In order for sailors to enjoy the many beautiful sites both above and below the water, The BVI National Parks Trust has installed over 200 mooring buoys (surface buoys attached to stainless steel pins set in bedrock) for day-time use only at many BVI dive sites.
The system has been operating since 1991, and is aimed at protecting the fragile, underwater marine ecology from physical damage, particularly by boat anchors, and at maintaining the pristine reefs for the future.
There is a 90-minute time limit on all moorings, and use is on a first-come, first-serve basis. Vessels over 55 feet in length or over 35 tons are not allowed to use any regular mooring, but they can use the larger yellow buoys, which are 18 inches in diameter.
Please note that in virtually all of the areas where the National Parks Trust moorings are found, the areas can encounter rough and unpredictable seas. In addition, some buoys are in the vicinity of shallow rocks and reefs. The moorings are, therefore, for DAY USE only, and it is illegal to use them overnight.
Sailors must check the integrity of their mooring, its pick-up line, and down-line for safety before tying up or leaving the vessel. They are responsible for the vessel, even when tied to a National Parks mooring.
A small fee is charged for the use of the moorings. This conservation fee provides for the maintenance of the system and installation of new buoys in other high traffic areas.
Sailors must, by law, obtain a National Parks Permit, either from the charter company when Customs is cleared, or from the National Parks Trust Office at 61 Main St. Road Town, Tortola.
The mooring buoys are 13 inches in diameter and are colour coded as follows:
ORANGE BUOYS: Non-diving, day use only
YELLOW BUOYS: Commercial dive vessels only
LARGE YELLOW BUOYS: Commercial vessels or vessels over 55 ft.
WHITE BUOYS: Non-commercial vessels, for daytime dive use only
BLUE BUOYS: For dinghy use only