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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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Old 11-26-2010
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BVI nav rules

Hi folks,

About to go on a first-time charter in the BVI, and was curious -- formally speaking, what are the actual navigation rules in effect there? Just COLREGS, or do they have "inland" variations like we do in the U.S.?

I suppose there may not be too much practical relevance to the answer but feel like I should at least know! Thanks much.

-Keith
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Old 11-26-2010
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No special BVI rules... well, since the majority of charterers really don't know the rules, I consider myself the "give way" vessel all the time unless given clear indication by the other boat that they are giving way. This applies not only to other sailboats but particularly to big powerboats including ferries.

The system used in the BVI is IALA-B (red-right-returning) and anchoring is prohibited in coral, national park moorings cannot be used for overnight stays. Overboard discharge of grey and black water is not enforced and I've heard that many holding-tank equipped charter boats have the valves wired to "overboard discharge".

The markings on the map are not necessarily what you get. Sometimes markers drift away and are not replaced in a timely manner. The only place this might be worrisome is when entering or leaving the Anegada channel as itis shallow and narrow.

I can only think of 2 cardinal markers, one at the Trellis Bay entrance and another around the SE end of Beef Island (very close inshore). The guide books and charts clearly mark the very few danger areas. Most charter company chart briefings go into more detail about bars and restaurant than navigational hazards because the area is quite easy to sail.

I head down to the BVI early next week. What sort of a boat are you chartering and for how long?

You'll love the BVI, once you switch to Island Time it'll be "no worries, mon".
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Old 11-28-2010
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Figure on the Colregs applying. And when I went years ago, the 'chart' we were given doubled as a placemat, and the main 'navigation' tool was a 3-ring binder with ariel photos showing where to anchor.

Real chart work seems to be a foreign concept. They chuckled to learn I'd brought a full set of paper charts from Boston (St Thomas through Virgin Gorda area).

Nav aids are few, and it's *dark* out there at night, and gets dark real quick after sunset, too. So get into harbor while it's still light, so you can see the depths in the clear water, and the land in the clear visibility.
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Old 11-28-2010
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Agree with everything said so far. Get into a mooring field by early afternoon at the latest. There are very few spots in which you can actually anchor.

The Colregs ar the generic International Rules - no inland rules or modifications.

Have a painkiller or three for me
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