2019 Application Information
Phone: (340) 776-6201 EXT. 239
The application deadline is May 17, 2019.
Please note that the park is still taking applications.
2019 Hurricane Hole Storm Refuge Application
2019 Hurricane Hole User's Guide
Anchoring is not permitted within Virgin Islands Coral Reef National Monument (VICR), including Hurricane Hole, except for emergency or administrative purposes. In order to protect resources and to allow safe harborage during storm emergencies, a limited number of vessels may use Hurricane Hole as an emergency storm refuge from June 1 to November 30 each year, subject to the provisions described below. The storm refuge system, a large, submerged chain on the ocean floor, is designed for berthing by vessels up to 60 feet in length, length on deck. The establishment of a storm refuge system in Hurricane Hole enables the continued use of this area as a safe haven with secure mooring for vessels during storm events, while protecting the mangroves and other natural resources for which this monument was established. Hence, tying of vessels to mangroves or other shoreline vegetation live or dead is prohibited.
No fees are collected at this time.
The NPS will mark assigned sites, or storm berths, before or during the week following registration, using small, numbered floats. These may be left in place to mark the permitted spot or may be removed by the vessel owner and stored on board. Mariners may place their gear at their storm berth; gear may be left through the duration of the hurricane season. Only shackles may be attached to the ground chain and must be placed at least three chain links out from each side of the compression springs; nothing should be attached directly to the compression springs, by-pass chain, embedment anchors, or link with any NPS buoys or floats attached. Maps of the system may be viewed at http://www.nps.gov/vicr/learn/management/hurricane-hole-storm-refuge-permits.htm.
New in 2019
Many vessels displaced in the waters and mangroves of Hurricane Hole during the 2017 hurricanes contained large quantities of various toxins including pesticides, paints, solvents, dyes as well as full fuel tanks and excess diesel, gasoline and propane tanks and oil reservoirs. In addition, many had full sewage tanks. Mariners using the storm refuge are requested to maintain reasonably low quantities of these toxins and hazardous substances onboard when placing their vessel in Hurricane Hole under imminent hurricane conditions.
Vessels with a current-year Commercial Use Authorization permit issued by VIIS-VICR have written agreement to adhere to all NPS and VINP regulations including the prohibition from: (1) using NPS moorings during sustained winds greater than 40 knots, and (2) anchoring their vessel(s) within VIIS prior to an impending tropical storm or hurricane. Mary Creek exemplifies an area outside the designated anchorage where anchoring is always prohibited. CUA permit holders are hereby notified a violation of either condition above may result in future denial of a VIIS-VICR CUA permit for their vessel.
Each berth is marked by a surface buoy bearing the alpha-numeric name of the berth, and connected to the chain at the sea floor. A (nine-inch-diameter) subsurface (berth-marker) buoy with the berth name is attached to the chain and connects the surface marker buoy. At Borck Creek only the chain ends are marked with a surface buoy, and each berth is marked by the subsurface buoy with the alpha-numeric berth. As always GPS positions for each berth are published at the VICR website. Do not attach anything to the berth-marker buoy or chain link to which they are connected.
The heavy chain settles into the seafloor sediment each year and can be difficult to locate for attachment of gear. Chain at the first nine (southern-most) storm berths at the entrance to Otter Creek (O1 – O9), settle deeper than at other locations, and we are testing a system to reduce how far the chain settles into the sand. A four-foot length of PVC pipe was placed perpendicular to and centered under the chain every six feet along these nine berths. A small subsurface chain-marker buoy was attached to the chain between the PVC to help locate the chain. Do not attach anything to the chain-marker buoy or chain link to which they are connected, nor to the PVC pipe.
Subsurface chain-marker floats were also attached to chain at the first five (southern-most) berths at the entrance to Princess Bay (P1 – P5), with no associated PCV pipe, to help mark the chain buried in the sediment.