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Old 12-12-2009, 07:36   #1
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Foreign Yacht Cruising US Waters

According to NOONSITE any foreign flagged vessel has to report its everyday movements, even from one marina to another in the same port or be subjected to a $5000 fine or worse.This would make it nearly impossible to cruise at all in US waters ie 4 months in the Chesapeake or going up the ICW. If a foreigner buys a yacht in the US it cannot stay US registered so he registers it in his own country. Now as he starts to cruise ie bought in MA to begin cruise in Chesapeake the above problems begin. This definitely makes the US the most unhospitable country re cruising there is.Can anyone spred some "bright"light on this problem for us aliens who would love to see your beautiful country the cruising way.

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Old 12-12-2009, 07:51   #2
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That doesn't seem right. I'll look a bit deeper. Hope you are wrong.

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Old 12-12-2009, 07:57   #3
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Original Report
Published: February 4, 2008
The situation described below will be a real burden for all foreign flagged vessels cruising in USA waters. Our thanks to Captain Brenda Matzner for researching this developing situation, and allowing me to paraphrase our telephone conversastion!
The long and short of this is, that if you are from any foreign country, including Canada, and your vessel is flagged in that country,
Note that this requirement does NOT apply to US flagged vessels!
Today, I called "Maria" (954-761-2034) at the office of US Customes and Homeland Security in Port Everglades [Fort Lauderdale], and got a clarification of the requirements for foreign flagged vessels to announce their movement from one port or call, or one berth, to another. Recently, I had a buddie who was recently hit with this rule, and suffered a $5,000.00 fine in Jacksonville.
Even if a foreign flagged vessel, including those from Canada, have entered the USA legally, and cleared customs properly, THEY MUST NOTIFY US CUSTOMS - HOMELAND SECURITY if they move their vessel from one place to another. Officer Maria said that even if the vessel is moved just from Port Everglades to Miami, for example, or even from the city of Fort Lauderdale berths on New River to Bahia Mar, the boat owners MUST notify US Customs - Homeland Security IMMEDIATELY, OR BE SUBJECT TO A $5,000.00 FINE!
We cruised a British boat from Maine to Florida for 8 months in the last 14 months and spent 5 months of the previous year in US waters and were not made aware of that requirement when we twice obtained a 12 month cruising permit or re-entered the US from Canada and the Bahamas.

If the rule does exist there is no enforcement that we have seen or heard of from the many foreign cruisers we met. However, because of the above quote clarification is important for 'us foreigners.'

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Old 12-12-2009, 07:59   #4
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That can't be correct, unless Canadians get a free pass, cause we must have a million of them going up/down the coast every spring/fall, and I know they don't have to report their movements.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:17   #5
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The Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements, as posted by the US CBP:
Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements -

19 CFR 4.2

4.2 Reports of arrival of vessels
(a) Upon arrival in any port or place within the U.S., including, for purposes of this section, the U.S. Virgin Islands, of any vessel from a foreign port or place, any foreign vessel from a port or place within the U.S., or any vessel of the U.S. carrying bonded merchandise or foreign merchandise for which entry has not been made, the master of the vessel shall immediately report that arrival to the nearest Customs facility or other location designated by the port director. The report of arrival, except as supplemented in local instructions issued by the port director and made available to interested parties by posting in Customs offices, publication in a newspaper of general circulation, and other appropriate means, shall be made by any means of communication to the port director or to a Customs officer assigned to board the vessel...

4.3 Vessels required to enter; place of entry.
(a) Formal entry required. Unless specifically excepted by law, within 48 hours after the arrival at any port or place in the United States, the following
vessels are required to make formal entry:
(1) Any vessel from a foreign port or place;
(2) Any foreign vessel from a domestic port ...

Rules: Countries Whose Pleasure Vessels May Be Issued Cruising Licenses, » Federal Register [FR Doc E8-24523] [19 CFR Part 4]

If a foreignflag yacht is issued a cruising license, the yacht, for a stated period not to exceed one year, may arrive and depart from the United States and to cruise in specified waters of the United States without entering and clearing, without filing manifests and obtaining or delivering permits to proceed, and without the payment of entrance and clearance fees, or fees for receiving manifests and granting permits to proceed, duty on tonnage, tonnage tax, or light money. Upon arrival at each port in the United States, the master of a foreignflag yacht with a cruising license must report the fact of arrival to the appropriate CBP office. A list of countries whose yachts are eligible for cruising licenses is set forth in Sec. 4.94(b).

IMO: Such reportage of movement may often be made by telephone, once you've secured a licence to cruise.
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Old 12-12-2009, 08:34   #6
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I brought a Panamanian flagged boat back to the US from, well, Panama...and indeed, I arrived in Key West, cleared customs and reported my next and final port as Ft. Myers (was bringing it back for a broker to sell) and thought I was in the clear. About 3 weeks later, I get a call from the broker, tellng me the coast guard is calling him, entirely P'd off, that the boat was never cleared IN at Ft. Myers.

So I called the coast guard, and thankfully, they were decent about the mix-up. I took responsibility for not realizing I had to clear IN at Ft. Myers, since I already told them that was my next and final destination. They were however, not shy about telling me how bad it could have been, and did not seem to be too hesitant to throw the fine around. The officer I was speakign too said "You know, the whole point is that I HAVE to know where foreign boats are in our waters. I can't have them just sailing all over the if they say Ft. Myers, I have to know they MADE it to Ft. Myers, otherwise, they may be headed somewhere else with something else in mind..."

So to say it's not enforced is not necessarily accurate. they were all over this one. As Gord said - I think the cruising permit is the key - and at that point, likely phone communication rather than a formal, in-person clearing would likely suffice.

Anyway, just thought I'd share that little tidbit of experience. It was NOT fun, but thankfully resolved without much other than a little confusion and a bit of pucker factor when they started explaining those fines.

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Old 12-12-2009, 09:36   #7
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Foreign yacht cruising in US waters

Thanks for the input. Captain Welling is a US citizen hence the ticking -off and no fine. If one is going up the ICW Miami to the Chesapepeake does this mean you must check-in to EVERY port/town you go through so your progress can be tracked? This is rediculous since you will be at anchor wherever possible.If in the Chesapeake, you cannot anchor at your pleasure for the night since you are illegal by doing so. Need help to fully clarify as some offical will eventually go by the book and your cruise is ruined.This ruling will definitely keep foreign cruisers away and if we come to buy a yacht in the USA we must kit-up and sail away ie Bahamas and then Caribbean as little other choice.
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Old 12-12-2009, 10:15   #8
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That's what Eastern Europe must have been like back in the day..
sv Libertalia
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Old 12-12-2009, 11:02   #9
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As far as I know, once you have a cruising permit, it takes a phone call every time you reach a new port. Its the same system in Australia.
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Old 12-12-2009, 12:12   #10
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Pacific Northwest

This is going to be a nightmare in the San Juan Islands and the rest Washington. There a a huge number of Canadian boats and especially Canadian flagged charter boats crossing the border.

Not to mention Canadian boats going down to race.

Anyone from the PNW have any information on this?
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Old 12-12-2009, 13:47   #11
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In Greece in the early 1970's you had to clear in and out of every port / marina you went into. You were issued with a transit permit that had to be stamped by the port police.
How the fallout from the 9/11 events are being used to bring ever heavier and over the top controls. Land of the free your freedoms are being whittled away and all in the name of protecting you.
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Old 07-03-2010, 18:41   #12
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I just love how a few days after 9/11 the government was telling us how they were not going to let the attack "change our way of life" I guess they woke up and realized what a golden opportunity they had to control everyone and everything. I'm sure this reporting rule will have a big impact on our security. They'll never sneak through now...
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Old 07-03-2010, 19:36   #13
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I personally don't think this thread is correct. I'm working with a broker and document agent in Florida right now and they explained the situation as follows, which was copied from Noonsite:

Cruising licence:
Certain countries are eligible for a cruising licence, which exempts them from having to clear in and out at any subsequent US port after official entry has been made. NOTE: This exemption may not apply everywhere and it would be wise to obtain additional written proof of the current requirements at the point of entry.

The licence is obtained from the US customs port director on arrival and is valid for up to one year. After expiry, another licence may only be issued after the vessel has left for a foreign port and returned from a foreign port at least 15 days since the previous licence expired.

The countries to which this applies are Argentina, Anguilla, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Cayman Islands, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Honduras, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Liberia, Marahall Islands, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Kitts and Nevis, Turks and Caicos, Sweden, Switzerland and Turkey. This list is subject to change and it includes countries with which the USA has reciprocal arrangements.

Yachts 30 feet or longer in length, if US flagged, or foreign yachts not eligible for a cruising licence, must buy a US$25 user fee decal. These foreign yachts must also obtain a permit and clearance before proceeding to each subsequent US port.

It appears that officials interpret the rules differently in different states and it may be possible in some states to renew the cruising license without leaving the country. It is reported that in Florida officials will require a yacht to leave the country for the 15 days minimum period before being able to renew.

It you have a foreign flagged boat from Iran, be prepared to jump through some hoops, but for normal Cayman, BVI, and Canadian flags, it should be once then cruise.

There are a ton of Canadian's on this board. What is the situation?
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Old 07-03-2010, 22:30   #14
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The boat leaving the US for 15 days to get a new cruising permit isn't needed when the boat was built in the US and flagged for the list you posted (reciprocal deal).

I did hear reports of sailors fined $5,000 for leaving their slip just for a short sail up and down the river in Newport (without stopping). They should have reported that as both departure and arrival.

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Old 07-03-2010, 22:40   #15
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If you import your boat into the US you do not have to leave the country to renew your cruising license.
Finding a phone to report ones location to customs can be problematic. I would ask the Coast Guard to relay my location to Customs. They always politely did so.

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