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Old 18-01-2013, 12:00   #16
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Another point to ponder. Now that you have asked the question on a public forum "They" know who you are and will be watching.
Haha...
I am reasearching a first visit to the Bahamas this morning and came across something on the internet (althoughI've yet to find it again) that went something like....
"An American citizen entering the bahamas "must"......An American citizen returning to the U.S. "legally"......
My concern was the for the use of "must" and "legally". It seemed to me that re-entry to the U.S. was or has at least in the past almost been an option.

I think post #7 and this post understood my question the most.
Sorry for the lack of clarity.
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Old 18-01-2013, 12:08   #17
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by Ram View Post
In the Bahamas if your fishing you must check in- for instance if you plan on passing thru the Bahamas & not stopping, while in there waters if your fishing- (Troling a line) you must check in-
This checking in is for the Bahamas? I do not think it is needed for the US if fishing. I am quite sure that on the West Coast, a quick fishing trip south is not needed if the vessel never anchored or not recieved goods from another vessel.

In human form they claim:
Pursuant to 19 CFR 4.2, operators of small pleasure vessels, arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place to include any vessel which has visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise outside the territorial sea, are required to report their arrival to CBP immediately (see 19 U.S.C. 1433).

The actual 'relevant law' states:



§ 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 foreign merchandise for which entry has not been made, the master of the vessel must immediately report that arrival to the nearest CBP 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 CBP offices, publication in a newspaper of general circulation, and other appropriate means, may be made by any means of communication to the port director or to a CBP officer assigned to board the vessel. The CBP officer may require the production of any documents or papers deemed necessary for the proper inspection/examination of the vessel, cargo, passenger, or crew.
(b) For purposes of this part, “foreign port or place” includes a hovering vessel, as defined in 19 U.S.C. 1401(k), and any point in customs waters beyond the territorial sea or on the high seas at which a vessel arriving in a port or place in the U.S. has received merchandise.
(c) In the case of certain vessels arriving either in distress or for the limited purpose of taking on certain supplies and departing within a 24-hour time period without having landed or taken on any passengers or other merchandise (see section 441(4 ), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended), the report must be filed by either the master, owner, or agent, and must be in the form and give the information required by that statute, except that the report need not be under oath. A derelict vessel will be considered one in distress and any person bringing it into port must report its arrival.
(d) The report of baggage and merchandise required to be made by certain passenger vessels making three or more trips a week between U.S. and foreign ports and vessels used exclusively as ferryboats carrying passengers, baggage, or merchandise (see section 441(2 ), Tariff Act of 1930, as amended), is in addition to the required report of arrival, and must be made within 24 hours of arrival.
[T.D. 93-96, 58 FR 67315, Dec. 21, 1993, as amended by T.D. 94-44, 59 FR 23795, May 9, 1994; CBP Dec. 10-33, 75 FR 69585, Nov. 15, 2010]
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Old 18-01-2013, 12:11   #18
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Next we were supposed to check in with U.S. customs. We had been told to call an 800 number when we arrived at our anchorage, and that customs official took all of our information over the phone and told us we had to show up in person to the Port Everglades customs office. This is the place all vessels arriving from a foreign port are supposed to check in, so we figured it was on the water, or near the water, and that we could access it easily by boat. After all, ALL the people going to that office are on boats and obviously not in cars. We asked the customs official how to get there by boat and were told we couldnt arrive by boat……ok……they are located near the cruise ship dock, where we were not allowed to go. We got the address and with some difficulty found a place to land our dinghy within a mile or two of the place. We walked for a ways along a very unpedestrian highway until we reached a security gate for the cruise ship docks. The security official turned us away, saying that we couldnt walk to the customs office but that we had to take a cab. Ok……we walked back to the big intersection and managed to get a cab. The cab driver took us through the same security gate and the same official let us through. WTF?!? I guess it is a good thing that we got a cab, though, because it turned out to be really far down a weird no-mans land industrial road that would have sucked to walk down. The customs office intself turned out to be in a office type building that had NO SIGN whatsoever on the outside of it stating that it was the U.S. Customs office. There is no way we would have found it if it hadnt been for that cab driver. Once inside the customs office, it didnt take long for the official to stamp our passports, and then we had to get another cab back to our dinghy, which was miles away. We asked the official to call a cab for us, and he acted shocked that we hadnt driven our own car there, even though we clearly had just arrived there to declare entry for our sailing vessel! I was appalled and furious that they would make it so difficult. When you arrive in an airport they dont expect you to figure out on your own how to get a boat to the customs office! Anyway, our biggest tip to any other sailors who may be going abroad is to take the trouble before you leave to get “the local boater option”, which allows you to clear customs with only a phone call and you dont have to report to an office. We didnt do that before we left and now we wish we would have!
The funny thing is, we easily could have just not checked in with anyone when we arrived back in Florida and as far as I can tell no one would have known the difference. There seems to be a surprising hole in the Homeland Security thing when it comes to boats entering Florida from the ocean.







And, then this morning I read the above on a cruisers blog and I said to myself.

That sounds crazy!
It cant be that aggravating, can it?
I've never been called a troll and I've been around here since 2008.
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Old 18-01-2013, 12:26   #19
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
And, then this morning I read the above on a cruisers blog and I said to myself.

That sounds crazy!
It cant be that aggravating, can it?
I've never been called a troll and I've been around here since 2008.
Sure it can. You're dealing with a government bureaucracy and they don't have to be logical or make sense. Just look at it as all part of the fun.

It has been several years since I was back and forth to the Bahamas but at one time all you had to do is call in and they would clear you on the phone (unless your name or boat was on the bad boys list) as long as it was a US boat, all US citizens and you had not been anywhere but the Bahamas.

My last trip I chartered a boat in FL to go diving around Bimini with some friends. We had one Belgian, one Brazilian, one Dane, one French and three US on the boat. I called and they really wanted us to come in in person, all seven of us but we got really lucky. There was a big fishing tournament going on and a lot of the boats were fishing Bahamian waters so Customs had set up a table at the Miami Beach Marina to clear all the boats coming back in that afternoon. That was also the charter base, so we all walked down the dock to the guy sitting at a cardboard table on the dock and cleared in there. Otherwise we would have been doing the cab thing.
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Old 18-01-2013, 12:58   #20
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

When I returned from Bermuda this summer I called at 3am when I got in the inlet and they told me to call back after 8 am. I called at 8 and they sent someone down to the boat after about 2 hours. The agent was nice but clearly she had no clue what to do. Signed a couple of forms looked around a bit, checked our passports and left, not a problem. I can see how Fla would be a bit more difficult with smuggling and all. We have a state port here but being mid Atlantic I do not think they see many yachts arriving from a foreign country.
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Old 18-01-2013, 13:18   #21
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Sign up for the Local Boater Option.

(The Local Boater Option (LBO) for Florida Boaters if Cruising between the US, Bahamas or the Caribbean — Noonsite)

You go in to the office once, anytime before your departure, and sign up. Then when you return you just call a number and they clear you in over the phone. Easy peasy.

We signed up in Miami before we left for the Bahamas and it was snap upon our return -- one phone call, about 2 minutes long.
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Old 18-01-2013, 13:55   #22
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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I can see how Fla would be a bit more difficult with smuggling and all. .
Well yes except at some point in time even the government guys in FL were smart enough to figure out that if someone was actually smuggling Haitians or cigars or square grouper, the smugglers would probably dispose of the goods before they called to clear customs.

That's when they put in the call in by phone clearance deal.

Since 911 logic and common sense has taken another big hit so the phone in clearance may not be what it used to be. I haven't been cruising a lot in a while so will bow to those with more recent experience for an update.
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Old 18-01-2013, 14:01   #23
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Old 18-01-2013, 14:13   #24
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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They thought that if they were not smuggling, and were legal residents that they were saving a large amount of time with a minimal risk.
Well, the risk of getting caught actually IS pretty minimal. The consequences, however, can be pretty serious. It's like the discussions about Americans going to Cuba. Those who have been, and haven't been caught, say it's no big deal--no one ever gets caught.

While very few get caught, the ones who have been, probably don't feel like it's "no big deal" anymore.
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Old 18-01-2013, 14:16   #25
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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..common sense has taken another big hit...
Off topic, I admit, but I have decided to quit using the phrase "common sense." Mainly because it doesn't exist anymore. It is no longer common. It is, in fact, extraordinarily uncommon (at least in modern America).

Nowadays I use the phrase "old-fashioned sense." If anyone else has a better term, I'm listening.
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Old 18-01-2013, 14:23   #26
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Off topic, I admit, but I have decided to quit using the phrase "common sense." Mainly because it doesn't exist anymore. It is no longer common. It is, in fact, extraordinarily uncommon (at least in modern America).

Nowadays I use the phrase "old-fashioned sense." If anyone else has a better term, I'm listening.
Or maybe good sense or just plain old logic???

Have to admit common sense is not so common these days, especially in some areas.
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Old 18-01-2013, 14:43   #27
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Off topic, I admit, but I have decided to quit using the phrase "common sense." Mainly because it doesn't exist anymore. It is no longer common. It is, in fact, extraordinarily uncommon (at least in modern America)....
Accordingly, one should refer to "uncommon sense". As in: "It would require uncommon sense to appreciate how silly some of these rules are but even more uncommon sense to appreciate how silly it would be to ignor them", Non?
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:17   #28
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Pets to the Bahamas

Slightly off the subject, but involving rules & regs. I'm getting mixed messages about if and how we can bring our pet cats (yes, housecats) to the Bahamas. Any advice?
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Old 10-02-2013, 12:34   #29
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Check out this site:

Pets - Bahamas | The Bahamas
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Old 11-02-2013, 08:23   #30
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Re: Pets to the Bahamas

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Slightly off the subject, but involving rules & regs. I'm getting mixed messages about if and how we can bring our pet cats (yes, housecats) to the Bahamas. Any advice?
Probably best to start a whole new thread, when you are looking for answers to a completely new question.
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