The first thing to clarify is that the rules are enforced differently in different parts
of the US. If you are on the north side of Long Island Sound
(and up into New England) you are supposed to call when you move. If you are on the south side of the Sound (in New York
state) you only need to call when you enter the district and when you leave - so you are good from east end of Long Island
to Cape May, NJ.
So the rule
vary and so does the enforcement. We were in Plyomouth, MA and the local police reported us and another foreign boat (German-flag) to the local Customs/Immigration guys who gave both of us something of a hard time - we had recently entered in Connecticut and had no problems with the entry but the guys in Massachusetts
had issues and ended up giving us a new cruising permit.
As I understand it, you get your permit for one year and then you have to take the boat out of the US for 15 days (in the case of Florida, the obvious spots would be the Bahamas
and Cuba). When you reenter you can get a new permit. Here is a useful wrinkle though. We left our boat in Fort Pierce for about 5 months - during this time our permit would have expired. We talked to the official at the local Customs office (at the local airport) and they said they would keep our boat registration and cruising permit in their vault and it would stop the clock on the cruising permit, since legally we should not leave the dock
(not did we intend to) without the paperwork. So that was a nice, and common sense solution.Whether you can make a similar arrangment I have no idea.
As to decals, we had always had them when we were on Lake Ontario
so I bought one for the new boat which we bought in Rhode Island
. I showed up at the local customs office where we living on the boat (container port in Newark) and they did not know what to do about the fact that we had a decal - they had never heard of a foreign boat having one. Nicely they did not charge for clearance, which would have been more than the cost of the decal. Anyway, we have not renewed the decal since we are long gone.
I no one has given it to you, if you want to call into Customs (daily or whenever - and we did not call in going from Fort Pierce to Lake Worth
because no one told us we had to) their 24/7 number is 1 800 987-2867. That hooks you up with a central office and they will connect with your district office.