Boaters holding Hurricane Hole storm mooring permits for 2010 must decide by May 24 if they want those moorings for the upcoming hurricane season.
“We still have some people who have not yet responded,” said Rafe Boulon, chief of resource management at V.I. National Park and Coral Reef National Monument.
There are 103 spots on the Hurricane Hole mooring chain, but Boulon said only about seven or eight of them remain vacant and are up for grabs. If he doesn’t hear back from all those who had spots last year, the number will increase.
The park will hold a drawing for the remaining spaces at 9 a.m. May 28 at the park’s Visitor Center. Boulon suggested arriving early to fill out a card.
The spots will be assigned based on the order in which cards with the boat’s name are drawn out of a box. When the moorings are gone, Boulon said those who didn’t get a space will be placed on a waiting list in the order in which their cards were drawn. He said there may be a few spaces in Hurricane Hole for boats to drop anchors.
Boaters can put down their gear after May 28, but Boulon said they can’t move their boats into Hurricane Hole until 96 hours before a storm is expected to hit. They can keep their boats there until 72 hours after the storm is over.
“Unless another one is in the pipeline,” Boulon said.
The park instituted a hurricane mooring system to protect the mangroves that fringe Hurricane Hole. Boulon said it’s become even more important to do so since about 30 species of corals were discovered growing among the mangroves and on their roots.
“That’s all the more reason to use the hurricane chain,” he said.
Boaters who want to keep their spot for the upcoming hurricane season can send an e-mail [email protected] to let the park know their intentions. Boaters will then receive a renewal application.
They can also send or drop off a letter at the park. In the e-mail or letter, they must include the owner’s or captain’s name, the vessel’s name and the location of the 2010 permit. For those who had temporary permits for a portion of last year, a park official will let them know if the original permit holder elects to not use the spot this year and will forfeit their spot.
The park is asking boaters to spread the word to those with 2010 permits who are unlikely to check their email. Those whose email has changed should contact the park.
Further information can be obtained by calling Boulon at 693-8950, extension 224.