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Old 18-01-2013, 10:53   #1
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Returning to the States from Bahamas.

I've read many times...
To "legally" re-enter the states from the Bahamas you must show, passport, blah blah blah.

Why does it read "legally"?
Is it not "technically" necessary?
Do some U.S. citizens returning from the Bahamas via their private boat not bother "legally" re-entering?

Thanks
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:02   #2
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

There are severe penalties for not following homeland security procedures.

Good info can be found here:

What procedures must a small boat follow when entering the United States?


The master of a pleasure boat must report to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) immediately upon arriving into the United States from a foreign port or place and must provide a formal vessel entry on CF 1300 within 48 hours. He will also need to report any foreign merchandise on his boat that is subject to duty.

CBP has implemented the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) for information visit CBP.gov. If reporting with SVRS see SVRS Application to enroll. Questions about SVRS can be directed to 800-432-1216.

Cruising licenses exempt pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures and can be obtained from the CBP Port Direct at the first port of arrival in the United States. U.S. pleasure craft and foreign-flag vessels without a cruising license, which are 30 feet or longer in length, must pay an annual fee of $27.50 for the user fee decal. User Fee Decals may be purchased online through the CBP Web site.

U.S. citizens should carry proof of citizenship such as a passport or birth certificate. Canadian citizens should present proof of Canadian citizenship; Mexican citizens may present a border-crossing card. Canadian, Mexican, and U.S. citizens must carry a passport if they are arriving in the U.S. from outside the Western Hemisphere.

If your boat has anchored or tied up, you are considered to have entered the United States. No one shall board or leave the boat without first completing customs processing, unless permission to do so is granted by the CBP Officer in charge. The only exception to this requirement is to report arrival. If it is necessary for someone to leave the boat to report arrival to CBP, he or she must return to the boat after reporting and remain on board unless instructed otherwise. No one who arrived on that boat may leave until the CBP Officer grants permission to go ashore. A report of arrival into the United States should be made to the CBP office nearest to your point of entry.

A comprehensive guide can be found here: Pleasure Boats.

A listing of ports of entry and their phone numbers can be found on CBP's Web site.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:13   #3
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Read the previous post and take it to heart.

Whether you call it legally, technically or what, if you go to another country you have to clear back in to the US or risk legal penalties.

With computerized tracking the odds of getting caught are high and getting higher.

The potential penalties are severe including jail, fines and confiscation of your boat. If you get caught at this the first time you might get away with just a moderate slap on the wrist if you plead stupidity and don't have a previous history of similar exploits. Any extenuating circumstance you could get hammered.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:13   #4
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

I am aware that there are many people that do not report.

Homeland security now has a good feature for people border hopping. It is the SMALL VESSEL REPORTING SYSTEM (SVRS).

Enrolling (and being approved for the SVS system) allows you to give them your sail plan ahead of time, and phone in on arrival. They reserver the right to verify that you have nothing to declare etc.... but.. is a supreme time saver.



The failure to report is covered by the following:

Failure to Report
Failure to report can result in civil penalties as defined in Title 19, United States Code, Section 1436 to
include a penalty of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation with the
conveyance subject to seizure and forfeiture. In addition to being liable for a civil penalty, and master
who intentionally commits a violation under subsection (a) of the above stated section, upon
conviction, is liable for a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for one year, or both.


----

Forfeiture: loss of your vessel. Not a happy prospect....
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:14   #5
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
I've read many times...
To "legally" re-enter the states from the Bahamas you must show, passport, blah blah blah.

Why does it read "legally"?
Is it not "technically" necessary?
Do some U.S. citizens returning from the Bahamas via their private boat not bother "legally" re-entering?

Thanks
Years ago MANY boats used to go to the Bahamas from the USA & not check in and also come from the Bahamas & not check in (USA) but things tighend up over the years and since 911 , I expect its even harder- Im guilty of doing it many times back pre 911- would I do it now? NO WAY- I know many fisherman who used to go over fish all night & run back to Fllorida- avioding all the laws
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:19   #6
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ram View Post
Years ago MANY boats used to go to the Bahamas from the USA & not check in and also come from the Bahamas & not check in (USA) but things tighend up over the years and since 911 , I expect its even harder- Im guilty of doing it many times back pre 911- would I do it now? NO WAY- I know many fisherman who used to go over fish all night & run back to Fllorida- avioding all the laws
My understanding is that going off shore, fishing (even out of the country) and returning to the US is not treated as a need for checking in.

Sailing from Hawaii to the US mainland also does not require a check in.

It is the act of disembarking in a foreign port, taking on any goods from a offshore vessel, retrieving goods (not fish) while offshore that require a check in.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:32   #7
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
Do some U.S. citizens returning from the Bahamas via their private boat not bother "legally" re-entering?
Exactly. Some (perhaps "many" would be a better word) don't bother following the legal requirements. Very few get caught.

I'm willing to bet that the ones who do, though, end up very sorry that they didn't follow the relatively simple, legally-required procedures.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:34   #8
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

I think it's a troll. He knows the difference between legally and not legally re-entering the country.

Scott
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:38   #9
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by s/vPainkiller View Post
I think it's a troll. He knows the difference between legally and not legally re-entering the country.

Scott
Thats silly!
Why would I troll?
You simply dont understand what I was asking.
I know I dont communicate that great through text, maybe I'll think of a simpler way to ask my question.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:44   #10
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by s/vPainkiller View Post
I think it's a troll. He knows the difference between legally and not legally re-entering the country.

Scott
Sounds like a sincere question to me. Just because a question may seem obvious to some doesn't mean the asker is a troll. We all have to learn somewhere.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:46   #11
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by endoftheroad View Post
Thats silly!
Why would I troll?
You simply dont understand what I was asking.
I know I dont communicate that great through text, maybe I'll think of a simpler way to ask my question.
Another point to ponder. Now that you have asked the question on a public forum "They" know who you are and will be watching.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:49   #12
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
Sounds like a sincere question to me. Just because a question may seem obvious to some doesn't mean the asker is a troll. We all have to learn somewhere.
I agree... I have also met many 'sailors' who thought that the worst that would happen for not declaring entry was a minor fine (on the order of $100 or so).

They were not aware of the possibility of losing their boat.

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.
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:51   #13
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EzzyD View Post
My understanding is that going off shore, fishing (even out of the country) and returning to the US is not treated as a need for checking in.

Sailing from Hawaii to the US mainland also does not require a check in.

It is the act of disembarking in a foreign port, taking on any goods from a offshore vessel, retrieving goods (not fish) while offshore that require a check in.
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-
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:54   #14
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

If you have ever seen the news as they report how many aircraft are in the air or are not in the air,one would think that to do the same with boats should not be to difficult..That being said, maybe they just watch to see what you do after you dock and if you do it several times without checking in they then do an investigation and watch you for a few years until they figure out "WHY" you do not follow the rules..Then they arrest you like they did the guy that was bringing cigars in without declaring them thru customs!Of course you are not smuggling in cigars, are you? LOL...good luck..
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Old 18-01-2013, 11:54   #15
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Re: Returning to the States from Bahamas.

Quote:
Originally Posted by EzzyD View Post
I agree... I have also met many 'sailors' who thought that the worst that would happen for not declaring entry was a minor fine (on the order of $100 or so).

They were not aware of the possibility of losing their boat.

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.
Like Ram says, back in the old days a lot of boaters in south FL wouldn't even bother clearing in or out or back in US-Bahamas and back, especially the sport fishers that were over there all the time.

I spent several years cruising the Bahamas and always cleared in. Forgot to clear out a few times but always cleared back in to the US. But in all the years I was never once asked for any paperwork in the Bahamas. Good thing since one cruise I overstayed my visa by several months.
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