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Old 27-10-2011, 22:49   #181
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Originally Posted by ozskipper View Post
If it makes for a safer place for my kids to live- no problems.
Sweet Jebus, how many oppressive regimes have said that at some stage in their history?

Not saying Australia is an oppressive regime, but from little things big thing grow, especially if people blindly accept rule changes without wondering what the ramification can be further down the track.

Didnt the yanks let a law in a few years back that lets pretty much anyone with a gun and a badge to kick down doors and dissapear people off to "a place" all in the name of suspected terrorism?
USA PATRIOT Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Do we really want that sort of thing here?

And as for the drug bit, really, does it work?
I reckon I can go out tonight and score some coke if I was so inclined in a couple of hours at any number of places in the big city, if I was so inclined.
Obviously, it is coming in via some other method ie: not yachties anchored up in a quiet anchorage somewhere minding their own business.
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Old 27-10-2011, 22:59   #182
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

At least US customs backed off on the advance reporting requirements for small boats.

Its not clear what good 96 hour advance reporting does--one time I came into Brisbane from Vanuatu the customs man (a really nice older guy) showed me the printont where coastwatch had tracked me for the last 400 miles, with 5 positions and times logged. I'm sure that the planes don't give passenger lists 96 hours prior to arrival.

OTOH, the US Coast Guard can board US boats without cause anywhere in the world, including Sydney Harbor.

Why bother visiting another country if everything is the same there?
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Old 28-10-2011, 00:07   #183
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
Thats in a plane
Different story in a boat I am told.

And as far as the US being harsh, their rules for boats coming, once again



A phone call on arrival and then they turn up and search, just like most places in the world.
How civilised is that
If you did not have a visa for USA and that takes some hoops you would have a big issue I imagine.
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Old 28-10-2011, 00:28   #184
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As an aussie returning from the US to Aus in 2002 the focus of customs in each country mirrored each countries national philosophy. When i retrieved my container i noticed US customs had inspected an SGI computer to ensure I wasn't exporting prohibited technology. Australian customs (actually AQIS) were only interested in a couple of cans of coconut milk that might be un pasteurised.

Australia is justifiably obsessed with protection of flora and fauna. We export pure bred camels to the middle east, we supply the vineyards of europe with the oldest vine stock available globally and our beef is free of mad cow. Couple that with our defence force and government agencies trying to hold back a floof of refugees you can guess what they're like to deal with.
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Old 28-10-2011, 00:32   #185
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Originally Posted by downunder View Post
If you did not have a visa for USA and that takes some hoops you would have a big issue I imagine.
Not an issue at all if I am staying for 90 days or less
Frequently Asked Questions about the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) and the Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) - CBP.gov
Quote:
Q: What is the Visa Waiver Program? A: The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) is administered by DHS and enables eligible citizens or nationals of designated countries to travel to the United States for tourism or business for stays of 90 days or less without first obtaining a visa.

Q: Which countries participate in the Visa Waiver Program? A: Citizens or nationals of the following countries are currently eligible to travel to the United States under the VWP:

Andorra Iceland Norway
Australia Ireland Portugal
Austria Italy San Marino
Belgium Japan Singapore
Brunei Republic of Korea Slovakia
Czech Republic Latvia Slovenia
Denmark Liechtenstein Spain
Estonia Lithuania Sweden
Finland Luxembourg Switzerland
France Malta United Kingdom
Germany Monaco
Greece The Netherlands
Hungary New Zealand
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Old 28-10-2011, 00:56   #186
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
Sweet Jebus, how many oppressive regimes have said that at some stage in their history?

Not saying Australia is an oppressive regime, but from little things big thing grow, especially if people blindly accept rule changes without wondering what the ramification can be further down the track.

Didnt the yanks let a law in a few years back that lets pretty much anyone with a gun and a badge to kick down doors and dissapear people off to "a place" all in the name of suspected terrorism?
USA PATRIOT Act - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Do we really want that sort of thing here?

And as for the drug bit, really, does it work?
I reckon I can go out tonight and score some coke if I was so inclined in a couple of hours at any number of places in the big city, if I was so inclined.
Obviously, it is coming in via some other method ie: not yachties anchored up in a quiet anchorage somewhere minding their own business.
Its coming in in a multitude of ways. yachts and ships included. I guess that if ever you're searched and it upsets your sense of freedom, you can write to your local member and try and get the policy changed- or even call Today Tonight lol. But I seriously dont like your chances, regardless if its mrs ronald mcdonald or mr trialthete running the joint. Which kind of makes everything we have both said on the subject moot points.
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Old 28-10-2011, 01:32   #187
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Originally Posted by Don Lucas View Post
I bet most countries that hear cruisers crying and saying they wouldn't stop there because of they are enforcing their countries rules and laws; don't care and if they do they are happy that the cruiser isn't stopping in THIER country.

I for one would not consider passing by a large safe country just because it was a hassle to check-in. Are we cruisers or something else (was going to use a word that would have just caused me to get grief)
Exactly right! I'm amazed some people seem to think Aus isn't "worth" the $330 clearance fee! A country bigger than Europe, safe, friendly.......

There's far less safe countries to our north, where official fees might be less, but bribery and corruption is a way of life.
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Old 28-10-2011, 03:57   #188
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
Have you any legislative evidence to support that comment?
No. Just working on the basis that (just like other Customs worldwide) that searching vessels has been the whole reason for there job for a couple of hundred years (maybe less in Oz ) that they have power to board.......and then in practice do pretty much WTF they want.

Quote:
Except it is not the "law of the internet" is it.
What I quoted was "actual" legislative law, documented and published.
What you published were likely the bits that simply supported your point of view (can't be bothered to go back and re-read it).

Easy way to prove what powers Customs have is buy a loudhailer, tell 'em to f#ck off and that any boarding will be resisted.........and see what happens. Some Youtube would be nice

My bet is an escort to a Customs facility and at best boat becoming a training excercise for the Class of 2011. and 2012. When you and boat (finally) get out of the legal process you may even be able to re-assemble her.........

Anyway, good luck
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Old 28-10-2011, 04:07   #189
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Originally Posted by cat man do View Post
Visa waiver can only be used if you are entering the US on a scheduled flight or ships passage. An arriving captain or crew of a private boat cannot enter the US on a visa waiver, no matter which country they hold a passport from.
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Old 28-10-2011, 13:16   #190
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

Extract from the Blog of a US couple who checked into Australia yesterday:

We arrived to Bundaberg Port Marina at 1000. We were allowed to dock at the Customs/Quarantine dock immediately. Geoff (pronounced Jeff, for all you Americans), the marina manager helped us dock and said customs and quarantine were on their way. Quarantine arrived first and he was a very nice man. We had heard not so nice stories about checking into Australia and were not looking forward to it. However, Moses (the quarantine person) was lovely. I did lose a kilo of ground beef because it had lost its New Zealand label in the freezer but I got to keep all of my New Zealand cheese that was left over so it was a wash as far as I was concerned! All of our gifts passed inspection so I was VERY happy! He was through but reasonable and very polite. Next, Ross from Customs arrived. He was a very jovial man and we laughed a lot. However, in the BVI Dave got me one of my favorite gifts - a bug zapper that looks like a tennis racquet. In Australia, these are not allowed! So after having a sorrowful good-bye to my bug zapper Ross removed it from the boat! For those of you who are coming to Australia, you can keep the newer bug zappers that have a guard on the face of the zapper. Ours was the "older" version. I am allergic to insect bites so this really was a wonderful tool in fighting bugs. I even wrote a blog about it when Dave first got it for me! (See Year 1 BVI blogs) I did hassle Ross about taking it from me but it was all in good fun and he was a really good sport. We were cleared into Australia in two hours with a smile on our faces and very little discomfort. AWESOME!!!! All of those horror stories were so not true! This was the most through check we have experienced but we really had nothing to hide or concern ourselves about so it was easy.
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Old 28-10-2011, 15:28   #191
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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Good point. I always tell the Brits they should have left the thieves and vagabonds at home and brought everyone else downunder.

Doesn't go down too well.

They kow I'm right.

HUH!..... I never became a Vagabond 'til I got here..... Virtually....
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Old 28-10-2011, 15:38   #192
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

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What the heck, is there an Aussie agruement amongst each other here about the laws that others need to be aware of to enter the country?

If it's this hard for you people to enter your own country maybe there really is a problem.
Nah!..... we inherrited this from the poms. We fight amongst ourselves out of boredom as though the world depended on it, until there is an outside enemy. Then we stick together like brothers and though we're tiny we more than hold our own.

I love watching a bit of a stoush.
As kids in school this about where we'd all be rushing to the bottom of the playground yelling "Fight...! Fight...!" and form a circle hoping like hell to see some good action before any teachers came and broke it up
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Old 28-10-2011, 15:55   #193
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by DKB View Post
Extract from the Blog of a US couple who checked into Australia yesterday:

We arrived to Bundaberg Port Marina at 1000. We were allowed to dock at the Customs/Quarantine dock immediately. Geoff (pronounced Jeff, for all you Americans), the marina manager helped us dock and said customs and quarantine were on their way. Quarantine arrived first and he was a very nice man. We had heard not so nice stories about checking into Australia and were not looking forward to it. However, Moses (the quarantine person) was lovely. I did lose a kilo of ground beef because it had lost its New Zealand label in the freezer but I got to keep all of my New Zealand cheese that was left over so it was a wash as far as I was concerned! All of our gifts passed inspection so I was VERY happy! He was through but reasonable and very polite. Next, Ross from Customs arrived. He was a very jovial man and we laughed a lot. However, in the BVI Dave got me one of my favorite gifts - a bug zapper that looks like a tennis racquet. In Australia, these are not allowed! So after having a sorrowful good-bye to my bug zapper Ross removed it from the boat! For those of you who are coming to Australia, you can keep the newer bug zappers that have a guard on the face of the zapper. Ours was the "older" version. I am allergic to insect bites so this really was a wonderful tool in fighting bugs. I even wrote a blog about it when Dave first got it for me! (See Year 1 BVI blogs) I did hassle Ross about taking it from me but it was all in good fun and he was a really good sport. We were cleared into Australia in two hours with a smile on our faces and very little discomfort. AWESOME!!!! All of those horror stories were so not true! This was the most through check we have experienced but we really had nothing to hide or concern ourselves about so it was easy.
Welcome to the Forum DKB.
You sure chose a hell of a thread for your first post
But it is a welcome quote that illustrates that some, probably most entry procedures are by the book but with a good attitude. Just the way it should be.
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Old 28-10-2011, 18:14   #194
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I want to finally wade into this debate, with a few thoughts of my own.

Through life I have found that the way you treat people has a direct relation to the way they interacte with you ( I make one exception here, and that is the TSB in the US, and I quote "We do not have a sense of humour here Sir")

My job has brought me to about 50 countries over the years, and I have never had a serious problem with any Customs, Immigration, Police etc. Maybe I have been lucky, even the Gestapo in (NSW Highway Patrol) have been relatively troublefree. I did try to be a smart alec a few times, and that ended up costing me quite some dollars, but that was my fault. I have always approached with a smile, said hi etc etc. Mostly the smile has been returned; I have observed personally others who try the raised voice, pointing fingers and generally being a a$$ôle, well, that never makes the whole process faster. I will get to the point soon... ;-)

In the last 2yrs, I have started to travel regularly back to Oz for work, and my first interaction with the Customs dudes at MEL after 13yrs was reasonable. There had been a huge change in my absence, and it was certainly tougher, but they stil had a sense of humour. Now what I did see, was lines of people with their luggage being very very closely examined. Now why? Yup, 'Nothing to Declare' and here our ASC people finding all manners of meat, wood, 'medicine' etc. Can you imagine doing that job day in day out? I think I would become very short tempered after a while as well. So with respect to the ACS at the airports, they are keeping us protected from unwanted bugs, insects etc, and doing it with a smile.

Now I have not cleared into a Port here in Aus, but in a way I cannot imagine that that they would be too different. They have a lot of coastline to cover, a lot of vessels to assess as a risk or not. You get the cowboys in any Service, and I personally would treat them with respect, but also be firm in my answers to whatever questions they may pose.

As to the comments and the suggestions with quoting some clause of the Customs Act, good luck with that. If it is clear that they are some cowboy on a power trip, quoting some clause will instantly turn the situation into a pi$$ing contest, and I can assure you that it will end badly for you. It seems to be the case that most cowboys like that are not the team players and usually end up in positions where they work with likeminded partners, thats why they are not with the large teams at airports.

If you are going to be put off from visting our beautiful country because of a 'bad experience' then by all means, pass on by. Some of the most beautiful places on the earth, require an enormous amount of effort to see. How easily are you put off? Quitter are ya, are ya? ;-)

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Old 29-10-2011, 14:35   #195
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Re: Australian Customs - Deterrent to Visiting Oz ?

Thanks to all who responded! Here's what I got from this thread ordered by relevance to our concerns:

1. Some boats do get damaged during the check-in, even if the crew behaves by the rules. Mostly marks, scratches, and some panels.
2. Some boats don't get damaged.
3. Not as many boats get fined on a regular basis as TCP gave impression.
4. There is a para-military attitude in Australian Customs.
5. However, if I check in/out at a port with a lot of incoming/outgoing traffic during regular working hours, Customs attitude will like be good.
6. Even better is to check-in at a marina (same as in other countries).
7. Aussies are very protective of their rights.
8. They are even more protective of reputation of their country and are very passionate of its beauty.
9. People from Down Under maintain an amazingly argumentative thread for 13 pages on a sensitive subject without degressing into one-liners.

A smaller summary: our two main concerns, keeping in mind that we play by the rules and are courteous (we're from Canada, eh?) had been damage to the boat and fines for pretty much everything. Looks like if we follow the 96 hour rule (plus any other Oz might come up with in the meanwhile), show up during office hours at a port with regular traffic, and display our normal polite, respectful, cooperative attitude, the check-in should not result in a damaged boat, and only those fines, if any, that are fair.
For this, we won't only see a very unique continent, but also meet very interesting people.

So Oz shall remain at the top of our List of Must-Sail-To Places... together with NZ.

Thanks all for a wealth of information and a wonderful show of spirit!
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