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Old 27-10-2007, 21:50   #1
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Island hopping rules

I will admit that the thought of setting off in the morning and plotting a course for a certain island and planning to reach that point around night fall is aluring. But, lets say half way through a leg we spot a little island off the port bow and decide "we'll just go over there and hang out for a while". Assuming that we have registered with, let's say the Bahamas Customs Office, paid the registration fees and we are flying the courtisy flag of that country; can we just pop onto any island we choose? How does this work in more distant foreign countries. Are there rules as to how long you can anchor out, dinghy in and stay?
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Old 27-10-2007, 23:49   #2
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Almost every place you sail on the planet, the official answer is that you must first check in with the authorities before you drop your anchor in locations further afield. That's what we always did unless weather forced us to do otherwise, and we could make a good case for emergency stopping prior to checking in. Enforcement in many remote areas is spotty at best, but if you get caught, the penalties can be severe and expensive. Try doing that in Australia, and you'll be really sorry. They have spotter planes flying along the coast, and there is a good chance that you'll be photographed when still offshore. They'll know about your misdeed and they will display a non-forgiving attitude. Expect no mercy for breaking the rules there. Try the same thing in Eritrea, and probably nothing will happen.
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Old 28-10-2007, 02:01   #3
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In the Bahamas, once you check in you are free to go where you like without more formalities, just as you can sail from port to port in the U.S. That is not the case everywhere. Check Noonsite for information on any countries you plan to enter or cruise.

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Old 28-10-2007, 17:17   #4
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In this area you must first clear at a customs port of entry. In Singapore you can then go where you like. In Malaysia you can go where you like. In Indonesia you are supposed to get permits "by region." In Thailand you can go where you like.

For those who haven't done it before, you also get a "boat clearance" which is a crew manifest and declaration by the skipper. You then have to arrive at your next port of call with all crew accounted for. I understand these regs go back to the tall ship days of indentured crew and it just wasn't on for captains to toss people overboard without any accountability.

Not saying you couldn't toss people overboard. You just had to 'splain it real good...
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Old 28-10-2007, 21:14   #5
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Come to New Zealand, go through the customs rigmarole and anchor wherever you like as long as it's not over our submarine power cables or in our shipping channels.
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Old 29-10-2007, 05:30   #6
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Cruising permits

In the eastern Caribbean, St Lucia and St Kitts & Nevis require you to have a "cruising permit". When you clear in, you tell them which bays you might want to anchor in, and they write them down on your paperwork. I believe that Anguilla may require a cruising permit, also, but I've not been there.

As Sunspot Baby suggested, www.noonsite.com is a good source of information, but I've found some of it to be outdated. They rely on cruisers emailing in updates to keep things current. Chris Doyle's Leeward and Windward Islands cruising guides are considered to be the best source of current information around here.
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