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Nonprofit to bolster charter industry in Virgin Islands

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The recently formed Virgin Islands Professional Charter Association (VIPCA) will operate its first annual VIPCA Charter Yacht Show at Yacht Haven Grande in St. Thomas in November. The show will include a special day to encourage students across the Virgin Islands to consider marine careers.

The nonprofit association also is working on insurance offerings for member vessels and crew, including medical and indemnity coverage. Oriel Blake, executive director of VIPCA, said the association’s goal is to provide a voice for charter vessels, the services that support them and the people of the marine industry.

Objectives include developing relationships with the U.S., British and Spanish Virgin Islands governments, between the people of the Virgin Islands and the marine industry, and within the marine industry itself, Blake said.

“We are losing talented young people to the U.S mainland, when there are growing opportunities in the USVIs for captains, crew and in all marine businesses and services,” Blake said. “Sadly, the USVI government underestimates the potential economic contribution from the marine charter industry and little is done to support it at present.”

VIPCA is run by an elected board of volunteer directors. More than 50 charter yachts currently are members.  For more information, visit www.vipca.org.

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