Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
 
Thread Tools Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 02-03-2016, 20:40   #1
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Austin Tx
Posts: 53
Clearing Customs in Culebra

I haven't been to Culebra since 1981, and at that time the checking in thing was not really necessary. I know that has changed. I plan on going there in July. We charter the boat in Tortola, I was planning on overnighting somewhere on the west end of St. Thomas first night (Water Island or Brewers bay) and then heading to Culebra and spending the week in the SVI. I know we have to hike it to the airport (I think so at least) to clear customs. My question is: Do I have to take the whole crew (we got kids) and if so please tell me I don't need to bring the luggage?
__________________

__________________
boneboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-03-2016, 22:14   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Germany
Boat: secondarily boatless
Posts: 178
Re: clearing customs in Culebra

Boneboy,

when we checked in there everybody needed to go, but we did not take any luggage, nor were we inspected on board later. I don't know which nationality you have but if it is non-US everybody needs visa and you will need to get a cruising permit for around $30.-

Oliver
__________________

__________________
Oliver L. is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2016, 09:25   #3
Registered User
 
Rubikoop's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Thomas USVI
Boat: Freedom Express 39 cat ketch
Posts: 751
clearing customs in Culebra

Quote:
Originally Posted by boneboy View Post
I haven't been to Culebra since 1981, and at that time the checking in thing was not really necessary. I know that has changed. I plan on going there in July. We charter the boat in Tortola, I was planning on overnighting somewhere on the west end of St. Thomas first night (Water Island or Brewers bay) and then heading to Culebra and spending the week in the SVI. I know we have to hike it to the airport (I think so at least) to clear customs. My question is: Do I have to take the whole crew (we got kids) and if so please tell me I don't need to bring the luggage?

First, confirm your plans to go to the SVI with your charter company and make sure the boat documents are onboard before you leave the charter base.

Second, you need to clear out of the BVI.

Third, you need to clear into the USVI on St Thomas or St John.

Fourth, unless the boat has a current US Customs Decal Sticker, you and all on board will have to clear in at the airport on Culebra and pay the penalty for not having a sticker. If there is a sticker on the boat you can clear in with just a phone call. No need to carry luggage. They will need to see all the people, kids too. Don't be surprised if there isn't an officer there or the door is locked. I don't believe they run fixed hours. Be patient and expect to wander back and/or ask some locals if they know when customs is open.

Fifth, upon departure there is no need to clear out of the SVI nor into the USVI. You will need to clear back into the BVI and pay their fees.

Do pay attention to the weather as you are technically in hurricane season. The slog from SVI can be slow and very rough.

Enjoy your trip.


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
Rubikoop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-03-2016, 11:32   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Austin Tx
Posts: 53
Re: clearing customs in Culebra

Thanks for the replies.

Yes I do have permission to go to the Spanish virgins. I am not 100% sure I am going to check into customs on the VI side. I will probably sail down to the west end of St. Thomas later in the afternoon. I may spend the morning over at Jost and check out of the BVI from there. You have 24 hours to check in and if I don't go ashore and leave the next morning for Culebra I should be fine.
I have no idea about the sticker. How much is the fine?

It is so ridiculous and arbitrary of governments to make it a pain in the ass to go to islands that are separated by just seven or 8 miles. I could potentially check into customs twice in one day for the same country. Ridiculous

Once again thanks a ton for the replies


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
boneboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2016, 00:05   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 66
Re: clearing customs in Culebra

Quote:
Originally Posted by boneboy View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Yes I do have permission to go to the Spanish virgins. I am not 100% sure I am going to check into customs on the VI side. I will probably sail down to the west end of St. Thomas later in the afternoon. I may spend the morning over at Jost and check out of the BVI from there. You have 24 hours to check in and if I don't go ashore and leave the next morning for Culebra I should be fine.
I have no idea about the sticker. How much is the fine?

It is so ridiculous and arbitrary of governments to make it a pain in the ass to go to islands that are separated by just seven or 8 miles. I could potentially check into customs twice in one day for the same country. Ridiculous

Once again thanks a ton for the replies


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
Be careful. We stopped at Christmas Cove and tied on to a mooring ball overnight on our way from the BVIs to SVIs. We didn't check in and didn't go ashore but got a stern warning upon checking into the SVIs. We were told we should have checked into the USVIs even though it was only for a short time and we didn't go ashore. He let us off with a warning but said it could have been up to a $10,000 fine if I remember correctly. We were, however, allowed to check in over the phone even though the boat didn't have a customs sticker that I was aware of. We were on a Puerto Rico based charter boat. Be sure to know your phonetic alphabet if you are hoping to check in over the phone.
__________________
capnmatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2016, 05:07   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Austin Tx
Posts: 53
Re: clearing customs in Culebra

I will take that under advisement. Maybe I 'll spend a couple days messin around St. John first. Thanks. Where did u get phone number to call to find out that u could clear by phone?


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
boneboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2016, 12:53   #7
Registered User

Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 66
Re: clearing customs in Culebra

Here is a link to the site with procedures and phone numbers: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands | U.S. Customs and Border Protection It provides numbers for the main Puerto Rico office as well as the Culebra office. I can't recall which number we called as it was a few years ago. I think it was Culebra. I figured they were just going to instruct us to come in, but we ended up handling it over the phone. It took about 30 minutes.

In reading the page, it is unclear to me whether it is technically possible for you to handle it over the phone not without a LBO certificate. At first it says that you must report in person if you don't have a sticker, but then it says that the captain must call the office with boat and passenger information. I guess just call the number and see what happens.

Another option to St. Thomas you might consider is Christmas Cove for your layover in the USVI. It's a pretty cool place with good snorkeling and a floating pizza joint which serves up a great pie (if they're open). If conditions aren't too rough you can take the dinghy over to east St. Thomas. It is a pretty easy 25 mile downwind sail to Culebra from Christmas Cove.

Matt
__________________
capnmatt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2016, 18:10   #8
Registered User
 
Rubikoop's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Thomas USVI
Boat: Freedom Express 39 cat ketch
Posts: 751
clearing customs in Culebra

Quote:
Originally Posted by boneboy View Post
Thanks for the replies.

Yes I do have permission to go to the Spanish virgins. I am not 100% sure I am going to check into customs on the VI side. I will probably sail down to the west end of St. Thomas later in the afternoon. I may spend the morning over at Jost and check out of the BVI from there. You have 24 hours to check in and if I don't go ashore and leave the next morning for Culebra I should be fine.
I have no idea about the sticker. How much is the fine?

It is so ridiculous and arbitrary of governments to make it a pain in the ass to go to islands that are separated by just seven or 8 miles. I could potentially check into customs twice in one day for the same country. Ridiculous

Once again thanks a ton for the replies


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum

Reread post #3. I work in the charter industry and help people do this for a living. I live here and sail my own boat between BVI, USVI and SVI. I gave specific info to assist you so that you don't do it wrong and open yourself to enormous fines or other problems while you're on vacation. You are mistaken in your understanding of acceptable C&I procedures.

The fee for for not having a DTOPS is mentioned in post #2

There are very good reasons as to why governments try to ascertain who is transiting between Islands that are close together. Some of those reasons are illegal aliens, wanted fugitives, guns and drugs. Those are actual issues that need to be controlled despite the inconvenience they may cause us "good guys". I don't like big brother watching me but I dislike the results of missing the "bad guys" even more. Until and unless you've lived here a few years, you wouldn't say it's "ridiculous" unless you also think there is no reason to attempt to control any border.

To clear in to Puerto Rico or SVI and have a DTOPS this is the number you dial. (787) 729-6600
They will generally answer questions if they aren't too busy.

Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________
Rubikoop is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2016, 20:02   #9
Registered User

Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Austin Tx
Posts: 53
Re: clearing customs in Culebra

Reread post #3. I work in the charter industry and help people do this for a living. I live here and sail my own boat between BVI, USVI and SVI. I gave specific info to assist you so that you don't do it wrong and open yourself to enormous fines or other problems while you're on vacation. You are mistaken in your understanding of acceptable C&I procedures.



I have read the posts. I appreciate the latter part of the post where you give info on checking in. However, you may misunderstand where I am coming from. The V. I. is my home (I don't live there now, but plan to do so in the future. I go down there about three times a year.) I grew up there, my family moved there in 1970, and I lived my entire childhood life until college on a boat (beautiful 1940 40 foot wooden ketch "Sea Wolf" ; - dad's rolling over in his grave that I am on a "plastic multihull;- not really a sailboat). I am a proud graduate of All Saints High School, class of 85. I ran several different charterboats there, both as crew and captain. Having lived in the Caribbean in the 70's, and 80's it was a much different time (perhaps you weren't there) when travel between the islands was much different. I understand the need for government regulation, and I don't need an explanation why. I do think that it ridiculous that you should have to clear customs into a US territory to spend the night, to once again clear customs in another US territory 8 miles away the next day. It is what it is, and I am quite aware of the way things work. I do however, reserve the right to feel it ridiculous. I don't however need to be told what the VI is all about. That being said, I do appreciate, and thank you, for the info. I, unfortunately, don't live there now (I get back as often as possible) and info on the current state of things is appreciated. Once again, Thank You, you just hit a sore point. I am constantly trying to get away from all the "tourists", and visiting the SVI (not sure that's what we called them then) as I did in the early 80's (last time I was there) seems to be one of the last places to do so.peace:
__________________
boneboy is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-03-2016, 21:17   #10
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Virgin Islands
Boat: 1999 Leopard 45, 45 foot cat, 1980 Hunter 33, 33 foot monohull
Posts: 405
Re: Clearing Customs in Culebra

One of the reasons you have to do Customs twice is that the USVI is, in some regards, a duty free port and Puerto Rico is not. That's the reason that you have to clear Customs in the USVI when you enter by ferry or private boat, and then again when you fly to the US. Yes, that sometimes means twice in two hours.
__________________
contrail is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-03-2016, 04:10   #11
Registered User
 
Rubikoop's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: St Thomas USVI
Boat: Freedom Express 39 cat ketch
Posts: 751
Clearing Customs in Culebra

Boneboy peace to you as well and enjoy your trip. It's not like the "old days" when it was no big deal to travel between the Islands and not clear in/out Etc. I was not here then but have heard about it from locals. It must have been a wonderful time and I'm jealous you got to experience it. My wife and I have the sticker and LBO numbers so we can do much of it by phone. When we have time and the weather is settled, we can be found in the SVI too for the same reasons you mention.


Sent from my iPhone using Cruisers Sailing Forum
__________________

__________________
Rubikoop is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
Culebra, customs, culebra

Thread Tools
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Clearing Customs & Immigration When Only at Anchor SharAndy Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 5 02-05-2011 08:21
Clearing Customs in Bahamas - Can Friends Come Aboard ? nknowland Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 2 20-02-2011 13:15
Philippine Islands - Ports of Entry and Anchoring Out Before Clearing Customs . . . Gone2long Pacific & South China Sea 10 07-10-2010 19:00
Clearing Taiwan Customs at Chinmen, Quemoy, Crossing to Pescador Island Gone2long Pacific & South China Sea 1 07-10-2010 12:01
Clearing Customs mikeygstl Rules of the Road, Regulations & Red Tape 12 26-08-2010 11:03



Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -7. The time now is 13:29.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.