Boy have you been gone long. Florida
is not hot anymore. We have been in Grenada
and Trinidad for nearly a decade and that is hot. We are having to wear clothes and sweatshirts to stay warm here in the Canaveral area.
- - But seriously, so long as your US passports are still valid and there are not Interpol warrants, etc. out for you - the whole thing is quite easy.
- - The normal route
to cross the Atlantic takes you to the eastern Caribbean
islands and you work you way to the U.S. Virgin Islands
where you check back in. Most everything is done on computers
these days, although in St Thomas they have you fill out some forms that the officers use to gather information that needs to be put into the computer.
- - After re-provisioning in the U.S. Virgins you sail to Culebra
and check-in to the USA again with Customs
. The deal is the U.S. Virgins are classified as a "free-port" and as you leave and enter Puerto Rico/Culebra or the mainland U.S. you need to deal with only Customs
although most officials serve both functions of Customs and Immigration.
- - From Culebra
you can sail non-stop to Florida
or north as desired. If you don't stop and check in anywhere you are still "in the USA" and the check-in is quick and simple. I know several folks who left Culebra/Virgins/Puerto Rico and "Q-flagged" through the Bahamas
(which is legal) straight to Florida.
- - Port Canaveral is an excellent place to do the "paperwork." You can walk to the offices from any marina and the officials are polite, quick and friendly. Then press on up the coast to Jacksonville
- - As other mentioned don't forget to get your US Customs Decal which is available on line. If you don't have one they will sell you one at your first U.S. check-in place.
- - No special rules or problems for a USA documented boat with only USA citizens on board. You really do not need the Small Vessel Reporting System stuff unless you plan on exiting and entering the USA multiple times. Basically what the system does is pre-enter your information into the CBP computers
so they save some time looking you up. For a one time entry, just come-on in. But the Entry Ports
in northern Florida, in practice, seem to be more laid back and easy going places to do the process.