SeaHorse Water Taxi vs. Ferry

At SeaHorse Water Taxi, we often get people comparing us to the ferry. We'll be the first to say we are not the same...

• We coordinate seamless service (land and water taxi)
• We are scheduled to fit your timeline
• Smooth and easy experience with customs
• Beer and water are standard on our boats
...Are we there yet?...

By the time your feet hit the tarmac, you may have already been in transit for 8-14 hours. That is a long day! When hiring our service, we take care of everything to get you to your final destination. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your vacation!

Here are two scenarios based upon a normal transport of a 4 person group from St. Thomas Airport to Road Town.

Cost Comparison

Assumes 2:00 PM flight arrival at the airport, with 4 passengers.

SeaHorse Experience - St. Thomas Airport to Road Town

You wake up that morning a little giddy and excited to start your vacation. Let's be honest, you can't wait to do yoga on the beach...You packed the night before and are ready to enjoy a much needed vacation. You head out to the airport and get through ticketing and security. You board your first flight and the experience is predictable because you fly the same airline. You stop for your layover and are back on a plane for your second flight.

 

You get off the flight with excitement from the new smells in the air and hub-bub of the St. Thomas Airport. Once inside the baggage claim you wait for your luggage to come out on the conveyor belt. Your pre-arranged airport taxi picks you up from the baggage claim and helps load luggage into their air conditioned van.

Our drivers have been vetted by us personally and they do an amazing job. Because it is a private land taxi, they have only one destination and that is to your boat at the American Yacht Harbor in Red Hook.

 

Your travel party will transfer to a private boat where they will be taken directly to the customs office to check you into the BVI. The SeaHorse operations crew will have all your paperwork filled out before you even get to the dock. Your boat now speeds off into the ocean slicing through waves.

 

The ocean breeze and the smell of the salt air for the boat ride and passing islands of adventure. The captain points out the islands, naming them as you pass by. You pull into Road Town forty five minutes later.

 

Our captain will collect your passports and match them with the paperwork. While your travel party relaxes in the boat enjoying beer or water you get checked-in. The captain comes out of the office, hands back everyone's freshly stamped passports and you're off. You take a short boat ride to an open dock slot and you are next to your charter boat. You unload your luggage and check-in at the office. The rest is your vacation of memories.
When it is over, we pick you up at your charter boat and then bring a wonderful vacation back to a gentle close before returning to real life.

Ferry Experience - St. Thomas Airport to Road Town

You wake up that morning a little giddy and excited to start your vacation. Let's be honest, you can't wait to do yoga on the beach...You packed the night before and are ready to enjoy a much needed vacation. You head out to the airport and get through ticketing and security. You board your first flight and the experience is predictable because you fly the same airline. You stop for your layover and are back on a plane for your second flight.

 

You get off the flight with a slight knot in your stomach hoping you make the ferry. Once inside the baggage claim you wait for your luggage to come out on the conveyor belt. You grab your luggage and step outside to a row of vans and a slight bit of bewilderment and confusion.

You tell someone where you want to go and they point to a van while the driver navigates to get in. A mix of other tourists are also trying to find the right van that will take them and their luggage. You climb into a van that gets filled with a group of strangers and you leave the airport. You go on a short tour of the island trying to get your bearings hoping the driver heard your destination right.

 

You are dropped off at the ferry terminal and pay the driver. Who knows if he over charged, but you leave him a tip anyway. You find the ticket window and buy your tickets. Sometimes there's mechanical issues with any of ferries and your wondering just what to do! Moments later you could be scrambling looking for lodging for the night until the next ferry run in the morning...which is going to cost you about $200-300 per room.

 

You grab a cocktail from a local bar and start to slow down. The ferry is now boarding, so everyone stands up and gets in line waiting to get on board as they collect tickets. You find your seat, sometimes it is cushioned, sometimes it is a hard bench. You feel a little more relaxed and confident you are navigating the right way.

 

You watch the islands and water pass by as the ferry rises and falls with the waves. You feel slightly lost as you pass these islands as they are nameless to you. The long day of travel is slowing down and you can collect your thoughts and excitement. You are fatigued but also feel some exhilaration to be in a foreign place. You pull into the Road Town ferry dock an hour later.
You get off the ferry with the other 100-150 people and wait to get through customs and check into the BVI. Luckily there are two lines, but they don't seem to move fast enough. About 40-60 minutes later you exit the ferry terminal looking for the next step to your destination. You find a cab driver who can take you to BVI Charter Boats. After throwing your luggage in the back, you climb into the van with another group of people. You find that some of you are going to the same charter boat company.

 

The driver makes a couple stops and finally you get to your stop. You get out, grab your luggage and pay the driver. You find the office to check-in, leaving your luggage on the porch. You check-in with the charter boat company and then start hauling your luggage to the charter boat down the way...you are beyond ready to start your vacation...at least you can look at the boats from the night sky...now that your luggage is dropped off, your party needs to find a restaurant to have dinner...oh and by the way, you still need to get provisions for the boat...the still day continues to get longer.

International Processing Fees

Published 2/22/2019, the information below is subject to change without notice.

We often get questions about the “international processing fees” charged for guests travelling to and from the BVI. They used to be called “BVI customs fees.” Many changes have happened because of security changes resulting from 9/11 and governmental increases from both the BVI and the USVI.  We now use the more accurate term of “International Processing Fees.” Today, many different cost go into the collection of $60pp (per person) required to enter the BVI, and $40pp returning from the BVI to the USVI.

We are  asked, “Do we have to pay this if we take the public ferry?” The easy answer is, “yes, but not nearly as much.” Public ferries get a different rate on many of the inbound fees to the BVI. However, ferry passengers still pay $20pp departure tax from the BVI. These are paid by each person before clearing through the security gate at the ferry terminals.

Other fees for visitors using the public ferry system traveling in either direction are built into the ticket price. All private operators (US or British registry) have to pay different fees than the public ferry each time they enter and exit.

The fees charged to US registered vessels are broken down in part, as follows:

From USVI to the BVI

$16pp “BVI Cruising Permit Fee” (raised Aug 1, 2017)
$10pp “BVI Environmental Fee” (new Sept 1, 2017)
$25pp document prep and filing fee
$9pp built into the cost of per boat entry fee, per guest wharfage departing the secure port in Red Hook, and BVI immigration processing fees.
After hours, Sundays & Holidays also incur BVI immigration and customs flat rate fees.

From BVI to USVI 

$20pp BVI departure tax
$8pp USVI Port Authority dock usage fee in St John or in Red Hook.
$25-40 per boat USVI Port Authority fee (based on boat size)

Private land and water taxi service delivers less wait, more personalized service, and usually no lines…to wait in with 100 of your new BFF’s (Best Ferry Friends).

Rapid Customs Processing

You're On Vacation

As we serve as a water taxi to both the BVI and USVI, we need to get our clients through customs. We need to know the rules and guidelines to rapidly get you cleared to enter the country.

Nobody wants to stand in line...well maybe there are those few who go to a magical kingdom and spend more time standing in line than on vacation.

We have developed our Rapid Customs Processing program to keep you on vacation as much as possible. While you are in the boat sipping your selected beverage, relaxing and chatting with friends,  our captain goes into the customs house. With your passport, the completed paperwork, and cash fees, he works with the officer to clear you through customs.

Customs Form Completion

You will need to fill out our online form in advance, it is located at RCP Form. We take the data and manually write it on to the customs for you. As we are doing this, we make sure it is filled out properly and we have all the information the customs house needs. If there are any errors, gaps, or issues, our experienced team will know before we get to the customs house and can address them.

We recommend filling out the information sooner than later, at least a week before your travel date. We do charge a $25 per person fee for not filling out the online form in advance of travel.

Ultimately, we want you to have a spectacular vacation!

SeaHorse Water Taxi

Customs – After Hours

If you are looking for a water taxi to take you from the USVI to BVI, you've come to the right place. We regularly provide water taxi service from St. Thomas to Road Town. BVI.

BVI Customs

Getting through customs after hours can be easy and complicated, it just depends. Late flights or other delays unexpectedly get in the way. If there is a delay on the flight, you give us a call and we will have everything worked out before you're in the air. Once you land, we will be there to pick you up in the baggage claim.

We know its not your fault that your flight is delayed, but you still have to deal with the consequences. We work with you to minimize that impact. Our operations team has moved thousands of passengers over their years. We are so experienced, we can almost predict which flights will have delays. If we can't get you through, we will offer a full refund or can schedule you for transport the next morning.

Our experienced team have a variety of strategies to manage getting you through customs. We've already conducted an internal evaluation and risk assessment of the whole process. We know what works and what doesn't. We have around ten tried and true strategies to get you through customs.

The customs houses used to be open later before hurricane Maria and Irma in 2017. Since then, some of the customs houses were destroyed and have been operating out of temporary buildings. It is not clear when or if expanded hours will be reinstated. Much of Tortola is still rebuilding.

Can't I Schedule Late Entry?

If it were just a matter of money, that would be easy. Any late entry into the BVI will need to be approved by the Commissioner of Customs. As of late, he has not been approving after hours entries.

Getting through customs after hours is more about knowing the rules of the game.  I often tell my kids, if you don't know the rules, you can't play the game. Contact us about your specific situation and we will give you our honest opinion.

At the end of the day, sometimes it is the ferry that fits your budget. Our clients choose because of convenience, expertise, and so they can start their vacation from the moment they land!