Green Boundaries: Mooring Areas
In 1956, Congress established the Virgin Islands National Park. In 1962, park boundaries were expanded to include 5,650 acres of submerged lands adjacent to the island. A presidential proclamation created Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument in 2001 and added 12,708 more acres of adjoining submerged land.
In the 1980’s the park became a popular cruising ground for pleasure boaters, too popular. Anchors crushing coral and anchor chains sweeping and scouring areas caused heavy damage to plants and animals. So the park’s staff had to devise a plan to preserve the park’s resources for future generations while allowing the opportunity for boaters to enjoy them as well.
Over 200 hundred moorings have been installed around St. John. Boats 17 to 60 feet are required to use a mooring if available/anchoring is prohibited. Boats over 60 feet are only allowed to anchor in sand away from the mooring fields. Anchoring and mooring is prohibited in areas off the southeast corner of the island where the park service has decided that the marine life needs to rebuild.
Use of the moorings during the day is free, however for night use (5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.) there is a self registration fee of $15 per night. Overnight stays are limited to 30 nights in a calendar year and no more than 7 consecutive nights in one bay. The revenue is used to offset the cost of maintaining the moorings.
Golden Age Passport holders pay half price.