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Old 02-04-2016, 05:42   #1
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WA decals - AK cruising permit

I know there is a story circulating that WA state is now requiring cruising permits. We did not see that when we entered at Port Angeles in January and were, as in the past, sold the famous decal. When we arrived in Ketchikan 2 days ago I made sure we had the decal displayed and the girl on the phone asked if we had one. She also recorded the decal number.

When the CBP guy arrived to board us he had all the cruising permit forms and info. We had a long discussion about the CP because it was less than clearly explained when we were here 2 years ago. The phone reporting as we changed ports was particularly problematic at that time because it was unclear what constituted a reportable port and the appropriate reporting phone number was not always apparent. That seems to still be a bit of a moving target because we were provided with a list of reportable ports complete with phone numbers but then the officer wrote in a few extras. Still - something is better than nothing and nothing is what we got 2 years ago.

At the end of his visit the CBP guy went on a major rant about how WA state was a rogue CBP operation. According to him they don't follow federal protocol - the decal is intended for commercial traffic, not cruisers and the individual ports differ wildly in their entry requirements. We've only ever entered at Roche and P. Angeles so I can't comment but his rant tended to support other advice which we have received to avoid entering at Friday Harbor.

The visit was completely pleasant and very enlightening. At the end of it I got out my credit card to pay for the cruising permit but the officer refused to take any payment. He said that we had already paid for a decal which we shouldn't have been compelled to purchase so they weren't going to charge us for the CP. Gotta love that attitude.


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Old 02-04-2016, 15:09   #2
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

It's always tough trying to deal with the port to port differences for customs and immigration in third world countries Add in the language issues and things can get really confusioning.
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Old 02-04-2016, 15:21   #3
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

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Originally Posted by Paul L View Post
It's always tough trying to deal with the port to port differences for customs and immigration in third world countries Add in the language issues and things can get really confusioning.
Now that's funny
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Old 03-04-2016, 11:50   #4
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

Friday Harbor is an official US port of entry for boats coming in from other countries (e.g. Canada). So are Roche Harbor, Anacortes and Port Angeles.

You should double check the list here:

http://www.nwboatinfo.com/customs.html

This is not an official CBP site but is correct AFAIK.
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Old 03-04-2016, 12:16   #5
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

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...so I can't comment but his rant tended to support other advice which we have received to avoid entering at Friday Harbor.
All my Canadian boater friends have been telling me this for many years.

Thanks for that report, Bob.

Waggoners Guide has online updates and they've just published some.
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Old 04-04-2016, 09:33   #6
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

It is strange that it would be different at Roche than at Friday Harbor. The agents are all from the same FH office so you would expect the experience to be the same.
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Old 04-04-2016, 12:41   #7
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor are the same people really. The top agent there told me I did not deserve and cruising permit".Definitely one to avoid but even worse is Port Townsend.

If you ever wondered what the Gestapo was like visit the agent there and ask for a cruising permit. He asked where my boat was because he wanted to confiscate it. When I told him good luck, it was in Canada he said I was a disloyal American because as a US citizen I should register my boat in US. I said there was no law which stated such ini fact most of the multi million mega yachts in Port Angeles were boats owned by US citizens or corporations but registered in the Cayman Islands. He said that was none of my business. Need less to say, my wife and I made a hasty retreat.

Port Angeles is always different but I now know the Chief of the station there and he said to call on him if I ever get hassled by his crew.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:50   #8
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

Update: we landed in Wrangell last night at 16:00. I phoned the reporting number as soon as we had the lines tied which was actually a few minutes before 4:00. I got a cast iron secretary who told me to phone a cell number so I did. No issues. Life goes on.

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Old 09-04-2016, 09:30   #9
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

Welcome to SE, Bob! We'll be happy to rant about other stuff, too....
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Old 09-04-2016, 10:27   #10
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

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Originally Posted by bobofthenorth View Post
Update: we landed in Wrangell last night at 16:00. I phoned the reporting number as soon as we had the lines tied which was actually a few minutes before 4:00. I got a cast iron secretary who told me to phone a cell number so I did. No issues. Life goes on.

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Hi Bob,

Welcome to Wrangell.

I'm sorry we aren't on our boat at the moment to say hi [and apologize in person for the ongoing war between some WA and AK CBP personnel...]

Even as a US flagged vessel [and NEXUS card holding US citizens] we get conflicting info from CBP agents in some WA ports.

Our embarrassment is compounded when we remember we are paying for this privilege...

Your experience with CBP in Ketchikan mirror ours; they are the best, most understanding and accommodating CBP staff we have ever encountered.

We hope you have fun during your stay. Let us know if you have any questions about Wrangell.

Perhaps we can catch you in person another time.

Cheers!

Bill
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Old 09-04-2016, 11:44   #11
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Re: WA decals - AK cruising permit

So you guys have to book in when you go to a different harbour? how quaint

Have you thought about forming a Union, if the Europeans can do it after they have been fighting each other for a thousand years since the Romans left, I am sure you guys can do it. After all you all speak English (spelling needs work) and have a single currency
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