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Old 11-01-2015, 19:32   #1
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NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

I am thinking of sailing my New Zealand registered boat from Alabama to Cuba and back to Florida. Does anyone know whether this is possible with the relevant authorities, and if so, is it wise?
Thanks
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Old 11-01-2015, 19:35   #2
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

Are you a US citizen?
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Old 11-01-2015, 19:48   #3
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

No, I am a South African citizen with permanent residence in New Zealand, and am looking at buying a boat in Alabama shortly, registering it in New Zealand and sailing it via Cuba and Florida to New England (in the Spring) where I am based for the next few years.
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Old 11-01-2015, 20:45   #4
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

It is perfectly legal for a non US citizen or non US resident to sail Cuba. However I have read a number of reports of non citizens sailing to the US from Cuba that were hassled by US Customs agents. Problem is reported to be much worse in south Florida cities. Key West said to be particularly bad but Miami up to W Palm Beach should be avoided if you can.

Another option, after leaving Cuba first check into the Bahamas.
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Old 11-01-2015, 21:03   #5
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

Thanks Skipmac. Maybe if I do the trip I''l skip Florida and check in further North.
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Old 11-01-2015, 22:00   #6
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

I'm sailing from Cuba to Florida in April (Canadian on a Canadian flagged boat). I have asked a lot of people the same question. The answers I got, was always "I heard/read you can be hassled" and never "Damn, they gave me a real hard time". In fact the 4 people I spoke with that had done the trip, said "no problems". Let me know if you ever find someone who actually got hassled (not their friend).

For me, I will be heading up to the Fort Myers area and skipping the keys as that is where the boat needs to end up. I will definitely report my experience back here.
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Old 11-01-2015, 22:44   #7
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

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I'm sailing from Cuba to Florida in April (Canadian on a Canadian flagged boat). I have asked a lot of people the same question. The answers I got, was always "I heard/read you can be hassled" and never "Damn, they gave me a real hard time". In fact the 4 people I spoke with that had done the trip, said "no problems". Let me know if you ever find someone who actually got hassled (not their friend).

For me, I will be heading up to the Fort Myers area and skipping the keys as that is where the boat needs to end up. I will definitely report my experience back here.
Cannot remember everyone but I do recall specifically forum member SV Jedi reported a hassle checking into south Florida. Not even sure he was coming from Cuba.

Might find the thread and post with a little searching.
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Old 11-01-2015, 23:05   #8
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

I beleive I found the thread you are refering to.. Again, he doesn't actually say he had problems, and frankly is very vague.. Canadians from Cuba to Florida

However many others suggest skipping Key West, Miami and Fort Lauderdale. For me, no problem, I'm headed to Fort Myers. Even if I wasn't, I would head the advice on the forum and skip those locations.
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Old 12-01-2015, 05:26   #9
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, witoog.
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Old 12-01-2015, 06:52   #10
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

Any boat coming from Cuba is going to get a close eye from Customs and Immigration, no matter what the nationality of the owner, mainly due to the large number of boats that enter Florida every year carrying refugees escaping from Cuba.

It is a regular occurrence in south Florida. One of the funniest stories my harbormaster told me, was of watching a brand new sport fisherman pull up to a slip in his marina, late one night, and watching dozens and dozens of Cubans come streaming out of the cabin like it was giant floating clown car and running down the pier to the waiting cars in his parking lot.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:00   #11
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

Regardless of being not an American citizen ( I'm not) or not being US flagged, any vessel coming from Cuba can be restricted from USA waters for six months.

Does it happen? Probably rarely, but I won't take that chance. It is one of the reasons cruise ships do not go to Cuba.
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:26   #12
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

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Thanks Skipmac. Maybe if I do the trip I''l skip Florida and check in further North.
Probably a good idea, we too have been advised (more than once) to make any entry into the US 'at Jacksonville or further north' and/or 'enter via the Bahamas.

Given that Florida, particularly its southern end must bear the brunt of any illegal immigration and the like, perhaps not unreasonable/surprising that they're less enamoured by boats coming from Cuba?

That said, given the over-watch reportedly kept on those waters, I find it hard to believe that if you sailed from Havana and along the coast to Jacksonville, that there hasn't been a phone call made to the Officers there to tell them that you're on your way and where from?
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Old 12-01-2015, 07:35   #13
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

2 years ago While in Ft. Myers, I saw A boat with 4 young French Canadians coming from Cuba . The 2 guys left the boat to check in at the airport. The girls decided to do a little grocery shopping. No one on the boat when customs arrived. Later the Captain told me that he had made radio contact with customs when they entered U.S. waters. Customs at that time told him to check in at the Airport. Girls should have stayed on the boat of course.
Customs gave them a lecture and emptied their boat for them;
It's amazing how much ... stuff you can cram on a boat!
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Old 12-01-2015, 12:35   #14
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

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Probably a good idea, we too have been advised (more than once) to make any entry into the US 'at Jacksonville or further north' and/or 'enter via the Bahamas.

Given that Florida, particularly its southern end must bear the brunt of any illegal immigration and the like, perhaps not unreasonable/surprising that they're less enamoured by boats coming from Cuba?

That said, given the over-watch reportedly kept on those waters, I find it hard to believe that if you sailed from Havana and along the coast to Jacksonville, that there hasn't been a phone call made to the Officers there to tell them that you're on your way and where from?
The air, water and satellite surveillance of that area, is extensive, to say the very least. There are almost always Keyholes aimed at Cuba, since back in the missile crisis days.
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Old 12-01-2015, 13:15   #15
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Re: NZ registered, sail Alabama - Cuba - Florida? Possible?

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Another option, after leaving Cuba first check into the Bahamas.
Or even Mexico
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