Just months after the Department of Planning and Natural Resources moved several private vessels out of Cruz Bay harbor to provide for swimming at the Cruz Bay beach, 11 white dinghies have been moored in the bay near Gallows Point.
The dinghies are owned by a company called Island Networks which will contract with cruise ships calling on St. Thomas and St. John to give tours to their passengers.
“It’s not like anybody can walk up to them and get a dinghy,” said DPNR spokesperson Jamal Nielsen. “They have contracts set up with the cruise ships that come in, so the ships send their passengers directly to them.”
The 11 dinghies, which are tied up on three strings attached to one mooring, will be moved from their current temporary location, according to Nielsen, who did not have further information regarding where in Cruz Bay the dinghies will eventually be located.
Island Networks is not competing with other long-time Cruz Bay boat rental companies like Noah’s Little Arks, explained Nielsen.
“Their focus is with the cruise ships and they don’t take any walk up customers, so they’re not really competing with those businesses there,” he said.
DPNR’s aim in moving private vessels out of Cruz Bay and requiring Cruz Bay water-based businesses to move off the beach was not to hurt local businesses, Nielsen explained.
“We were trying to get rid of personal vessels, not hurt the businessman,” he said. “We didn’t want to impact the businesses in our efforts to clean up Cruz Bay.”