I don't have "the answer" yet, but I've learned a little bit. I used the web site contact-us link to submit a query to the CBP and got instructions back to contact my local (Charleston, SC) CBP office. They frankly didn't really know much because apparently they don't do anything with the LBO process. Makes sense since I guess there are not a lot of recreational boats clearing in here.
However the CBP email
response I got had the guy in Miami
office's name and phone
number. So I called him. My understanding is that you have to do the face to face interview at Ft. L, Miami, Key West or PR/VI I guess. How far in advance you can schedule the interview I don't really know.
We decided that we don't really need this right now, esp since we weren't sure that we wanted to stop in south FL on the way down. We're only planning on clearing in when we return in the spring so it won't be that much of a hardship to do without the LBO card and decal. If we were going to Bimini
and coming back every weekend it might be a different story.
Hope this helps. If you want the name and number from the Miami office, please send me a PM. Not sure if it's kosher to post names. Please post if you learn anything more and how you are handling this issue.