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Charlotte Amalie
Friday, May 20, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesDELEGATE'S BILL WOULD END V.I. 'SIX PACK RULE'

DELEGATE'S BILL WOULD END V.I. 'SIX PACK RULE'

Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen introduced legislation in Congress Friday to help revitalize the territory's chartering industry "by giving charter boat operators the ability to compete" with their peers in non-U.S. jurisdictions.
The bill would reverse that part of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act of 1993 that limits to six the number of paying passengers that may be carried aboard uninspected vessels weighing less than 100 gross tons. In local charter boat circles, the limitation is known as the "six pack rule."
Larger vessels have been designed and built for crewed chartering over the last 20 years, and many boats under 100 tons today have the capacity to carry eight or ten guests.
The six-passenger limit for uninspected charter boats "has resulted in virtually all vessels which are able to carry more than six passengers leaving U.S. Virgin Islands waters and relocating to the nearby British Virgin Islands," Christensen said.
Further, she noted, international standards call for the inspection of only those vessels that carry more than 12 passengers." As a result, she said, foreign-registered vessels carrying between 7 and 12 passengers cannot legally enter the USVI because the boats haven't been inspected by any jurisdiction.
Nor can the B.V.I.-based charter boats pick up or drop off passengers in the territory, she said. And because the boats are provisioned between charters, the territory is also missing out on that lucrative source of revenue.
"As recently as 1988, USVI marine businesses generated more than $85 million in revenue," Christensen said, "but that figure has dropped to less than $15 million today." She attributed the decline to the six-pack law.
Christensen said her bill will be considered when Congress resumes in January.

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Delegate Donna Christian-Christensen introduced legislation in Congress Friday to help revitalize the territory's chartering industry "by giving charter boat operators the ability to compete" with their peers in non-U.S. jurisdictions.
The bill would reverse that part of the Passenger Vessel Safety Act of 1993 that limits to six the number of paying passengers that may be carried aboard uninspected vessels weighing less than 100 gross tons. In local charter boat circles, the limitation is known as the "six pack rule."
Larger vessels have been designed and built for crewed chartering over the last 20 years, and many boats under 100 tons today have the capacity to carry eight or ten guests.
The six-passenger limit for uninspected charter boats "has resulted in virtually all vessels which are able to carry more than six passengers leaving U.S. Virgin Islands waters and relocating to the nearby British Virgin Islands," Christensen said.
Further, she noted, international standards call for the inspection of only those vessels that carry more than 12 passengers." As a result, she said, foreign-registered vessels carrying between 7 and 12 passengers cannot legally enter the USVI because the boats haven't been inspected by any jurisdiction.
Nor can the B.V.I.-based charter boats pick up or drop off passengers in the territory, she said. And because the boats are provisioned between charters, the territory is also missing out on that lucrative source of revenue.
"As recently as 1988, USVI marine businesses generated more than $85 million in revenue," Christensen said, "but that figure has dropped to less than $15 million today." She attributed the decline to the six-pack law.
Christensen said her bill will be considered when Congress resumes in January.