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Old 24-12-2013, 15:03   #1
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How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean ?

Hello all.

My partner and I are planning our first (by any means air sea land) trip around the world. We've already booked a short return sail (as guests) out of Antigua in February. We're passported up for 7 years and are very flexible with our plans.

We really want to know how easy/what do we need to do to move freely between islands. Is a return plane ticket a must? Can we hop on and off boats on different islands? What do we need to know?

Cheers for any help,

Bax
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Old 24-12-2013, 16:15   #2
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

Not sure how much I can help. I did hitchhike around Caribbean in my twenties. Trick is to get a good boat.

Be upfront about your experience level, it is not as big of a liability as you may think.

Look for well maintained vessel
Look for happy crew already aboard or a reference to someone you can speak with who has crewed for that vessel.
Look for easygoing schedule, tight schedules can be hard on crew.
Look for a captain who is willing to keep you on if you are unable to find crew job( customs may not let him leave without you, unless you have a plane ticket or position aboard another boat).

For me, since I was a young female traveling alone, I always had an agreement with the captain that if I could not find a position aboard another vessel, and they couldn't keep me on, they would provide air fare home, that only happened once. Once you make landfall, it usually only takes a day to a week to find a position on another good boat. Many times I was meeting up with another vessel in my next port, so would hop right off of one boat onto another

Listen to your inner voice, if you get a bad vibe from a captain, boat, or crew, move on, and that includes your partner too, she should have automatic veto power.

Hope that helps. Each of you should have a good harness and tether, good sailor knife, flashlight and know basic knots.
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Old 24-12-2013, 17:06   #3
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

Thanks ocean girl, that's very good to know.

We really need to know if we arrive in Antigua with the hope of crewing about the islands, do we need to show immigration a return flight out of Antigua on first arrival? If we get to port on other islands, will they ask us to present a return flight ticket?

It would be great to fly in and try to crew to the USA.

Cheers to anyone who can help.
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Old 24-12-2013, 20:57   #4
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

I don't know the answer., I always had an open ended ticket if I flew in to get to the boat. Hopefully someone in that area will post an answer. May want to start a thread specific to Antigua, might even gets some contacts for future crewing jobs .

I know you will find a boat, and you seem to have a good head on your shoulders, so you two will have a blast. I hope a blog is in the works..?
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Old 25-12-2013, 02:13   #5
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

Thanks again Ocean Girl. We're really looking forward to it and desperately researching to see how its all done...
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Old 25-12-2013, 02:52   #6
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

Not sure how long ago Ocean Girl did her trips - but it may be a lot harder now - we sailed the entire Caribbean and there were lots of boats but not a lot of folks looking for crew -- we NEVER take crew period - just not our thing and we saw lots of folks trying to find rides -

i am not sure but you have to be put on the crew list then when you want to get off the capt has to get you off the crew list and he and you have to show that you have a way home and not a permanent guest - others who have more knowledge but it may be harder than you imagine -
just look at the crew wanted positions on this board and you will see the number of folks looking
good luck
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Old 25-12-2013, 09:26   #7
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

Antigua is a good place to get aboard as crew, particularly if you have STCW 95. Without certification you can find board on non-commercial boats, with certification you can get aboard as commercial crew (even without experience). The boards at Nelson's and Falmouth are used by some ships to find crew, and hangouts such as Mad Mongoose can help connect crew with seekers.
Antigua immigration can be a bit of a stickler regarding proving onward passage or tickets. I've only been asked once at the airport if I had an onward ticket and when I answered in the affirmative they didn't ask to see it. It might be worth it to check out LIAT fares from ANU to a neighbouring island and see if they have a fully refundable ticket or just invest in the $100 or so one-way fare to St. Kitts or St. Martin. Alternatively have a printout of the fares and schedule to St. Martin ready to show and tell immigration you haven't decided how long you want to stay. Also be prepared to give them the name of a hotel.
If you leave by ship the captain has to put you on the crew list upon clearing out, I've taken crew off the list in Antigua before (I had to bring them in to immigration along with their airline ticket) but have seen how easy it is to add crew.
Remember that St. Martin, Guadeloupe and Martinique are Schengen, so you are guaranteed free entry as an EU national and all immigration is worried about is ensuring that they don't have to pay to get you out of the country and that you don't take up employment. Thus presenting an onward ticket to one of those countries alleviates problems.
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Old 25-12-2013, 13:54   #8
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

There is a forum here designed for Crews. Click Classifieds then click Crews and you will see a little of what is available just through here. Also crewfinder and find-a-crew websites. Good Luck and enjoy
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Old 25-12-2013, 14:29   #9
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean?

"a fully refundable ticket "
These days, there's usually a cancellation fee, or change fee, or fee fee attached to that. Somewhere in the fine print, when you change the flight and try to get your money back, there's been a substantial penalty for every one that I've seen. Although I'll admit I haven't seen them all. Caveat emptor, it ain't the 1950's anymore.
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Old 25-12-2013, 15:10   #10
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean ?

We cleared into probably 10 different places withing the past couple of years and not once did they ask for a return air ticket of anyone arriving on a boat. Not us and not any of our friends who hopped islands with us from time to time
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Old 26-12-2013, 10:29   #11
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean ?

sck5 - they do not ask about return tickets for people arriving on boats, since responsibility belongs to the captain to make sure that they leave, if the crew member is not on the departing crew list but on the arriving one, the captain has to prove that said crew member has left the country (by air, ferry or another ship).

Immigration can ask for continuing or return tickets when someone arrives by air.
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Old 26-12-2013, 15:11   #12
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean ?

Thank you for all your replies. Seems the best thing is to get a return ticket though we won't know when we're returning. If we can we'll try to get an open ended flight. Any other advice is very welcome.
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Old 30-12-2013, 15:04   #13
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Re: How easy is it to crew about the Caribbean ?

Wish you well on your travels.
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