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Old 15-06-2015, 21:31   #1
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Clearing in and out and customs

I will be island hopping down from the BVIs to St. Lucia and will at times just be looking to anchor out in a harbor at one of the islands in the afternoon/evening before heading on my way the next morning. If I do not go on land, do I need to clear in and out with Customs?
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Old 15-06-2015, 23:23   #2
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

Yes you will.
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Old 16-06-2015, 00:47   #3
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

Pretend you're the head of US Customs. Would you let people do what you propose?

Nevair, evair, not in a hundred yeaars.

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Old 16-06-2015, 06:56   #4
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

Some venues are more casual than others and/or lack enforcement resources, so yes you can probably get away with it in some places. Check the regulations of each country so you know their specifics. Note that if you do get caught violating immigration/customs law you will be in deep dodo and could lose both your freedom and your boat (which insurance wont cover).

Also its not just "getting away with it" at the country where you stopped...the next country down the line will want to see your clearance papers from the previous country. If you don't have any, that's a problem.

Why not stick around and experience some of these places legally?
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Old 16-06-2015, 07:33   #5
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

Clearing in can be an issue if you have spent too long since your clear out. French islands don't check your last clearance usually so clearing in isn't as big an issue as it may be in other islands. I wouldn't go ashore without clearing in but in the past we have stopped for a night or two at Saba, Nevis and Dominica without clearing in. Fly the Q flag. Most islands have very simple clearance procedures, close to anchorages so it's not an issue to clear in and out. Some offer a clear in and out at the same time, allowing you a few days to cruise the island, which is even easier (Dominica, St Lucia) some are free, some charge.
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Old 16-06-2015, 08:52   #6
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

Been there , done that......Clear In and Out. Things can become very sticky if you are caught without clearing in.
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Old 16-06-2015, 09:08   #7
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

Yes; the procedures can be seen as over the top but rules are rules and are there for a purpose. Its not ever worth the potential hassle not to to comply. In some countries discretion is the best part of valour - typically Madagascar where some boats get real hassle unless they pay substantial 'extra' fee's. We met a South African boat that did not have its name visible anywhere on the boat. The boats name was clearly indicated on the leeclothes both sides of the cockpit. The skipper told us that that he had experienced such corruption he preferred to carry two sets of clothes - one with his boat name on and the other had an alternative name! I cannot say that I agree with such tactics but having met other boats we can understand his motives. We often get demands for 'overtime payments' in various harbours in East Africa but have never actually had to pay except for Morondava on the west coast of Madagascar - and they still are doing this in 2015. We are talking 'overtime' of around US$500 and they are completely serious about you paying.
Everywhere else we have sailed the customs/immigration have been fine - we smile and are always polite to them and we have received a good response, even in some so called hot spots. We also never display obvious signs of wealth when they come to the boat - we try to confine them to the cockpit.
However, I believe the Caribbean does not have as many issue...............
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Old 16-06-2015, 11:41   #8
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

You will be visiting FOREIGN countries. They have laws of their own,which must be adhered to by all FOREIGN (to them) visitors. Keep in mind that you are a FOREIGNER while they ALLOW you to visit.

Be nice & have fun

/ Len
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Old 17-06-2015, 00:18   #9
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Re: Clearing in and out and customs

I'd rather spend a night at sea than a minute in the police cells on all of those islands.
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