Sunset on St John

Chartering a Boat in St. John USVI

November 17, 2020

The waters surrounding the Virgin Islands offer visitors almost as many unique experiences as the islands themselves. From snorkeling around coral formations teeming with fish, octopus, turtles and rays to stopping off at an uninhabited island for a picnic brunch, the list of things you can do on a boat in the Virgin Islands is almost endless. 

What to Keep in Mind When Renting a Boat in St. John USVI

A day on the water could be the highlight of your Virgin Islands vacation as long as you keep your head about you and take precautions. While you are unlikely to find yourself facing a raging storm or bands of marauding pirates, your day could take a sharp turn for the worse if you take the ocean for granted. Here are some things you should bear in mind.

  • Use a captain if you plan to venture out: Navigating a small power boat in the shallow waters around St. John is something that any competent driver will find fairly straightforward, and it is a great way to visit secluded beaches and snorkeling spots. However, you would be wise to hire a captain if you plan to venture further out and go island hopping. If you are interested in chartering a larger vessel, you will find that a captain is usually mandatory.
  • Remember that water is not tarmac: There is a give and take to navigating on the ocean that driving on tarmac just does not prepare you for, and you can expect to spend your first hour or two on the water getting used to how your boat responds when you turn the wheel or hit the gas. If you are a boating novice, you should give others a wide berth and only attempt to dock when you have plenty of space.
  • Pack your passport: You won’t have to worry about travel documents if you stay within the U.S. Virgin Islands, but you will need a passport if you plan to go ashore on any of the British Virgin Islands.
  • Lifejackets for all: Rule one in life is to do as the professionals do whenever you are in doubt. On a boat, this means wearing a lifejacket at all times. If you think a lifejacket is not necessary because you are a strong swimmer and the water is calm, go back to rule one.
  • No drinking and boating: Enjoying a cold beer or a delicious cocktail is one of the great joys of boating, but it should be reserved for occasions when a qualified captain is at the helm. If you plan to partake while guiding a small boat around St. John, make sure that you appoint a designated driver. 
  • Respect locals who work on the water: The waters around St. John are not only used by pleasure craft. On your maritime travels, you are likely to encounter locals fishing, collecting shells or tending to the area’s abundant marine life. These people will give you a warm and friendly welcome if you treat them with respect.
  • Follow the rules: The Department of Planning and Natural resources provides a handy list of dos and don’ts for boaters. It would be a good idea to read them carefully before taking to the water.

Power Boat or Charter Rental in St. John USVI? 

Once you have decided that your St. John vacation would not be complete without a day on the water, your next decision is choosing what type of boat to charter. There are several charter companies ready to meet your maritime needs, and they have a wide variety of boats available. You could rent a small power boat to reach an unspoiled beach or amazing snorkeling spot, or you could live like a movie star for a day on a luxury yacht. Here are some of the choices you will have.

  • Self-drive: If you plan to skipper your charter boat yourself, your options will generally be limited to small power boats that are a good choice if you plan to stay close to shore. The most popular choices in this category are Boston Whaler center console boats that are 15 or 16 feet long.
  • If you have experience: If you are a boat owner or have captained a larger vessel in the past, some charter companies will allow you to rent a bigger boat for longer trips. However, they will want to see evidence of your proficiency.
  • Boat tours: There are several boat tours available that will allow you to enjoy the waters around St. John in the company of fellow vacationers. You could choose to emulate Ernest Hemingway on a fishing charter, go looking for rare marine creatures with a group of scuba divers, visit local reefs for incredible snorkeling experiences or just take a day trip to some of St. John’s neighboring islands.
  • Boat charters: If you would prefer a more private experience, you can charter anything from a 20-foot center console to a 50-foot luxury yacht and plan your own adventure. Your boat will be piloted by an experienced captain who will do all they can to give you the time of your life while keeping you and your loved ones safe. 

Top Boat Rentals in St. John USVI

  • Oceanrunner: This St. John boat charter company has pretty much anything you could want. Their choices run the gamut from Boston Whaler center consoles that you can pilot yourself for $350 per day to a 60-foot Sunseeker Predator yacht that would be quite at home in Monte Carlo.
  • St. John Boat Rental: With four experienced captains and a fleet of spacious and comfortable boats, St. John Boat Rental has become one of the most popular charter companies on the island. They can take parties of up to 12 to destinations in the U.S. or British Virgin Islands, or you can plan your own adventure. Prices range from $499 to $599 plus a captain’s fee of $150.
  • Rockhoppin Adventures: This charter company offers full and half-day trips that run the gamut from snorkeling excursions to scenic cruises. Their 32-foot long vessel is powered by twin Yamaha engines, and it can also accommodate paddleboards up to 14 feet long. Prices for half-day trips start at under $500 and include a captain, fuel, water and ice. 
  • Take it Easy: You can charter a 52-foot Sea Ray yacht from Take it Easy to enjoy the waters around St. John from the same vantage point as Hollywood stars including Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett. Each of the company’s amazing yachts can accommodate up to 12 people in the lap of luxury, and half-day charters start at under $1,000 plus fuel.
  • Salty Daze: You won’t have to worry about anything if you charter from Salty daze as your captain will be a U.S. Navy veteran. A unique vessel that you will only find at Salty Daze is a 36-foot wood-paneled Suntracker that turns heads wherever it goes. Prices are attractive too. A full-day trip to the British Virgin Islands costs $850 plus fuel. Half-day trips and specials are also available.

Boat Rental St John USVI

Thinking of renting a boat during your tropical vacation stay? Please contact the team at the Hills, St. John for boat rental recommendations and finding the vacation rental of your dreams. 

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