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Old 07-05-2013, 12:32   #1
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Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

I have some questions about offshore cruising. I'm a total landlubber so my apologies if the answers to my questions are obvious.

1. When one is sailing into a new port or harbor how does one know where to moor a vessel? Do sailors have access to a database that lists public docks with fees schedules? And is a berth reserved months in a advance or can one just whimsically sail into a new town and expect to drop anchor or find a slip?

It's hard to imagine that most cities would have enough public docks to accommodate all the adventurers out there.

2. When travelling from international into sovereign waters are sailors required to notify authorities immediately as they cross zones? Do authorities intercept vessels or is a vessel required to contact the coast guard as they approach shore?

3. Finally, what are the rules regarding protected areas or reserves? Is there also a database that lists these prohibited areas? It must be very tempting to enter these untouched habitats in a small vessel hoping to go under the radar.

Thanks in advance for your responses.

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Old 07-05-2013, 12:42   #2
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Re: Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

Welcome. may I suggest this site. It will give all you need to know for each country: the-global-site-for-cruising-sailors — Noonsite.

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Old 07-05-2013, 12:46   #3
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Re: Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

Welcome to the forum.

Most of us tend to rely on cruising guides rather than a database.

There is a bit of flag etiquette when entering sovereign waters, although it can vary from place to place. A good database for that would be here: Flag Etiquette — Noonsite
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Old 07-05-2013, 12:53   #4
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Re: Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

While many countries have similar or identical customs regulations,some don't so it is best to do a little research so you are prepared when you get to where you are going.

Countries — Noonsite

Click on the country you are going to and then check out the sections under formalities.

That should answer most of your questions.

As far as protected areas or reserves, do not even think of going there without prior permits or checking with the authorities.
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Old 11-05-2013, 14:35   #5
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Re: Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

For international travel, countries generally require that you have exit paperwork from the last country you visited, and that you enter at designated ports of entry. Sometimes you are also required to notify the destination country a specified amount of time before you arrive. Passport and visa requirements, customs and immigration procedures and fees, health/insect/sanitary inspections, posting of bonds, cruising permit conditions, etc., can vary greatly depending upon the flag of the boat, citizenship status of crew, whether the boat is strictly a yacht or engaged in trade, etc. Port officials will often designate mooring areas or customs wharves for use by arriving vessels. Generally, only the skipper should go ashore, and brings crew passports and copies of boat paperwork when checking in with customs and immigration. Friendly neighboring countries, such as the USA and Canada, may have special arrangements and optional programs to make frequent back-and-forth trips easier; participants in such programs may find check in to often be as simple as a phone call.
Pets, weapons, products made from endangered species, excess quantities of dutiable items, narcotics (including legal medicines without prescriptions) and agricultural products considered hazardous to a country's farmers are complicating factors.
EACH of these topics has probably had multiple discussion threads and could be the subject of entire articles -- and even something as simple as a fishing pole can have implications you have to plan for when cruising abroad.
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Old 11-05-2013, 14:56   #6
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Re: Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

Many cruising sailors simply anchor out wherever they travel, instead of going into docks or wharves. The availability of docks to step ashore is highly variable around the world, from non-existent to luxury marinas that cost more than staying in a hotel for the night. And, there is everything in between. Many of us mainly use cruising guidebooks written for sailors such as ourselves by someone who has preceded us. There are guides to almost everywhere in the world you might consider going, and today many Internet resources.
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Old 12-05-2013, 04:16   #7
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Re: Entering ports, sovereign waters, protected areas

We use Noonsite, Cruising Guide Books and the Cruiser Coconut Telegraph (Word of Mouth). It is seldom you will go some place that someone else hasn't been too or there are not other boats anchored there, especially Ports of Entry.

Every country is a little different and some even require notification prior to arrival. Paperwork is pretty similar with every country, although inspection procedures vary widely.

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