Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  


Quick Menu
Forums           
Articles          
Galleries        
Boat Reviews  
Classifieds     
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Charts
Clothing
Electrical
Electronics
Engine
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Maintenance
Marine Electronics
Navigation
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Rigging
Safety
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here






Go Back   SailNet Community > General Interest > General Discussion (sailing related)
 Not a Member? 


Like Tree4Likes
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
  #1  
Old 02-08-2014
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 7
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 0
Matt7245 is on a distinguished road
Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Hello,

I'm chartering in the Leeward islands next month and I'm hoping to get some advice on customs and immigration procedures. My sailing experience to date has generally been within the boundaries of a single nation, so dealing with this stuff is new for me. I expect to be visiting some combination of Anguilla, St. Martin, Sint Marteen, St, Barths, Statia and St. Kitts and Nevis. A few questions:

(1) It seems that C&I on most of the islands close by the late afternoon, and significantly earlier on weekends and holidays. If I arrive after closing time, is there anything I can do other than stay on board until the next morning and clear in then? I've heard that it is sometimes possible to arrange for clearance outside of normal hours with the payment of an extra fee, but I'm not sure where this is available or how I would go about arranging for it.

(2) If I do get stuck arriving too late to clear in and want to leave early the next day for another island (i.e., before c&i opens) can I do this? Or am I required to clear in and out as a result of having spent the night in the harbor, even though I never went ashore?

(3) Has anyone had any luck clearing into St. Kitts and Nevis at Sandy Point Town? The cruising guide indicates that this is an "official" port of entry, but sounds a bit less than optimistic about whether yachts can actually clear in there. I'm trying to see if there is a way to visit northern St. Kitts without having to first clear in at Basseterre.

Thanks to all for your advice.

Regards,

Matt
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #2  
Old 02-08-2014
Faster's Avatar
Just another Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 15,327
Thanks: 88
Thanked 242 Times in 233 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

I'm pretty sure that if you just drop a hook overnight, don't 'land', fly the Q flag, and up anchor and carry on that's OK - we did just that at the Pitons in St Lucia. Same with arriving late after office closings you fly the Q until you're able to check in the next day.

We went into the Basse Terre marina/bunker on St Kitts - it was a taxi or a dinghy ride to customs from there. Much preferred Nevis, btw...
__________________
Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #3  
Old 02-08-2014
Zanshin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,207
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Zanshin is on a distinguished road
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Advice on the this subject is bit tricky, since there is the letter of the law and reality to consider, so I'll talk about the official rules and then, in an aside, mention how it can really work.

(1) If you arrive after customs & immigration has closed for the day or the weekend, the boat is required to fly the yellow "Q" flag and all persons must remain aboard until such time as the skipper goes to C&I with passports of all people aboard. The USA has a bit different requirement in that all people aboard must also go through C&I (fingerprints & retinal scans). http://www.noonsite.com has information on how to request out-of-hours clearance, but realistically one should just plan passage accordingly and try to get in during office hours.
(1a) Often Caribbean countries are a bit lax on this rule and people do go ashore prior to clearing C&I, particularly in the BVI where they go to a restaurant and bar. I've been to Virgin Gorda when the cashier wasn't there to allow me to finish clearing in and asked if I could eat out that night and they stated "Yes, just don't get into trouble.". Don't try this in the USA. The French islands are much more lax than the other Caribbean ones.

(2) Every country has a list of ports of entry and clearance must be done in the first port of entry. The right of innocent passage laws generally no longer apply if one anchors.
(2a) The USA is draconian about this, if you touch the bottom then you've entered the USA. Other islands will let you apply the right of innocent passage and I've arrived in Nevis at dusk or dark, taken a mooring ball for the night, then continued on at sunrise without clearing in. Others have done the same. The French islands are quite lax on this issue.
(3) No, but last time I cleared in at the Cruise Ship dock in Basseterre, anchoring outside, it was a quick and painless procedure despite cruise ships being at the docks. I don't know how far the building process has come along, but last time I was there there wasn't much construction in progress but lots of "coming soon" signs.
Faster and killarney_sailor like this.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
The Following User Says Thank You to Zanshin For This Useful Post:
vtsailguy (02-10-2014)
  #4  
Old 02-08-2014
Faster's Avatar
Just another Moderator
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: New Westminster, BC
Posts: 15,327
Thanks: 88
Thanked 242 Times in 233 Posts
Rep Power: 10
Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about Faster has a spectacular aura about
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Thanks Zanshin.. good info.

I'd just add that my impression (as a guest, never 'skipper') in that area is that failing to get a proper EXIT clearance from the previous 'country' is big trouble, esp with the smaller Caribbean administrations.
__________________
Ron

1984 Fast/Nicholson 345 "FastForward"

".. there is much you could do at sea with common sense.. and very little you could do without it.."
Capt G E Ericson (from "The Cruel Sea" by Nicholas Monsarrat)
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #5  
Old 02-08-2014
capta's Avatar
Master Mariner
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere in the Windward or Leeward Islands
Posts: 1,739
Thanks: 17
Thanked 90 Times in 85 Posts
Rep Power: 4
capta is on a distinguished road
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Everything you need to know is in Doyle's guide to the Leewards, including hours of operation, costs and places to clear in & out. It's all pretty easy and painless everywhere, if you don't show up half naked and act like a jerk. Be prepared with ship's papers, passports, outbound clearance from your last port (unless leaving the USVI on an American boat with all US passengers) and some local currency.
Many of the islands are cracking down, so be extremely cautious about stopping and not clearing in. There are no legal provisions on any of the islands for "just flying the Q flag" on an overnight stop. If you arrive during business hours, why take the chance of a several thousand dollar (US) fine? Anyway, you want all those interesting stamps in your passport, don't you?
A couple of off topic points;
Marigot Bay in St. Martin is now charging for anchoring, but the lagoon and the Dutch side do not.
Anguilla has VERY expensive visitors' fees with very strict movement rules with added fees to just change anchorages. Be certain you are aware of the exact costs and hassles before going.
The French islands use a computer system whereby you never see an official, and the keyboard is French; much different than ours.
Have a good trip and good sailing.
__________________
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #6  
Old 02-08-2014
MarkofSeaLife's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,548
Thanks: 33
Thanked 95 Times in 78 Posts
Rep Power: 5
MarkofSeaLife is on a distinguished road
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by capta View Post
A couple of off topic points;
Marigot Bay in St. Martin is now charging for anchoring, but the lagoon and the Dutch side do not.

The French islands use a computer system whereby you never see an official, and the keyboard is French; much different than ours.
.
Marigot bay anchoring fee is €3 per day, about $5usd.
Lagoon on the french side is free.
Dutch side lagoon and outside in Simpson bay is $20 per week for boats under 12 m /40 feet.

In marigot St Martin (french side) the immigration officials charge about €25 (or more) to clear in but in the Capitanarie in Marina Royal in the lagoon is €5

Mark
__________________
Sea Life
Notes on a Circumnavigation:
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #7  
Old 02-08-2014
billyruffn's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1,282
Thanks: 5
Thanked 27 Times in 18 Posts
Rep Power: 11
billyruffn will become famous soon enough
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt7245 View Post
Hello,

A few questions:

(1) It seems that C&I on most of the islands close by the late afternoon, and significantly earlier on weekends and holidays. If I arrive after closing time, is there anything I can do other than stay on board until the next morning and clear in then? I've heard that it is sometimes possible to arrange for clearance outside of normal hours with the payment of an extra fee, but I'm not sure where this is available or how I would go about arranging for it.

(2) If I do get stuck arriving too late to clear in and want to leave early the next day for another island (i.e., before c&i opens) can I do this? Or am I required to clear in and out as a result of having spent the night in the harbor, even though I never went ashore?
Matt,

I say the answer to your questions is "It depends" -- It depends on who you run into when you do check into customs....and on how honest you're going to be.

Here's what can happen:

Checked out of Martinique on a Thursday afternoon. Left Friday morning. Arrived in Dominica 30 minutes after customs closed Friday afternoon. Anchored for the night and left in the morning. Arrived in Iles des Saintes around noon on Saturday. Police station closed for the weekend at noon. Left Sunday morning for Deshaies, NW Guadeloupe. Arrived Sunday afternoon after the internet café that handles customs clearance via internet closed. Left Monday morning for Antiqua. Checked in a Jolly Harbor where the customs lady (one stripe on the epaulet) asked, "Where are you coming from?"

I answered, "You mean the last place I stopped or the place I checked out from last?" From the look on her face I knew I had messed up.

I probably should have said I was three days out of Martinique and complained about the lack of wind on the leeward side of all the islands, but I didn't. I gave her the itinerary above and, thinking very quickly, said that I stopped in each place for "crew rest" and "safe operation" of the boat, that I sought out customs officials in each place, but when none were available I continued my journey northward with all deliberate speed as I needed to avoid bad weather that was forecast to arrive the next morning.

She held me up in customs for about an hour and in the end made me write an explanation of "why Billy Ruff'n had not checked in at anywhere". You know, sort of like the second grade teacher telling you to stay after school and write "I will not talk in class anymore" 100 times. She attached the letter to the customs form and let me finish clearing in with immigration and the port authority.

When I checked out a few days later, a much more senior customs officer (three stripes) was on duty. When he saw the boat papers, he just smiled and said, "Ah, you're the guy I heard about...." Stamp, stamp, and I was on my way.

That was the first and only time I've ever stretched things in regard to clearing in or out. My sense is that in the Caribbean if you're honest about your circumstances and respectful of the authority, which customs officers DO HAVE, and you have at least a somewhat reasonable explanation for your inability to follow the official procedures, you MIGHT get off with a wrist slap, as I did. If you don't take them seriously or appear to dis them in any way, they will slap you down.

So it depends -- on what you say, how you're dressed, how you act, and how they felt when they got out of bed on the day you walked into their office.
Faster and killarney_sailor like this.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #8  
Old 02-08-2014
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Baltimore
Posts: 477
Thanks: 18
Thanked 7 Times in 7 Posts
Rep Power: 5
MastUndSchotbruch is on a distinguished road
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanshin View Post
...
The USA has a bit different requirement in that all people aboard must also go through C&I (fingerprints & retinal scans)...
Are you sure that applies to 'all people?' I believe it applies to all non-US citizens. I have never been fingerprinted when I entered the US at any border. Granted, this was all by air but I would be extremely surprised if our government had started fingerprinting US citizens as a matter of course at any border.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #9  
Old 02-09-2014
capta's Avatar
Master Mariner
 
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: somewhere in the Windward or Leeward Islands
Posts: 1,739
Thanks: 17
Thanked 90 Times in 85 Posts
Rep Power: 4
capta is on a distinguished road
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

For an American vessel with the same crew (US citizens) in and out, you don't have to do anything but fill out the SVRS online. Not even a phone call. And that was after 11 months visiting a multitude of countries.
Certainly no finger prints or retinal scans.
__________________
"Any idiot can make a boat go; it takes a sailor to stop one." Spike Africa aboard the schooner Wanderer in Sausalito, Ca. 1964.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
  #10  
Old 02-09-2014
Zanshin's Avatar
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Germany
Posts: 2,207
Thanks: 0
Thanked 15 Times in 15 Posts
Rep Power: 9
Zanshin is on a distinguished road
Re: Advice on Clearing in and Out of the Leeward Islands

Quote:
Originally Posted by MastUndSchotbruch View Post
Are you sure that applies to 'all people?' I believe it applies to all non-US citizens. I have never been fingerprinted when I entered the US at any border. Granted, this was all by air but I would be extremely surprised if our government had started fingerprinting US citizens as a matter of course at any border.
I should have stated that this fingerprinting and retinal scanning applies to non-American citizens. In addition, all foreigners arriving in the USA via non-commercial carrier need a visa and the normal visa-waiver program does not apply.
__________________

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message Share with Facebook
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

By choosing to post the reply above you agree to the rules you agreed to when joining Sailnet.
Click Here to view those rules.

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the SailNet Community forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
Please note: After entering 3 characters a list of Usernames already in use will appear and the list will disappear once a valid Username is entered.
User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools

 
Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Private charter in the Leeward Islands/St. Martin leemalis Chartering 0 11-25-2011 05:27 PM
Private charter in the Leeward Islands/St. Marting leemalis Chartering 0 11-25-2011 05:24 PM
Swell Direction in the Leeward Islands ArgleBargle Chartering 7 11-23-2008 07:13 PM
Crusing the Virgin & Leeward islands options Cruising & Liveaboard Forum 12 07-13-2007 10:26 AM
Help with Leeward Islands Charter JanW Chartering 12 08-04-2006 02:57 PM


All times are GMT -4. The time now is 07:28 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) Marine.com LLC 2000-2012

The SailNet.com store is owned and operated by a company independent of the SailNet.com forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.