In a move that is sure to aggravate many BVI yacht charter crews, Boatyball announced on November 28th, 2022, that their fees are increasing.
- First come, first serve (FCFS) mooring balls are increasing from $30 to $40 per night
- Reservable mooring fees are increasing from $40 to $55 per night
This announcement came on very short notice with the price increases going into effect only 2 days later, on December 1st. For crews currently on charter in the British Virgin Islands, they might be in for a surprise.
So what did Boatyball cite for the increase? "The cost to maintain and cover the moorings have increased significantly over the last 15 years which is when the last price increase took effect."
They also mentioned other businesses have already raised prices to $40 for FCFS moorings, and they are following suit. This is true, with non-Boatyball moorings in Anegada
currently at the $40 mark, and perhaps others.
The point they made about the first price increase in 15 years is a bit head scratching since Boatyball has not been in business that long. What I think they mean is that for 10+ years, mooring ball fees in the British Virgin Islands have been at the $25-30 level.
$30 is what I paid when I first visited the BVIs in 2012, and my old versions of the Cruising Guide confirm the fact.
Perhaps it is time for an increase. I would not doubt labor and material prices have increased since then. When you consider recent inflation levels, it's hard not to believe.
If you are unfamiliar, Boatyball was started a few years ago to offer a web-based reservation system for mooring balls in some of the BVI anchorages. Learn more about how Boatyball works
and why they have created controversy amongst yacht charter crews. It seems most either love, or hate Boatyball.
My view on the increase? Perhaps it is time for a price increase for the first time in 10+ years.
It certainly seems justifiable on the basis of labor and material price increases to install and maintain moorings. A move from $30 to $40 over 10 years represents a roughly 3% annualized increase. You can't tell me prices haven't increased since then.
With Boatyball so polarizing, they are sure to be the scapegoat for the move. I would argue, however, the industry was overdue for an increase. Boatyball will be the fall guy.
Don't like it?
- You can choose not to use Boatyball, but others will also soon be at the $40 level as well. And yes, I understand in certain mooring fields like Cooper Island, you don't have a choice
- Drop the hook, however this is getting harder and harder to do in the BVI as additional mooring balls are installed in already crowded bays. I talk about some anchorages I like in this post (just please don't use them when I visit!)
- Go visit the US Virgin Islands. Mooring ball fees in the Virgin Islands National Park are currently $26
- Explore other charter destinations such as the Exumas
Bottom line? $40 is the new $30 in the BVIs.