The BVI Government recently enacted two measures regarding the charter boat cruising permit fees that each charter boat must pay while carrying paying passengers in the Territory.

The Cruising Permit (Amendment) Act 2017 amends the Cruising Permit Act. Previously, charter boats had to pay different levels of cruising permit fee depending on the time of year and whether or not the boat was "based in the Territory". The Amendment Act alters this classification by instead classifying boats as either "home based charter boats" or "foreign based charter boats". Home based charter boats must now pay a cruising permit fee of $6 per person per day, whereas foreign based charter boats must now pay a fee of $16 per person per day. Previously, cruising fees ranged from $0.75 and $4 per person per day. 

"Home based charter boats" are defined as charter boats that, for a period of five months in "any" (ie rolling) 12 month period, must be:  

  1. operating in the BVI;
  2. generally maintained in the BVI; and
  3. managed by a company or any other legal entity incorporated, registered or licensed in the BVI 

This wording is taken directly from the Amendment Act. 

"Foreign based charter boats" are essentially defined as all other charter boats.

Ferries, which are exempt from these fees, are defined as "any vessel plying from one side of a water-way to the other or between places on the same or different islands or territories for the purpose of the carriage of goods or passengers." This is the same definition contained in the British Virgin Islands Ports Authority Act 1990.

The other statute which was amended, the Statutory Rates, Fees and Charges (Amendment of Schedule) Order 2017, confirms the above cruising permit fees for internal Government purposes.

The new fees will take effect on 1 August 2017.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.