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Old 19-10-2012, 16:44   #16
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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Originally Posted by popeye2818 View Post
Can someone bring this to light for me.As I have only cruised Long Island sound and the coast of Mass and Ri , I would like to take my boat to the Bahamas and maybe farther someday .All my boats have always been state registered ,what is the benefit of a US Coast Guard Documentation? Do I need it to go to the Bahamas and farther and what is actually involved with it.Thanks .....Aaron
You don't need to document your vessel if you're just going to The Bahamas. The problem lies with the French islands who refuse to recognize a state registered vessel. Fines are steep, up to 10K. If you plan to go to the Caribbean I'd suggest getting your vessel documented. When doing research for one of my guides I had a LONG talk with a French Customs agent in Guadeloupe and he explained in great detail how the French officials looked down upon state registered vessels. Save yourself the hassle and document.
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Old 19-10-2012, 16:58   #17
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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You don't need to document your vessel if you're just going to The Bahamas. The problem lies with the French islands who refuse to recognize a state registered vessel. Fines are steep, up to 10K. If you plan to go to the Caribbean I'd suggest getting your vessel documented. When doing research for one of my guides I had a LONG talk with a French Customs agent in Guadeloupe and he explained in great detail how the French officials looked down upon state registered vessels. Save yourself the hassle and document.
What is the cost of that ,and do you have to bring the boat to the CG or do they come to you and inspect it .Do I still have to hold a state reg with the documentation?Thanks Aaron.
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Old 19-10-2012, 17:00   #18
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

Good question on registration with the Coast Guard. You need to be registered with the Coast Guard of US in many of the islands. They will not accept a State registration. I think it is about $52US to register and free after that each year as long as it is done close to the reg. date. I think 30 days. Then you have to go through the process again.
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Old 19-10-2012, 17:01   #19
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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What is the cost of that ,and do you have to bring the boat to the CG or do they come to you and inspect it .Do I still have to hold a state reg with the documentation?Thanks Aaron.
Aaron, you should find your answers here:

USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Home Page
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Old 19-10-2012, 17:02   #20
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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Aaron, you should find your answers here:

USCG National Vessel Documentation Center, Home Page
Thanks....
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Old 19-10-2012, 19:16   #21
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

There are probably very different experiences in these islands and nobody is 100% right or 100% wrong, just different experiences with different custom officers. My boat is Canadian documented and I never had any problem with US customs because I have the Nexxus card, which is obtained from the US after an in-depth investigation on me. However, I have to report every 72 hours to the US custom when I sail on Lake Ontario on the US side and going down the East coast can be sometimes very annoying and very easy in other circumstances, depending on the state or the custom officer. I remember the good old times (about 30 years ago) when I called the US customs and the officer asked me why did I bother calling, or when I returned from the Caribbean and they didn't even look at my boat! Times have changed in many parts of the world and that's why I was asking the question on the original post. Thank you all for your replies, and let's stay cool,
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Old 19-10-2012, 19:23   #22
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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Old 19-10-2012, 19:31   #23
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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There are probably very different experiences in these islands and nobody is 100% right or 100% wrong, just different experiences with different custom officers. My boat is Canadian documented and I never had any problem with US customs because I have the Nexxus card, which is obtained from the US after an in-depth investigation on me. However, I have to report every 72 hours to the US custom when I sail on Lake Ontario on the US side and going down the East coast can be sometimes very annoying and very easy in other circumstances, depending on the state or the custom officer. I remember the good old times (about 30 years ago) when I called the US customs and the officer asked me why did I bother calling, or when I returned from the Caribbean and they didn't even look at my boat! Times have changed in many parts of the world and that's why I was asking the question on the original post. Thank you all for your replies, and let's stay cool,
thank you,my sentiments entirely,most americans get entirely the wrong impression from the french,who are imho of dealing with them for nearly 35 years in most of the far flung french terrretories of the world,generally very tolerant of any visiting yacht,with any bit of paper that proves ownership.

however.......they don't tolerate the "ugly american".....or "ugly brit" very well
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Old 19-10-2012, 21:12   #24
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

Steve,

Does this all mean that if I were to sail my 22' boat (which the USCG in its infinite wisdom, will not document because it falls below their tonnage requirements), from Texas, to the French islands, I may be fined $10,000 instead of receiving a great welcome for daring such an attempt?

Maybe my grandfather wasted his time over there freeing them from their German overlords!
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Old 19-10-2012, 21:20   #25
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

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Steve,

Does this all mean that if I were to sail my 22' boat (which the USCG in its infinite wisdom, will not document because it falls below their tonnage requirements), from Texas, to the French islands, I may be fined $10,000 instead of receiving a great welcome for daring such an attempt?

Maybe my grandfather wasted his time over there freeing them from their German overlords!
I cannot speak for a French Customs officer. I've only heard of a handful of boats being fined. The Customs officer assured me that the rule stated the maximum fine could be 10K US dollars. However, each and every instance of clearance is treated differently. The Customs officer has a wide bit of discretion in his decision to grant Pratique, make the vessel leave his waters, or fine the owner. But so few state registered boats go there information on their experiences is scarce.

Generally the French Customs officers in the Caribbean are the easiest to get along with except in this one instance. There are officers who don't care about enforcing the regulation while others would jump at the chance to enter into the fray with a visiting cruiser. My guess is that they would welcome you, read you the riot act for entering with a state registered boat, and then they'd clear you in, perhaps with a minor fine.
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Old 20-10-2012, 05:43   #26
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

I may add to this that (being a French myself), I get the same treatment from these custom officers as anyone else when ever I travel to any French territory. I carry a Canadian passport and they see I was born in France, but that does not make any difference, some custom officers will go by the book and give you some hard times and some others will be cool and let you go without any problem. The same goes for most countries in the world, the US is not any different, sometimes I go through the lines with my Nexxus card and even get a smile, sometimes I get the stupid look and thousand of questions about where my grand-father met my grand-mother or similar types of inquiries... And keep in mind that there are all kinds of ways to interpret a rule, and these guys have their own. Guadeloupe and Martinique are French departments, but the people there have never considered themselves as being French, except for the moneys that come in from the old continent!
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Old 20-10-2012, 07:39   #27
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Being an 'Ugly Brit' I've never had a problem in any of the French Islands... apart from filling in the form on the computor... that French keyboard does my head in..lol.
One thing has changed since my last visit tho'... this time I was charged for anchoring in Marigot Bay... and for clearing in...
Figured this must have been coz I was on an Aussie flagged boat...
Otherwise I've had the most hassle 'Dutch Side'...
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Old 20-10-2012, 08:43   #28
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

The Marigot anchoring and clearing in fees are a bit of a scam. Just clear in at the Capitanerie at the Marina Royale (on the inside) for the customary €5 and you are set. The office at the ferry terminal charges for clearing in and also attempts to collect an "anchorage fee".
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Old 20-10-2012, 09:29   #29
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

I've also heard of boats being fined for state registration, but only by the guy at Deshaies in Guadeloupe, and it was easy to avoid him, because he was lazy. Just another reason to have a SSB and listen to the cruising nets.

My own experience with French customs officials is that most are pretty easy to get along with, but if anything goes awry they forget every word of English they ever learned and start yelling in French. Most of the conflict was in French Polynesia, back when they were still trying to get EU boats to post a bond.
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Old 20-10-2012, 21:54   #30
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Re: Cruising permits in the Caribbean

Steve Pavlidis, thanks for the effort you put into your website about the Caribbean. Spent many hours there.

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