Originally Posted by aeronautic1
You're headed to Mexico
? No problem. Enjoy Cuba.
Perhaps if you are neither: 1) a US citizen or permanent resident, or 2) have a USA flagged or owned vessel, if such attributes apply then presently entry to Cuba would be illegal under US Federal law [Export Administration Regulations
/ EAR] as being regulated exports originating from the USA. Nota bene: When one enters the territorial waters of the USA, that constitutes an import
into the USA, when one sojourns away from the territorial waters of the USA, that constitutes an export from the USA and the vessel and its contents are subject to USA import
and export regulations
simply by crossing into and out of the USA territorial waters. If you do not wish to be subject to US EAR, Customs and Immigration control then never enter the USA waters and land.
Paragraph (d)(6) of License Exception AVS contains Cuba-specific terms and conditions for the temporary sojourn of vessels to Cuba. This rule amends paragraph (d)(6) to remove passenger and recreational vessels from eligibility for temporary sojourn to Cuba. Now only cargo vessels for hire for use in the transportation of separately authorized items are eligible for export or reexport to Cuba on temporary sojourn provided all of the other terms and conditions of License Exception AVS are met. This rule also simplifies and makes conforming changes to paragraph (d)(6) of License Exception AVS. Making passenger and recreational vessels ineligible for License Exception AVS when destined for Cuba also supports the President's policy to restrict non-family travel to Cuba.
Amendment to Cuba Licensing Policy
When a license exception is not available, § 746.2(b) of the EAR explains that license applications for the export or reexport of items to Cuba are subject to a general policy of denial unless otherwise specified in that paragraph. This rule redesignates paragraph (b)(3)(ii) as (b)(4) and revises the text of the new paragraph (b)(4) to explain that applications for the export or reexport of most aircraft or vessels on temporary sojourn to Cuba are subject to a general policy of denial unless the export or reexport is consistent with the foreign policy or national security interests of the United States.
. . .
A note to paragraph (b)(4) explains that applications for private and corporate aircraft, cruise
ships, sailboats, fishing
vessels, and other similar aircraft and vessels will generally be denied. As a licensing policy of denial indicates, BIS will only issue licenses for the temporary sojourn to Cuba of non-commercial aircraft or non-cargo vessels if such action is consistent with the national security
and foreign policy interests of the United States, such as the temporary sojourn of vessels for use in oil spill
response. Given the Administration's stated objectives of holding the Cuban regime accountable for its repression of the Cuban people, including by restricting non-family travel to Cuba, such licenses will be issued only in extraordinary circumstances. Thus, non-commercial aircraft and non-cargo vessels generally will be prohibited from going to Cuba.
As to non-USA citizens and / or USA permanent residents and non-USA sojourned vessels:
Cuba has only eight ports
of entry and your landfall must be at one of these designated ports
. Under no circumstances should you arrive and anchor
in a bay.
Yachts may only clear in at a port of entry that also has a marina facility.
As soon as Cuban territorial waters are entered 12 miles off the Cuban coast a yacht must contact the port authorities or coastguard (Guarda Frontera) on VHF
Channel 16 or 77 or HF (SSB) 2128KHz. As most officials use hand-held radios, you may not be able to do this until closer inshore.
Various authorities also operate on the following:
Red Costera Nacional (coastguard net): HF(SSB) 2760KHz
Red Turistica (tourist net): HF(SSB) 2790KHz
Tourist Services: VHF
Don’t worry if you don’t get an answer. If you have AIS
on board it is likely the authorities will already be tracking you and will try to contact you via VHF and organize for officials to be there for your arrival.
In most ports, the harbormaster will answer in English
. The following details should be communicated: name of the yacht, flag, port of registry, last port of call, intended port of arrival in Cuba with approximate ETA, type of yacht and number of people on board. The captain
will then be given instructions to proceed.
On arrival in Cuba, yachts must go to the nearest Port of Entry, with the Q and courtesy flags
The main port of entry for yachts is Hemingway Marina immediately to the west of Havana. All ports with marinas
have tourist facilities and are used to clearing in yachts. The commercial
port of Havana should not be entered as it has no provision for clearing yachts.
Once moored in port, wait for the officials to arrive and no one must go ashore until clearance is completed. You may be asked to anchor out for clearance. How many officials come on board will depend on the port, anywhere between 2 and 12 and possibly a sniffer dog as well.
An exit zarpe from your last port is not necessarily required. Neither the USA or The Bahamas
normally issue one.
Clearance must first be obtained from Quarantine health
officials, after which are the visits by Immigration, Customs, Agriculture Department officials and Guarda Frontera (Coast Guard). These officials are based in the marina and clearance is usually completed promptly (2-3 hours), unless you have firearms aboard.
Items such as portable GPS
, radios, flares and telephones may be sealed on-board by Cuban Customs until departure.
Once initial clearance is completed, a coastwise cruising permit
(despacho de navegacion – Costera) can be obtained from the Coast Guard (Guarda Frontera) on departure. Be sure to advise the harbor master that you intend to cruise Cuba so the Guarda can be prepared. You must submit a cruising itinerary which has to be approved and the Coast Guard will keep track of you.
currently allows you to cruise the waters of Cuba, it does not allow you to go ashore, except at a designated marina.
When cruising along the coast, one must report to the Guarda Frontera office in every port. However, nearly everywhere you stop an official will row out to you, will ask for your details and be very pleased if you produce a Spanish version of the answers he requires as he can then fill in his forms ashore. He will want to know your time of departure, will take your despacho away and, whatever time, will return it to you before you sail. All papers are usually inspected.
Officially yachts may only visit harbors and anchorages
where there are marinas
– except for the offshore
cays. No other anchorage or harbor may be visited and if it is, the captain
and crew may not go ashore.
Twenty-four hours’ notice of departure should be given, if possible, even if sailing to another port in Cuba.
Before departure, one must clear out with the Guarda Frontera at an official port of entry/exit. They will retain the despacho and issue a new exit despacho (clearance certificate) along with the cruising permit. One must also clear out with customs and immigration.
Foreign yachts (i.e. non-US boats) might find it advisable to leave Cuba for another country, such as the Bahamas, and make entry into the United States from there, as cruisers continue to report being denied a cruising permit for the US when trying to clear into Florida
, having come directly from Cuba. I.e., you may not be allowed to enter the USA again, that is to say, Blacklisted for having visited Cuba.