Sailing Charter Checklist - BVI
Most folks that pack for a Bareboat / Crewed Yacht Charter vacation tend to over pack for their trip. One must keep in mind that for much of the charter you’ll either be sailing, on board at an anchorage, or going back and forth to shore in the dinghy - either to the beach, harbor dock, or exploring the different coves and snorkeling areas. Figure that 90% of the time you will be in a swimsuit or shorts and tee shirt, sandals or tennis shoes for exploring ashore. The more you bring, the more you have to carry around and store aboard the yacht.
Please keep in mind that while onboard the yacht, semi-exposed and swimwear is perfectly fine in the BVI, but venturing past the beach, the people of the BVI do ask that one does cover up properly when ashore. There are several beach bar/ restaurants that swimming attire is tolerated in the BVI, but most establishments do ask that you wear appropriate clothes (ie; shorts / swimsuit with shirts, or wraps for the women. Having the BVI dress code spelled out, we can now address the best way to pack - what to bring and what not to bring - on your Bareboat / Crewed Yacht Charter vacation.
What is recommended to pack for your Bareboat / Crewed Yacht Charter:
- Soft type duffel bags, with zipper pockets on the outer sides of the bags (they are also very handy for shopping trips or a day bag ashore, once your gear is stored aboard the Yacht) The duffel bags can be purchased at most yachting and sporting goods stores.
- Rolling your t-shirts, shorts and long pants is the preferred method for packing duffle bags. You will find that you will get about 1/3 more in the bag by "rolling" the clothes. (All charter yachts have closets, better known as hanging lockers, for items that one may want to hang.)
- Label all of your duffel bags with your appropriate contact information and also the name of the Yacht Charter Company and their phone number, so if your bags are delayed for whatever reason by the airlines, they can contact the Yacht Charter Company and have them delivered to your Yacht.
- Delays happen from time to time, so the prudent charterer should pack a days change of clothes in their carry-on luggage, as you may want to get into something more comfortable for our great climate after a long day of traveling!
- Bring some old t-shirts for snorkeling, they will protect you from getting sun burnt while diving, or for if you accidentally brush against "fire coral" (which gives the skin a burning sensation when touched and can cause a rash). In the BVI, when snorkeling or diving we come to see and not to touch! When you depart your Yacht Charter, your Yacht Charter Company will gladly take your "leave behind clothes" and donate them to one of our worthy charity organizations in the BVI. Think of all the room left over in your bags, to bring home gifts and souvenirs!
In your carry-on luggage it is recommended to pack:
- Non-prescription and prescription medications
- One days clothing change
- All travel documents, passport, driver's license, traveler's checks, credit and ATM cards and any other items of value.
- Camera, film, disposable cameras, underwater disposable cameras, CD's, I-Pod, etc.
What to bring besides the normal items for a trip anywhere else:
- Small personal flashlight
- All-purpose lotions for hands, skin, etc.
- Aloe Vera lotion for sunburn relief (or apple vinegar works well too!)
- Waterproof sunscreen lotion - paba and oil free, no tanning oils!
- 3 to 4 hats (they have a tendency to get blown overboard)
- Pair of boating type shoes, or tennis shoes with white/tan soles
- Several pairs of socks (while aboard, the tops of feet can get painfully sunburned the first days)
- Several 1-gallon "zip-lock" plastic bags for cameras, etc. (good for trips in the dinghy to shore)
- Insect repellent (misting plastic bottles are the best)
- Personal snorkel mask and snorkel (make sure that they fit properly)
- Small daypack for onshore adventures to carry water, cameras, etc.
- Thongs or go-aheads (depending which part of the world you're coming from!)
- For shampooing hair in the saltwater, "Prell shampoo" works great
- Large closeable plastic trash bag to store soiled clothes
What not to bring on your Yacht Charter:
- DO NOT bring large suitcases! There is limited storage space on yachts, and most of all, once empty they are useless and will be in your cabin taking up valuable space
- Most cell phones brought to the BVI from the U.S. do not work here. If you do get lucky or (unlucky) and get a signal, you have a great chance of your call being picked up by the local cell carrier here, and be charged astronomical roaming charges, both incoming and outgoing calls, without you knowing it until you get your bill when you return home!
- DO NOT bring illegal drugs or firearms! Both are illegal in the British Virgin Islands, and zero tolerance laws are enforced here, where fines and jail time are imposed for those found with either banned items. The Yacht is also subject to confiscation!
- Winter season, light sweater or jacket
- Breathable lightweight raincoat
- Lightweight long pants or dresses for occasional dinner/ dancing ashore
- One or two dressy shirts or blouses for the nights out ashore
- Long sleeve t-shirts (keeps the sun off the arms, and is no hotter than short sleeves)
- Take 1/2 the clothes and twice the money
- Buy travel insurance when you book your Yacht Charter Vacation
- Notify your credit card company that you are going on vacation and where you are going, so they do not think your card was stolen.
- Clothing casual is fine, exposed is not while ashore other than the beach
- Yacht Charter Companies provide "starter kits", which are the basic cleaning and toiletries to get you going for a few days, so keep that in mind when provisioning (Crewed Charters are all inclusive)
- Bring your own personal toiletries
- Check with your Yacht Charter Company what is included or is extra
- DON'T forget your PASSPORT!
Most of all have a great and memorable Yacht Charter in the British Virgin Islands, enjoying "natures little secrets."