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Old 18-04-2016, 07:00   #1
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Yellow "flagging"

Hi all

I've just returned frm a very pleasant cruise in the Leeward islands and whilst I was there I searched the forums for a definitive answer on whether it was acceptable / legal to spend a night at anchor between destinations.

There seem to be many conflicting views, so I'm not sure I'll be any the wiser after posting this, but curiosity has got the better of me.

We saw plenty of boats (particularly in Montserrat and Statia) coming and going without anyone going ashore. Sometimes they would fly the yellow flag, sometimes not. I read on one thread that if you do this you shouldn't fly the yellow flag as it indicates an intention to clear in, others have said the opposite.

Some posts talked about the right of innocent passage, when I spent time googling this I became even more confused!

Do clearing in customs care about this practise? When clearing in it seems you are always asked for times etc of departure as well as having to show the last clearance. It must be obvious sometimes that a yacht has anchored overnight elsewehere, unless you falsify the time.

Anyway, for future reference, what are peoples views?

Thanks
Ian
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Old 18-04-2016, 07:30   #2
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

Ian,

Super newbie here, so take this with a grain...

My understanding of innocent passage was that you could pass through territorial waters without having to notify the country/territory provided you're just passing through. As soon as you stop, you're obligated to report to the country your presence and intentions.
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:19   #3
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

I always fly the yellow and never been punished for doing so.

I always tell the authorities what they want to hear. If overnight anchoring is not allowed, I tell them we have not anchored.

b.
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:27   #4
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

Rarest_Iowa - innocent passage seems to be more complicated than that and there are valid reasons for anchoring overnight, I'm just unclear (well pretty sure) that these don't include for convenience! I've seen it argued both ways on this forum.

barnakiel - how do you know what they want to hear? That's back to my fundamental question
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:31   #5
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

Yellow flagging is illegal in every country and you can have your boat forfeited.

My rule is to ask myself "What would happen if i did this in the USA?"

Very, very few would try it in the USA but think they can in the Caribbean. Why? Just a simple lack of respect.

Just clear in or sail on, the choice is yours
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:36   #6
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

it is an interesting question.. I think the answer for down caribbean is mostly "it's the islands". We arrived at a country/island late one night and left early the next morning, hoisted the yellow and dropped the hook, but that's the one and only time we've done it. We had arrived at that same islands days before on our way north, arrived after C&I were closed so anchored and hoisted the flag with full intentions of remaining on the boat through the night until C&I opened, but a local security patrol fella insisted we come and ashore and eat out at the restaurant. That's what we wanted to do, but were hesitant, and hesitant yet when we went, I made him promise he'd come and visit us in jail if we ended up there.

darn auto-incorrect..
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:41   #7
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

This is all emblematic of my impressions of sailing in general: go along to get along. Based on books I've read and videos I've watched, it seems that cruising is taken a bit more relaxed than, say, commercial piloting. That's not to say that anyone should break the law, but I don't gather that many island countries are going to jam you up for flying a yellow flag or anchoring overnight to escape heavy seas. Foreign registered boats in US waters might be a different different story.

I don't take many people on these forums for fools, so I'd imagine the phrase "common sense" is understood. If one simply applies that common sense to a situation in a foreign country, I'd think one would be safe. Am I wrong to make this assumption?
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:41   #8
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

oh yeah, check in the next a.m. was no problem.
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:44   #9
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

So it seems so far that the view is that it shouldn't be done, but that many do in the Caribbean.

I asked the customs officer at Statia about it (IE people doing it there) when we cleared out and he just sort of shrugged his shoulders. They certainly weren't bothered as we saw quite a few over the three nights we were there.
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Old 18-04-2016, 08:49   #10
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

I should have said that for us we had a practical problem. We couldn't clear out of Statia until quite late (it was a Sunday and tracking down the authorities was interesting), so we couldn't get to our next destination to clear in before they closed. We needed to be off early the next morning so waiting to clear in again for the overnight stop would have been difficult.
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Old 18-04-2016, 09:00   #11
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

I wonder more about naming your next destination but showing up somewhere else. I think this would be a bigger no-no. Or just as big no-no. Or am I wrong?
Not talking about emergency situation change of plans either.
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Old 18-04-2016, 09:01   #12
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

wait, I guess naming your next destination and raising the yellow and dropping the hook on a passage through would be exactly that... duh.. sometimes I wonder about myself
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Old 18-04-2016, 09:04   #13
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

we had deal, doing a 10 hour crossing getting beat to heck from Nevis to Antigua.. Montserrat sure looked inviting but I held the course. worried about our next named destination.
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Old 18-04-2016, 09:04   #14
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

Exactly!
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Old 18-04-2016, 09:06   #15
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Re: Yellow "flagging"

We actually turned up at Montserrat with clearance papers that stated a different destination port and they didn't bat an eyelid - that was fine. I just told them we had changed our minds about the destination (which we had in a manner of speaking). I thought this must be a fairly common occurrence.
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