are all open at the start of a charter. The reasoning behind that is that the charter guests can't come back and say they were sent out with full tanks. There are clear instructions on the boat describing how the holding tanks work.
In my experience, simply having the head open doesn't assure that the holding tank is empty. Rather, you have to pump the tank empty it. Even then, you need to observe the brown trail to assure that the pump was actually evacuating the tank when you do this.
06-11-2014 11:09 PM
TakeFive
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

All of this reminds me of what an ecological disaster all that parrot fish poop has caused around that area.
06-11-2014 11:02 PM
fallard
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
Many modern charter boats do not have enough tankage to hold a week or more worth of waste in a tank. It would have to be emptied before returning to the charter base.

Another issue would be the lack of sewage treatment in the BVI. So if the big companies had pump out facilities, what would they do with it? There aren't really any waste water treatment facilities in place to deal with it so it ends up right back in the ocean untreated. Sort of defeats the purpose. Currently I believe the best practice is to hold when anchored/moored and dump when out underway. Not perfect, I know.
Good point about tankage, although we never had a problem when sailing as a couple. One 37 boat we chartered had a 55 gal. holding tank. That would be pushing it if there were 5 or 6 of us aboard for a week.

Another good point is the reality of current waste water facilities, as the cost of matching stateside treatment standards may be prohibitive. Therefore, I would agree with best practice indicated above, but still think there are charterers out there that are technically challenged.

Aesthetics aside, the East-West current outside harbors ought to be adequate to handle charter boat discharges--and then some.
06-11-2014 10:50 PM
FarCry
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DRFerron View Post
My fault. I meant the boat check before we left for the week when the rep goes over the boat systems.
I don't know how every company does things. The policy where I work is that the valves are all open at the start of a charter. The reasoning behind that is that the charter guests can't come back and say they were sent out with full tanks. There are clear instructions on the boat describing how the holding tanks work.

I think I've covered this subject. Unless something new comes up, I'm retiring from this one.
06-11-2014 10:40 PM
DRFerron
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
...

A debrief is at the end of a charter. At the end of a charter the tank should be open. That way you and the charter company know it is empty.
My fault. I meant the boat check before we left for the week when the rep goes over the boat systems.
06-11-2014 10:36 PM
FarCry
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TakeFive View Post
We closed ours. We didn't realize that BVI was unregulated. We did know the potential consequences of getting caught with an open tank in US coastal waters, and didn't want to risk that in Road Town.
Your briefer should have told you how they want it handled. Each charter company may have different policies. You did what you thought was best and I would never fault that when not given enough information.

This subject get covered and revisited every few months on traveltalkonline dot com Feel free to search that site. Things are pretty highly moderated over there and threads get shut down quickly that wander into some of the dirtier aspects, like poop!
06-11-2014 10:31 PM
FarCry
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fallard View Post
It is only in the past few years that we have been asked to use the holding tank in harbors by Island Yacht Charters (St.Thomas), but to empty it outside before returning to the base.

We, too have been concerned about direct discharge in places like The Bight (Norman Island, BVI), but haven't noticed anything gross when snorkeling along the shoreline. Given that The Bight has an average water depth of about 50 ft, there is a lot of dilution of raw sewerage from the boats in the harbor, but it is still offensive to think that folks routinely discharge into these harbors.

Perhaps it is past time for the charter bases to insist on closed heads and provide for pump outs at the charter base. Given the level of (in)competence we've witnessed among charterers, it may be too much to expect that the instructions on overboard pump outs in the open areas, like the Drake Channel, will be routinely observed.
Many modern charter boats do not have enough tankage to hold a week or more worth of waste in a tank. It would have to be emptied before returning to the charter base.

Another issue would be the lack of sewage treatment in the BVI. So if the big companies had pump out facilities, what would they do with it? There aren't really any waste water treatment facilities in place to deal with it so it ends up right back in the ocean untreated. Sort of defeats the purpose. Currently I believe the best practice is to hold when anchored/moored and dump when out underway. Not perfect, I know.
06-11-2014 10:28 PM
TakeFive
Re: Island hopping between BVI and USVI?

Quote:
Originally Posted by FarCry View Post
...At the end of a charter the tank should be open. That way you and the charter company know it is empty.
We closed ours. We didn't realize that BVI was unregulated. We did know the potential consequences of getting caught with an open tank in US coastal waters, and didn't want to risk that in Road Town.
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