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Old 01-10-2018, 08:58   #1
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The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

In another thread, a boat is denied entry due to a prior criminal conviction of a guest.


The question for this thread is: What should the prudent mariner do to vet guests and crew prior to an international voyage? How do you balance the legitimate privacy concerns of guests and crew against the regulatory exposure for the boat?


Do you personally review passports and visas to be sure everything is in order?


Do you search belongings?


Do you perform any sort of background check?


Do you discuss possible disqualifying situations with your crew/guests?


In the United States, the percentage of adults with a criminal record has increased steadily over the last 30 years. The best available data show that 8% of all adults in the U.S. have been convicted of a felony at some point in their lives. Approximately 33% have been arrested and held on felony charges. (https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/researc...y-but-unevenly, https://www.politifact.com/new-york/...iminal-record/)


Some misdemeanor convictions are disqualifying for admission into some countries. For example, a 1st conviction for DUI in the state of Wisconsin is handled as a traffic citation and considered a misdemeanor; typically, violators are not arrested and are permitted to drive home (absent aggravating factors such as an unusually high blood alcohol concentration). But having such a conviction disqualifies the perpetrator from admission to Canada (and possibly other countries).


The increase in effective information sharing between jurisdictions also plays a role. Many people with past convictions that have previously been overlooked because the records were not available at the border are now facing difficulties with travel.
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Old 01-10-2018, 10:06   #2
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Crossing borders and doing check-ins... I've only done that with my wife and myself onboard. So never an issue as yet.


I'll add another story about problems you might have, though.


Went on a business trip back around 1991 to London with another fellow from my company. He was a senior manager. We got to Heathrow and they turned him around. Wouldn't let him in the country.


Why? Back when he was in college (which was more than 20 years before the trip that I'm talking about) he had done the stereotypical "back-packing through Europe" sort of trip. Ended up in Britain, running short of money, but didn't want to go home just yet. So he took a job washing dishes in a rundown pub somewhere. No work permit, of course. Long story short, he got caught, he got deported, unbeknownst to him he also got his name on a list somewhere.


Fast forward to 1991, he's a successful executive at a Fortune 500 company and it never occurred to him that he might have a problem traveling to Britain. You can imagine the embarrassment he suffered when he got back to America and had to tell his boss that he was not able to make the meeting in London that he was supposed to be at.


Not surprisingly, his career at that particular company pretty much hit a brick wall. He had been an "up and comer," but now he was a "not going any furtherer!"


Any legal problems at all, no matter how long ago they might have happened, could cause you to be turned away from some countries.
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Old 01-10-2018, 11:24   #3
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Back when he was in college (which was more than 20 years before the trip that I'm talking about) he had done the stereotypical "back-packing through Europe" sort of trip. Ended up in Britain, running short of money, but didn't want to go home just yet. So he took a job washing dishes in a rundown pub somewhere. No work permit, of course. Long story short, he got caught, he got deported, unbeknownst to him he also got his name on a list somewhere.

It seems to me that there ought to be some sort of process in place for confirming admissibility before traveling.
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Old 01-10-2018, 12:42   #4
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pirate Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Quote:
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It seems to me that there ought to be some sort of process in place for confirming admissibility before traveling.
Well to fly into the US of A I need an ESTA... this is an online visa valid for 2yts.
But.. it does say it is no guarantee that you will not be turned around on arrival in the States.
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Old 01-10-2018, 14:48   #5
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jammer View Post
In another thread, a boat is denied entry due to a prior criminal conviction of a guest.


The question for this thread is: What should the prudent mariner do to vet guests and crew prior to an international voyage? How do you balance the legitimate privacy concerns of guests and crew against the regulatory exposure for the boat?

This question's answer depends entirely on how you select your crew.
There will be no problems whatsoever if you select for crew people who are already known to be good crew, preferably from among your own acquaintances.

If you are dealing with strangers for crew, I think you have a right to have them fill out a form (see Monte's contract, here, http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...-159768-4.html), and it can be part of the form "Have you ever been arrested? what charges? If they make it through the form okay, you still need to ask them about areas of particular interest to you. If they are professionals, they may have a seaman's ticket of some kind or another, but really, pay attention to your gut, and do not hire someone you have any qualms about whatsoever.



As to guests, all expectations should be made clear before they commit to spending money to come visit you. For me, guests are on my nickel for the duration. Bless them when they voluntarily contribute something. Most of our guests have been extraordinarily forthcoming.



Do you personally review passports and visas to be sure everything is in order? You would have to do so for new-to-you crew.


Do you search belongings? No. But what to not bring would be clear beforehand.


Do you perform any sort of background check? Probably hire that done for stranger crew.


Do you discuss possible disqualifying situations with your crew/guests?No, you either hire them or you do not; guests are all well known to us, or not invited.


In the United States, the percentage of adults with a criminal record has increased steadily over the last 30 years. The best available data show that 8% of all adults in the U.S. have been convicted of a felony at some point in their lives. Approximately 33% have been arrested and held on felony charges. (https://www.pewtrusts.org/en/researc...y-but-unevenly, https://www.politifact.com/new-york/...iminal-record/)


Some misdemeanor convictions are disqualifying for admission into some countries. For example, a 1st conviction for DUI in the state of Wisconsin is handled as a traffic citation and considered a misdemeanor; typically, violators are not arrested and are permitted to drive home (absent aggravating factors such as an unusually high blood alcohol concentration). But having such a conviction disqualifies the perpetrator from admission to Canada (and possibly other countries).


The increase in effective information sharing between jurisdictions also plays a role. Many people with past convictions that have previously been overlooked because the records were not available at the border are now facing difficulties with travel.
I really think that most "Mom & Pop" cruisers will have little problem with their guests, but any time you take crew who are unknown quantities, there may be problems. Being clear about all expectations is key, which is why to have a contract: all parties have the same information.

Ann
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Old 01-10-2018, 15:54   #6
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

How much do we really know about our friends or even relatives, particularly where relatively minor legal problems in the distant past are involved?


Can you think of anyone who you know who was a small time dealer or grew their own? Are you sure they never got caught?


People who were in the middle of a nasty divorce who pushed things too far at some point? Are you sure they never plead out to criminal charges?


Some jurisdictions in the U.S. are now pursuing felony charges for car crashes where anyone has been seriously injured, even if there are no aggravating factors. Do you have any friends who have been at fault in a crash?
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Old 01-10-2018, 17:14   #7
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Well the whole Canadian marijuana thing is going to make inviting guests for a cruise through the San Juans intersting. Especially if the Trump gov't goes through with banning anyone involved in the industry.

"Hey Barney, want to go for a sail to Roche Harbour?"

"Wow, that sound great Fred, I'm in!"

"Ummm, So Barney, who did you say you worked for again?"

On top of that there's the whole "What's on your cellphone?" question.
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:55   #8
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

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It seems to me that there ought to be some sort of process in place for confirming admissibility before traveling.
There is. Usually a call to the appropriate embassy would be all it takes.


In the case of the guy that I worked with, it just never occurred to him that it would be an issue. He said he had completely forgotten that it had even happened, until they pulled him out of line there at Heathrow airport.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:15   #9
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
...Why? ... No work permit, of course. Long story short, he got caught, he got deported, unbeknownst to him he also got his name on a list somewhere.
There are very few countries you can ever return to once you've been deported. Would have thought that was common sense and knowledge. The Government is responsible for keeping bad guys out of their country so you've expect them keep a list somewhere wouldn't you? Try getting back in to your own country after an immigration breach of any sort, even a mistake.

Also where countries have reciprocal automatic visa rights between them, with any sort of issue, be it criminal conviction, deportation, illegal alien etc, the automatic privilege ceases. The high flying exec should have had more common sense. Certainly should have known that and applied for a visa and would have saved a airline charge and career.

The questions the OP raise are very valid and highly relevant even when using well known crew. I think an owner has every right, when passage planning to border cross to ask for whatever might be needed at Customs.

The first source of information is their passport(s). If you can see old visas for the intended country then a good chance they can gain another.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:17   #10
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

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It seems to me that there ought to be some sort of process in place for confirming admissibility before traveling.
There is, it's called a visa. You apply for it before well before your planned trip. Only when granted do you known you can enter.

Anyone with anything dodgy in their past needs to apply for a visa.
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Old 02-10-2018, 09:37   #11
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

As boatman61 said :
Well to fly into the US of A I need an ESTA... this is an online visa valid for 2yts.
But.. it does say it is no guarantee that you will not be turned around on arrival in the States.


Be aware that ESTA's are not valid if you travel into the states aboard private means of transportation : eg, A sailing boat, a private plane, your car. ..
ESTA's are only valid when traveling into US territory aboard commercial transport such as commercial airline or ferry .
This restriction is not advertised on US government ESTA related websites and very difficult to find.
In 2016, my ignorance costed me a 1755 US $ fine for entering Porto Rico with ESTAs instead of proper visas.
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Old 02-10-2018, 11:08   #12
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

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This restriction is not advertised on US government ESTA related websites and very difficult to find.
In 2016, my ignorance costed me a 1755 US $ fine for entering Porto Rico with ESTAs instead of proper visas.
CBP officers can be a real pain in the ass. Ive gotten all kind of answers when calling in with my cruising permit. I've been a victim of completely out of place and unwarranted complains by CBP officers. At the same time, I have to admit I ve found also some who are not only nice, but willing to go above and beyond to help you. CBP officers; you get the best and the worse. The unlucky and complicated part about it is that there is very little overseeing. There is very little self-policing of the organization. They possess as officers way too much power. So the really nasty ones can be truly terrible. That's the biggest issue.

The best thing to do is to be VERY VERY wary, ask a lot of questions, and unfortunately, deal with them as if you were dealing with a psycopath; you really can't apply logic most of the time. Dealing with the CBP is one of the reasons I do not intend to continue keeping my sailboat in the US next year, and continue my refit over there. It's just not worth it. And I will be blunt; Trump being president hasn't helped AT ALL. It just empowered bigger idiots.
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Old 02-10-2018, 14:53   #13
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The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Hired a very good pilot to ferry an aircraft over to Morocco from the US. When he got into Canada, they wouldn’t even let him refuel and go on, they made him turn around.
He and many Ag pilots of days gone by made a very good living in the off season bringing things across the border, a few got caught.
I don’t think his Passport said anything, I think they checked some kind of database and he came up.
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Old 02-10-2018, 15:21   #14
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Having spent many years working in the Concert Industry I have made many Canadian Border Crossings, sometimes with as many as 22 tractor trailers full of gear, and 8-10 Tour Buses with Bands and Technicians.
I can tell you it is a MAJOR PAIN, and many times I have had trouble getting folks into Canada. Have just had to leave them at the border!
For Canada there is a thing called a "Ministers Permit" where you file and application, the check out some details, and MAY decide to allow you entry in spite of some past transgressions. The last I knew the fee was something like $1200.00 dollars US. this obviously has to be done ahead of the trip.
So for me.....I ask Guests and Crew ALL the hard questions, and I am very firm about ALL the rules, and make it clear that YOU WILL BE LEFT AT THE BORDER.
To take this one step further, I have also been known to, when prepping for a yacht delivery to "invite" the USCG to bring "Lassie" aboard the vessel for a good sniff around, before departure just to make sure I a not being involved in big trouble. That comes from running charters and doing deliveries, in Florida for many years back in the 80's, and not wanting a bad case of "The Smugglers Blues"
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Old 20-10-2018, 04:21   #15
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Re: The prudent mariner's approach to customs and immigration for guests and crew

Hello everyone. It has been some time since I last logged in and am in need of some information.

I am currently in La Siena, Spain and am heading out the Strait of Gibraltar next week bound for Toronto, Canada. The vessel has a Canadian skipper and is Canadian flagged.

Unfortunately I had a crew change due to family issues the must deal with back home. I have engaged the services of a German fellow and a Polish fellow. They wish to disembark in Guadeloupe and explore the Caribbean on their own.

Can I leave them in Guadeloupe and if so what are the requirements for me to do so.

Any information will be greatly appreciated.
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