The charter yacht industry in the U.S. Virgin Islands is experiencing one of its strongest seasons ever despite a slow start following Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria last September, according to a Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association, Inc. (VIPCA) news release.
“The U.S. Virgin Islands is really showing itself as an ideal location for both day or week-long charters,” said Oriel Blake, executive director of VIPCA, the territory’s nonprofit charter association, whose purpose is to promote, protect and further the capabilities of charter yachts and the marine businesses that sustain them.
The numbers paint a positive picture too.
There was a 15 percent increase in charters and 32 percent expansion in the number of crewed yachts chartering from November of last year to April compared to the same time the year prior and pre-hurricanes, based upon calculations on data supplied by two U.S. Virgin Islands-based clearinghouses.
“Now we have new vessels arriving, damaged vessels repaired and looking better than before and a vibe of resiliency and gratitude for all we have that is palpable and contagious,” said Brianne Beatty, founder and president of VINE Yachts.
Concern over the state of the territory in the storm’s aftermath on the part of charter brokers and clients alike meant a slow start to last fall’s charter season.
“Once the brokers visited for the VIPCA Charter Yacht Show in November, were comfortable with what they saw and trusted the yacht’s ability to offer a superb vacation, bookings started to flood in,” said Jamie Dee Han, captain aboard the term charter 52-foot catamaran, Island Hoppin.