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Old 06-03-2009, 10:32   #1
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What documents are required to carry on boat for extended sailing outside US waters? Boat is licensed in US (Missouri), has Missouri hull numbers. I assume some kind of proof of insurance is required, but do I need to get the USCG to issue paperwork?
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:51   #2
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Location: Live Iowa - Sail mostly Bahamas
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The two major changes you will see in paper work are:

1. What is required or helpful in entering foreign ports.

2. What is required or helpful when returning to the U.S.

Exactly what this entails will depend on where you go, the nationalities of people going with you, the size of your boat and other circumstances.

All crew will probably need passports. Some countries may require a visa ahead of time. Registering your vessel in addition to state registration will likely be helpful as will having the title on board. You already mentioned proof of insurance. Check on covered areas and restrictions such as hurricane season. In some countries, proof of certain innoculations may be requried. Paperwork may also be required for pets and firearms. (if allowed at all.) If you are carrying items produced outside of the U.S. (such as spare parts), it may be helpful to have the recepts so you can show you did not purchase them in that country. Check each countrie's entry requirements.

Depending on the size of your vessel, the custom's decal and local boater's option may be of benefit when returning to the U.S. or it's territories.
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Old 06-03-2009, 10:52   #3
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Well, things may have changed, but in the Bahamas/Caribbean all we ever needed was proof of ownership and a passport. Just about any title documentation or a registration form were commonly accepted. Most customs officials are far more interested in your identity, having their local forms filled out, and getting their fees paid than they are in your boat. I have never been asked for proof of insurance except at a marina in Florida when having the boat hauled.
"There's nothing . . . absolutely nothing . . . half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats."

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows (River Rat to Mole)
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Old 07-03-2009, 22:45   #4
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It's a pain in the ass but I'd recommend switching out to Coast Guard (federal) documentation if you can. Countries that deal with a lot of US boats know about the state licensing scheme, but the farther you get from the USA the more having your federal documentation in order can be handy. On the plus side it's free and easy to re-register every year.

I'd also have:

- Several crew lists. Each crew member, nationality, their position, passport number, date of birth, and full name. This can really ease clearing into some countries as it shows that you're prepared and gives officials a lot of the information they need in one shot.
- Signed list of your last ports of call.
- Logbook, filled out well and up to date.
- Any sailing or nautical certifications you have, photocopied.
- Copies of everyone's passport.
- Any insurance you carry, photocopied.
- Radio equipment list.
- Photocopies of the boat's dimensions, including draft. Some places (this might be hard to believe) don't run into deep draft vessels a lot; they just have flat bottom fishing boats. So it helps to show them a picture of what your vessel looks like (including the keel).

That's a pretty overkill list and is really for world cruising. To help out, I'd recommend picking up Jimmy Cornell's books: World Cruising Routes: Jimmy Cornell: Books
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