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Old 10-11-2012, 05:31   #1
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New to crewing need advice

We are new to crewing and are planning to meet a boat in Panama, we will be flying in there from UK. From Panama we will be sailing across the South Pacific however does anyone know if we would need a return flight booked to enter Central America as proof of leaving the country or do they let you enter with a one way ticket? The boat we are joining is not a paid job so no proof of employment as such.

Any advice on this would be great.


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Old 10-11-2012, 05:49   #2
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Re: New to crewing need advice

a letter from the owner,stating that you are joining the boat as crew,with registration details etc would be a good start.
panama is pretty relaxed in regard to onward ticket's,however you may have a problem in london boarding the plan without one,again your letter will be invaluable,but contact the airline at least a week before flying if on a one way ticket.

generally a visa/credit card and funds are enough to satisfy officials in s america.
failing that buy an mco from the airline, refundable or can be used to buy an onward ticket .

you will also probably find that round trip tickets are cheaper than one way any way,usefull to have if you don't get on with the owner,or the boat is a wreck!
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:06   #3
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Re: New to crewing need advice

dont bring more than one carry on bag-there will not be room for a closet full of clothing--
let owner of boat know of any special needs --medical or otherwise
list medicines and medical problems and give to owner of bot or captain, whichever is the boss of boat for passage.
leave spikey heeled shoes home....
if you have special things needed for your trip, bring them with you...
have a LOT of fun....sailing is a bit of work, but is most rewarding as you progress into it.

bring a camera.
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Old 10-11-2012, 07:19   #4
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Re: New to crewing need advice

We are in Panama now and yes, by law, you need a Crew Letter to fly in on a one way ticket.

Have the boat owner contact the Panama Immigration Office if he needs assistance.

With that said, we flew out of Panama and back into the country last August, which is considered a one way ticket. Our Canal Agent prepared a crew letter and provided a copy to Airport Customs before we flew in.

Nobody asked for the letter when we came through customs, but you never know.
Tom Jeremiason
Punta Gorda, Florida

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Old 10-11-2012, 11:22   #5
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Re: New to crewing need advice

Ran into a similar situation in Panama last year (and have in many other venues in the past). The officials were quite easy to work with in our case...went out of their way to help in fact.

Having a letter from captain/owner (and maybe even a copy of the Ship's cruising permit) will definitely make this go smoother.

If the captain/owner is able to meet you at the airport that is not a bad idea either. I've resolved some issues in the past with crew/guests flying in just because I was there...not sure how it would have gone if I had been absent.

The issue may not even come up at all, but I still suggest being prepared just in case. I've had officials not even bring it up before (but that was back in less security conscious times). Being prepared sure beats being sent back home -- and I've seen that happen too.

Oh, and be nice. Treating officials with courtesy, patience, and respect goes a long way. They will probably respond in kind.
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