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Old 20-04-2012, 10:59   #1
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Sailing Into Other Countries

I'm just trying to get an idea of the paperwork and fees that are needed when entering a foreign port after leaving the US.

I've read you must have a zarpe all certified-stamped-sealed before leaving the US. Is that correct? Don't dare say Mexico doesn't require it!

It always comes down to an amount of money you're commanded to pay the foreign port just to get into it so you can spend money there. Having said that, what about Caribbean countries? How much money are you fleeced just to go to any of them? Visas? Customs tax on stuff on your boat or the boat itself?

Are searches of your boat typical?

What about leaving a foreign port? Must you tell them you're leaving? What fees do you have fork over for that?

Thanks
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Old 20-04-2012, 12:14   #2
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Re: Sailing into other countries

The best site for info on clearing in/out procedures is Noonsite: The global site for cruising sailors . Be certain to check the date of the update to make sure it has the latest info. Its a great resource, unless you are trying to navigate through the red tape that is Panama. I have friends who are having to find out what the story is DAILY as the rules seem to change daily there.
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Old 20-04-2012, 12:23   #3
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Re: Sailing into other countries

In general I've found it to be mostly a non-event. Never as bad as you might hear by word of mouth. Mexico was probably the least convenient years ago...because you had to go three places not located together!.... dont know now. Rarely been boarded for inspection in the Caribe. Boarded in Canada and the DR. Fees in the Caribe were very low 10 years ago but have heard they have risen someplaces... You must check out before leaving. Some places give you more time to depart, some like Grenada want you gone fast!
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Old 20-04-2012, 12:25   #4
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Re: Sailing into other countries

Second the suggestion from Mimsy to check out noonsite.com.

To get an exact answer you need to specify which country. Every country is different. Some charge nothing to visit, some the paper work is minimal. Some charge hundreds of dollars and some countries may take a full day or more of visits to several different offices to complete the paperwork.

Some countries never search your boat unless they suspect you of a crime, some countries will send a squad of agents and inspect everything down to your underwear.

Some examples, Bahamas you show up unannounced, pay $300, you visit 1 or 2 offices, takes an hour or so,they almost never visit your boat. Zarpe from the US never required.

Australia, not sure of the cost but will board your boat, confiscate ALL food items, inspect all the wood parts of the boat and charge you for termite fumigation if they feel like it. Must notify them in advance of your arrival and have a Zarpe.

Israel they will send an armed patrol boat to inspect you 15 miles offshore, probably follow you in to the marina. No charge but they will probably swab your boat for explosives residue.

Some countries won't let you in at all. Others limit how long you can stay, some don't care.
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Old 20-04-2012, 18:07   #5
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Re: Sailing into other countries

cruised the caribbean in 2010-11 and visited lots of different islands. Nobody anywhere boarded the boat, or ever wanted to see the people on the boat apart from me. Most didnt even look out at the bay to see that there WAS a boat.

The only time we got boarded was on our return to the US

BVI's and Bahamas were relatively expensive. Most other places very cheap or even free.

The US doesnt issue exit documents as a routine matter. Most of the near destinations know this and dont expect you to have them. They DO expect you to have them if you are coming from a country that requires them
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Old 20-04-2012, 18:52   #6
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Re: Sailing into other countries

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Originally Posted by skipmac View Post
..............
Australia, not sure of the cost but will board your boat, confiscate ALL food items, inspect all the wood parts of the boat and charge you for termite fumigation if they feel like it. Must notify them in advance of your arrival and have a Zarpe.............
Not exactly correct, normally only concerned about fresh food items and non processed meats. So a can of ham (unopened) is OK but a frozen steak is not.
So bulk stores are OK but that last over-ripe banana isn't.
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Old 20-04-2012, 19:00   #7
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Re: Sailing into other countries

sck5 don't believe anyone telling you about Mexico not wanting a Zarpe!! It depends on where ya are ! when ya land ! Theres a boat in Isla M under arrest for not having a zarpe(the boat not the sailors) and all the Gulf fishermen who fish southern Gulf waters Carry them so if they must get fuel, food ect they don't get there boat and thier catch confiscated !! it did happen to a couple boats so they started carring a zarpe!! better to be safe then sorry !! They are not hard to get !! just a thought from a gulf sailer
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Old 20-04-2012, 20:22   #8
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Re: Sailing into other countries

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Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Not exactly correct, normally only concerned about fresh food items and non processed meats. So a can of ham (unopened) is OK but a frozen steak is not.
So bulk stores are OK but that last over-ripe banana isn't.
Well, I guess I was being overly dramatic. Call it poetic license.
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Old 20-04-2012, 21:24   #9
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Re: Sailing into other countries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wotname View Post
Not exactly correct, normally only concerned about fresh food items and non processed meats. So a can of ham (unopened) is OK but a frozen steak is not.
So bulk stores are OK but that last over-ripe banana isn't.
To add a data point for Australia, June 2011 (info from cruiser friends, we skipped that continent):

  • >= 96h notice required
  • Sealed sausages, eggs were taken... Cheese was not.
  • AU$ 330 for a weekday check-in, double that for weekends.
  • Length of procedure, in Cairns, including pictures of all areas of the boat, search for roaches, termites: 2h
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:05   #10
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Re: Sailing Into Other Countries

Ha! so the Mexicans started wanting a zarpe? THAT will put a damper on things I bet. I never sailed in to there so I assumed they were still the way they used to be - rather relaxed except about guns. But they are still relaxed in the Bahamas and Caribbean - Last sailed in to Abaco in January - no Customs where we landed so we just hung out, found a restaurant and went back the next day. Still no customs (her baby was sick, they said). So we went to the next island to do it. Nobody was uptight or worried about any of it.
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Old 21-04-2012, 11:24   #11
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Re: Sailing Into Other Countries

Quote:
Originally Posted by PDA1 View Post
I'm just trying to get an idea of the paperwork and fees that are needed when entering a foreign port after leaving the US.

I've read you must have a zarpe all certified-stamped-sealed before leaving the US. Is that correct? Don't dare say Mexico doesn't require it!

It always comes down to an amount of money you're commanded to pay the foreign port just to get into it so you can spend money there. Having said that, what about Caribbean countries? How much money are you fleeced just to go to any of them? Visas? Customs tax on stuff on your boat or the boat itself?

Are searches of your boat typical?

What about leaving a foreign port? Must you tell them you're leaving? What fees do you have fork over for that?

Thanks
Probably not a good idea to go cruising with an attitude that the countries you're visiting are just out to "fleece" you. C&I agents can smell "attitude" a mile away, and will react accordingly. You won't be happy with the result.

Most countries charge very reasonable fees to clear in. Some, not most, charge an exit fee. Here in Nevis, a "normal" size cruising sailboat will pay about UD$12 to clear in, for which you may stay up to 30 days. There's no charge to clear out, but you are required to get outbound clearance (called a zarpe in Latin American countries). The next country you visit will want to collect your outbound clearance papers from you, and will be very upset if you don't have them (French island excepted).

If you sail directly from the States to the BVI, you can clear in without outbound clearance from the US. In the BVI, they understand that the US doesn't require it's citizens to clear out. Not sure about the other eastern Caribbean countries. If you're dropping off delivery crew, you'll need to show Customs and Immigration their airline tickets home, along with passports, when you clear in.

The only time I've had my boat searched was when I brought it back to Nevis after having laid it up in Grenada for the hurricane season. To say that it was a very lackadaisical search is a gross understatement.
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Old 21-04-2012, 13:43   #12
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Re: Sailing Into Other Countries

I have never had my boat searched there. I have never had any official visit my boat there either. They do not bother, they rather have me walking ;-)

(Elsewhere, we did have our boat searched in : NZ, Aus. We have also heard that all boats sailing to the US get searched).

Requirements vary from nil to hassle and expense: use Reed's Almanac, Noonsite and CF for this kind of info. Some countries have informative websites for cruisers, others do not. If you use marina of sorts, the staff will push you in the right direction but do ask them to do so.).

On the whole, you will need:
>
- your boat registration papers,
- your passports,
>
- visas (maybe, but not as a rule),
- clearance (maybe, better have it just in case).

You may be exposed to:
- cruising fees,
- entry/departure tax,
- harbour dues, light taxes, mooring and anchoring fees.

If you fly Q and have your boat registration, passports and smile on your face, you are already half way there.

Be warned: many countries charge extra for clearance after hours and on weekends. Arrive Monday morning ;-)

b.
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Old 21-04-2012, 14:51   #13
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Re: Sailing Into Other Countries

We've cruised from the USA through the Bahamas down to the BVI's. We were only boarded in the Bahamas and the Dominican Republic. The Bahamas guys were young, friendly and efficient. The DR guys boarded us going into and out of each port and requested a $20 dollar undocumented service fee (bribe) each time.
Noonsite and other sources for the BVI say you must have a zarpe and all meat will be impounded; both were wrong in our case a week ago. I thought the customs lady said "Twenty-Seven dollars" for incoming processing. When I asked if the $27 was for one or both of us she looked at me as if I had two heads. The fee was twenty cents, ten cents for each of the two forms. I love it in the BVIs.
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Old 21-04-2012, 19:40   #14
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Re: Sailing Into Other Countries

I don't know what you're saying.

Did BVI charge you $27 or 25 cents? What relationship do the forms (what forms are you talking about?) have with BVI Customs and its cost?
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Old 21-04-2012, 19:55   #15
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Re: Sailing Into Other Countries

agree with Hud -- if you come down here with idea that they are out to fleece you - please stay home - there are enough bad cruisers down here already -
we have been in 9 countries in the last 1.5 years - no real issues at any except in mexico where the zarpe i had made up and signed by a dockmaster was not stamped - the port captain read me the riot act and said not to do that again -
you do have to have your wits about you - it is important to read the cruising guides in addition to noonsite as there is a lot of info about what to expect - also a lot of info can be gotten from the local ssb nets each morning - all you have to do is ask on one of the nets and you get the latest and best info
but please - these folks have a job to do and it is not easy and they do not get paid a lot - so please do not come down as the ugly american

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boca chica dominican republic
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