Originally Posted by Allied39
All my dealings with them were awesome, considering what (and who) they have to deal with, and of course the shear volume, I have found they do an excellent job and the system itself works.
Been to more than 30 countries by boat and found the US authorities to be all over the place in competency. In many cases they do not even know and understand their own rules.
To give one example, my wife was offered a job in NYC
and we had visas to live in the US. We decided to live on a boat near her work. Bought a US boat and transferred the flag so it became a Canadian boat in mid-January. Was told to go to the nearest customs
office (happened to be a container port) to get a cruising permit. After much head
scratching and asking supervisors, they decided to give us a permit until Dec 31 at which point we would have to take the boat out of the US for two weeks before we could reenter and we could get a new permit. I pointed out that this was impossible in New York
in December and asked if I could go to Bermuda
in June and return after two weeks and get a CP dated in June. They said 'no' I could not get a new CP since I already had one. The only way I could see to get around this was to register the boat in Rhode Island
which seems to be the Liberia of the US. We did go to Bermuda
that June and reentered the US
at Plymouth, MA. The day after got a phone
call from a local official who asked if we were a Canadian boat with RI registration
. Said we were and he said that is not legal
but he would come down to the boat and sort it out. I explained our story and he made some comment that included the word 'morons' and said we should have been given an open-ended CP since we were legal
residents of the US. I was out the $300 that RI (Liberia) had charged.
For the OP's friend, don't try to sneak down the coast. The Plymouth police have a huge marine
unit (federal funding
every year) and they report every foreign boat they see to the feds. The other foreign boat in town was German. The owners cruise
for one month a year and get hauled wherever they are and spend lots of money
on their baby. That summer's cruise was to go from Plymouth to the Hinckley yard in Maine
where they would get hauled and spend more money
. Their CP had run out when they were on the hard
and they were given 48 hours to leave the country (Nova Scotia). If the officials had known their own rules they would have realized that the clock on the CP stops when a boat is hauled to have work done. The boat owner was royally pissed, in a proper German way, at how he was treated. Interestingly he was the owner of a company that a subsidiary in Michigan that employed 100 Americans. He was going to contact the local congress critter. Would love to know what happened after that.
Third example, there is a sometimes enforced rule
that foreign boats have to phone
in to customs
any time they move. I had a 1-800 number (I asked, it was somewhere in Alabama) and they would link you to the correct local office. Now, the fact that the number only worked with US cell phones and it was for foreigners is well silly. When you got the local office, usually at some airport
, they would invariably ask why you were calling and you would have to explain their rules to them. I said the rule
was sometimes enforced. If you come into Long Island Sound
from the east and are on the north shore (Boston? office) you are supposed to call every time you move. If you are on the south shore (New York office) you only have to call in when you enter the district which extends to Cape May, NJ. Also, it takes quite some time to learn all this stuff.
I will leave the rudeness I have sometimes encountered for another day other than to say when you fly into China
you are asked to react, on one of those smiley face/frown face pads, how you were treated by the official who did your entry.