SHOPTALK

Passage Maker - - Contents -

When the Marine Group ed­i­to­rial team from Ac­tive In­ter­est Me­dia headed down to the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands this past De­cem­ber a unique part­ner­ship de­vel­oped. Both Marine Max and The Moor­ings helped us se­cure char­ter boats for tour­ing the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands. Hur­ri­canes Irma, Jose, and Maria had big im­pacts on both The Moor­ings and Marine Max. We asked Josie Tucci of The Moor­ings and Raul Ber­mudez of Marine Max Va­ca­tions for their im­pres­sions of the im­pact that this past hur­ri­cane sea­son had on their busi­nesses.

What im­pact did the 2017 Hur­ri­cane Sea­son have on your com­pany and your char­ter op­er­a­tions?

It was heart­break­ing for us all to see the dev­as­ta­tion in the days af­ter Irma, and then Maria passed through. For the first

time in our com­pany’s 50-year his­tory, we had to close our Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­land base for three months, un­til our re­open­ing on De­cem­ber 9. Like­wise our St. Martin and Puerto Rico lo­ca­tions were closed and will be cel­e­brat­ing re­open­ing on Fe­bru­ary 1st. We re­funded or re­booked all of our cus­tomers im­pacted by these clo­sures. Dur­ing this chal­leng­ing time we re­ceived over­whelm­ing of­fers of sup­port from our friends and fam­ily in the boat­ing com­mu­nity, and as a re­sult, have raised over $125k to help our team mem­bers di­rectly af­fected by the storms. – Josie Tucci

Af­ter the hur­ri­canes MarineMax Va­ca­tions was not op­er­at­ing char­ters. Our first char­ter guests re­turned in late Novem­ber— thanks to our ded­i­cated team pre­par­ing the fleet and to those guests who were so ex­cited to visit. Our fleet was af­fected with eight boats be­ing se­verely dam­aged and the re­main­ing re­ceiv­ing mi­nor to mod­er­ate dam­age. Over­all we were very im­pressed with how well our boats held up and how strong they were.— Raul Ber­mudez

What has the come­back trail been like?

It’s been a lot of work and credit goes to our op­er­a­tions teams on the ground who have worked tire­lessly in tough con­di­tions to get us ready to wel­come guests again. We lost over a third of our fleet and have many yachts un­der re­pair. In ad­di­tion, we are in the process of bring­ing over 130 new yachts into the BVI in 2018, so there is still a lot of ef­fort go­ing into the re­cov­ery ef­forts. – Josie Tucci

The MarineMax Va­ca­tions team was and is out­stand­ing. Prior to the hur­ri­cane they did a great job pre­par­ing the fleet and then after­wards, re­ally came to­gether to as­sess the dam­age and pre­pare the fleet for the char­ter sea­son. – Raul Ber­mudez

What is your im­pres­sion of BVI cruis­ing right now?

I was per­son­ally amazed and en­cour­aged to see the pace at which the lo­cal hotspots, bars, and restau­rants are re­cov­er­ing. We had the chance to visit some of my fa­vorite haunts and share high fives and fist bumps at the news that we, too, were re­open­ing. Foxy’s, the Soggy Dol­lar, and Hendo’s Hide­out on Jost Van Dyke, Coco Maya and Lev­er­ick Bay on Vir­gin Gorda, as well as Pi­rates Bight, Cow Wreck on Ane­gada, were al­ready open for busi­ness as usual! – Josie Tucci

I was im­pressed by the spirit of the peo­ple I met. Ev­ery­one was very friendly, happy to see peo­ple vis­it­ing the is­lands, and pos­i­tive about the out­look of the up­com­ing sea­son. While there were signs of the hur­ri­cane, I was pleas­antly sur­prised to see how quickly veg­e­ta­tion had grown back and how beau­ti­ful the is­lands were. The wa­ter is as beau­ti­ful as ever; the snor­kel­ing and na­tional parks are ready for tourists to en­joy. – Raul Ber­mudez

What is your one piece of ad­vice for char­ters and cruis­ers for this com­ing sea­son?

Bring plenty of cash if you’re com­ing down now, and book early if you’re look­ing at next sea­son—it will be busy but the char­ter fleet will still be lim­ited! – Josie Tucci

Hurry up and go! This is a great time to re­ally ex­plore the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, talk to peo­ple in the com­mu­nity, see your fa­vorite places in a more se­cluded set­ting, and take in the nat­u­ral sur­round­ings. The beauty found in the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands, with their com­bi­na­tion of beaches, cliffs, moun­tains, boul­ders, caves and sea is so dif­fer­ent from any­where else. This sea­son is re­ally the per­fect op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the Bri­tish Vir­gin Is­lands and take it all in. – Raul Ber­mudez

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Josie Tucci, Vice Pres­i­dent of Sales and Mar­ket­ing for The Moor­ings and Sun­sail.

Raul Ber­mudez, Vice Pres­i­dent of Marine Max Va­ca­tions.

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