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Old 19-03-2024, 14:25   #16
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

After having had to endure 3 hours of extended and contentious customs and immigration clearance procedures and having had to pay a fine and / or additional processing fees, I believe one might be highly inclined to take one's dinghy to the beach in White Bay, or as tradition has it, to swim ashore to the Soggy Dollar Bar in order to have one or more of their famous Painkiller cocktails.

Just bring ready to become soggy dollars to the JVD and never leave your yacht to go to the SDB without some.

Raise a Painkiller toast towards always following proper [and painless] entry procedures in the future. Then put the frustration away and enjoy paradise in the BVIs.

Turn up the music and sing joyously.

Bobby McFerrin's Don't worry be happy.

Here's a little song I wrote
You might want to sing it note for note
Don't worry
Be happy
In every life we have some trouble
But when you worry you make it double
Don't worry
Be happy, don't worry, be happy now

and Zach Brown's Toes:

I got my toes in the water, ass in the sand
Not a worry in the world, a cold beer in my hand
Life is good today
Life is good today

Snipet from:

A twist on the PiŮa Colada, the Painkiller is a rich and fruity cocktail that stays true to its name: It will cure what ails you. Made with dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice and cream of coconut, the drink was created in the 1970s at the Soggy Dollar Bar in the British Virgin Islands (BVI), where the confluence of warm temperatures and vacation vibes necessitated cold, refreshing libations. And where, with no dock, dollars were bound to get wet as patrons swam ashore.

The Painkiller is typically made with Pusserís Rum, a recreation of the British Royal Navy rum that was issued to sailors until 1970. Pusserís pays homage to that rum and is made in the same style, blended on the BVI island of Tortula to the same proportions as the original.

In the 1980s, the Painkiller was trademarked by Pusserís in an enterprising feat of marketing. Sure, the Painkiller can be made with any rum if youíre making it at home, but if the Painkiller appears on menus, it should include Pusserís. The rich blend of rums pairs with the juices and coconut cream to bring the tropics right into your glass. Dust a little fresh nutmeg on top for additional aromatics and spice.

The Painkiller recipe is easy to make and even easier to drink. Mix one on the beach, in the backyard, or anytime you want to channel a tropical vacation.
2 ounces Pusserís rum
4 ounces pineapple juice
1 ounce orange juice, freshly squeezed
1 ounce cream of coconut
Garnish: nutmeg, freshly grated
Garnish: pineapple wedge
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Old 19-03-2024, 14:56   #17
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Oh, don't forget the BVI is a tad like Hotel California:

There is no entrance tax in the BVI but there is a departure tax of about $25.00 per person.

Also, be sure to clear customs and obtain the requisite zarpe document when departing the BVI.

A zarpe is a departure clearance. It is normally obtained from the same customs officials that one clears with when entering a foreign port and is required to gain entrance into a vesselís next foreign port of call. Most cruisers are aware that each country they visit will require a zarpe from their previous port, but it is easy to overlook obtaining that first zarpe before oneís cruise has even begun.

In the USA that is a CBP Form 1300, most all of which is inapplicable to a private yacht departure but fill the bill for a document to enter another country's customs clearance procedure.
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Old 19-03-2024, 16:06   #18
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Originally Posted by Tupaia View Post
BVI's rates as the worst possible check-in anywhere in the world.
I have to disagree. Antigua's officials believe that being rude and unresponsive to yachties is a fringe benefit to their overpaid salaries.
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Old 19-03-2024, 16:07   #19
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Soggy Dollar Bar live webcam.

Wave you are on camera.

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Old 19-03-2024, 16:42   #20
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Tourist dollars are essential to the economy of these island nations. Rules should be observed and protocols respected, but if a mistake is made do you always force the angry hand of law or . . . show some form of understanding that, perhaps, the rules were not clearly understood and there's a better way for people to be treated who contribute to the material success of your country? We witnessed a very rude customs official at Chubb Cay ,in the 90's, harass very polite and friendly sport fishermen in multi-million dollar boats who were an essential part of the economy in the Berry Islands and brought untold dollars to businesses and those needy people. Why do we continually make excuses for angry or rude officials who, in theory, are hurting tourism in their countries? Many tourists will never return and will happily spend their money elsewhere. Respect the laws of countries you visit. Be polite and courteous . . . that works both ways. Stop being a victim.
"And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music."
Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathrustra
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Old 19-03-2024, 19:11   #21
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Follow up:

The captain was a professional and has worked in the USVI/BVI for years.
He came with the boat charter along with a chef.
This was not his first rodeo. This has never happened to him before and he doesn't have a record of infractions in the BVI.

We were not the only boat in the same predicament. The other owner/captain who was "caught" about the same time as us was going off in the Customs office, while ours remained calm.

Perhaps it was training day, but they had no problem pocketing $3000 in "fines" while threatening $15,000 or impounding the boat. So in the end, they said that they did us a favor. Lucky us.
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Old 19-03-2024, 19:29   #22
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Yes, I am a first time poster.
I am still pissed about it.

Yes, our captain bent the rules, but he had every intention of immediately going to customs after mooring while we waited on the boat. He has done this at other places in the BVI without issue in the past.

He thinks that they were waiting for him to offer a bribe, but he refused to do so because he was worried about entrapment.
Any time he would ask a question, they would pull out the book and at start at the beginning reading the entire statute to him. Over and over. That is why he was there for 3 hrs.

I really have no recourse so I joined the forum to vent about the issue that we had and to warn other cruisers about JVD customs.

Take it for what it's worth, but I think the penalty was excessive.
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Old 19-03-2024, 19:41   #23

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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown


Under British jurisprudence, the skipper's employer (whether a corporation or other business entity whose "customary" business it is to carry tourists in charter, i.e. against a fee for service) is responsible for bearing all costs incurred in executing the charter, including any fines levied against the vessel as a result of the skipper's "malfeasance".

In "fineable" cases of breach of law, it would be normal practice to issue what I believe Americans call a "citation", a legal document that specifies what law was broken and, at the same time, serves as a formal receipt for the money paid in fines. It also serves as evidence in cases where the fine is challenged by the recipient. Were you (or the skipper) given such a document?

I take it that you, yourselves - as paying passengers in the vessel - were not required to pay the fine resulting from the skipper's breach of applicable law? If you were so required (perhaps by the skipper), you have a claim against the charter company, although that may avail you very little under the jurisprudence of many other nations. I should think that handing this one to a firm of US attorneys, for instance, would cost you considerably more than just grinning and bearing it.

There may be a case to be made for researching the rectitude of any charter company you may wish to deal with in the future as well as of the assigned skipper. That man's competence, qua skipper, should probably also be researched rather than merely taken on faith.

All the best for the future!

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Old 19-03-2024, 19:59   #24
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

The skipper paid the "fine".

We had a lot of respect for the skipper and the way he managed the cruise and our young children, always looking out for us to keep us safe and ensure the best experience possible.

Because of that, we tipped over and above to help soften the blow. It was entirely our decision without any coercion from him.

It did sour the experience for us and clouded the rest of the trip.

I won't be going back to the BVI, that's for sure. In fact, I made a point not to buy any merch on JVD. There are better places to spend my dollars.
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Old 19-03-2024, 20:04   #25
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

If the roles were reversed, Iím sure a citizen of the BVI would get much better treatment from US Customs and Border patrol after skirting the immigration rules.

Ok ok sorry Iíll see myself out!
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Old 19-03-2024, 20:35   #26
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Originally Posted by mvweebles View Post
I'm the US, boaters have great freedom of movement without alerting authorities. That simply isn't the case in the cast majority of countries. The local authorities what to know who is coming and going and where/when exactly.
As a Canadian who travels often in US waters I disagree. Under the US Cruising License we get when we cross the border, we are required to report into CBP every time we stop the boat. This not always easy. There are frequent problems with your ROAM app which often leads to hours on the phone. We have twice been threatened with $50k fines and vessel seizure for moving the boat when we were unable to contact CBP for two weeks. The rules change depending on the officer standing in front of you at the time. I can state we have never been trolled for a bribe.
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Old 19-03-2024, 20:45   #27
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Originally Posted by Urotex View Post
The skipper paid the "fine".

If a receipt was issued, it was a fine, not a "fine". If no receipt was issued, it was likely a bribe. There is ocean of difference between the two.

At a guess, a previous skipper has left a dirty wake recently and you were caught up in the backwash.

If the skipper pulled the same stunt arriving in Australia (i.e not entering at a port of entry), a fine would be the least of his troubles. Play by the rules and you are welcomed but try to circumvent them, well not so much...
All men dream: but not equally. Those who dream by night in the dusty recesses of their minds wake in the day to find it was vanity: but the dreamers of the day are dangereous men, for they may act their dreams with open eyes, to make it possible. T.E. Lawrence
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Old 19-03-2024, 21:46   #28
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

One of the things the OP might not be aware of is that the BVI has, for several years, been working very hard to crack down on boats that "sneak across" from the USVI who have no intention of checking in.

They have also been cracking down on local charter companies who have been a bit less than diligent about complying with the rules. The defense of the charter companies, is basically, "We have alway done it this way." Well, maybe, but not anymore. Kind of sounds like your Captain's defense, and it was just as effective.

Many of the USVI bareboat charters now simply forbid their boats from going into BVI waters. You might argue that this policy is misguided, but always in the immigration world: Their house, Their rules.

A charter skipper coming from the USVI who knows (or should know) the rules, and knows (or certainly should know!) that the enforcement climate has changed and who is seen as evading the rules is kind of stand out target, and is exactly the kind of individual they want to "make an example of".

Not going straight to a port of entry is taken very seriously by many countries. Even in famously polite Canada, border officials get positively frosty if they look at your AIS history and see you anchored for a night before reporting to the Port of Entry.

It certainly is not a surprise to people who keep track--even on the edges--that the BVI has gotten a lot more uptight about their rules. As a local guy, your captain really should have seen this coming. The rules are readily available, and easily referenced. It is true that the rules themselves might not have changed, but the level of enforcement has. No matter how nice a guy your captain was, he screwed up.
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Old 19-03-2024, 21:47   #29
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Is the skipper a local boy? He could be part of the deal.
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Old 20-03-2024, 04:13   #30
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Re: Jost Van Dyke Customs Shakedown

Jost van Dyke is the easiest place to clear into and out of the BVI. But the rules are quite clear on what the ports of entry are, and "White Bay" (where the SGD is located) is not on the list. Usually the officers will read you the riot act and threaten fines for those who get caught breaking the rules, but if they don't get contrite apologies they'll double down. I've done this twice, once with prior permission from the immigration minister, and still got threatened both times.

Nonetheless the BVI is widely accepted as having the least friendly C&I services. During the recent COI (Commission of Inquiry) it was discovered that millions of dollars of customs payment had been taken in, but never showed up at the offices in Road Town. Despites computerized receipts..
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