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Old 01-11-2009, 03:50   #1
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Closed Loop Voyages?

I was reading about "closed loop voyages" they say that cruising to Mexico, Canada and parts of the Caribbean, if you start and return to the same US port you do not need a passport. Every thing I've read so far sounds like this rule only applies to cruise lines and not the private cruiser. Does anyone know more about this? Thanks
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Old 01-11-2009, 04:05   #2
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Clearly this can only apply to cruise ships that can not slip off to an unapproved destination.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:24   #3
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If you want to get off the ship, I think you'll need a passport.
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Old 01-11-2009, 05:41   #4
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Everybody's right, so far.

A “closed loop” voyage or itinerary occurs when a vessel departs from a U.S. port or place and returns to the same U.S. port upon completion of the voyage. Initially, the definition of “closed loop” came from the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative *(WHTI) rule making process. Per the WHTI Land and Sea Final Rule, travelers on “closed loop” voyages are not subject to the same documentary requirements for entry to the United States as other travellers.

If your voyage falls under the "closed loop" rule, you only need to carry a government-issued photo ID (such as a driver's license) and a certified birth certificate (children traveling with an adult are also required to carry a birth certificate). A certified birth certificate has a registrar's raised, embossed, impressed or multicolored seal, registrar's signature, and the date the certificate was filed with the registrar's office, which must be within one year of your birth.

http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/...info_guide.pdf

Pleasure Boats
Operators of small pleasure vessels arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place are required to report their arrival to CBP immediately.
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleasure_boats/boats/

* WHTI ➥ DHS | Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative
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Old 01-11-2009, 09:40   #5
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There used to be a closed loop rule, but not anymore. It only applied to cruise ships. Used to be you could do most of the caribe without a passport, now you can still go to some countries without one, but you still need one to get back in the USA, cruise ship or not. Can't even board a cruise ship without one.
Yachtsmen are treated totally different than other visitors around the world. Arrive by ship or plane, do a 5 minute entry process and you are free to go, but don't arrive by yacht. Maybe one day the WHOLE WORLD will get into the 21st century
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:11   #6
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Thanks Gord, I read the links you sent. It sounds like I could sail to the US Virgin Islands from Florida without a passport if I didn't set foot on foreign soil, does this mean I could anchor along the way as long as I didn't go ashore?
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:10   #7
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Yes, you might be able to use the international "right of innocent passage" (see UNCLOS defnition here.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:37   #8
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I deliverd a US boat from Florida to the US Virgins, nonstop. The immigration officer was irritated because I got him to work Sunday morning...He said "I never left the USA"
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:42   #9
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The USA has not ratified* the The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and doesn’t recognize the “Right of Innocent Passage” in/through it’s territorial waters.

* Although the United States helped shape the Convention and its subsequent revisions, and though it signed the 1994 Agreement on Implementation, it has not ratified the Convention.

An American, transiting only between American waters & ports doesn’t require a passport.

UNCLOS Innocent Passage
Convention on the Law of the Sea: Part II, Section 3, A
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