Caribbean Sea. British Virgin Island

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The British Virgin Islands, located NE of the U.S. Virgin Islands, consists of 16 inhabited and more than 20 uninhabited islands. The islands, all of which are of volcanic origin except for Anegada, are steep and hilly. Anegada, the northeastern most island of the chain, is a low coral island. The climate is subtropical and humid. Temperatures are moderated by the trade winds. Hurricanes and tropical storms can occur from July through October.

Buoyage System

The IALA Buoyage System (Region B) is in effect. See Chart No. 1 for further IALA Buoyage System information.
Rollers or ground swell in the area of the islands, frequently occur from October to May and sometimes continue for 3 or 4 days. The rollers appear to loosen sand, thus discoloring the water N of the islands as far as the edge of Virgin Bank. In some places near the W end of Anegada, where the bottom is composed of fine sand, the formation of the banks is frequently changed. In general, they set in after a prevalence of E and SE winds. They also follow winds from the NE, especially when these winds are strong. The wave height may exceed 2m have been observed to break over depths of 16m off the N coast of Tortola.

The official unit of currency is the U.S. dollar, consisting of 100 cents.
The British Virgin Islands are internally self-governing overseas territory of the United Kingdom. Elizabeth II, recognized as the Chief of State, appoints a Governor. The Premier and the Executive Council are appointed by the Governor. The 13 members of the unicameral Legislative Council are directly elected to 4-year terms. The legal system is based on English common law. The capital is Road Town.
The following holidays are observed:

January 1 - New Year’s Day October 21  - St. Ursala’s Day Good Friday - Variable
March 10  - Commonwealth Day November 14  - Prince of Wales’ Birthday Easter Sunday - Variable
July 1      - Territories Day December 25 Christmas Day Easter Monday  - Variable
Second Saturday in June  - Queen’sBirthday December 26 Boxing Day Whitmonday   -  Variable
August 1-3  - Bank Holidays  

The main industries are tourism, light industry, construction, rum, concrete blocks, and offshore financial activities. The main exports are rum, fresh fish, fruits, livestock, gravel, and sand. The main export-trading partner is the United States. The main imports are building materials, automobiles, foodstuffs, and machinery. The main import-trading partner is the United States.
English is the official language. Spanish and Creole are also spoken.
Navigational Information - British Virgin Island. Sailing Direction
Enroute Volume.
Pub. 147, Sailing Directions (Enroute) Caribbean Sea Volume 1.
Maritime Claims.
The maritime territorial claims of the British Virgin Islands are, as follows:
Territorial Sea  - 3 miles.
Fisheries or Economic Zone -200 miles.
Search and Rescue.
A National Emergency Committee is responsible for coordinating search and rescue operations. Virgin Islands Search and Rescue (VISAR), a volunteer organization, works closely with the U.S. Coast Guard. VISAR is not manned 24 hours, but rescue coordinators and lifeboat crews are on call 24 hours.
VISAR can be contacted, as follows:
1. Telephone: 1-284-4990911
2. Facsimile: 1-284-4946613
3. E-mail:
Time Zone.
The Time Zone description is QUEBEC (+4). Daylight Savings Time is not observed.
U.S. Embassy.
The British Virgin Islands are a dependent territory of the United Kingdom. There is no diplomatic representation.


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