British Virgin IslandsCaribbean

Helpful hints to get your BVI Boatmaster & MCA

By March 5, 2017 2 Comments
Tortola bus

I recently took the ferry over to Tortola to work on my MCA and Boatmaster, which the BVI requires. Since my boat was in Red Hook I took the ferry from there to West End (the other choice is Charlotte Amaile to Road Town, check out the ferries here). Cost $53 plus a $20 departure tax.

Something I did not know until the day before is that there is a bus from the ferry terminal to town. Cost $3 (a taxi cost $27).

I spent all day in Road Town running from one office to the next and I was lucky to have friends tell me what to expect and where to go first. Now I want to share the same info.

  1. (check the map for location) Radio license. I had my US FCC call sign so all I had to do was get a personal BVI radio license. I am told it does not matter what you have from other countries, you have to get a BVI one also. Cost $30 (or you can get a 3 year for $90).
  2. Passport photos. Around the bend from the coffee shop on the second floor is a photography place that will give you 8 passport pictures. I am told you need this many, but I only gave out 2. Cost $15.
  3. Ship Registry. On the 3rd floor you will find the Department of Ship Registry. I was here several times. First I turned in my MCA paperwork and scheduled my in the water inspection for a couple months down the road. Once I have done that I must have an out of water inspection also. Cost $80 per inspection.
  4. Before I could turn in my Boatmaster application I had to get an inspection. All my friends told me this was done at the clinic across the street and was a rubber stamp procedure (cough equals you pass), but I was sent to the hospital to have an in-depth physical complete with a secondary hearing test. I was lucky to be able to walk in, but it sounds like you should consider an appointment. Cost $120 plus $35 for the hearing.

I then headed back to the Ship Registry to hand in all the paperwork needed for my Boatmaster. By this point it was 4pm and they did not payment and I have to e-mail them a copy of the radio license when I get it. I will then have to come back into the office to sign for the Boatmaster and pay the fee. Cost $50 (I think).

I hope this helps you if you want to register in the BVI. My advice is take the earliest ferry over and expect the process to take all day. Everyone was very nice and helpful, but it is still a government and they are never known to be quick.

Road Town map


  • Shane says:


    I only like to carry six people max on Guiding Light.


  • Brent Phillips says:

    What MCA qualifications did you already have. I have qualifications from Transport Canada to commercially have a maximum of 12 passengers.
    Thanks for the tips

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: