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Old 19-10-2014, 06:22   #1
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Checking into Puerto Rico

My wife and I are U.S. citizens living in Grenada. I will be sailing to Puerto Rico alone then picking her up then sailing back to grenada. My boat is registered with the U.S. Coast Guard only, not a U.S. State.
The boat was built in 1983 and we have not made any modifications for storage tanks for the head.
Will this be a problem checking into Puerto Rico? Are there any other items that I should be aware of that might be an issue when I check in? I intend to arrive and depart from Isla de Culebra, Ensenada Honda. At least as of now.


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Old 19-10-2014, 08:15   #2
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

see Puerto Rico — Noonsite
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Old 19-10-2014, 08:39   #3
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

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Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
My wife and I are U.S. citizens living in Grenada. I will be sailing to Puerto Rico alone then picking her up then sailing back to grenada. My boat is registered with the U.S. Coast Guard only, not a U.S. State.
The boat was built in 1983 and we have not made any modifications for storage tanks for the head.
Will this be a problem checking into Puerto Rico? Are there any other items that I should be aware of that might be an issue when I check in? I intend to arrive and depart from Isla de Culebra, Ensenada Honda. At least as of now.


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When I visited Puerto Rico in early 2013 immigration and customs did not board my boat. Nor was there any documention I saw making mention of MSD's or holding tanks. However, being U.S. territory, rules regarding waste disposal most likely applies. If I were in your position I'd say your MSD/holdig tank is a bucket - with sufficient content as proof. You dispose of the waste according to the regulations, and do so using a pump out when available. Otherwise the waste is retained until a pump out is available.

Absolutely - if you stop anywhere in Puerto Rico - you must clear in! Even if by email or phone.
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Old 19-10-2014, 08:52   #4
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

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Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
My wife and I are U.S. citizens living in Grenada. I will be sailing to Puerto Rico alone then picking her up then sailing back to grenada. My boat is registered with the U.S. Coast Guard only, not a U.S. State.
The boat was built in 1983 and we have not made any modifications for storage tanks for the head.
Will this be a problem checking into Puerto Rico? Are there any other items that I should be aware of that might be an issue when I check in? I intend to arrive and depart from Isla de Culebra, Ensenada Honda. At least as of now.


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We checked into Puerto Rico in Ponce this past May. I am a US citizen my hubby/Captain carries a Green Card and a Belize passport. He had lost his green card and all identification except for his passport while in Belize months before. The one and only thing the officials where concerned with was our disposal of "foreign garbage & trash". We had a special team come aboard (the only officials to board) to ask us about any foreign trash or garbage. They said we could only discard it into bins designed for foreign refuse and there were none in Ponce. Our next stop was Farado at Puerto Del Ray and while there is a huge sign at the fuel dock about this foreign refuse there is no place to put it. Luckily we didn't let any of that get bother us.
So to answer your question - I don't think you'll have a problem.
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Old 19-10-2014, 09:42   #5
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

Foreign garbage and or refuge would be everything that we have on board. Thank you for the heads up. I will make sure we are prepared.


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Old 19-10-2014, 09:46   #6
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

Mentioned if you stop anywhere in PR you must check in. I absolutely will check in when I first enter PR. Are you also referring to having to check in at each port that you enter? Or just the initial port of entry?


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Old 19-10-2014, 10:37   #7
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

My experience echos what Wrong posted. I've checked into P.R. twice, both times on a U.S. flagged ship with no state registration. Once I phoned in, using the local boater's option and pre-paid custom's decal, the other time at Culebra I walked to the airport, and checked in. Officials swung by in their boat briefly while I was anchored there, but they did not board.

If you want to play it safer, secure your through hull closed on your approach.
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Old 19-10-2014, 10:51   #8
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Re: Checking into Puerto Rico

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Originally Posted by landonshaw View Post
Mentioned if you stop anywhere in PR you must check in. I absolutely will check in when I first enter PR. Are you also referring to having to check in at each port that you enter? Or just the initial port of entry?


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I'm still not clear on this because information I found in 2013 was equivocal. I couldn't find anything definitive regarding stops in Vieques, so didn't check into Puerto Real. Wrong. When I arrived in Ponce, the customs guys were firm but because they'd also researched the subject with similar results only issued a warning. Otherwise, there's a stiff fine and possibly more... Clearing into Vieques does not satisfy the clearance requirement when making landfall in Ponce, and clearance there is required too. However, once cleared into the big island it is uneccessary to clear in at subsequent ports. You can clear out of Puerto Rico via an email request and once you receive as an attachment clearance documentation you're good to go.
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