In its ongoing efforts to develop the yachting industry in Dominica the Ministry of Tourism has collaborated with the Dominica Marine Association, The Portsmouth Association of Yacht Security and Offshore Passage Opportunities for a Yachtie Appreciation Week.
The event is meant to spread the word of the new and improved yacht moorings to be installed across the island.
At a consultation on Wednesday January 6th, The Hon Minister for Tourism, Senator Robert Tonge stated in his remarks, “It will be the first one for Dominica and the intention is to build on it and make it better. In 2015, we had about 7,600 yachtie visitors. The intention is to double that in the next years. With the help of partners I’m sure we can do better than that once we have the necessary [tools].
He added that a critical aspect of the yachting sector is security.
“The Ministry of Tourism is really excited to be a part of this event and this thrust towards promoting and enhancing the yachting sector. This sector has tremendous potential.
“A couple of months ago, we spoke with Eastern Caribbean Ambassador to Brussels, Dr. Len Ishmael. We said that there are over 4,000 yachts between Guadeloupe and Martinique that we can use to bring people into Dominica but obviously we either need a marina or moorings so that they can anchor. An individual wants to anchor and know that their yacht and possessions are safe.
“PAYS and the Dominica Marine Association have been doing an excellent job to ensure that yachties in the Portsmouth and Newtown areas enjoy 24 hour security.
“As you know, one bad story goes a long way so it is important that we continue doing a fantastic job at that,” he said.
Offshore Passage Opportunities made for the moorings which he sees as positive steps in the development of yachting in Dominica.
“We need as many moorings as possible to welcome these persons when they come. The [association] has donated the moorings to Dominica. The Ministry of Tourism has installed four of them and the organisation has donated six of them including the lines to make it possible. Offshore Passage Opportunities has donated 50 mooring buoys and tackle. That is worth over US $15,000.”
Owner of the yachting organization, Offshore Passage Opportunities, Hank Schmitt, says after stumbling upon Dominica he immediately saw many positives for yachters and other stakeholders.
I first discovered Dominica about eight or ten years ago on a planned journey of Caribbean islands. We liked it so much that the next year we planned three separate trips to come here. Since then, we have been making two or three trips every year. There used to be a mooring field in Prince Rupert’s Bay but last year we came through and found that many of the mooring buoys weren’t there anymore so we came up with the idea of donating the materials,” he said.”
He says that directly following the installation of the moorings a week of activities will be held to spread the word to the yachting community.
“You can’t just put in a mooring field and expect people to find out about it so we have put together the celebration from February 14 to 21st. We want other yachties to come, visit Dominica, take advantage of the mooring field and tour the island. We want them to tell everybody else about the uniqueness of this island.”