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Old 25-11-2009, 12:57   #1
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Refueling Stop and Customs

I've always made slow leisurely trips - now making a quicker one. Some of the countries along the way we won't be stopping it, but will only stop to grab fuel, water, food. If we are just stopping for these items in a marina and leaving immediately, are we still required to check in with customs and/or pay entry fees? Or maybe the policy varies by country? I didnt see anything on noonsite, and every country I've done this in before I had spent time in or was based in so customs/immigration was already taken care of.
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Old 25-11-2009, 13:00   #2
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You have to check in unless you want to risk losing your boat and a fine.
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Old 25-11-2009, 13:15   #3
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Thanks. Understandable I guess, but given that some locations take several hours and cost a lot of money for a permit, really sucks just to fuel up and get water!
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Old 25-11-2009, 13:15   #4
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Also given that I know of a few places that Customs no longer operates on weekends at all........
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Old 25-11-2009, 13:31   #5
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Why break the law and risk a fine or loss of your boat?
It's always mandatory to check in with the Customs and Immigration if you're going to take advantage of services in a country.
Beware of fuel docks or marinas that report you to Customs.
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Old 25-11-2009, 13:37   #6
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I wasn't suggesting to break the law. Only commenting the issues it creates. For example - as I said I know some places that customs is closed on weekends - all weekend. So if you are passing through, you now have no chance to get fuel, water, etc. Many places in the Caribbean and Pacific are small, and even when open can take hours to clear when you really only want a short stay to get fuel, etc.

Many Marinas in Europe are gated controlled areas. In Cyprus the regulations used to be that even "unfavorable" passports were allowed out of the marina so long as they returned by nightfall to sleep on the boats. Not sure if thats still the case since joining the EU.

Factors like this - is why I asked if some locations allow simple refueling etc if no one leaves the marina. 30 mins to fuel and restock - and 4-5 hours to walk to center of town, find the check in, or wait till Monday? Thats the reality in many small countries then it seems...
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Old 25-11-2009, 16:42   #7
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SeaCow, please,

You asked for our advice and opinions about Customs and Immigration laws in the Caribbean. We gave it.
Act upon it as you wish....

Don't attempt to apply logic or common sense, you'll just get upset.

Curious though, which islands do you think that the Customs office is not open? Because that would mean that Cruise ships couldn't enter the country on weekends, or airplanes could not land at airports.
Most Custom offices will charge an overtime fee for weekends.

In Prickley Bay, Granada about three years ago, as reported in the Carribbean Compass, a singlehandler, who had read in Chris Doyles Cruising Guide that the Customs office was closed on the weekend, was fined for anchoring on Saturday and checking in on Monday, and he never left his boat.

For awhile Trinidad (bless their hearts) would charge an overtime fee if you were within three miles of their country before 8 in the morning, because their office was not open. True story!
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Old 25-11-2009, 19:29   #8
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One of the joys of cruising is getting to travel outside of our own land and customs. Efficiency is not necessarily the same priority of other cultures/countries/governments. Yup, it would certainly be more 'efficient' for you and save you time but that's not really within your control. If you need to stop for fuel, you need to allow the time it takes in reality not just how long it takes to put X number of gallons down your fill pipe.

Time is required when traveling. Allow for it. Bad weather is 'inefficient' as well. Hopefully you won't try to fix that 'pesky lil ole problem'. If it's efficiency you want, there's better time savings on a scheduled jet liner.
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Old 04-12-2009, 17:41   #9
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call off the dogs

hey the guy asked a completely legitamite question, and wasn't so much as arguing the validity of your opinions, but offering a different point of view on the subject. I appreciate everone's input, however, I think that there are exceptions for vessels in need of service or repair. I am not sure if refueling/provisioning falls into this category, but as with everything in life. When cruising, you are dealing with people. Most grey areas in life as decided by personality and ones willingness to go with the flow. It has been my experience that smiling, being courtious, well mannered, and making the attempt to deal with people go farther than regulations. People with authority have always have discretion and will usually help you when the can if they think you need it. I figure the penalties you pick up along the way will offset any savings on time and money and the cruise will probably take the same amount of both. But opinions are like A-holes,
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Old 04-12-2009, 17:56   #10
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call off the dogs II

...and what about legitimate emergencies such as injury or damage that renders a vessel not seaworthy enough for the passage. Suppose i were blown off course and needed to seek refuge in a country that politically didn't jive with the my home country. How are how is this goverened? Is there some international rule abpout offering assistance? In my mind tghese things come together soimewhere in a grey area of perhaps simply being out of fuel, losing the ability to recharege the batteries and perform the reuired onboard duties. what is a vessel to do in these cases?
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Old 04-12-2009, 19:32   #11
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Korrekto.

Clear in, pay the fees, buy the cruising permit, get the fuel (often - contaminated, always - overpriced), clear out, obtain the zarpe, pay the departure fees, only then you may go to your next paradise.

Is it not what you dreamed of? Well then, dream on.

Seriously, some places one can stop by and go on undisturbed. The point is, it is next to impossible to say beforehand where they take it easy and where they will rather impound your boat than make some GDP with the work of their hands and brains.

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Old 04-12-2009, 23:58   #12
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BBC News - British yachtsmen held for a week freed by Iran
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Old 05-12-2009, 06:21   #13
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The Bahamas allow a pass through transit with-out paying the $300 fee.
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:45   #14
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Pass through and refuel? or just pass through? All countries allow pass through according to the Law of the Sea treaty. Its called "Innocent Passage".
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Old 05-12-2009, 09:26   #15
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A "reasonable" argument for the requirement of checking in has always been the issue of quarantine. Who's to say that you and your crew, your pet, the ship's stores, and the rat that stowed away in your last port, are free and clear of disease or contamination that could permanently affect the environment you are about to enter? The vessel doesn't have the right to make this call, only the host nation that could become the victim of some pathogen or invasive species of plant or bug. If the host nation doesn't have the capacity or interest in maintaining control of its port of entry, it takes on the burden of risk for its citizens. So, if you need to stop for fuel, water, etc., you also need to comply with entry requirements. Or, you could carry more stores and bypass the port entirely. What's the problem?
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