Part of the cost goes to payment processing, including credit card fees. It's not very different from parking meters, where people pay for the convenience of using an app instead of carrying a pocket full of quarters.
I am going to copy and paste my response on the USVI Forum. This moorings have nothing to do with the National Park Moorings. There are 200 moorings total. 100 day use 80 of which technically already existed but have not been maintained and 100 overnight spread throughout the USVI.
I am going to reluctantly put my oar in the water on this.
For background I am on the Board of VIPCA. I have also been the chairman of the committee in charge of this mooring project for the last year and a half. The grant funding and basics of this deal were in place when I was elected to the board. And took that position as a volunteer. The board of VIPCA is made up entirely of volunteers from the industry. We all donate our time in hopes of improving our industry. This mooring project is designed to protect the environment and help level the playing field in the Virgin Islands charter and boating industry. It is critical infrastructure that is sorely needed.
Regardless of your preconceived notions about BoatyBall, this is a good deal for the industry and the tourists alike. BoatyBall is taking a very small slice of this revenue. In exchange they will be providing the mechanism for the collection of these fees. The fees are designed to help make this program self sustaining as much as possible. There is no reservation system this is an honor system on a first come first served basis. Any payments on the dive/day moorings are on a donation basis only. VIPCA as part of this grant has agreed to restore and maintain those existing moorings along with the new overnight moorings. VIPCA could not possibly build and maintain, the online systems necessary for this project at five times the cost of BoatyBall's percentage. BoatyBall also has a system of self reporting issues with the moorings that will allow timely repairs and maintenance of the moorings based on real time reporting. The insurance is a requirement of the grant and permits, it is not optional. The insurance was shopped among every carrier possible and the best options were chosen.
In the fifteen years that I have spent working in the charter industry in the US Virgin Islands this is one of the most significant improvements that have been made in support of the industry.
I am an avid critic of boaty ball. If the program runs as currently envisioned I feel it’s a good thing and certainly endorse it. My fear however is that once established the rules will change. Perhaps there are some rules in place to avoid that. I was one of the first to post that boaty ball would lead to rising costs and they would establish a priority program with high fees. They did exactly that with the 500 plus dollar program. Realistically you need a max of 3 boaty balls on a charter. That puts the cost in excess of 200 a ball if you want priority. My last two charters we also had issues with squatters on reserved balls. That’s probably only going to get worse unless they have a manager on site at each mooring field. I don’t see that happening. First come, first served should be the rule for all balls. This does not even touch on the free use of balls for day stops. This has caused me to not make lunch stops at several locations.
I am not a huge fan of BB, but... I think the rush of BVI boaters to the USVI during COIVD showed that there was a need for expanded mooring coverage in the USVI. If I remember the pressure on the National Park moorings was intense. Moorings outside of the national parks were largely taken by locals.
What to do....what to do ???
Some forward-thinking company might see this as a business opportunity. Looks like Boaty Ball did just that. It will be interesting to see how well the BB BVI business plan works in the USVI.
I will continue to use my anchor whenever/wherever I can, but occasionally, a mooring ball ( FCFS or reserved ) comes in handy. I personally look forward to trying out a couple of new ( non NPS) anchorages in the USVI that I would probably have passed on before mooring balls were an option.
The Boaty Ball business model is completely different in the USVI. They simply handle payment, no reservations. VIPCA has put in new moorings at locations that have been difficult to anchor. The VIPCA moorings are the big story, Boaty Ball is just outsourced payment processing.
S/V Echoes, 2003 Beneteau 423 Coral Bay, St. John USVI - Grenada (summer)
I too am an avid critic of BB and had no preconceived notions when this started. I just have the experience of interacting and watching how the owners have acted at the very beginning along with the issues it has created on the water. I can only speak to the BVI and the reservation system. I do support Captain Jay and his efforts to make this a better place
Re: Boaty ball now in the USVI
#307011 10/08/202301:24 PM10/08/202301:24 PM