Be careful. I would characterize the officials in Antigua as very by the book. Willing to enforce small rules. Some people have called them petty and officious, but I think that's a bit unfair.
When we were there a young French family
tried to check in from the wrong harbor. They anchored on the other side of the island and Dad took a bus to English
Harbor. The Antiguans sent a squad of uniformed dudes with assault rifles to board the boat and accompany it to the right harbor. The Dad does not speak perfect English
, and is French, after all, so he may have pushed back or not understood if they tried to work something out with him that did not involve dudes with assault rifles.
We heard of two boats last year who were fined a large amount because the crew came ashore with the captain
while he was checking in. I believe there was a letter or article in the Caribbean Compass
about this. The gentleman wrote that the fine was for an obscene amount and that the whole situation was arbitrary and felt like a shakedown. Then again, he also mentioned something about flights and etc -- maybe the whole story is that he tried to check in while the crew were already on their way to the airport
. I don't know.
My limited experience with the Antiguan officials was very easy and pleasant. I saw a few crew come ashore with the captains when I was checking in, and it wasn't a problem for them. I am one of those people who dresses up to do paperwork and plays up my American cultural stereotype of being friendly and stupid.
Of course strictly enforcing the rules is their right. It is their country. However most countries in the Caribbean
are not uptight. So it's easy to develop bad habits and start to think that the officials on every island you visit will be casual and easy going. Some are not.
For your situation, I would be more careful about breaking rules there than the French islands.