The British Virgin Islands (BVI) have long been frequented by sailing and diving enthusiasts looking to explore its gorgeous beaches, sheltered coves and sandy cays. Penn’s Landing Marina is a picturesque and practical base of operations for those planning to venture out to sea, whether it is to sail the open waters or moor at one of the 60+ islands in the archipelago. The BVI is particularly renowned for its variety of dive sites, with shallow coral reefs perfect for snorkeling and atmospheric wreck diving at spots such as the RMS Rhone and the Chikuzen.
To protect the delicate marine ecosystems from boat anchors and keep reefs pristine and untouched, the BVI National Parks Trust set up more than 200 13-inch mooring buoys throughout the island chain, making it easy for sailors to find a place to stop and take in the beautiful surroundings, or for divers to descend beneath the waves for a whole new adventure.
Five varieties of moorings are currently in use: yellow, large yellow, orange, white and blue. Yellow are reserved or commercial dive vessels, while the larger yellow ones are for commercial use or yachts over 55ft in length. Orange buoys are day-use only and are not for use by those on a diving expedition. White are also daytime only, but non-commercial vessels are permitted to use them, while the blue buoys should only be utilized by dinghies.
While sailors are prohibited from using National Park Trust moorings overnight, many of the bays and anchorages in the BVI also have offer larger 18-inch buoys for overnight stays. Yacht enthusiasts should ensure they know which moorings they are permitted to use and for what purpose, particularly as some are located near shallow rocks and reefs that could prove dangerous in rough weather.
Moorings should be used during the day only and currently have a 90-minute limit on their use. The law states that sailors must have a National Parks permit when using one of its moorings and these can be purchased from a charter company, dive shops or the main National Parks Trust office in Road Town, just a 20-minute drive from Penn’s Landing.