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Old 29-04-2015, 12:44   #1
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Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Hey all, just a random question I'd like to see if anybody has thoughts on.

I'm going from Nassau to Antigua, but need to pick up a crew member in Turks and Caicos along the way. I'm wondering if it's possible to pick him up without clearing in my entire crew and vessel into Turks? He would fly in, arrive in the afternoon, then get on the boat and we'd leave.

Can I anchor out and have him pay for a water taxi, shuttle, or bum a dinghy ride to us....so that we never go ashore? Is he required to declare his exit from TCI to their Customs agents if leaving by boat and coming by plane?

Another part of the problem is I have a 9.5ft draft and probably will have trouble getting to any marinas in TCI anyway, so we'll be anchored out regardless. Really, it's the quick turnaround that I'm interested in....want to avoid a day spent clearing in my whole crew and all that crap just for a 5hr stop to pick up a guy.

Any thoughts?




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Old 29-04-2015, 12:58   #2
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

I've never been to the Turks and Caicos, but I'd be willing to bet that they're like the dozen or more countries I've visited in the Lesser Antilles. It's illegal to have any physical contact with a person in the country until after you've properly cleared in.

Clearing in means clearing in yourself, your crew and the boat. I know of cases where cruising skippers were fined thousands of dollars for briefly coming ashore prior to clearing in. Worst case, they can confiscate your boat and put you in jail. Best case would be that you happen to luck into a lax customs and immigration agent, but I sure wouldn't risk it.
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Old 29-04-2015, 13:39   #3
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

You'll most likely be talking to "Provo Radio" long before you drop the hook here. It's a relatively new radar tower installation that's been in operation about two years now. It's part of the program to intercept Haitian refugees and control them. You'll have to tell them the names of your crew, and some other basics.

You might be able to get into Blue Haven Marina at Leeward, the NE end of Providenciales, with your draft. They're publishing 8.5 max draft at mean low, but if you're coming through on a big tide you could do it. This is a good location for you to pick up a passenger here, too. Clearance for one week is $100 for the boat and crew. 50 on checkin, 50 on checkout. Customs and Immigration will drive down to meet you at the marina. You show them your usual stuff, give them fifty bucks, and you're good for the week. Doesn't include fishing.
Whenever you're ready to clear out, you call them again, and same deal. They'll drive to you, give em fifty bucks and you're free to leave. It's that simple. No other charges from the govt.

If you truly only need four or five hours, you might be able to get away with coming in for repairs, but when you tell them that you should be prepared to back it up with some receipts when you check out. I think it would be a hard sell for a five hour stop. Besides, your new crew will need to give his little immigration card to the officials when he leaves, I think.

If you go for Blue Haven Marina you'd be coming in from the north and through the reef right there at Leeward. If you're draft is too much, you can anchor inside the reef for the day and dinghy into the marina, then call customs, etc.

Of course there is a deep water cruise ship terminal over on Grand Turk, and you might be able to work something out there. It's going to cost your crew more to get there, probably. I don't know much about GT but maybe someone else can chime in. 9.5 ft. draft is a bit of a problem around here.

Let me know if we can be of any help.
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Old 29-04-2015, 13:47   #4
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Unfortunately it won't work as the crew has no way to clear out. He would be on record as entering but not exiting the country.
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Old 29-04-2015, 14:56   #5
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Your new crew hast to be on your crew list. The only way that happens is if you clear in.

Remember Antigua has one of the most grumpy mob of immigration people in the known world. Stuff with them and they can be a pain in the ass.
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Old 29-04-2015, 15:11   #6
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

I found nelson dockyards customs immigration to be mostly grumpy but jolly harbour were great. Two visits to both this year and same both times. The last check out from nelsons at 4:30pm the grouchy immigration lady said " why are you just checkin out now, you've had all day to do it, why come so late???" Well I politely explained we just sailed from nonsuch bay and sorry we couldn't sail any faster I think they're open till 6pm so no idea what was with the rude 'tude..
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Old 29-04-2015, 18:58   #7
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Quote:
Originally Posted by monte View Post
Unfortunately it won't work as the crew has no way to clear out. He would be on record as entering but not exiting the country.
This is the most relevant post of all - When your friend flies into the Turks his passport will be stamped as entering the country. Before he can "enter" any other country his passport will need an "exit" stamp from the Turks.

What is even more complicated is entering a country by "air" and then departing by private boat - Some of the islands are very strict about the procedures for doing that. And some islands require you to have a local address - like a hotel, or resort, or local resident before they will even let you into the country. It is typical that the arriving new crew member needs to have a letter from the Captain of the private vessel authorizing their joining the boat in lieu of a local address. All of which means you and your boat need to be officially "checked in" before all the requirements can be met so the new crew can legally "check-out."

Bottom-line, it is just too complicated to try to "get around" the process - so do the right thing by "checking-in." And carefully find-out exactly what the paper work necessary is in the T & C's for "joining a private yacht" after arriving by air.
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:08   #8
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Quote:
Originally Posted by vmattiola View Post
Hey all, just a random question I'd like to see if anybody has thoughts on.

I'm going from Nassau to Antigua, but need to pick up a crew member in Turks and Caicos along the way. I'm wondering if it's possible to pick him up without clearing in my entire crew and vessel into Turks? He would fly in, arrive in the afternoon, then get on the boat and we'd leave.

Can I anchor out and have him pay for a water taxi, shuttle, or bum a dinghy ride to us....so that we never go ashore? Is he required to declare his exit from TCI to their Customs agents if leaving by boat and coming by plane?

Another part of the problem is I have a 9.5ft draft and probably will have trouble getting to any marinas in TCI anyway, so we'll be anchored out regardless. Really, it's the quick turnaround that I'm interested in....want to avoid a day spent clearing in my whole crew and all that crap just for a 5hr stop to pick up a guy.

Any thoughts?




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I'VE BEEN ALL OVER THE T&C ISLANDS AND THEY TRULY ARE FRIENDLY; NOT LIKE THE MERCENARY BAHAMAS. ALTHOUGH I HAVE CHECKED IN USUALLY I DON'T, BUT WHEN I DID IT WAS $30 AND THEY CAME TO MY BOAT, NOT THE $300 CHARGE IN THE BAHAMAS. THEY ARE STILL A BRITISH CROWN COLONY; ALTHOUGH, MANY CANADIANS WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THEM OVER AND HAVE THEIR OWN TROPICAL ISLANDS AND THE BRITS WOULD LOVE TO SEE THEM GO, BUT THE CANUCK GOVERNMENT IS TOO SMART.
DON'T WORRY ABOUT IT, WORRY ABOUT OTHER ISLANDS.
WITH YOUR DRAFT YOU'LL HAVE TROUBLE RUNNING AGROUND AND HITTING CORAL HEADS, KEEP A LOOKOUT ON THE BOW. PROVIDENCIALES SOUTH SHORE BY THE CONTAINER TERMINAL IS YOUR BEST BET FOR ANCHORING. UNLESS YOUR MAKING DINNER RESERVATIONS OR ORDERING A TAXI DON'T EXPECT ANYONE TO RESPOND TO VHF, LEAST OF ALL CUSTOMS AND COAST GUARD, THEY'RE PRETTY LAID BACK.
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:13   #9
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

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Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
Before he can "enter" any other country his passport will need an "exit" stamp from the Turks.

This is incorrect information. They do not stamp your passport when leaving here.
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:13   #10
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Hi - I will assume you are a US or Canadian citizen. My quick answer to your question is - "I don't see any problems" - UNLESS YOU ARE NOT HONEST WITH THE OFFICIALS. DO NOT try to skate around anything ! Tell them exactly your intentions and you will not have any problems. People who complain about having problems have usually created them themselves. I would ask the officials if your guest(s) can get their passport stamped as having exited the T&C though.
I just called Air Canada - they say that "visitors not holding a RETURN airline ticket could be refused ENTRY. Now, the question is - if staying less than 24 hours - does this mean NON-ENTRY ? In other words - if only staying a few hours to get on a boat - then probably no ENTRY is required. Just be SURE to get passport stamped as having left !
A good link for more info is ...Turks and Caicos Islands
Note the statement in the above..."If remaining in the Turks and Caicos Islands for more than 24 hours each person must fill out an immigration form." So, as the previous responder said - it probably is possible to pick up a "passenger" without having to go through normal immigration procedures.
The US or Canadian Embassy in Nassau, Bahamas may have answers-try contacting them. These things have changed recently so do not rely on old "hearsay" on the web or old news.
Sorry I could not be of further help. Good Luck and please let us know how it goes down - this is great information to have.

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Old 30-04-2015, 12:18   #11
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Canibul just made a good point - same thing happened to me when I flew into Nassau, Bahamas last year. They DID NOT stamp my passport when I left on my boat. In fact, I have had crew join me in the Bahamas (Georgetown) after flying into Bahamas (one way ticket) BUT that was the Bahamas. DON'T FORGET TO ASK THE OFFICIALS TO STAMP PASSPORT AS HAVING LEFT IF POSSIBLE - because the officials in the next island stop may want to know. But then, if you leave the US, fly to T&C then leave without a passport stamp what is the problem - NONE
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:25   #12
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

Quote:
Originally Posted by osirissail View Post
This is the most relevant post of all - When your friend flies into the Turks his passport will be stamped as entering the country. Before he can "enter" any other country his passport will need an "exit" stamp from the Turks.

What is even more complicated is entering a country by "air" and then departing by private boat - Some of the islands are very strict about the procedures for doing that. And some islands require you to have a local address - like a hotel, or resort, or local resident before they will even let you into the country. It is typical that the arriving new crew member needs to have a letter from the Captain of the private vessel authorizing their joining the boat in lieu of a local address. All of which means you and your boat need to be officially "checked in" before all the requirements can be met so the new crew can legally "check-out."

Bottom-line, it is just too complicated to try to "get around" the process - so do the right thing by "checking-in." And carefully find-out exactly what the paper work necessary is in the T & C's for "joining a private yacht" after arriving by air.
YOU'RE ABSOLUTELY CORRECT OF COURSE AND ISLANDERS WOULD APPLAUD YOU. AFTER SPENDING 6 YEARS CRUISING THE BAHAMAS AND CARIBBEAN AND VISITING MANY TIMES OVER 30 YEARS ON DELIVERIES I CAN ASSURE YOU MANY ARE NOT THAT PRAGMATIC AND FOR A MULTITUDE OF REASONS DON'T ALWAYS FOLLOW PROCEDURE. IT'S NOT ABOUT SAVING MONEY; JUST AVOIDING HASSLES. IF YOU COULD REGISTER BY PHONE OR RADIO AS IN NA THEN EVERYONE WOULD SIGN IN.
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:30   #13
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

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ALTHOUGH I HAVE CHECKED IN USUALLY I DON'T, BUT WHEN I DID IT WAS $30 AND THEY CAME TO MY BOAT, NOT THE $300 CHARGE IN THE BAHAMAS. THEY ARE STILL A BRITISH CROWN COLONY; PROVIDENCIALES SOUTH SHORE BY THE CONTAINER TERMINAL IS YOUR BEST BET FOR ANCHORING. UNLESS YOUR MAKING DINNER RESERVATIONS OR ORDERING A TAXI DON'T EXPECT ANYONE TO RESPOND TO VHF, LEAST OF ALL CUSTOMS AND COAST GUARD, THEY'RE PRETTY LAID BACK.
more misinformation here.

Saying you usually don't check in means you haven't been here in years. Your info is no longer valid. You will be on radar, being tracked, from at least 15-20 miles out. You will be hailed on VHF 16 by Provo Radio. They will watch you all the way to the dock or anchorage. You will talk to them again when you leave. If you do NOT talk to them pn the radio, you will be talking to the Marine Police face to face.

Customs and Immigration will visit you at a marina. They will not come to your boat on the hook.

It's $50 to check in and $ 50 to check out. This is for a one week permit. A three month cruising permit is $ 300. You can do two of those in a calendar year.

We are a British Overseas Territory. Not a crown colony. That designation changed 34 years ago. 1981.

Sapodilla Bay, near South Dock, is a very nice anchorage, but with a 9.5 ft. draft the OP won't be anywhere NEAR that bay. Sorry. It's 11 ft. a half a mile outside the bay. You won't find deeper water anywhere on the Caicos Bank close to Providenciales. It's all 9-12 ft. max on this side. Where I live. North side is deeper inside the reef. 18-20 ft. in spots.

Taxi's do not use VHF here any more. Haven't in ten years. Provo Radio will respond to VHF, certainly. The TCI does not have a "Coast Guard". We have Marine Police.
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:34   #14
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

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Originally Posted by monte View Post
I found nelson dockyards customs immigration to be mostly grumpy but jolly harbour were great. Two visits to both this year and same both times. The last check out from nelsons at 4:30pm the grouchy immigration lady said " why are you just checkin out now, you've had all day to do it, why come so late???" Well I politely explained we just sailed from nonsuch bay and sorry we couldn't sail any faster I think they're open till 6pm so no idea what was with the rude 'tude..
ARE YOU REFERRING TO T&C OR ANTIGUA?
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Old 30-04-2015, 12:43   #15
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Re: Picking up crew in Turks without "entering"

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Originally Posted by Canibul View Post
more misinformation here.

Saying you usually don't check in means you haven't been here in years. Your info is no longer valid. You will be on radar, being tracked, from at least 15-20 miles out. You will be hailed on VHF 16 by Provo Radio. They will watch you all the way to the dock or anchorage. You will talk to them again when you leave. If you do NOT talk to them, you will be talking to the Marine Police.

It's $50 to check in and $ 50 to check out. This is for a one week permit. A three month cruising permit is $ 300. You can do two of those in a calendar year.

We are a British Overseas Territory. Not a crown colony. That designation changed 34 years ago. 1981.

Sapodilla Bay, near South Dock, is a very nice anchorage, but with a 9.5 ft. draft the OP won't be anywhere NEAR that bay. Sorry. It's 11 ft. a half a mile outside the bay. You won't find deeper water anywhere on the Caicos Bank close to Providenciales. It's all 9-12 ft. max on this side. Where I live. North side is deeper inside the reef. 18-20 ft. in spots.

Taxi's do not use VHF here any more. Haven't in ten years. Provo Radio will respond to VHF, certainly. The TCI does not have a "Coast Guard". We have Marine Police.
THANK YOU FOR THE UPDATE. SITUATION HAS SURE CHANGED SINCE I WAS LAST IN T&C IN 2012, LESS THAN 3 YEARS AGO. MUST BE BECAUSE THE BRITS HAVE TAKEN OVER THE ADMINISTRATION AGAIN.
I MUST GO BACK, THE 700 MILE TRANSIT THROUGH THE BAHAMAS IS A DETERRENT; BUT NOW WE CAN GO VIA CUBA MAKES IT MUCH MORE ATTRACTIVE.
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