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Old 17-11-2010, 05:54   #46
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. . . As a British passport holder then, i'm assuming that so long as I report right away, pay whatever mooring costs may be due, etc. I should have no real trouble in most parts of the world then? Or are there any that you should not go near unless you've been properly cleared in advance?. . .
As with any activity the more research you do in advance prior to arriving as a particular location, the easier everything is. Noonsite, Cruising Guides, Forums, etc. can provide the needed information but remember most of it can be slightly out of date to very much out of date. But at least it will inform you of "what was" happening. With that knowledge in mind if you arrive somewhere that has had a minor change, the officials will normally be lenient. (Maybe not in Oz, though.)
- - Normal routine is simply to arrive first at a designated port of entry and anchor or take your marina slip. Most Customs/Immigration facilities for cruisers are located in a marina or reasonably close by. The Marina staff will tell you where to go to check-in. Normally it would be a good policy to check-in first before paying your marina slip bill - just in case something is wrong with your paperwork and you have to leave. But that is exceedingly rare.
- - Some countries have one very simple procedure like the French Islands where you type in your information on their computer and that's it. On the other extreme are places where you have to visit up to 4 or more different offices and various banks to complete the process. So it is prudent to allow a good portion, if not all, of your first day to checking-in and subsequently the last day to check-out. Cruisers nearby will gladly tell you "the drill" for the particular island/country you just entered.
- - As a Brit passport holder, or any other major 1st World western country you are pretty much allowed to just arrive and get the "tourist" visa for 30 to 90 days. In the Caribbean the major exception is any USA islands where you must have a previously obtained B1/B2 visa in your passport. On a trans-Atlantic crossing you can stop at Barbados and get one - if you did not get one before you left Europe or your home country.
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Old 06-12-2010, 12:38   #47
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Please excuses my ignorance but i'm just not grasping the order of operations. for example my first border crossing by boat will be from Vancouver or Victoria BC, to some port in the USA closer then farther to Seattle. So how would i go about this with no troubles?
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:11   #48
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It's a GD crapshoot. Local politrics in 3rd world countries. Security... ha ha .. its a few bucks for the local jefe.
Different day/different officer= different rules. Any surprise that more money makes it all better? Rules are for poor people.
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Old 06-12-2010, 14:26   #49
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Please excuses my ignorance but i'm just not grasping the order of operations. for example my first border crossing by boat will be from Vancouver or Victoria BC, to some port in the USA closer then farther to Seattle. So how would i go about this with no troubles?
You want to check in with the first reporting station you pass in US waters, Roche Harbour, Friday Harbour or Bellingham are examples. If leaving from Victoria for Seattle, Friday Harbour would makes sense. You don't want to get boarded having past one of these locations without having checked in. You can always phone them to get instructions or look it up on the internet. No-one other then the captain of the boat is allowed to leave the boat before clearance. So the captain takes documentation for all crew to the Customs officer first.
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Old 10-12-2010, 11:00   #50
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thanks hummingway, i assume these reporting station are floating, or on a dock? what do they look like?
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:41   #51
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Having checked in at Friday and Roche, I'd vote for Roche.
They're both busy, but Roche doesn't have all the wave action of Friday Harbor.
The whole check in is in the building right at the tie up spot whereas you have to hike up to the office in Friday Harbor while your boat bashes against the outside of the dock.
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Old 10-12-2010, 13:39   #52
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At Friday Harbour there is a hut with a customs sign on it at the outer breakwater. Roche Harbour during off season it's the marina office. Dock G during season. If no one is home there is a phone to call Friday Harbour.
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Old 11-12-2010, 09:02   #53
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If you are far far from home and your passport is about to expire; Then go to the nearest Embassy or Consulate for either a renewal or extension of said passport.

When entering port on a boat.
Have every bodies passports/visas ready for inspection.
Boat papers.
Shot records... If you have pets on board you need their shot & health records also.
Letter of Clearance from the last port of call. They can and have done sent the boat back to the that last port of call in order to get that letter.
& boat logs.

All laid out neatly on the table along with a fresh cup of Coffee/Tea, Sodas, and a basket of snacks.
Being a friendly host/hostess really helps when dealing with government officials.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:33   #54
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No-one other then the captain of the boat is allowed to leave the boat before clearance. So the captain takes documentation for all crew to the Customs officer first.
They can get pretty sticky about this. Until you are cleared, no one but the master gets off the boat. No one but customs officers may board the boat. You may not pass any parcels ashore, nor can you accept anything from someone on the dock. This is not a good time to hand out candy bars or try to bum a cigarette.

Otherwise, it's just like stopping for ice, and shouldn't normally take any longer than an ice run.

Roche Harbor can get awfully busy during the summer. I've had to float in a holding pattern for almost an hour before a spot opened up at the dock. The longer you wait, the more likely that someone, most probably a large power boat, will try to cut the cue.
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Old 11-12-2010, 10:40   #55
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Funny, but when I cleared in to the USVI at Cruz Bay for the first time, I left my wife on board and dinghied around with our passports and boat's papers to clear in. The customs/immigration officer told me that I'd have to go back and bring my wife back with me, as everyone on board must report to the C/I office "for inspection".
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:00   #56
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+1 Hud, That's the way it has always worked for me in the USVI's.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:02   #57
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+1 Hud, That's the way it has always worked for me in the USVI's.
Fascinating. I know that clearing in to San Diego they also require all crew to stay aboard while the master checks in.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:44   #58
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You can take the crew with you or leave them on the boat, and you have about a 50% chance of being right and a 50% chance of being yelled at. As pointed out above, even in the same country things are not consistent. The best thing to do is talk to another boat before you check in.
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Old 11-12-2010, 11:45   #59
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Fascinating. I know that clearing in to San Diego they also require all crew to stay aboard while the master checks in.
Each Country enjoys their own independence and has procedures that reflect the whims of their government. And their Immigration / Customs delights in changing rules without warning.

At Road Town BVI's, one year you went to Customs before you went to Immigration. The next year you went to Immigration before going to customs.

Just consider it part of the adventure.
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Old 11-12-2010, 15:30   #60
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You can take the crew with you or leave them on the boat, and you have about a 50% chance of being right and a 50% chance of being yelled at. As pointed out above, even in the same country things are not consistent. The best thing to do is talk to another boat before you check in.
The latest from Antigua and Jolly Harbor is you have a 100% chance of a EC$5000 to $50,000 fine if anybody leaves the boat other than the Captain. There are several write-ups about it in the cruising rags like Caribbean Compass and several other websites.
- - The safest way is to go alone as the Captain and ask. It may mean two trips to the office but that is a lot cheaper. The USA immigration deal is new (since 9/11) and put in place to make sure everybody and their passport matches.
- - The second best way is to talk first hand to somebody who just checked-in/out about what are the "current" procedures. Even that is dangerous as different individual officials have different ideas of what you must do. So the least expensive (fine-wise) and safest way is the old way - only the Captain can leave the vessel until "Practique" is accomplished.
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