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Old 17-01-2015, 15:13   #16
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

I long ago stopped expecting the US government to be any use whatsoever.
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Old 17-01-2015, 15:57   #17
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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Just don't expect the State Department to bail you out.
Its the State Dept who would be busting you in the first place. :what:
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Old 17-01-2015, 16:30   #18
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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Well it does look like I missed some of the changes based on the new policy. Here's what I found online about the permit issue.


The changes set to take effect tomorrow will make it easier for those hoping to visit Cuba to do so. Americans who wish to travel to Cuba will have to meet one of 12 different criteria for authorized travel, as they have in the past. Those categories include family visits, official business of the U.S. government, foreign governments, and certain intergovernmental organizations; journalistic activity; professional research and professional meetings; educational activities; religious activities; public performances, clinics, workshops, athletic and other competitions, and exhibitions.

"It's a violation of U.S. law to disregard travel categories," a senior administration official said. "Penalties can be imposed for violations of any of the terms. This is something that we will continue to highlight as part of the process."

But—and this is a huge but—prospective travelers will no longer have to obtain a specialized license from the government, which seems to pave the way for a future in which leisure travel is more common, if not completely legal. As part of the updated regulations, those hoping to travel to Havana will only need a general license, which they can declare as individuals. In practice, this will effectively mean that people can claim they are traveling under one of the dozen approved categories, and then book a flight. Airlines and travel agents will no longer need specialized licenses to provide service to Cuba.

So, technically things are more or less the same, no travel just for fun but no longer required to pay some travel agent a huge fee to travel under their special permits, you can get one yourself. And if you get your own permit it looks like the new policy is very "Wink, wink. Nod, nod." I'm going on a cultural tour.

Now, does anyone know where to get this general license?


Look at reason #8. Educational activities. That could include a lot of things. learning the culture would be educational activities wouldn't it?
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Old 17-01-2015, 19:14   #19
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

So if I am reading this correctly, no special permit is needed or need to be applied for. So, if I were to travel to Cuba in my own boat, when I arrived I would give them one of the 12 reasons for traveling, follow all of Cuba's rules, and no one would really care? We have a boat in our marina that is, as we speak planning a trip to Cuba, and this is what he believes. He plans on leaving the first of Feb and returning a week or so latter. He is a retired American, with his wife, I will let you all know how his tirp goes and if he had any problems when (or should I say "IF) he returns.
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Old 17-01-2015, 19:37   #20
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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So if I am reading this correctly, no special permit is needed or need to be applied for. So, if I were to travel to Cuba in my own boat, when I arrived I would give them one of the 12 reasons for traveling, follow all of Cuba's rules, and no one would really care? We have a boat in our marina that is, as we speak planning a trip to Cuba, and this is what he believes. He plans on leaving the first of Feb and returning a week or so latter. He is a retired American, with his wife, I will let you all know how his tirp goes and if he had any problems when (or should I say "IF) he returns.
It's not going to Cuba that's an issue. The Cubans love American tourists and welcome them with open arms. If asked, they will not put a stamp in your passport but stamp a separate paper that you can throw away before you return to the states.

The problem is getting back to the USA. If you don't have proper authorization, permits or whatever red tape is currently required you will be subject to fines and your boat could be confiscated.

Very doubtful it would happen but that's what is on the books. Again, unless things have changed recently I have read numerous reports that customs in south Florida, especially Key West are very hard on boats coming back from Cuba.
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Old 17-01-2015, 23:31   #21
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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It's not going to Cuba that's an issue. The Cubans love American tourists and welcome them with open arms. If asked, they will not put a stamp in your passport but stamp a separate paper that you can throw away before you return to the states.

The problem is getting back to the USA. If you don't have proper authorization, permits or whatever red tape is currently required you will be subject to fines and your boat could be confiscated.

Very doubtful it would happen but that's what is on the books. Again, unless things have changed recently I have read numerous reports that customs in south Florida, especially Key West are very hard on boats coming back from Cuba.
Totally changed... I'm in KW now and boats are lining up to go, besides Key West race week, its all anyone is talking about. Especially the sport fishers.

IMO, Cuba is going take a HUGE chunk of change out of the south florida marine services business.
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Old 18-01-2015, 06:56   #22
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

I have always found it a good idea to avoid breaking the law of any foreign country I happen to be in.
Can we go back to talking about sailing now?
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Old 18-01-2015, 06:59   #23
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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Totally changed... I'm in KW now and boats are lining up to go, besides Key West race week, its all anyone is talking about. Especially the sport fishers.
Everyone talking about going but have you spoken to anyone who has come back and cleared customs? Has the local customs and immigration made any announcement about their policy or how they will deal with boats coming back from Cuba?

So far, everything on the news (which I take with more than a grain of salt) and every new announcement from the government, including recent posts on the DoT website emphasizes that travel strictly for tourism is still not allowed and fines for such are still on the books.

How this will or will not be enforced is another question altogether. My guess is enforcement will vary depending on the attitudes of the local office. Very interested in what kind of reception all the boaters from Key West see on their return.
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Old 18-01-2015, 07:05   #24
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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I have always found it a good idea to avoid breaking the law of any foreign country I happen to be in.
Not only foreign but usually a good idea even at home.
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Old 18-01-2015, 07:35   #25
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

Or..... just go to Cuba, and never "check in" upon returning to the US.

NOT that I have ever done such a blatantly illegal thing, but in my 14 years in Key West, I KNEW of literally hundreds of instances of people who did.
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:05   #26
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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Or..... just go to Cuba, and never "check in" upon returning to the US.

NOT that I have ever done such a blatantly illegal thing, but in my 14 years in Key West, I KNEW of literally hundreds of instances of people who did.
This is what I think is happening also. Going to Cuba is easy from what I have heard. They what us there to spend our money. I have talked with a few that simply went to Cuba, cleared in costoms in Cuba, but never cleared back into the US. Cuba isn't reporting our arrival. Unless you are stopped by a patrol when returning, why would you set yourself up for for an anal exam when you return? We have a boat in our Marina leaving for Cuba early Feb, when they return I will try to get as many details as I can and report it. I also think there are probably quite a few on this form that have gone but advertising it on this form probably won't do them any good and could get them an uninvited vist.
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:15   #27
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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Or..... just go to Cuba, and never "check in" upon returning to the US.

NOT that I have ever done such a blatantly illegal thing, but in my 14 years in Key West, I KNEW of literally hundreds of instances of people who did.
If one is gonna do so, it might help to time your arrival early in the AM, when the CG is preoccupied with escorting the cruise ships into their berths... Or, so I've heard...

:-))

As an American who sailed to Cuba a few times a dozen or so years ago, much of this hand-wringing over "Can we go/Can't we go?" is more than a bit amusing... :-) Understand, I'm certainly not 'recommending' anything to anyone, sailing an American-flagged yacht with only Americans aboard to Cuba has always entailed some risk, and is likely to do so for some time... But I think that risk is often a bit over-stated, and quite a few people have been doing it, for awhile... Just be under no illusion that someone in our government will not know you've gone and returned. Given the incredible surveillance capability we have over the Florida Straits, chances are they might know what magazine you were reading in the cockpit when sailing back home :-) But whether they really CARE enough to pass that on to the appropriate folks in the State Department, that's the real question...

Also amusing to hear that we plan to "re-open" our "Embassy" in Havana... Hell, we've had one there for years, we just haven't been calling it that... Every American in Cuba knows where to go in the event you've lost your passport, and every tourist strolling along the Malecon quickly learns that's the one edifice it's better not to point a camera in the direction of... :-)

Fascinating place, marvelous people and experience, no question... But I'm glad I went when I did, now that travel is closer to becoming officially sanctioned and Americans will be traveling there in droves, I have pretty much zero interest in going back again now...










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Old 18-01-2015, 08:19   #28
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

If an American boat or a tourist thru a second country goes to Cuba the American government knows about it whether you tell them or not..duh..Cuba is to America what Tito was to the Soviet Union(smoke it over ,you will figure it out) If you want to go legal like(from an American perspective) load up on Bibles and start proselytizing you will be welcome back if you get out ..
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Old 18-01-2015, 08:30   #29
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

You cannot come from Cuba without being tracked, among other assets there are a couple of very large tethered balloons in the keys that are RADAR antennas. Yes some of that is still watching for drug boats, but I feel sure anything larger than a dingy is known about and tracked AIS or not.
Whether they decide your worth the hassle is another thing, just don't think your sneaking back, your not.

Used to be an AN-2 Colt and another airplane at Key West customs at the airport, they had defected from Cuba and just sat there.
The Lady that used to run Key West Customs was a Hellion, let me tell you. I brought the Cayman Island Crop Duster back a few years ago for maintenance and she seized it, honestly took the interest of the Crown in England to shake it loose, and the Cayman's lost 50% of their mosquito control fleet for a couple of weeks.
She refused it entry without an importation bond, knowing the whole time it was a US manufactured item, and since no importation bond is required for US manufactured products, you couldn't get one. She locked it up flexing her muscles.

I would not check in at Key West if she is still there.


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Old 18-01-2015, 10:08   #30
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Re: Anybody Know About Sailing to Cuba from Key West?

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This is what I think is happening also. Going to Cuba is easy from what I have heard. They what us there to spend our money. I have talked with a few that simply went to Cuba, cleared in costoms in Cuba, but never cleared back into the US. Cuba isn't reporting our arrival. Unless you are stopped by a patrol when returning, why would you set yourself up for for an anal exam when you return? We have a boat in our Marina leaving for Cuba early Feb, when they return I will try to get as many details as I can and report it. I also think there are probably quite a few on this form that have gone but advertising it on this form probably won't do them any good and could get them an uninvited vist.
You do know of course that somewhere there is some government office that is tracking travel to Cuba. The names of the people and boats that go there will be on a list. That list may be in homeland security and checked only for terrorists, maybe with the DEA checking for smugglers but people are fooling themselves if they think this isn't being monitored.

It just comes down to enforcement. The budget and manpower cannot justify going after everyone but make to much noise about it, do something else to annoy law enforcement and a trip to Cuba might become an issue.

I would not recommend not checking back into the US. That adds another and perhaps more serious violation.
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