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post #1 of 14 Old 06-07-2007 Thread Starter
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Cruising permit question

As some of you know, we've bought a boat in Rhode Island and registered this previously US registered vessel as a Canadian flagged vessel.

We're arriving at the end of the month to cruise down the coast to the Chesapeake to Great Bridge and will then continue later in the Fall further South.

I suddenly had this thought: Since the boat is already in US waters and we arrive through an airport, How do we "check" the boat into the US? Probably a silly question but I'm just wondering. Where do we obtain a cruising permit, if such thing is required (Is it and how long will it be good for?). I read about some Canadian person writing in the Bluewater Cruising Magazine who's had some difficulty in Florida with this permit issue.

Any information will be appreciated.

Magnus Murphy
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post #2 of 14 Old 06-07-2007
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If you bought the boat via a broker, might be worth asking him about it.

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post #3 of 14 Old 06-07-2007
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I think I'd go straight to the source and call the Coast Guard.

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post #4 of 14 Old 10-08-2008
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Cruising Permit - Boat purchased in US and then registered in Canada

This question is really for Magnus, as I read that you were in an identical situation having bought your boat in RI.

We recently purchased a boat in Boothbay Harbour Maine and are registering the boat in Canada. We plan in leaving Boothbay Harbour in a few weeks heading south, through the ICW.

I would greatly appreciate if you could let us know if you needed a sailing permit and if so, how did you obtain it?

Many thanks,

Robert.
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post #5 of 14 Old 10-09-2008
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I don't know if different rules work in different states or whether Canadians warrant different attention to South Africans or New Zealanders and I have posted this elsewhere:

We came from New Zealand (I'm South African, my wife is British, curious mix, I know) to the US, bought a boat in California, immediately de-registered it from the US register via the customs office in San Diego and as said in the other thread, the only limitations that I was aware of were the original limitations of my visa which allowed me to stay in the US for 3 months.

At no time did any authority even mention the phrase "cruising permit" to us. Up until reading this thread I was unaware of the requirement for such a permit and if it is a requirement, I find it interesting that none of the authorities we had to deal with mentioned it.

But as T34C said, maybe run it by the CG or maybe Customs or Homeland Security to be sure.


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post #6 of 14 Old 10-09-2008
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you go to the local customs office

I am Canadian and bought a boat in CT. When I got my Canadian registration completed I went to the customs office at Port Newark, NJ. around Christmas time. This office is in the middle of a huge container port and they processed the cruising permit after getting over the shock of a pleasure craft owner showing up in the winter time.
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post #7 of 14 Old 10-09-2008
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Cruising Permits

We were told by the Portland maine CBP officer that we needed to sail to Canada (Yarmouth NS or St-Andrews NB) before they culd issue us a cruising permit. Since both those ports are in the opposite direction from where we are planning to go, we will avoid Portland and apply for our permit in Newark.

Thanks for the info.
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post #8 of 14 Old 10-10-2008
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It has been my experience that every time you ask about a cruising permit you will get a different answer. I have heard of a coup[le of Canadian boats being fined $5,000 for not checking in with CBP when travelling with a Cruising Permit. We went to the CBP office in Brunswick, Ga when our permit had expired and they sold us a Cruising Decal which we used ffor four years. Then after going to the Bahamas this winter we were able to get a new Cruising Permit in Fort Pierce Fl. The guy there who seemed to know what he was talking about said Cruising Decals were for US flagged boats only but was going to allow us to continue cruising with the Decal until I told him it had expired. If you cannot get a Cruising Permit, apply for a Cruising Decal on line through Homeland Security and if anyone asks tell them that's what you were issued. Since nobody seems to know what's right they also don't know what's wrong. If you do get a Cruising permit be sure to check in if you change Cruising areas. CBP offices have literature to let you know when and where you have to check-in.
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post #9 of 14 Old 10-10-2008
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It would be laughable if it was not so annoying

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Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
It has been my experience that every time you ask about a cruising permit you will get a different answer. ... We went to the CBP office in Brunswick, Ga when our permit had expired and they sold us a Cruising Decal which we used ffor four years. Then after going to the Bahamas this winter we were able to get a new Cruising Permit in Fort Pierce Fl. The guy there who seemed to know what he was talking about said Cruising Decals were for US flagged boats only but was going to allow us to continue cruising with the Decal until I told him it had expired. If you cannot get a Cruising Permit, apply for a Cruising Decal on line through Homeland Security and if anyone asks tell them that's what you were issued. Since nobody seems to know what's right they also don't know what's wrong. If you do get a Cruising permit be sure to check in if you change Cruising areas. CBP offices have literature to let you know when and where you have to check-in.
On the Great Lakes it is standard for Canadian-registered boats over 30 feet to have customs decals. When you check-in at one of the video phones they ask for your decal number. I had a decal when I went to the Port Newark office to get the permit and they had never heard of a foreign boat with a decal. Seems to vary at every spot.

You are supposed to cheque in by phone when you move to a new customs district (how you are to know when you have done this is never made clear). You can call 1 800 973-2867 and they will connect you with your local district office. Again, every district office seems to operate differently. Responses vary from 'why are you calling us if you have already checked into the country?' to asking for a copy of body registration and cruising permit to be faxed to them. At least when you talk to them you can ask where the new district starts. BTW, the 1 800 number does not work if you are calling from a Canadian cell phone - has to an American cell or a landline.

We will be heading south in two years time. I really do not know procedure to follow. I will renew my decal though since it shows you are at least trying.

Bruce
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post #10 of 14 Old 10-10-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebs001 View Post
The guy there who seemed to know what he was talking about said Cruising Decals were for US flagged boats only but was going to allow us to continue cruising with the Decal until I told him it had expired. If you cannot get a Cruising Permit, apply for a Cruising Decal on line through Homeland Security and if anyone asks tell them that's what you were issued. Since nobody seems to know what's right they also don't know what's wrong. If you do get a Cruising permit be sure to check in if you change Cruising areas. CBP offices have literature to let you know when and where you have to check-in.

There is no such thing as a cruising decal. It is a customs decal and required on planes and boats over 30 ft. if they enter the US. This is required for US boats too if they leave US waters and return. The only thing this decal does is exempt you from clearing in charges. One thing is true though and that is that most US Customs and Border Protection personnel know very little about what's required for cruising boats. Most of their experience is from airports and few of them know the regulations for sailboats. The fact of the matter is that when cruising in the States all foreign boats require a cruising permit.

Rick I
Toronto in summer, Bahamas in winter.

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