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Old 15-03-2009, 19:00   #1
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Haven't seen this discussed, perhaps its a no brainer and we've simply over thought things, however...

We are currently registered with the state of Texas as well as being documented with the USCG. We are heading out in less than a month, first to the Chesapeake Bay for the summer, then to the Bahamas for the winter, then we'll see where next.

The question is, do we need to continue the state registration? While we're in the US, or abroad? We're sure that the great state of Texas would appreciate the continued revenue, however, we're not sure we need to continue to contribute. As for the USCG, we've been renewing on an annual basis, and we've not yet checked the obvious (USCG) but can documentation be extended for several years?

AnNy other suggestions on this topic?

Vicky & Ed
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Old 15-03-2009, 19:50   #2
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You do need to be USCG (fed's) documented. The State registration is only necessary to avoid being taxed when you spend time on another US state (e.g. Florida). Just like an automobile, each state must recognize the registration of another state for short visits (less than 90 days).
- - But you will also need licenses for your radios - a ship's radio station license and also a restricted radiotelephone operators permit for at least one person permanently on the boat. All these are available on line from the FCC through a mildly frustrating and complicated procedure.
- - That covers you for the Caribbean and all the other places in this hemisphere. Don't forget a current passport for all the crew. If they expire in less than one year, get a renewal before you leave.
- - Make sure you have a "fresh" USCG documentation that will not expire while you are in foreign waters. It is only good for one year and then you must send in the "renewal" letter which is available on-line. It takes some planning to arrange your schedule so you can be in US waters (P.R. and USVI) or be able to stay in one island country for a month or two because getting mail in most of the Island countries is very "iffy" and takes up to a month unless you use the expensive FedEx or DHL. Of course the US Virgins and Puerto Rico are "inside the USA" so normal US Post Office service is available there.

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Old 15-03-2009, 23:46   #3
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You guys are over governed.

Just go and have a good time and note that no US official is in any other country to check your bit of paper! Plus no other country looks at your bits of paper. Just go have a good time.

In fact just burn every bit of paper when you leave the USA and if anyone asks to see a bit say "I BURNT the frikkin stuff!"


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Old 16-03-2009, 05:01   #4
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You will need an up to date USCG Certificate of Documentation to enter some countries, the French islands in the Lesser Antilles, for example. They've asked for mine every time. I think the officials in the BVI and Bermuda ask to see it, too, but I'm not 100% certain my memory is accurate on those. I always take it with me when clearing in.

The state registration is superfluous once you leave the US. You can renew it if and when you return.

I've never been asked for my US FCC Ship's Station License nor my Restricted Radiotelephone Operator's permit.
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Old 17-03-2009, 07:39   #5
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You had better have all the documents and licenses, etc. for several reasons. You are asked for your USCG documentation, passports and visas if necessary, at each foreign country you enter. You cannot get legally back into the USA without a valid US passport for each US citizen on-board. More and more you are being tracked by computers in each country as they modernize and link into the US Homeland Security system which is growing rapidly in the Caribbean.
I have been boarded while at anchor in a French Island by the Customs officials and they wanted to look at everything.
Also the US Coast Guard roams the whole Caribbean looking for "drug runners" and when they have a "slow day" they will board your US flagged vessel and do a "safety and security inspection" which includes all the fire extinguishers, PFD's, flares, paperwork, licenses and anything else that is required for US vessels. And they will do this anywhere in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico - and even in the Pacific and - even inside the Bahamas. So you had better save yourself potential serious grief by having all the required paperwork and other necessary safety parts of the vessel.
- - And one other little "zinger" - if your vessel is over 40 feet long (LOA) you will need a USCG approved waste disposal "trash plan" or be subject to a US$500 fine if you do get boarded by the US Coast Guard and they are really having a bad day. That little document is their "ace in the hole" to "got-cha". If you successfully pass the inspection they will give you a copy of the report known as the pink sheet which you can show to any subsequent US Coast Guard boardings and get a "free pass" for one year. You can find examples of the "Trash Plan" by goggling it or looking on the BoatUS website - it used to be posted there. It is a simple one page document that states that one particular person onboard - the captain - is responsible for the proper collection and disposal of all trash from the vessel. It came about from the experiences with cruise ships and freighters who dumped their trash just before entering a US harbor and when caught claimed that some "seaman last class" did it unauthorized.
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Old 17-03-2009, 07:54   #6
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HUD may be getting OLD (like us all) but he is correct in that the BVI will normally require proof of your US CG documentation to allow you to enter. If you do like I did and have it Temporally imported for the year, you only need to do it once a year no matter how many times you exit and re-enter, and you save a lot of fees.

Funny thing is I've only once been asked for it in the US Virgin Islands. On St John, you can be asked for Ships papers by the National Park Service, if you use one of their mooring... which is about the only way you can be on St. John since the majority of it is a National Park... and a great one.

Fun to say, ignore the paper work.. BUT that does not work well on the pottie or on a boat in international/ foreign waters.
I prefer a sailboat to a motorboat, and it is my belief that boat sailing is a finer, more difficult, and sturdier art than running a motor.
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Old 17-03-2009, 08:12   #7
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So, we've been in the Caribbean for 6 years, starting in Florida. We're British registered. I don't recall a single nation that didn't ask for our registration papers.

For US boats I'm sure that the official document is a federal one, not state (so USCG??) although many nations are forgiving and let US cruisers get away with just state registration (especially the ones close to the US).

I always show them a photo copy because the UK original is a booklet that unfolds to full chart-size. I did not get away with that in Martinique, had to go and get the original. It was never a problem elsewhere.


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