Official Government of the Virgin Islands Website

Coastal Zone Management

Safe responsible boating on the territorial waters of the United States Virgin Islands is the responsibility of each user group. The commercial, recreational and freight vessel operators together utilize the Territory’s waterways to make a living, for commercial and recreational enjoyment of our marine resources, and to transfer goods and people. Safe boating does not happen by chance. The territorial waters of the Virgin Islands are busiest during the months of October through May of each year; therefore, boating safety in a responsible manner ensures safe operations and positive experiences on our waterways. It is the responsibility of each vessel operator to know and comply with the Territory’s boating laws that seek to protect each user group, preserve and conserve our marine resources, and guarantee a safe and pleasant experience on the waterways of the United States Virgin Islands. Your safety and an enjoyable experience on our waterways are our goals at the Department of Planning & Natural Resources, Division of Environmental Enforcement.
We want you to enjoy your marine experience. Take time to learn more about how to “Boat Smart” by taking a boating safety course. Be a responsible boater by being mindful of our marine environment, staying alert, operating in a responsible manner and wearing your life jacket at all times, especially when underway.

Here are some do’s and dont’s of Boating Safety:

  • Stay Alert
  • Operate in a responsible manner
  • Comply with the Territory’s boating laws
  • Take a “Boating Safety” course
  • File a “Float Plan”
  • Have adequate amount of fuel based on intended distance
  • Perform inspection on the boat before putting it in the water
  • Children 17 & under must wear a Personal Flotation Device (life jacket) at all times
  • Personal Flotation Devices must be properly fitted for each body type and size
  • Ensure a fire extinguisher is onboard
  • Ensure first -aid kit is readily available
  • Check the weather forecast before leaving port
  • Be aware of swimmers when approaching shallow water and anchoring
  • Do not operate a vessel while under the influence
  • Do not operate without a current registration
  • Do not over-pack your vessel with equipment or passengers
  • Do not operate a boat without proper inspection of boat and equipment
  • Do not speed in any harbors or designated mooring areas; speed limit is (5) miles an hour in these areas
  • Do not boat in on-coming weather