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Old 05-06-2009, 07:48   #1
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Changing US Boat to Foreign Reg, Then Cruising US

So, the deal is done, I bought the boat for my 3 month trip. I now know more about registration, radios, anti-fouling and international money transfers than I really wanted to. I'm kicking off in the next couple of weeks. I've just realised that I'm going to be a foreign vessel in the US (Australian Reg). The boat is currently USCG registered, and I'm re-registering it as an Australian ship. There is no 'arriving' event where I deal with Customs. We just cast off and start sailing, in a foreign boat. I've got a state tax exemption from Florida which required a Notary and a fat bill from UPS. Now I realise that I'm going to need some sort of cruising permit. The last thing I need is a fine from Homeland Security and Border Protection for just tooling around.
My research to date indicates I have to ring the Border Protection people if I am thinking about inflating the dinghy, boiling the kettle or (God forbid) moving the boat. Can this be real? Can anyone give me a quick heads up as to what new paperwork nightmare I have to enter into?
thanks
James
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:23   #2
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James, you will need to deregister your boat with the USCG, can be done by fax, their main office is in Falling Waters, virginia, in the meantime get an Aussie registration, take that to the local US customs office and get a cruising permit, its all very easy. ( I have done this twice)
hope this helps
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Old 05-06-2009, 18:04   #3
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James, you will need to deregister your boat with the USCG, can be done by fax, their main office is in Falling Waters, virginia, in the meantime get an Aussie registration, take that to the local US customs office and get a cruising permit, its all very easy. ( I have done this twice)
hope this helps
I've got the de-reg/re-reg stuff under control. I used an agent for that. The Cruising Permit is news to me, I've also read that you need to continually report in when you move. Is this true?
James
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Old 05-06-2009, 18:08   #4
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Coincidentally...

A Canadian friend of mine just sent me this message on facebook:

"New US HOMELAND SECURITY rules put in '08. - If you are from any foreign country, including Canada, and your vessel is flagged in that country,
YOU MUST NOTIFY US CUSTOMS - HOMELAND SECURITY EVEN IF YOU SIMPLY MOVE YOUR VESSEL FROM ONE BERTH TO ANOTHER, ONE MARINA TO ANOTHER EVEN IN THE SAME PORT OF CALL! YOU MUST ALSO NOTIFY US CUSTOMS OF ALL YOUR MOVEMENTS FROM ONE PORT OF CALL TO THE NEXT. (You might want to try and hold off on the de-registration.)You can be slapped with this $5,000.00 fine. Canadians are reeling and very frustrated by these changes. Some ports are more laxed than others but do some research on these new regulations. I have two sailor friends here on the west coast that have already experienced the 5000.00 USD hammer!"

So this is pretty bad news. I'm going to be ringing up every day!
James
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Old 05-06-2009, 21:04   #5
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Originally Posted by tackdriver View Post
A Canadian friend of mine just sent me this message on facebook:

"New US HOMELAND SECURITY rules put in '08. - If you are from any foreign country, including Canada, and your vessel is flagged in that country,
YOU MUST NOTIFY US CUSTOMS - HOMELAND SECURITY EVEN IF YOU SIMPLY MOVE YOUR VESSEL FROM ONE BERTH TO ANOTHER, ONE MARINA TO ANOTHER EVEN IN THE SAME PORT OF CALL! YOU MUST ALSO NOTIFY US CUSTOMS OF ALL YOUR MOVEMENTS FROM ONE PORT OF CALL TO THE NEXT. (You might want to try and hold off on the de-registration.)You can be slapped with this $5,000.00 fine. Canadians are reeling and very frustrated by these changes. Some ports are more laxed than others but do some research on these new regulations. I have two sailor friends here on the west coast that have already experienced the 5000.00 USD hammer!"

So this is pretty bad news. I'm going to be ringing up every day!
James
I've been told exactly the same thing while trip planning to get a boat from the Med to NZ via the US. That's just silly beyond belief really and certianly not a nice 'Welcome, nice to see you' sort of thing. The Admiral is nervous about forgetting to dot an i on a bit of paperwork and ending up in the clink or broke from fines.

I have a friend who is a travel agent and she said mopst are choosing to by-pass the US when flying north as they feel they aren't welcome. It's a shame really and rules like that above won't help the cause.

Tackdriver - it sounds like a better option to stay US registered until you decide to leave those fair shores. And put Customs on your speed dial
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Old 05-06-2009, 23:28   #6
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Yes, the USA is one of the most difficult nations in the world for visiting private yachts. It is also one of the most expensive, starting with $100.- per person for visa's. It's strange that US cruisers find the $300 Bahama's cost outrageous because the US showed the way. South Florida (Miami, Ft Lauderdale & Key West) officials are famous for being very rude, impolite and aggressive against visitors so many wisely avoid these places to enter. We cruised Florida in 2003 under BVI flag and had a nice time and friendly reception everywhere (but we didn't need to check in there).

But all that still doesn't mean one can't visit or, like the OP wrote, buy a yacht, re-register it elsewhere and cruise the US. We did the same thing. All the reporting is just a phone call, not paperwork (right?)

The cruising permit: the agent we used for re-registering got it for us. You can have it before you fly in and move aboard if you ask them. It's also valid in PR and the USVI.
The trouble start a year later, when it expires. I am making a list of places where you can just get another one instead of leaving the US which is the official view. I think that boats that were build in the US might be exempt from that but I am not sure. (the term "laid up" is used which might mean different things).

Guns aboard is another thing. After you enter you can get a shotgun in the "supermarket" but bringing one in takes many forms (ATF, Homeland security) and even an $20.- Alaskan "protection against wildlife" hunting permit. Supposedly, this is because terrorists try to enter on private yachts bringing their own shotguns and they do not know how to fill out those forms.

Again, we had a very pleasant time cruising there, even in South Florida and are in fact heading to the US again. But we'll do the Abacos and enter a bit further north because the word is that the officials there were raised to respect people and be friendly to visitors ;-) I must say that the officials at the Ft Lauderdale Int'l airport were very friendly last year while the ones we met in Miami in 2002/2003 were not. We don't know if it's the different places, years or if they all got training in manners & normal social behaviour ;-)

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 05-06-2009, 23:51   #7
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Ahhh...not the 'G' word.

These 'agents' that have been mentioned here. What exactly are they and what can they do? Just wondering if it's worth sussing one to ease entry and the cruise down the coast en route the Panama.
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Old 06-06-2009, 02:44   #8
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Ahhh...not the 'G' word.

These 'agents' that have been mentioned here. What exactly are they and what can they do? Just wondering if it's worth sussing one to ease entry and the cruise down the coast en route the Panama.
We used ASAP : ASAP Marine Documentation and Registration, Inc.
But this is just for registration / documentation, not entry or exit.

The 'G' word was just about the paperwork & formalities during US entry.

Visit us in Panama when you get there! We're in Shelter Bay, Colon.

ciao!
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Old 06-06-2009, 03:38   #9
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Having trouble getting any info...

I've been unable to find more than a couple of pages on this reporting business. I've found a few references to 'friends' being fined, but no real first hand accounts. Can this be a real issue with almost no entries in any forums online?
Some one out there must have cruised the US with foreign reg in the last couple of months - what was your experience??
cheers
James
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Old 06-06-2009, 14:17   #10
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Tack: I think many EU sailors visiting the US are not active in forums like this one.

ciao!
Nick.
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Old 06-06-2009, 15:02   #11
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My cruising permit reads as follows: "whether proceeding coastwise, or arriving from or departing for a foreign port, shall be permitted to arrive at and depart from any port in the United States without entering or clearing, without filing manifests and obtaining or delivering permits-to-proceed, and without the payment of entry and clearance fees, or fees for and" on and on... I am tired of typing but you get the Idea.
This was obtained May 6, 2009 from Ft Lauderdale, Fl from a very nice customs guy for a cost of approximately $19.00. It takes a total of 30 minutes to obtain, good for one year. So not sure where some of the info above is coming from? If you want the guys name, phone number and address just pm me.
Dave
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:14   #12
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S.V Jedi,
I have lived in Alaska for 56 years and have never heard of an "Alaskan protection against wildlife" hunting permit. In Alaska it is legal to kill any wildlife that is threatening you or your family’s life or destroying your possessions. Just perused the hunting regulations and did not see it in there. I even Googled it. Nope. I'm not saying it's true, but it kinda sounds like you got taken on that one.
But you've piqued my interest. Will call Fish and Game on Monday to confirm.
WD
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:22   #13
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Seems to be a hoax, but why?

Hi all,
on examination of the evidence, this stuff about Homeland security seems to be a hoax stemming from this posting on Noonsite. I can't imagine what the motivation of the creator is. I'll chase up with my Canadian friend and find out what she knows.
cheers
James
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:47   #14
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That's extremely interesting Dave and so it appears Tacks last comment is probably quite right.

That's the problem with this interweb thing. Say it a few times and all of a sudden if morphs into fact. The real sad bit is that some think it is true so are by passing the US.

Thanks for the link Jedi. I'll stick that in my book of knowledge in case we end up shopping in the US.
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Old 07-06-2009, 10:01   #15
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S.V Jedi,
I have lived in Alaska for 56 years and have never heard of an "Alaskan protection against wildlife" hunting permit. In Alaska it is legal to kill any wildlife that is threatening you or your family’s life or destroying your possessions. Just perused the hunting regulations and did not see it in there. I even Googled it. Nope. I'm not saying it's true, but it kinda sounds like you got taken on that one.
But you've piqued my interest. Will call Fish and Game on Monday to confirm.
WD
No need to call:

Quote:
If you plan to just carry the gun while traveling in Alaska for wildlife protection and not to hunt, the least expensive hunting license you can purchase is a non-resident small game license for $20. You can purchase a license on-line at Online Licensing Home Page - Division of Administrative Services, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
See info at Frequently Asked Questions About Licenses and Permits - Alaska Department of Fish and Game
This is the official website. You probably never heard about it because it is just for non-residents.

ciao!
Nick.
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