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Old 19-01-2014, 11:45   #16
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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Originally Posted by gjordan View Post
The OP used the term VESSEL IN DISTRESS which international regs cover, and keep crews out of jail. Most countries honer these regulations (not all do) and I am sure the USA does. As I said before, the crew will probably be confined to the boat while dealing with the Embassy. I agree that getting the visas in advance is much better, as it gives you the option of stopping in Hawaii, which on a passage as long as you are planning would be a wonderful break. If you phony up a distress just to avoid getting visas, then fines and jail are a real possibility. Like most things in sailing, if you do it correctly up front, you avoid problems later on. My nonlegal advice. _____Grant.
I can assure you that the view of the definition of "in distress" will be very different than what most think it is. A crew member must be near death. Broken down engine is not distress for a sail boat, etc.

Many "plan" to come in under a 3-day innocent passage or distress call, expecting to circumvent the need for a visa. That is when the handcuffs come out.
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Old 19-01-2014, 14:39   #17
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I can assure you that the view of the definition of "in distress" will be very different than what most think it is. A crew member must be near death. Broken down engine is not distress for a sail boat, etc.

Many "plan" to come in under a 3-day innocent passage or distress call, expecting to circumvent the need for a visa. That is when the handcuffs come out.
Very true and some real time evidence of this occurred in Oz many years back when a sail boat entered Queensland at Southport "in distress" (from NZ). At the time, Customs / Immigration / AQIS attended with attitude and the book of fines at the ready. Only when the vessel was inspected and found to have shredded sails, engine torn from its mounting and general damage and disorder below and storm damage on deck, was the book of fines closed. Even then, only the skipper was allowed ashore to arrange emergency repairs until the paperwork was completed for the crew. IIRC, this took several or more days.

Clearly that was not the USA and not in the current time frame but it is example that "distress" has a different meaning to "I want to stop and have a rest and get fresh milk" or somesuch.
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Old 19-01-2014, 15:00   #18
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

Thanks for all the advice. Plans are now changing to include a Hawaii stop so will be sorting out official landing papers.
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Old 20-01-2014, 09:56   #19
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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Thanks for all the advice. Plans are now changing to include a Hawaii stop so will be sorting out official landing papers.
Good news! You can then even think about touching Alaska followed by an easy downhill last leg
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Old 20-01-2014, 11:46   #20
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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With a UK passport you don't need a visa
I actually got a Canadian passport so I didn't have to deal with visa's when entering the US .... unless that's changed in the last five years.
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Old 20-01-2014, 12:00   #21
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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Originally Posted by s/v Jedi View Post
I can assure you that the view of the definition of "in distress" will be very different than what most think it is. A crew member must be near death. Broken down engine is not distress for a sail boat, etc.

Many "plan" to come in under a 3-day innocent passage or distress call, expecting to circumvent the need for a visa. That is when the handcuffs come out.
October 2001 when entry at Rochester was only two days a week, we entered on an off day after battling 20 footers for about sixteen hours. We called USCG and they watched us come into the harbour ready to lend assistance. They were very welcoming and were amazed that we were out in those seas in a 37' trawler. We phoned immigration and explained that we had been headed to Oswego to check in properly but dangerous conditions forced us into Rochester. Immigration (Toledo) ordered us out of the country immediately ! We put the USCG commander on the phone to explain that it was too dangerous ... immigration response ... Don't care, get out now or be arrested.

After four hours on the phone talking to various immigration officials from Toledo to Washington we ended up back with the same official who informed us that Border Patrol was on their way to arrest us if we were not gone in 15minutes. I politely informed the official that we would be gone in 15minutes and that 15minutes would be used to contact the local Rochester TV, radio and newspaper to extend an invitation to come down and watch the Canadians killed in their harbour. After a very long pause he said we could stay until morning.

This was the only unpleasant experience I have had in hundreds of entries to US waters.
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Old 20-01-2014, 12:09   #22
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
October 2001 when entry at Rochester was only two days a week, we entered on an off day after battling 20 footers for about sixteen hours. We called USCG and they watched us come into the harbour ready to lend assistance. They were very welcoming and were amazed that we were out in those seas in a 37' trawler. We phoned immigration and explained that we had been headed to Oswego to check in properly but dangerous conditions forced us into Rochester. Immigration (Toledo) ordered us out of the country immediately ! We put the USCG commander on the phone to explain that it was too dangerous ... immigration response ... Don't care, get out now or be arrested.

After four hours on the phone talking to various immigration officials from Toledo to Washington we ended up back with the same official who informed us that Border Patrol was on their way to arrest us if we were not gone in 15minutes. I politely informed the official that we would be gone in 15minutes and that 15minutes would be used to contact the local Rochester TV, radio and newspaper to extend an invitation to come down and watch the Canadians killed in their harbour. After a very long pause he said we could stay until morning.

This was the only unpleasant experience I have had in hundreds of entries to US waters.
Indeed. Imagine what would have happened with an EU passport and no visa…

It is a PITA to get the visa, but it is valid for 10 years so that's okay. I think Canadians still have an exemption on the regular visa rules, but you may need a special "frequent traveler" document or something like that.
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Old 20-01-2014, 17:08   #23
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

By emergency I mean; After a Maday/recue call being towed or flown to nearest land or making landfall under jury rig (ie lost mast, steering or boat holed). The rout was 1000miles offshore so you are not going to nip in because the weather looks 'iffy'....

But now decided on a stop in Hawaii as indicated above so doing Visa application
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Old 20-01-2014, 17:21   #24
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Re: Crash landing in the USA

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Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
By emergency I mean; After a Maday/recue call being towed or flown to nearest land or making landfall under jury rig (ie lost mast, steering or boat holed). The rout was 1000miles offshore so you are not going to nip in because the weather looks 'iffy'....

But now decided on a stop in Hawaii as indicated above so doing Visa application
Like I said form I-193 and then it's at the discretion of CBP. But there is a procedure

Dave
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