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Old 28-05-2009, 09:57   #1
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Clearing In / Out - Caribbean

My wife and I have recently purchased a boat and live in Grenada. We are U.S. citizens and are applying for vessel documentation thru the USCG. Once I have the documentation forms back from the USCG, I want to visit some of the other islands.

Do I have to check myself out each time and then of course check in with my passport at the new country? Customs? What documentation do I need to check out / what documentation do I need to check in?

Do I have to check the boat out before leaving and then check the boat in at the new country each time? Immigration? What documentation do I need to check out / what documentation do I need to check in?
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Old 28-05-2009, 10:09   #2
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You need to check out of the country you are leaving and check in to the country you are entering. Get a good cruising guide, it will be helpful in telling you where to do this at each island. Customs at the country you are entering will look for your exit stamp on your passport from the previous country. Some places are one stop some you have to go two places. They are usually helpful in assisting you... The hassle is having the right kind of money to pay your fees in each country! You need your passport and document with you. Also helpful just to keep any papers each country gives you. PS: make some color copies of your document, I always used a copy in lieu of my original.... It's always pretty easy, not as bad as it sounds, may require a little walking, or finding a bank first..... Once you "check out" you may only have 24 hours or less to leave, so you need to be sure you are ready to go and plan your "check out" with a time the govt office is going to be open so you can get it done.
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Old 28-05-2009, 10:36   #3
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Cheechako is correct for the Leeward/Windward island nations. And this is so even when you move from the Dutch to the French side of St. Maarten. Although a good up to date cruising guide is the most comprehensive source, you can get a summary for each country's requirements at http://noonsite.com. In some places you may also have to check in with the Harbor Master. If you intend to include the Venezuelan islands, you will also need a visa ( at least you used to). This can be arranged through the VZ Consulate on Grenada.

In general, the process is not as tedious and time consuming as it sounds. For the most part customs officials want to help; they want your fees; and the host country wants your business. In some places the hours of operation are ...... uh, occasional.
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Old 28-05-2009, 13:14   #4
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I have to second the motion you will get use to it. Like anything new. The first time can be an experience, but as you do the same thing over, and over it gets to be routine. At least you are starting in a great place.

If ever you run across a large South African by the name of Ian, and his vessel Leyla. You will have no doubt met a GOOD MAN!.........i2f
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Old 28-05-2009, 13:19   #5
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yea, just float with it, it's part of the experience. Play the "I'm the confused, island time, boater, what should I do now?" routine with the officials, be courteous and you will have no problems. Other than occasionally the french islands, (seems to depend on their mood that week) Grenada is probably the most challenging!
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Old 28-05-2009, 14:10   #6
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In the French islands, being able to speak French helps a lot. Speaking it badly - not so much. I think they deduct points for trying.
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Old 28-05-2009, 14:49   #7
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Heh! Be sure to take your own ballpoint pen. They hate to loan theirs out.
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Old 04-06-2009, 05:28   #8
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Wearing a shirt and looking respectable goes a long way. A lot of the islanders are God fearing and don't like to see too much bare flesh.

Swimsuits are fine on the beach, but not in government offices.
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:17   #9
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You can also try http://www.eseaclear.com

It is a service that provides vessel operators the ability to submit electronic notifications of arrival to participating Customs offices in the Caribbean. Registered users can access the system to enter and maintain information about their vessel or vessels, crew and passengers. Prior to arrival at a new country the vessel operator simply ensures the information is accurate for the upcoming voyage and submits a new notification.
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Old 05-06-2009, 12:15   #10
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We carry list of all the various information that the islands need when you check in. Unfortunately each island has its different question - one asked how many GPS's on the boat. We are frequently in and out of St.Maartn as it is our Winter base. My wife keeps pre-illed out forms so she can quickly check in and out. Last Winter she supplied the customs office in Simpson Lagoon with new forms as her copies were better than the ones they were using.
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Old 08-06-2009, 21:55   #11
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The French islands have recently adopted a computer check-in/out system that is free and increasingly available in just about any dent or harbor they have. They are placing their check-in/out computers in local businesses and internet cafe's rather than staffed government offices. The hardest part of the whole process is to try to find the "m" and "a" character keys on the French language keyboard.
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Old 10-11-2009, 08:14   #12
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Please could someone assist with a cecklist of docs needed to clear out of the USA to the Carib for 6 mth sailing trip? I am S African with a green card so I cannot get USCG registration for the boat so I guess Texas Registration will have to do. From what i read this is sufficient in most islands. Do I def need my boat title? Does anyone know anything about a Form 300 ? ( I believe this is a tracking tag for the boat that is now required...had friend leave to Mex last week and he recommended getting this) Any help is appreciated.
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Old 10-11-2009, 09:37   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sestina View Post
Wearing a shirt and looking respectable goes a long way. A lot of the islanders are God fearing and don't like to see too much bare flesh.

Swimsuits are fine on the beach, but not in government offices.
Long pants and closed towed shoes too. And yes never pick up their ball point pen (or anything else) w/o permission. Keep in mind those are good government jobs and they are not gonna do anything to risk loosing it so be nice and be PATIENT you are not in Kansas any more Generally swimsuits are not looked upon favorably in town and in the VI the cops may tell you to get dressed for town. When dealing with West Indians be sure to say Good Morning, Day, Evening, as appropriate or be thought rude and suffer the consequences.
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Old 11-11-2009, 13:21   #14
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Get some inexpensive pens to keep on board and give one to the customs person. They love pens.
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Old 11-11-2009, 13:34   #15
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Get some inexpensive pens to keep on board and give one to the customs person. They love pens.
Great idea!
Thanks!
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