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Old 20-01-2014, 15:22   #1
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Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Planning a cruise and would like information from any folks out there experienced with the current protocol in Cuba. What are the requirements for a US flagged boat, only to stop for fuel, provisions, or stay in Marinas ?

Many Thanks for your input.

Capt Morgan
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Old 21-01-2014, 06:54   #2
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

For a U.S. citizen, it is illegal without permission from the State Department. If you get caught, the penalties are pretty severe. But most people will tell you that hardly anyone ever gets caught.

That said, Cuba doesn't really care. They will gladly take your dollars.

So the question is, do you feel lucky?
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Old 21-01-2014, 07:41   #3
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

CASH

They don't stamp your passport. You sail on to Mexico, Belize, Cayman and declare you came direct from US. maybe don't make any phone calls or emails these days if you're paranoid.
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Old 21-01-2014, 08:40   #4
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Keep in mind that pulling into Cuba for fuel isn't going to be like pulling into a fuel dock in the U.S. or any other country. You may or may not be able to get fuel and in many instances, there is no fuel dock. You order how much fuel you want to take on, wait a day or two or three and the fuel is brought to the dock in 55 gallon drums. Then it's siphoned into your tanks. You pay for what you order so if you don't take on all the fuel, oh well. There may be times and areas where it just won't be available at all. So careful planning is the order of the day and don't put yourself in a position where a fuel stop in Cuba is required because of empty tanks. Good luck. Chuck
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Old 21-01-2014, 10:46   #5
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
For a U.S. citizen, it is illegal without permission from the State Department. If you get caught, the penalties are pretty severe. But most people will tell you that hardly anyone ever gets caught.

That said, Cuba doesn't really care. They will gladly take your dollars.

So the question is, do you feel lucky?

WRONG it is not illegal to go to Cuba if you are a US citizen it is only illegal to spend money there and you cant us a US Credit Card there either.
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Old 21-01-2014, 10:50   #6
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

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Originally Posted by AnchorageGuy View Post
Keep in mind that pulling into Cuba for fuel isn't going to be like pulling into a fuel dock in the U.S. or any other country. You may or may not be able to get fuel and in many instances, there is no fuel dock. You order how much fuel you want to take on, wait a day or two or three and the fuel is brought to the dock in 55 gallon drums. Then it's siphoned into your tanks. You pay for what you order so if you don't take on all the fuel, oh well. There may be times and areas where it just won't be available at all. So careful planning is the order of the day and don't put yourself in a position where a fuel stop in Cuba is required because of empty tanks. Good luck. Chuck

WRONG

Marina Hemingway Cuba

the marina offers the following services:
  • Dockage for vessels up to 230 feet.
  • Maximum depth: 12 feet.
  • Fuel
  • Fresh water supply
  • Shore power - 110/220 electricity
  • Phones
  • Internet access
  • 24-hour "security"
  • Customs & port authorities
  • Laundry Service
  • Showers
  • Pool & Jacuzzi
  • Ship's store
  • Ice
  • Ship repairs
click on the map to see the FUEL DOCK
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Old 21-01-2014, 11:17   #7
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

I believe Chuck has extensive experience in Cuba, but does of course have a powerboat so his fuel needs were more immediate in various different areas.

I sailed about 350 miles of the coast several years ago and don't recall buying fuel anywhere, but left Key West with 150 gallons on a 43' ketch.

You certainly a good chance of reasonably good fuel at Hemmingway.

FYI, the yacht club "commodore"/ lifetime political appointee is very helpful.

cheers,
Jeff
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Old 21-01-2014, 11:34   #8
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Unless you have been there, visiting a website won't help much. Regardless of whether it say there is a fuel dock at the marina, fuel supplies in Cuba are far from the norm. There are shortage quite often. So a visit to Marina Hemmingway website, or any other, will not guarantee that there will be fuel available when you arrive. My original post is a result of me own personal experience and first hand reports to us from friends that followed after us. As to High Flings other post on the legality of visiting as oppose to spending money, that is very old and outdated information. the Bush Administration made major changes to the restrictions including making it illegal for any American citizen to travel to Cuba without express permission by the State Department. There are DOZENS of post on the subject here on CF. Being directly inolved with the boating situation in Cuba and in contact with Commodore Escrich, and monitoring the 4 Bills now in Congress to lift the embargo and travel restrictions, we have a pretty good idea of the current situation. If anyone needs more info that they will ever want on the subject, just do a search here on CF. Chuck
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Old 21-01-2014, 12:17   #9
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Jeff, Just an FYI, we had a sailboat for many, many years before the trawler and agree with you that a sailboat gives you more options and range. Having said that, on our last visit to Cuba with our sailboat, we traveled through the Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, Dominican Republic and on to Cuba. We spent a year on that cruise and in that time, actually sailed the boat about 5 days out of that year. One of the reasons we decided we might as well have a trawler. Chuck
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Old 21-01-2014, 13:51   #10
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highland Fling View Post
WRONG it is not illegal to go to Cuba if you are a US citizen it is only illegal to spend money there and you cant us a US Credit Card there either.
A completely meaningless distinction, considering that if you spend any amount of time there, it is considered prima facie evidence that you have spent money there. What's more, it is also illegal for Americans to accept any goods or services for free from any Cuban national so you can't get, or do, anything while you are there.

I suppose that if your idea of a nice visit is to pull into a marina, step off of the dock so that you can say you've been there, and then immediately leave, well then the distinction might be important to you. To anyone else, though, it is--for all practical purposes--illegal for Americans to visit Cuba without the permission of the State Department.
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Old 21-01-2014, 20:59   #11
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

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I believe Chuck has extensive experience in Cuba...
The Soundings article I read was from 2004 - a decade ago now. Chuck, have you been back to Cuba since then?

Bush tightened things down in 2004 and there aren't many US boaters who have been there since with many changes and much international investment coming into the country.
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Old 21-01-2014, 21:29   #12
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Not by boat because it's illegal for us and we haven't had any journalist assignments which would allow us to travel. We do have a few friends that have been there in the last 6 months and send us reports. We are also in contact on a regular basis with Commodore Escrich at Hemmingway Marina. We have been trying to make arrangements for us to visit to discuss boating in Cuba when the travel restrictions are lifted. We have a Canadian friend that visits frequently and gives us first hand reports on changes. We've been monitoring the progess of HR 214 and we have spent time urging Senator Chris Dodd, Former Senator John Kerry and Senator Max Baucus, to push forward on earlier bills that never went very far. HR 214 is the current bill to lift the embargo and travel restrictions, but with the inaction in Congress there is very little chance of any change soon. How about you, svmeanderer, ever been there? Chuck

BTW, I make no claims whatsoever to be an expert on all things Cuba.
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Old 21-01-2014, 22:45   #13
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

A couple of good blogs from cruisers that have spent quite a bit of time in Cuba are Pat and Addison on Three Penny Opera, they make regular visits to Cuba by boat and there blog has lots of information, The Voyages of Threepenny Opera and another is Cheryl Barr's website, Cruise Cuba, current planning and advice for sailing to Cuba . Cheryl has written a cruising guide. Keep in mind that these boats and crew are Canadian. Chuck
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Old 21-01-2014, 23:23   #14
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

Dumb question that may not have been exhausted by previous Cuba threads... What are the legalities for a mixed group of US/non-US citizens visiting Cuba, i.e., if it can be proven that all money was spent by non-US citizens in the group? And would it make any difference if a US-flagged pleasure boat visiting Cuba was bareboat chartered by a non-US citizen?
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Old 22-01-2014, 05:07   #15
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Re: Cuba Requirements for a short stop over??

You'd just get yourself into more trouble trying that and (avoiding politics but not reality) if you get a right wing Cuban as a customs officer when you return you're screwed. Plenty of them in S Florida.

There were plenty of Americans there in early 2009. I will never forget being in the bank in Cayo Largo and they were auto counting stacks of US $100 bills in counting machines. Very strange as most Canadian and others were bring Euros to avoid the flat 10% penalty on US dollars when going tourist pesos.

FYI the common peso is not readily taken outside Havana and quasi illegal for tourists to hold in the resort towns like Cayo Largo.

I believe all "foreign investment" has been in resorts not marinas yet. I bet 3 of the 4 showers at Hemingway are still broken.
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