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Old 07-05-2010, 09:47   #1
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Sailing Through

I would like to know if by flying the Q yellow flag I can sail up the east coast USA without having to check in. Obviously not landing, I have heard that maritime law allows you to sail on through if you are not stopping. How close to shore can I be for saftey reasons, ie a health issue that would cause me to go to land for an emergency.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:55   #2
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Most countries, I believe including the US, now consider that international waters start at 12 miles offshore. However, if you do not stop or enter a harbor I believe you have the right of free passage.

Emergency stops would be fine but you would have to clear in with Customs and Immigration if you do land in the US for any reason. You would not fly the yellow Q flag to do this.
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Old 07-05-2010, 09:57   #3
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How close is close? I think as you get under 10 miles from land for a certain period of time the USCG may begin to wonder what you are up to. Does anyone have any experience with this? My feeling is that it probably wouldn't fly in post 911 USA....
I looked it up online. It states that you are allowed innocent passage as long as you don't stop. Now with everyone concerned about terrorists? Don't know.
BTW- The US has claimed up to 200 miles offshore as an economic zone. I do not know what that means to a traveling sailor with a Q flag...
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:04   #4
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Well, in south Florida southbound freighters sail pretty close to the coast to stay out of the axis of the Gulfstream. Easily seen from the beaches in Miami or Ft Lauderdale so they can't be more than 2-3 miles off.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:07   #5
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The yellow quarantine flag is universally recognized to signal that a vessel wishes to enter a port and is requesting pratique, or clearance. (source: Flagstuff.com website and Chapman's)

Based on this, there is no reason for you to fly a "Q" flag unless you are entering a U.S. port and will need clearance.

While offshore, think of yourself as just another foreign vessel passing through U.S. waters.
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Old 07-05-2010, 10:40   #6
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We stay 12 miles off any country that we don't particularly like. Inside that is fine in shipping lanes or areas where you sail around a point, headland etc, something thats normal and obvious as a route. If ships go through then you are fine

Coming up the Gulf of Aden we were less than 12 miles off the coast of Yemen. I thought that was pretty stupid as the good guys navy's are not allowed to come and rescue you inside yemeni waters. I, of course, didn't have a say in it as we were in a convoy. One boat was pulled over by the Yemini Coast Guard - they wanted to board him at night. We took off over into international waters.

Inside 12 miles in the USA I would NOT go unless cleared in. They are sticklers for security and its just silly not respecting their problems.

If transiting look like you are transiting. Its just not worth trying to explain to some 3rd world idiot who hates whities and can't talk English why you are sailing between the resort islands and the mainland and you don't want to pay him a bribe.

Apart from all that you don't need to have your yellow flag up unless you are heading into clear in. then we put ours up at the 12 mile limit.

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Old 07-05-2010, 11:03   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drgroovemeister View Post
sail up the east coast USA .
"Up" the east coast you mean south to north? Then you would be doing something like Caribbean to Canada... so the only conceivable place you would be close to the USA coast would be the bottom tip of Florida if you went west of Cuba. The next land fall would be Nova Scottia.
Thats if you wanted to stay in the Gulf Stream.

You would be balancing the health issue with the added speed you get in the Gulf Stream, and there's people here who could tell you what the likely per day advantage is.

For us we would clear into the USA and go buy a few of those cute 'lil Americans and stow them in the Lazarrette.


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Old 07-05-2010, 18:54   #8
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If not requesting clearance, why use the Q?

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Old 07-05-2010, 19:17   #9
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We never fly the Q flag until we anchor or tie up in a new port.

That doesn't mean the country will not take an interest in you when you are offshore.

We were not allowed to get closer than 20 miles to the Israeli coast until cleared by the Israeli Navy. We were then allowed to come in to twelve miles offshore where we held position until a gunboat came out and inspected us.

Then we were given permission to head into port, and once in port, we raised the yellow flag and the Israeli flag.
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Old 07-05-2010, 19:28   #10
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on the great lakes, vessels cruise on the detroit, st. clair & st mary's rivers, which are border rivers between US & Canada without checking in to customs or immigration; unless landing. Same applies on the great lakes themselves where you could stay in one country's waters but can cross back and forth into the other country's waters without checking in unless landing.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:26   #11
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Q flag

Thank you everyone for the reply. A fellow told me today that by flying the Q flag you are essentially " Hiding in Plain Site ". But would like to know if you can be borded with the Q flag up and told to check in.

And is it not true that unless you touch foot on dock or land you may be considered transiting. Could you drop the hook for say a safety reason ie too tired to sail and wanting a rest.
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Old 08-05-2010, 07:34   #12
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[QUOTE=MarkJ;448451For us we would clear into the USA and go buy a few of those cute 'lil Americans and stow them in the Lazarrette.
Mark[/QUOTE]


OK I'll bite: what do you mean by "cute 'lil Americans" you would buy to put in the lazarrette?

Is this an Aussie slang thing? (the things you can learn here)

If I had to wild guess I would bet this is a beer thing!
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Old 08-05-2010, 08:04   #13
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dropping the anchor is considered landing
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Old 12-05-2010, 19:59   #14
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In today's paranoid world of terrorism and drug smuggling - if you are inside the recognized 12nm limit you have to be either on your way to check-in or on your way out after having checked-out. That said, there are unique countries (e.g. Bahamas) that have passed a national law allowing "innocent passage" which allows a boat to enter the territorial waters and even anchor for rest, etc. - but - not set foot or paw on dry land. These countries are few and far between. Almost without exception major first world countries are adamant about knowing who you are and where you are going while in their waters which means checking-in/out. And they have set a number of hours from zero to 24 within which you must present yourself for check-in. Some even have "pre-notification of arrival" requirements that if not followed will result in serious financial and personal problems.
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Old 21-06-2011, 07:52   #15
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Re: Sailing Through

Ok, so you need to check in, I get that. But how do you do it, call yourself in or literally dock and check in. And what's this raising an Israeli flag thing, do have to while your over there to show you have been cleared.
Or do you call in and that country sends out there Coast Guard/ Navy to check you in. I hate to beat this to a pulp, but I am just trying ti understand...
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