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Old 08-10-2011, 14:26   #16
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Re: How to Return to the USA

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.
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Old 09-10-2011, 01:37   #17
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Re: How to Return to the USA

How perfect...just what I wanted...step by step...[I guess I want someone to hold my hand]!! Just wanted to know how someone had done it before like you said. I knew about entries into the ICW but the chart pack are put well away right now. We can come to your house for dinner!!! Just kidding!!! We have anchored there at Canaveral before but after a thousand other anchorages, I can't remember where. I do remember checking in in Ponce, Puerto Rico but I think we would go the San Juan to go north if I remember right. And I did like the USVI where our son got married on ST JOHN at some expensive resort so going that route would be fine and we can buzz thru the Bahamas if we have fair weather. I am much more seasoned now than I was then...I was so green when we were there the first time I worried about every little thing and I have got well past that stuff!!!
I have put your reply in my file.
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Old 09-10-2011, 02:52   #18
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Re: How to Return to the USA

One other thing -- you might want to check the dates on life jackets, flares and anything else the USCG might check in case you are stopped for a routine safety check. This does happen in the USVI sometimes and you know it is common in Floridian waters. I mention this because we realized this summer that our horseshoe was past its date life. It is fine here in the Med because no one appears to check anything, but could be a problem if we don't get it replaced before arriving back in US waters.

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Old 09-10-2011, 06:40   #19
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Re: How to Return to the USA

I will second svBeBe - that is the one "hassle" that we all forget when returning to U.S. waters. You need to go through your required USCG safety equipment that should be on board.
- - The rest of the world could care less about such stuff. If you don't have it, it is your problem. But in the USA the government thinks it is responsible for your safety and tells you what you must do.
- - When you get to Saint Martin, it is a good idea to buy new USCG safety equipment for any you have that is out of date or do not have. Here is a good link to what you need to have on board based on your boat's length.
The West Advisor: Safety Equipment
- - One technical, often forgotten, requirement is for boats that are 40 ft or longer: "Vessels 40' and longer with a galley must have a Waste Management Plan."
This a simple piece of paper you can print out on your computer from BoatUS: Examples of Waste Management Plans for Vessels 40
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Old 10-10-2011, 02:45   #20
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
...........
- - One technical, often forgotten, requirement is for boats that are 40 ft or longer: "Vessels 40' and longer with a galley must have a Waste Management Plan."
This a simple piece of paper you can print out on your computer from BoatUS: Examples of Waste Management Plans for Vessels 40
Excellent reminder! Lots of boat owners are not aware of this requirement. We didn't bother to write out a plan until we were about to clear into Queensland territory of Australia. It is also required there for boats of our size. We created a written plan and added this page to our clearance papers packet. Easy to find when we eventually have a USCG safety inspection.

Many boat owners also fail to post the Oil Discharge placard and the Waste Discharge placard. We also have the yellow placard "WARNING--NO ILLEGAL DRUGS--etc, etc" posted at the companionway steps. When taking classes for our captains licenses the instructor mentioned that this was required for boats over 12 meters, so we bought one. This does not appear on the West Advisor list so maybe the instructor was incorrect. But, better safe than sorry; and it is an inexpensive item.

Thanks for posting the link for the required item list. Nice to have it in such concise format. We are now in our 6th year and probably won't return to US waters for several more years. Then we will be facing the same questions as Lexxy.

Judy
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:07   #21
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Re: How to Return to the USA

The coast guard was happy with an unprinted version of the garbage plan which I could show them on the computer. The other thing you have to remember is that the dinghy will have to have state registration if it has a motor. I got away with that until Rhode Island, where I was stopped and told that I would be ticketed if I was caught again. Fortunately, they didn't try to charge me sales tax on an Australian dinghy and motor.
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Old 10-10-2011, 07:19   #22
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Another good point - The "tender to" "TT/" doesn't work inside USA waters. It is a State more than Federal matter. If you check the various State's vessel requirements there are rather severe restrictions on the maximum size/type small boat sizes that can be exempt from "registration." And if you have an outboard motor then you can be pretty much assured that you will need a State registration for the dinghy. Some States, Missouri for one, require a separate registration for the motor itself (or did when I was living there a decade ago).

- - Returning to the USA from years abroad involves a whole range of these little - which some folks describe as petty - details, but you have no choice but to slog through the list until they are all taken care of properly. Welcome Home . . . .
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Old 10-10-2011, 23:40   #23
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Oh No! This is too complicated...I am too old to learn this new stuff to come home...I will have to abandon the boat! Actually, thanks this is really good and helpful even if it means I have to be responsible for a change.

Are these regulations on the internet somewhere that I can check with them? We are under 40' and we actually had that disposal label from the boat manufacturer and it was all crumbled and yellowed and I ripped it off...didn't know it was some legality...it just looked cruddy in my galley cabinet! Our Lifesling is 10 years old and I'll bet that too old but we got new inflatable vests and epirb in Australia so we are OK there.

"OH, Thanks You, Big Brother USA for watching out for me cuz I can't do it myself!!!" But, I don't think we are as intrusive as some other countries at making restrictive rules. When I see how some folks go out and cruise with little care for safety, I see why there has to be these kinds of rules even if they are aggravating.
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Old 11-10-2011, 02:13   #24
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Lexxy,

Make sure inflatable vests, etc. all have the label stating USCG approved. Our boat is supplied with 6 Plastismo life vests because it is a French built boat and all initial items were purchased in France. But those are NOT acceptable in US waters because they do not have that 'USCG approved for Type I, II, III, etc' label. Luckily, we also carry 3 inflatable vests that are USCG approved and we bought new cartridges for these in Singapore; so should all meet date life requirements when we finally return to US waters. If a safety item does not carry the USCG approval, then it is not recognized during a safety check.

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Old 11-10-2011, 04:50   #25
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Re: How to Return to the USA

And any boat over 12 meters is required to carry a current copy of the Navigation Rules aboard. I've been asked for it during inspections although I'm not sure they checked the publication date.

Copies are about $10 or you can download a PDF and print it from here:

http://www.navcen.uscg.gov/?pageName=navRulesContent

Does anyone know if having the PDF on a laptop meets the requirement?

Carl
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Old 11-10-2011, 05:50   #26
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Re: How to Return to the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lexxy View Post
Oh No! This is too complicated...I am too old to learn this new stuff to come home...I will have to abandon the boat! Actually, thanks this is really good and helpful even if it means I have to be responsible for a change.

Are these regulations on the internet somewhere that I can check with them? . . .
There is nothing you really need to do beyond common sense safety equipment for crossing the Atlantic and getting to St Martin. When you do get to St Martin, which has excellent marine parts stores and facilities at very good prices, you can then get the stuff needed to comply with the USA requirements.

- - The West Marine link above will give you the list of what you need for your size boat.

- - Here is a link to the State of Florida regulations for boats. Most of it does not apply to you, but some sections do, so scan those. Florida Boating Regulations
And for toilets and holding tanks in Florida here is a link: http://www.dep.state.fl.us/cleanmari...boater_faq.htm

- - You will find a lot of boats who have just arrived from the USA in St Martin and are on their way "down-island." They can fill you in on the reality and whatever the "latest" is about what is needed for a private recreational vessel in the USA.

- - Many, many cruisers are returning to the USA each year and generally speaking have little or no difficulties getting to their destination - so long - as you don't spend months gunkholing the coastline of the USA. Coming straight in with only a stop or two for clearance and refueling before reaching your destination should not be a problem. State of Florida requirements for boat and dinghy registration (yes, even USCG documented boats need to be "registered" with the State of Florida if you will be in State waters over 90 days.) can be accomplished after you arrive.
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Old 11-10-2011, 07:49   #27
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Re: How to Return to the USA

We have continued to keep our boat registered in Florida but we have not registered our dinghy because it used to be that the t/t was enough. Is there a minimum size for registering a dinghy and am I allowed a few days to do so or do I have to do it before I come in? I have no papers on this old dinghy to use to register it with. Guess I could print some up. I don't have any on the 5 hp motor either. They didn't even give us a receipt or owners manual in Thailand...just a motor. That's bargain business in Thailand!!
I am printing all these rules...the Capt is just crazy about all this!!!
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Old 11-10-2011, 08:02   #28
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Re: How to Return to the USA

From the link I posted for Florida Boating regulations:

"Vessel Registration - All vessels, with the exception of non-motor-powered vessels less than 16 feet in length, non-motor-powered canoes, kayaks, racing shells, or rowing sculls, regardless of length, must be registered through your local Tax Collector's Office."

For "used" or dinghies/motors that have no paperwork you register them simply as "purchased used" with a bill of sale. Only "new" stuff needs the manufacturers certificate of origin. You can make up on your computer a "bill of sale" for the dinghy and motor.
- - One "trick" in Florida is avoid the big city or big motor vehicle/tax collector offices and instead go to the outlying small offices. The folks inside are more friendly, helpful and "lenient" and the service is quicker.
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