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Old 13-08-2013, 16:10   #1
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Original documents - take or leave?

Here's a question for cruisers out there. Given that many of you have sold the home for a life of adventure on a yacht, what have you done with your important documents? For example, marriage, birth, certificates; and such? for the past three years I've carried them on the vessel with me, but now I'm thinking I should leave the originals on land and carry only copies with me. I'm not in my home country of Australia but will sail further away from Asia. Has anyone had a need for carrying original document's?
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Old 13-08-2013, 16:38   #2
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

W'eve left these with our oldest child living in a house ashore, but we have some official copies and of course we have our passports and personal IDs. We keep documentation of insurance policies off the boat and on board. Some items we keep for five years from their origin due to tac regulations, but that would vary by nation.
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Old 15-08-2013, 08:12   #3
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

I put all our of our originals in a safety deposit box in our bank with a signed permission for one of our kids at home to get into the box. I do keep offical docs on board and a copy in my computer ready to print for the extra copies I need. That system worked well for us for the four years when we circumnavigated. The officials at all the places we went never had a problem with copies of the originals.
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Old 15-08-2013, 09:01   #4
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

If one's boat is U.S. documented, the current original document certificate should be on-board.
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Old 15-08-2013, 12:00   #5
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

I kept one certified copy of all my doc's on board. I scanned all my doc's into my computer and printed them out as needed and I never had a problem with official's in any of the countries we visited.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:23   #6
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

You can make copies that look exactly like originals to a foreign eye. You can also get some double originals from some govt agencies.

We never carried originals that were not immediately necessary onboard. The originals we did have:

- passports,
- boat certificate.

I think nowadays insurance papers should also be held onboard. Yellow books if you go where they are required.

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Old 15-08-2013, 13:39   #7
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

Have copies of your documents notarised and leave the originals behind. Invest in a hand embosser as well. Either a custom insignia, of simply the word "Official".

I've discovered that bureaucrats in officialdom tend to accept pretty much any document with a raised embossment as authentic.
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Old 15-08-2013, 13:46   #8
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

Be have our original everything, but we've also needed them. If you've ever had a child in another country and needed to establish multiple citizenships then you know what kind of shenanigans it can be.

Boat paperwork itself has been a non issue, but when you deal with consulates, local ministries, and embassies often the original is the only thing that will suffice when it comes to the paperwork of the crew. Ditto for immunization records.

Regarding USCG documentation I'd recommend getting a double-sided color photocopy (or 5) made at a Kinkos or whatever in the US before you leave. They're really high quality and look almost exactly like the originals. In fact I've confused the copies for the originals, the only way I can tell is that the original has fold marks from when it came in the mail.

When on passage we put our passports in a ziplock and in the ditch bag.
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Old 16-08-2013, 04:48   #9
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Re: Original documents - take or leave?

Thanks all for your feedback. I think keeping the originals in my home country in a secure location will work and will take very good copies with me.
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