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Old 12-09-2012, 06:50   #1
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Mundane But Important Questions

My first post on this great site! We're pulling the trigger November 2013. Heading to Caribbean as liveaboards and will probably work some to pad the kitty.

My questions are these:
1. What kind of electronic banking do you use?
2. What about cell phone service and costs?
3. What are some of the most reasonable/safe island marinas to look at?
4. What are you doing for part time work?

Thanks for adding to our research and comfort levels...
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:03   #2
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Re: mundane but important questions

The Caribbean is a pretty big area. Narrowing it down some would get you more useful information. You're going to find that there are a LOT of reasonable/safe marinas around when you consider the whole of the Caribbean. Really, too many to even list.

As for working, if you are a U.S. national, then the only places you can legally work without a work visa are the USVI and Puerto Rico. Other countries will require that you get a permit, which is usually not an easy thing to do unless you have some specific skills that are in high demand.

Of course, a lot of people work without the permits. Here in the U.S. we call those people "illegal aliens." Get caught and, if you are lucky, you will be told to leave immediately. If you are not so lucky then they might impound your boat, fine you, put you in prison, or all of the above.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:29   #3
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Re: mundane but important questions

Just about any bank or credit union in the USA issues debit cards that can also be used like a credit card. I recommend having two separate bank accounts, ideally in two different banks. I have found in the Caribbean that sometimes one network doesn't work, but the other will. Try not to keep too much ready cash in either one, just in case your card is stolen or compromised somehow. Keep your banking at whatever local bank you now use and you will be able to call someone on the phone who knows your name and can help when you have a problem. Have someone as a cosigner who can go to the bank and transfer funds, etc. in an emergency, but try to set up most of your major bills (like your credit cards) as autopay so that you don't have to take care of those things from iffy Internet cafes. I found that ATM machines inside large supermarkets in larger cities were safe, and due to the large number of transactions and constant oversight by the staff, any scam would not go long without being detected. Don't use debit cards for ordinary purchases--if the number gets compromised they can drain your account. Use credit cards for the purchases and you are protected beyond $50. Also, credit cards are taken many places now, even in third-world locations. Have a variety of cards, but VISA is the most widely accepted. Have at least two VISA cards. You will still need to carry a fair bit of cash. Have a safe stash of USA currency, which is always useable just about anywhere. Always ask around the cruising fleet for the latest thinking on where it is best and safest to get cash. Most areas are OK, but some places, like Colon, Panama, require taking extra precautions.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:42   #4
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Re: mundane but important questions

A word about electronic banking: Have two accounts, preferably at different banks. ATM "skimming" is becoming very big this year, especially at cheapass ATMs that don't have video cameras in them. A lot of folks are getting cleaned out, and while the bank may make good on that, having a second isolated account makes it easier to survive until your bank straightens things out.
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Old 12-09-2012, 07:52   #5
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Re: mundane but important questions

Marinas can get expensive for long stays....is your boat equipped to be on moorings or anchor for extended periods?
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:24   #6
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Re: mundane but important questions

USVI is probably our initial destination. We are looking at Grenada and Barbados. We will be fully ready to spend time on the hook or mooring out but would like to look at possible 30-60 day respites at a marina.

Thanks for all the great info so far!
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Old 12-09-2012, 08:56   #7
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Re: mundane but important questions

What's your skill set?

Most countries want folks with skills the locals don't have and absolutely refuse outsiders who want to do what the local can do...Can't blame them...
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Old 12-09-2012, 10:46   #8
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Re: mundane but important questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
A word about electronic banking: Have two accounts, preferably at different banks. ATM "skimming" is becoming very big this year, especially at cheapass ATMs that don't have video cameras in them. A lot of folks are getting cleaned out, and while the bank may make good on that, having a second isolated account makes it easier to survive until your bank straightens things out.
+1. Good idea to have at least two accounts. Quite inconvenient if you get hit and don't.

Another suggestion, have the ATM cards only linked to the checking account, but keep most of your funds in an associated savings account then transfer as necessary. This way you limit your cash losses. I read about some bone-head who had $100K in his checking account once...

One of my cards got hit in San Andreas, Colombia this year. My bank was great and got it all sorted out at no loss to me, but sure was a lot less hassle having another card to use.

Also, check your accounts on-line frequently, but not from a public machine. If you notice a theft quickly, then your bank can likely make it good for you, but if you don't then maybe not. I run encrypted tunnel software for a little added security when doing financial transactions. I use GoTrusted.Com and there are a number of others too.

In recent years, international transaction and ATM fees, have been going up dramatically. Cuts your overall fees a bit to do larger withdrawals and then use cash. Check your bank's policies so you don't get surprised. International fees charged by credit card companies can be even worse.
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Old 12-09-2012, 11:25   #9
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Re: mundane but important questions

In general the Bank atms have lower rates and are safer.

If you are ex military USAA is VERY worth looking into.

The advice about large cash withdrawls and cash payments are usually the best way to keep fees down.

Have a great trip!
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Old 12-09-2012, 12:36   #10
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Re: mundane but important questions

Just accepted an offer on the house today! Step 1 on our run to our target. Now I have to sell the boat - Hunter 30t - the car (2006 Saab Conv.) - house contents, etc. Thank you for all your input. Appreciate the banking info!

On the skillset, wife is COO for a $15 miilion electrical contractor and can do all HR, Labor relations, budgeting, systems. I'm a specialist is growing companies through great planning and having the right people in the right seats on the bus - and then helping them exit at their own time on their own terms.
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Old 12-09-2012, 13:27   #11
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Re: Mundane But Important Questions

Re Cell Phones: discussion of this on other threads, but I have cheap Nokia phone and just buy a SIM chip + minutes for it as we move around. Also, have Skype with USA number which can be set to transfer to your local cell number.
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Old 12-09-2012, 14:08   #12
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Re: Mundane But Important Questions

Question. If you're planning on sailing to the USVI, why are you selling your boat?
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Old 12-09-2012, 15:04   #13
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Re: Mundane But Important Questions

Getting something a bit bit bigger to cruise on?

November seems like a pretty optimistic launch date what with having to find and outfit a new boat!

Pretty ambitious!!
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Old 12-09-2012, 15:10   #14
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Re: Mundane But Important Questions

Have you already bought and outfitted another boat? Sounds like with all that you have to do you will be awfully busy!
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Old 13-09-2012, 09:29   #15
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Re: Mundane But Important Questions

We need to sell our current boat and then finalize the search for a new to us boat. We think that will take 6-8 months. Our timetable to get to the VI's is Nov. 2013.

I'm eyeballing two boats in November this year. I've been looking for more than a year and have kind of narrowed down the field. We are under no pressure to make any quick moves - FBI not on our tail! So we want to do the right things.

Thanks again for all your good questions and advice.
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