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  #1  
Old 09-29-2010
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Customs wants my boat registry papers

Hello, maybe you can help me about this issue.

I am a tourist.
Last year in november i obtain my cruising permit for 1 year in west palm

beach
I went to Bahamas . I returned 3 weeks ago. Last week i went to make another

permit. They told that it was not posible because..

Under Customs policy, when a foreign flag vessel's cruising license expires,

that vessel may not be issued another license until the following three

conditions have been met: (1) the vessel leaves the US for a foreign port or

place, and (2) it returns from that foreign port or place, and (3) at least

15 days have elapsed since the previous license expired. (Customs Directive

3100-06, November 7, 1988.)


I understand that.
The thing that I do not understand is that they asked me to leave my boat

registry papers to them till I leave the country.

I wanted to find anything about this procedure on internet but I could not

find anything.

Have you heard about this

Thanks
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  #2  
Old 09-29-2010
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" I returned 3 weeks ago. Last week i went to make another permit"

Congratulations, you have illegally invaded the United States, because you were required to get another permit BEFORE you came back to the US. You might want to confirm with them, is this the specific problem, and if so, where can you obtain that permit from a US office in the Bahamas or other close location.

I would guess that Customs wants to retain your papers as a way to make it easier to "arrest" and seize your boat if you fail to leave in a timely manner. That they did not tell you to turn around and leave, or levy fines on you immediately, sounds like they are actually granting you some slack which they are not required to give you.

Ask them specifically what they want, if necessary ask them to write it down so you can get it translated without any doubts, and then comply as quickly as possible in order to avoid larger problems.
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Old 09-29-2010
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"Last year in november i obtain my cruising permit for 1 year in west palm

beach
I went to Bahamas . I returned 3 weeks ago. Last week i went to make another
"

...I think his permit is still good for another month, but he is trying to get another one in place before this one expires.

Since he was gone for so long, it seems like he should be able to get another one straight away, as the intent is to insure people are not living here long term on the permit, to insure they leave every so often. He left, just before the previous permit expired. Not sure if that will count or not.

I do not personally know anything about this law, so I can not help with any advice.
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Old 09-29-2010
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The customs rules are interpreted differently in every part of the US. In some areas it is almost impossible to do what they want. For example, if you have one month left on your cruising permit they will not let you get a new one even though you have been out of the country for more than 15 days. The way some officials interpret the rules you have to be out of the country when the permit expires so that you can enter without a current permit which means you can get a new one.

We found Customs folks in one place in Florida who used common sense. We entered from the Bahamas in May and will be leaving in November. Our permit expired in July. They have taken our permit and our boat papers and are keeping them (safely I assume) until we return to the boat in a couple of weeks. They will give us a permit that will be for the length of time from when we handed in the paper work and when the permit would have expired. In effect, they are putting the permit on hold while the boat is out of the water (and we are contributing to the US economy with marina fees).

We met a German couple in Massachusetts who cruise for a month a year and then get their boat hauled and work done. They spent about $20k on work in MA and wanted to go as far as the Hinckley yard and get hauled there and get more work done (the boat was impeccable). Their permit expired while they were on the hard and they were told they had to leave the US for 15 days before re-entering. On the way out of the country (to Nova Scotia) they had to check in with Customs every night. What made a silly situation even worse is that the guy owned a manufacturing company in Germany that had a Michigan branch plant. He was not a happy camper and was looking to get hauled in Nova Scotia and get his work done there.

Dealing with US Customs is very frustrating because the rules and their interpretations seem to different everywhere. For example, if you are on the north shore of Long Island Sound (New England district) you have to phone into US customs every night. On the south shore you are in the New York/Ne Jersey district and you only have to call when you enter the district. You don't have to call again until Cape May.
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Old 09-29-2010
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A lawyer once warned me, the rules are incredibly complex, the training is insufficient , and the powers are significant. It is a situation where anything can happen. Buyer beware.
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Old 09-29-2010
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Thanks everybody
Killarny, thanks to take your time and explain your situation.
What a surprise when I visited your blog.
I discovered that we were neighbours in Riverside Marina.
So my papers are going to be with yours in Fort Pierce
See you soon!!!

Bienvenidos
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Old 09-30-2010
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Unfortunately, common sense in the enforcement of laws that are not well written or perfectly clear is very unusual.
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