Navigation & Anchoring
This Google Map is not intended to be use for navigation purposes. It is intended to provide local knowledge on hazards and navigation. Please reference your charts before entering Coral Bay.
Navigation / Hazards
Navigation - Coral Bay is located on the east side of St. John, US Virgin Islands. The bay opens to the southeast. The bay entrance is bracketed by Flanagan Island to the north and Leduck Island to the south. The most common approaches are along St. John’s south shore from St. Thomas or along St. John’s north shore. St. Croix is to the south and Coral Bay or Salt Pond Bay are wonderful spots to start/finish your passage.
Eagle Shoal - East of Ram Head and south of Leduck Island, Eagle Shoal is hard to spot. Well marked on charts.
Drunk Bay Lee Shore - Inside of Eagle Shoal there is a lee shore from Ram Head, past Drunk Bay, to Sabbot Point. Vessels in distress have been washed up onto this shore and broken apart.
Johnson Reef - Inside the entrance to Coral Bay on the south shore, the reef fringes and extends Johnson Bay.
Fortsberg Point Rocks - Off of Fortsberg and marked as Battery Point, there are breaking waves over rocks 200-feet from shore.
Coral Harbor Mooring Field - Many submerged moorings with one-inch mooring chain foul the bottom.
Where to Anchor in Coral Harbor
You must anchor. There are no public moorings in any part of Coral Bay, except day moorings in Hurricane Hole in the National Park - https://home.nps.gov/vicr/planyourvisit/virgin-islands-marine-visitor-use-information.htm. Be careful not to anchor on coral or seagrass, as both are plentiful.
The safest place to anchor is outside the mooring area in Coral Harbor to the left of the green channel buoy. See google sketch. You can see open ocean, but the sea bottom here dampens the waves as they approach. Holding is good. You can go to restaurants and grocery stores or take a bus or taxi to town, etc. Please do not anchor in the Saunders Ghut area, as its seafloor is seagrass and environmentally sensitive. And do we need to say -- Please do not anchor in the navigation channel!
Moorings in Coral Bay are private, and fees are paid to the government by their owners for them. Please do not anchor in the mooring field between moorings. These are not single line moorings but depend on a spider web of chains or line on the seafloor connecting several sand screws over a 40-foot wide area for a single mooring. There are still hurricane debris and unmarked old mooring tackle. That “blank spot” could be a boat wreck or old mooring. Your anchor WILL get caught – ruining that day of your vacation – ‘nuf said?
Beginning late in the day, in parts of the mooring area, often boats swing 360’s on their moorings as tides and winds shift during the night. You do not want to be anchored in between them when they swing – you will hit. Messy!
Dinghy and boat speed is limited to 6 mph in the mooring area and channel. However, not everyone obeys. Do not allow your crew to swim across the busy and dangerous channel.
Coral Bay Outside of Coral Harbor
All of Coral Bay, including Hurricane Hole and Round Bay, are a restricted area under statute Title 25, Chapter 15, subchapter 297.
"Restricted areas: a designated harbor or bay within which operation by motorboats, including personal watercraft and other thrillcraft is limited. Operation in these areas shall be in as straight a line as is practicable under the circumstances and shall in no event interfere with swimming and other non-motorized activities; operation in these areas shall be at a reduced speed, without excessive wake and, whenever safety requires it, or in a designated mooring or anchoring area, shall be in a slow, no-wake manner."
Round Bay is a very nice anchorage. You may not anchor on seagrass or coral. Your anchor chain may not drag across seagrass or coral. The effective speed limit is 6mph/5kts. Round Bay is a short-term anchorage and you may not anchor more than fourteen days per year.
The US Virgin Islands has an anti-noise ordinance, just like home. It is common sense not to disturb your neighbors on adjacent boats and on land. The full text of the ordinance is available on the Coral Bay Community Council’s web site. Here is a summary for boaters:
You cannot play music so loud that it is audible 100 feet from your boat.
Play music that exceeds a sound level of 75 dBA.
$2,000 fine for violation.
The dinghy dock is located after the end of the channel markers in the northeast corner of Coral Harbor. It is a concrete dock with a wooden extension.
Do not tie to open end of the dock. It is for loading and unloading only. Commercial charter and dive boats use this dock to load and unload guests. Dinghies tying up on the end of the dock will be moved, for the safety of loading and unload boat guests and supplies.
There is room on both of the long sides of the dinghy dock to tie up. Painters must be at least 10-feet. You will notice that local dinghies tie up with 15-feet of painter to maximize the amount of dinghies that can be accommodated. Short painters will be lengthened.
Dinghies/vessels of more than 14-feet may not be left unattended.
You can anchor near shore in shallow water and walk in. Vessels over 14-feet left unattended will be moved to anchor.
There is no dinghy dock on the west shore by Dolphin Market and other retail merchants. You can tie to the shore or anchor and wade in. You can walk from the dinghy dock along the donkey trail and left onto Salt Pond Road passing Love City Mini Mart and the free dumpsters on the way.
You have three choices, 1) Keep your trash on board, 2) Walk your trash about ½ mile to the Free Public Trash Dumpster - which is near a grocery store, or 3) Pay for the convenience of depositing it in a boater’s bin near the dinghy dock – the money is used to pay the private garbage hauler. This bin is provided as a volunteer-led service of the Coral Bay Community Council to provide you with a convenient option – as long as you provide the $$$. Pay using your smart phone right there - $3 to $10 a bag depending on size.
You can walk your trash ½ mile to the free dumpster: Walk left from the dinghy dock, past the large trees and picnic tables, to the donkey trail. The donkey trail is maintained by the Coral Bay Yacht Club as a pedestrian and livestock only shortcut. The short cut comes out on Route 107. Turn left for the free dumpsters. Love City Mini Mart is across the street. Or you can walk along the road around the harbor.
If you choose to take your dinghy to the Dolphin Market western shore and wade in – Be aware there is no place to deposit your garbage – except to walk to your right about 1/3 mile to the Public Trash Bin. Do not believe the guys who hang around and say they will take care of it for you. It ends up in a torn bag by the side of the road there – with donkeys and chickens pulling out your trash and scattering it around! Hint: Go back to your 3 choices. This is not on the list!