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Old 23-05-2024, 15:11   #16
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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Originally Posted by leecea View Post

As I underlined, I have no expertise in this field and may well be wrong, but the document and attached discussion would make me concerned.
If I had no expertise or experience in this field, I would not comment at all.
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Old 24-05-2024, 03:04   #17
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

There are no manning requirements applicable to recreational documented US vessels. Manning requirements are outlined in Title 46 Chapter I Subchapter B Part 15. If the vessel has a "Coastwise" endorsement on its documentation, and there is compensation involved, then the situation may be different. However, if the document is only endorsed for "Recreational", then there is absolutely no manning requirement, including citizenship.
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Old 24-05-2024, 03:44   #18
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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Originally Posted by kayakerChuck View Post
It is a yacht, and he's not being compensated. No problem.
It's state registered, not documented. No problem...
I added to my original post by stating that the yacht is indeed documented; which might change things. I'm still waiting on DHS and/or CBP to get back to me for a definitive answer.
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Old 24-05-2024, 04:53   #19
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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If I had no expertise or experience in this field, I would not comment at all.
Before retiring my job was to read clinical trial protocols and look for details that may impact the software I was responsible for. I was not a doctor, not a clinical researcher, nor did I have expertise in cancer or whatever condition the trials were addressing. But I could read a complex technical document and flag areas of concern. Then I would follow up with people who did have subject matter expertise.

So in this case I found and read a fairly complex official document that seemed to address the question. I found an area of concern and brought it to the OPís attention. I made sure to caveat my findings so that the OP knew I wasnít an expert in this area. They can follow-up or ignore what I found, as they see fit.
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Old 27-05-2024, 06:41   #20
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

The rules requiring a licensed captain or master apply when the captain is being paid and/or when the boat is an Inspected Vessel which is different from a documented vessel.

Documentation is a registration, inspection is a safety inspection to determine the suitability for commercial use.

CFR 46 covers inspected vessel.

CFR 33 covers navigable waters and general safety and a few other areas.

So, if you are not being paid, have all the paperwork necessary to prove ownership and permission, then there should be no issue. The owner's permission letter should be clear that no compensation is being paid.
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Old 27-05-2024, 07:05   #21
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

Have the owner apply for a CBP decal for the boat. It can be done in their website and costs $26. Once you have that decal number itís very easy to enter US. Yiu can do it all on the CBP Roam app.
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Old 27-05-2024, 07:27   #22
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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There are various opinions floating around regarding the rules for entering the USA; and I do know that a documented commercial vessel requires a U.S. citizen as skipper.

In this case I'd be skippering a recreational sailboat with a state registration back into the USA. I've got my B1/B2 visa and have sailed my own boat into and out of the USA several times. I am not doing this trip for hire.

What I'm looking for is a specific reference to the rules; all I've found so far on this topic are statements with no supporting evidence (quite a lot of that, with vastly differing opinions). Perhaps someone would know which CFR might apply here?
Try contacting the US Customs and Border agency and/ or the US Coast Guard.
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Old 27-05-2024, 07:28   #23
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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Originally Posted by leecea View Post
I found some stuff that might be relevant but I have no expertise in this field:

46 U.S.C. 8103:



Some related discussion...
This does only apply to US-documented commercial vessels.
Any foreign registration needs no US master or captain
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Old 27-05-2024, 07:52   #24
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

If you're asking the internet for interpretation of laws, you're already making a mistake, in my opinion.

There is the law as it is written, and there is the law as it has been interpreted by the courts ever since the law was enacted. In addition, even what might look like plain, simple, English in a law doesn't always mean what you (or I) think it does (or should) mean.

If you want a real legal opinion to rely on, talk to a maritime lawyer (which I am not, nor am I any kind of lawyer), not a set of faceless people on the internet.

Having said that, my understanding is that a foreign flagged ship with a foreign captain and crew that is engaged in a commercial activity is allowed entry to a U.S. port, but is not allowed to operate between two ports in the U.S.. I forget the name of that act. However, i believe that restriction DOES NOT apply to recreational vessels such as private yachts.

Make sure that you and all on board (not just the crew) are eligible for entry into the United States and that your first entry is at a place where all can clear customs. Make sure that you have all the ship's paperwork in order and a letter (preferably notarized) from the owner stating that you have permission to move the yacht into/through the United States (and any other countries you might be encountering).
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Old 27-05-2024, 09:09   #25
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

I'd just put one of the American's down as the person in charge. The CBD is not going to look at the insurance papers. Do have the Decal number.
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Old 27-05-2024, 09:43   #26
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

I donít believe what youíre thinking is true. You have to be a US citizen to OWN (document) the vessel.
But donít have to be a US citizen to operate a documented Ďpleasure vesselí. If you were taking paying passengers then yes. Youíd have to be licensed by USCG. AND the vessel would have to be inspected for passenger carrying. The distinction is paying passengers. This is a whole can of worms. It has been found that if one of your passengers buys. Gas. Or brings food they are considered Ďpaying passengersí. But just a guest means itís just a yacht. But just operating is different. Are you a paid captain? Or just running a boat for friends?
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Old 27-05-2024, 11:26   #27
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lochner View Post
The rules requiring a licensed captain or master apply when the captain is being paid and/or when the boat is an Inspected Vessel which is different from a documented vessel.

Documentation is a registration, inspection is a safety inspection to determine the suitability for commercial use.

CFR 46 covers inspected vessel.

CFR 33 covers navigable waters and general safety and a few other areas.

So, if you are not being paid, have all the paperwork necessary to prove ownership and permission, then there should be no issue. The owner's permission letter should be clear that no compensation is being paid.
I am a retired US Coast Guard Officer who spent over 20 years working in recreational Boating Safety. This a question that occasionally came up. The above quote is the correct answer. You do not need any special permission, permit or otherwise to enter the US on a Recreational boat (or Yacht). It's really that simple.

The rules quoted previously in CFR 46 apply to commercial vessels, not recreational boats. There are no such rules in CFR 33, which covers recreational boats.

You as a non citizen need a visa. But a documented recreational boat does not need a US citizen as the skipper. That's part of the Jones Act and only applies to Commercial vessels.
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Old 27-05-2024, 13:23   #28
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

3 years ago I sailed into Fort Pierce Florida as a South African skipper on a USA flagged cat. Apart from searching to find customs and immigration I had no problems. While I was at the Airport to sign in water police visited the yacht. Friendly helpful and polite towards my wife who stayed on the yacht. Only requirement at customs was the boat registration and B1/B2 Visa. Took me all of 10 minutes to complete the documentation.
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Old 27-05-2024, 14:48   #29
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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3 years ago I sailed into Fort Pierce Florida as a South African skipper on a USA flagged cat. Apart from searching to find customs and immigration I had no problems. While I was at the Airport to sign in water police visited the yacht. Friendly helpful and polite towards my wife who stayed on the yacht. Only requirement at customs was the boat registration and B1/B2 Visa. Took me all of 10 minutes to complete the documentation.
Seems the only people saying this is illegal are those who have never done it.
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Old 30-05-2024, 11:12   #30
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Re: Regulation for skippering a U.S. flagged recreational vessel into the USA

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Originally Posted by boatpoker View Post
Seems the only people saying this is illegal are those who have never done it.



Ha ha I'm with Boatpoker on this one and Ike the retired US Coast Guard gentleman. In my experience also having sailed in and out several times with foreign and domestic flagged vessels, just forget about this. Make sure everyone's papers are in order and you are good!
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