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Old 22-07-2008, 22:01   #1
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How Much Alcohol Can I Stock Aboard ?

I'm having a difficult time finding specifics on how many bottles/boxes of wine I can carry aboard, or bottles of scotch, when visiting a foreign land. The technical limit is 1 liter, total, period. But I know that friends have carried more than this. How does one clear customs without giving up the grape?
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Old 22-07-2008, 22:33   #2
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I would think every country would have different limits. noonsite.com may have some info for different countries. Ive been thinking of building reflex chamber vat inboard to make my own wine or beer from available carbohydrate sources. I did it when I lived on land with great success my elderberry wine was a hit.
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Old 22-07-2008, 23:27   #3
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to make my own wine or beer from available carbohydrate sources.

But is it legal to make your own in other countries?
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Old 23-07-2008, 01:23   #4
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... How does one clear customs without giving up the grape?
You convince the person on the ground, that it’s only “for personal use”. Being drunk, at the time, may or may not help in that endeavour.
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Old 23-07-2008, 02:14   #5
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Many years ago when entering Japan via Nagasaki, customs were uncomfortable with the cases of wine and champagne that could not be stored in a bondable locker.

This went back and forth for about an hour till I finally admitted that this cruise was the Owners’ honeymoon and they liked to take baths in it.

Much laughter and giggling and nothing more was said!

True story!
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Old 23-07-2008, 02:32   #6
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For a more useful reply. If you are able to fashion up a “bondable” locker then in most countries, Customs will be flexible and give you a generous allowance for your own consumption, generally ignoring the open bottles.

They also will come back down and re-issue more alcohol from your bonded stores prior to a local cruise at your request.

In the past I found Australia the best, Canada the worst!
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Old 23-07-2008, 02:38   #7
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My experience says "it depends". Not only on the country, but also on the individual customs officer.
The rules will say one thing but the customs officer will enforce them as he/she feels fit.
As a generalization, if it is in a sealed bondable locker and is still there when you depart, there SHOULD be no problem.
In clearing back into Australia some years back, the unofficial "rule" in the northern entry points were - it the bottle is sealed, it must comply with the regulations (i.e. max of 2 litres at that time). If a REASONASBLE number of bottle were unsealed, then it was just part of the comsumable provisions on board and was ignored. Sufficent to say that most boats would have a number of unsealed bottles of spirits upon entry.
Of course, it would be UNREASONABLE to have say two or more unsealed bottles of the same drink, nor would say 20 unsealed bottles be considered reasonable with a crew of say 2 or 3 on board.
I don't have any current experience to share.
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Old 23-07-2008, 05:39   #8
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First of all, it's important to declare what you have on board. They may actually check to see if you were telling the truth on your customs form, and the consequences for lying can be pretty bad.

That being said, I've never had any eyebrows raised when declaring up to 6 or 8 liters of spirits and/or wine, even though the limit was one liter per person. Before we left to go cruising the eastern Caribbean, I installed a locking hasp on one of our cabin storage bins in case I needed to bond and seal anything, but never had to use it.
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Old 23-07-2008, 06:20   #9
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We regularly stock up on wine where values are best and have carried maybe 120 bottles of wine around plus regular beer and spirits - and never ever declared anything to anyone.
I'm sure if we ran into trouble we could quickly organise a party and destroy the evidence.
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Old 23-07-2008, 07:24   #10
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It definitely depends on the country and the customs individual you get. That said, no one really seems to care (we been through the South Pacific, NZ, AU, SE Asia, and the Red Sea in the last five years). We have made sure that most of our "hard" liquor is "open", so that we can not declare it and play dumb ("we thought you only cared about sealed spirits"). We also have one storage area that is easy to get to and we tend to declare most of the alcohol in that storage area. We have another area that is not so easy to get to and we tend to not declare that alcohol. We also make our own beer (highly recommended) - and since it's non-alcohol until I brew it, we don't declare that. Mostly these countries recognize yacht alcohol as "stores & provisions" ... at least that is the way we play it. We have never had anyone ask us to seal or bond a locker for alcohol ... but then again you won't really know until you get there.

One hint for all declarations - in stricter countries have something ready to give them ... for example we had heard rumor of a very strict customs agent in New Cal, so to keep her from deep-searching through our refrigerator and taking all our good cheese, I put a some pepperoni right on top. It's seems that some officers just want to find "something" and once they do they pretty much stop searching!
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Old 23-07-2008, 07:30   #11
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... Mostly these countries recognize yacht alcohol as "stores & provisions" ... at least that is the way we play it...
We used to declare "sundry consumable stores & provisions", which included foodstuffs, beverages, and etc.
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Old 23-07-2008, 07:33   #12
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We repackage our hard liquor into plastic bottles, so it is less likely to break, and cannot be consfiscated and resold by customs. I have always declared 1 liter of spirits, except for Sri Lanka and Fiji, where I new they would confiscate half of my stock. If I was busted, I would pour it all down the drain as they watched.
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Old 23-07-2008, 07:39   #13
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Pelagic, Wotname and Hud3 have it correct in my experience. If the customs of a specific country treats it seriously, then a designated lockable/sealed cupboard/locker, will normally do the trick. They will allow you to keep it but not access while in their country and check/open when you sign out.

If they don’t and they treat it seriously forget having a party….They take it and are supposed to turn it into pure alcohol… Well that’s the rules.

In any event don’t p@#s off either serious or very corrupt custom men…They really can spoil your day. Notwithstanding that an amount of spirits 1-2 litres per person isn’t going to raise many eyebrows today. Wine and beer they are not too bothered about and as stated if you have a sealable place then if they go by the letter of the rules….then generally its okay.

If you are cruising, then there are many places where national spirits are pretty cheap so not a great problem. Just drink them before arriving in a new country that takes it seriously(high costs).

Regards

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Old 23-07-2008, 08:19   #14
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Folks, you are terrific resources. Thanks for all of the input. You have provided actual experience, suggestions (bondable lockers, open containers, "bait", etc.), and alternatives. I love this forum. Thank you!
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Old 23-07-2008, 09:23   #15
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I was thinking of, perhaps, installing a "rum tank" like a a 10 gallon tank near the gally with a nice pump dispenser
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