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Yacht Provisioning Tips in the British Virgin Islands

May 29, 2024 | Britnie Turner

Provisioning your yacht properly is key to an unforgettable experience while cruising through the pristine waters and stunning landscapes of the British Virgin Islands (BVI).

Most charter companies offer full or partial provisioning services to stock your bareboat charter before your first trip, or you can opt to handle it all yourself. Whichever option you choose, we have BVI provisioning tips to help ensure a seamless and enjoyable voyage.

1. Meal Planning

Start by planning your meals for the duration of the trip. Having a detailed meal plan helps avoid overprovisioning or underprovisioning and ensures everyone enjoys their favorite dishes.

Meal Planning on a yacht

Consider the following when meal planning:

  • How many people will be on board? (Don’t forget any charter company crew members like the hostess and/or skipper.)
  • Are there special dietary needs (vegetarian, keto, diabetic, gluten-free, etc.)?
  • Does anyone have food allergies, such as nuts or seafood? (You certainly don’t want someone having anaphylactic shock!)
  • How long is your trip?
  • How many meals will be eaten onshore versus on board the yacht? (You’ll definitely want to experience the delicious local cuisine at restaurants and cafés on the various islands!)

Be organized by writing out your meal plans and attaching the corresponding shopping lists and any recipes that will be needed for that meal.

2. Keep Your Meals Simple

Plan for breakfast, lunches, dinners, and appetizers for “happy hour.” Keep your meals simple because you and your crew probably don’t want to spend a lot of time in the galley prepping, cooking, and cleaning up while you’re on vacation in such a stunning location.

The galley typically has limited space and a two-ring stove top, so simple, one-pot meals may be the way to go. Here are some ideas:

  • Breakfast: Yogurt, pastries, cereals, fruit, juices, milk, coffee, and tea
  • Lunch: Salads, cured meats, cheese, crackers, bread, pasta, and sandwiches and incorporate any leftovers from the previous day
  • Dinner: Spaghetti Bolognese, West Indian curry, tacos, soups/stews, grilled or pan-fried fresh-caught fish, and shepherd’s pie
  • Happy Hour: Fresh raw veggies with hummus, guacamole, ranch, and/or French onion dips

3. Don’t Forget the Drinks

Hydration is key when sailing in the Caribbean sun, so be sure you have plenty of drinking water on board (allow for 1 gallon of bottled water per person per day). Ideally, you don’t want to use the yacht’s tank water for drinking or cooking.

Remember to buy a variety of beverages including tropical juices, soft drinks, and a selection of alcoholic drinks. If you like rum, try the BVI’s famous Callwood Rum, produced at a 400-year-old distillery on Tortola.

4. Buy a Variety of Snacks

Remember that a variety of snacks is essential when you’re provisioning. For example, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, cakes, biscuits, cookies, granola bars, brownies, flapjacks, and packaged products that don’t need to be refrigerated or cooked.

Certain snacks can be a lifesaver for anyone feeling a bit queasy during the first few days on the water. The following snacks are gentle on the stomach and great for combating seasickness: ginger biscuits, cereal bars (without chocolate), salted potato chips, boiled sweets, and crackers.

5. Visit Local Markets

Explore local markets in the BVI where you can shop for fresh seafood, meat, fruits, vegetables, and specialty items.

BVI market

Some of the best local markets and stores for provisioning include:

  • Cane Garden Bay Seafood Superette, Tortola: They offer a good selection of fresh, locally caught seafood along with groceries, fresh bread, wine, beer, and sodas.
  • Bobby’s Marketplace, Road Town, Tortola: Known for their great service and specialty products like organic, gluten-free, vegan, and baby items.
  • BVI Farmer’s Market, Road Town, Tortola: Support the local food movement every Saturday by buying local farmers’ vegetables, fruit, juices, herbs, cooked food, and baked goods.
  • Buck’s Market, Spanish Town, Virgin Gorda: Offers a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, fresh and frozen meats, dairy, and local delicacies.

6. Source Local Fresh Produce

Take advantage of the fresh produce available in the BVI. Store any fruits that ripen quickly—such as bananas, pineapples, citrus, and mangoes—in the cooler or in a cool, dry place (just don’t forget where you put them!). Apples, cabbage, and root vegetables like carrots and potatoes are great provisioning choices because they stay fresh longer.

7. Include Relaxation and Wellness Items

Enhance your yachting experience by provisioning wellness items like herbal teas, essential oils, and natural remedies. These additions can elevate your trip, providing relaxation and rejuvenation while on board.

For an even deeper wellness experience, consider a day visit to The Aerial, BVI. Our private island health and wellness resort offers a tranquil escape where you can sample delicious island-to-table cuisine, participate in yoga sessions, explore one of the best hiking spots in the BVI with the trails that wind around the 43-acre island, and participate in a variety of holistic activities designed to nurture your body and soul. It’s the perfect complement to your yachting adventure, and you’ll return to the sea feeling completely refreshed and revitalized.

8. Supplies That Are Often Forgotten

Your provisioning plan should also include these often-forgotten supplies:

Travel toiletries
  • A variety of herbs and spices, condiments, oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper to add flavor to your meals
  • Coffee filters, coffee, and tea bags
  • Matches/lighters, lighter fuel, charcoal/propane tank, aluminum foil
  • Paper plates, utensils (reusable or biodegradable like bamboo), and napkins
  • Bottled water for cooking
  • Dish soap, sponge/scrub brush, small towels, and cleaning products
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel/bar soap
  • Toilet paper and paper towels
  • Bug spray, sunscreen, and after-sun lotion
  • Large, tough trash bags
  • A BVI cruising guide that includes anchorage points

9. Don’t Go Overboard

When cruising around the BVI, it’s advisable to provision for only a few days at a time due to limited storage space. This is when your meal plans and food lists will be invaluable. Just grab two or three days’ worth and take them to the store to do your shopping or use them to order online.

The BVI consists of four main islands (Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke) where you can easily re-provision. There are over 50 smaller islands like Norman Island and Great Tobago Island, which usually don’t have any stores. Although sometimes they’ll have a small shop or two where you can pick up a few things like fresh bread.

10. Plan for Waste Management

Please keep the BVI’s waters clean by managing your waste effectively. We suggest using reusable containers to reduce waste and planning for proper disposal and recycling of your garbage at the facilities located at most of the BVI’s marinas.

Further protect the pristine environment of the BVI by using eco-friendly products, such as biodegradable dish soap, hand soap, and cleaning supplies, to minimize your environmental footprint.

11. Use a Provisioning Service

Save time and effort by utilizing local provisioning services that deliver directly to your yacht. Companies like RiteWay Food Markets, Good Moon Farm, and The French Deli offer comprehensive provisioning options tailored to your needs. Online ordering is convenient and ensures you have everything you need delivered right to your charter base.

12. Prepare for Emergencies

Equip your yacht with a well-stocked first-aid kit, necessary medications, a basic tool kit, and a list of emergency contacts including the Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR). Being prepared ensures you can handle any unexpected situations while enjoying your sailing adventure.

Ensuring a Seamless Voyage

Proper provisioning is essential for a smooth and enjoyable yachting experience in the BVI. You’ll ensure a memorable, relaxing journey through the stunning waters of the BVI by planning simple meals, sourcing local produce, provisioning sufficient fresh water, snacks, drinks, and often-forgotten supplies, managing your waste, and being prepared for emergencies.

Safe sailing and happy exploring as you immerse yourself in the beauty and culture of this Caribbean paradise!