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post #1 of 27 Old 06-20-2011 Thread Starter
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CBP and Border Patrol on Docks

I have a question, my gf and I were in Miami today and stopped by a Miami harbor. We saw the CBP show up with border patrol. It seems if you sail to lets say the Bahamas you have to tell them when your going and when your coming back, Is this really true.
If so what happens if you go, and you don't checking with them, how are they or is anyone to know you are going to sail out of the country. This sounds serious.
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post #2 of 27 Old 06-20-2011
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To my knowledge, you're suppose to clear in with customs when returning from a foreign country, but I'm unaware of anything about saying you're going.

Between immigration and drugs, Miami is always going to be a more active port for the CBP and Immigration.

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post #3 of 27 Old 06-20-2011
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On the Pacific if you sail into Mexican waters you must clear in with customs in San Diego when returning even if you don't land.

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post #4 of 27 Old 06-20-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropanchorfor3 View Post
I have a question, my gf and I were in Miami today and stopped by a Miami harbor. We saw the CBP show up with border patrol. It seems if you sail to lets say the Bahamas you have to tell them when your going and when your coming back, Is this really true.
If so what happens if you go, and you don't checking with them, how are they or is anyone to know you are going to sail out of the country. This sounds serious.
When you clear into the Bahamas, they report your clearance.

There are places, e.g. Antigua, in which you must clear out.

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post #5 of 27 Old 06-21-2011
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Almost all countries require your clearance papers from clearing out in the prior country in order to clear in. The USA is one of the few countries that does not require clearing out and thus neighbouring countries will let you clear in without those forms when coming from the USA. But you will need your papers when returning to the USA and clearing in. The procedure when entering territorial waters of foreign nation is to hoist the Q-Flag (yellow flag, on starboard side) and then clear in as quickly as practicable.
Each country has its own rules for clearing in, most require that all crew remain aboard and only captain (armed with passports and paperwork) goes ashore to clear in. The USA requires that all people aboard come ashore to clear in.
The best list of rules and regulations plus a load of additional information, is available at http://www.noonsite.com


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post #6 of 27 Old 06-21-2011
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Each country has its own rules for clearing in, most require that all crew remain aboard and only captain (armed with passports and paperwork) goes ashore to clear in. The USA requires that all people aboard come ashore to clear in.
When clearing in the San Juan Islands, only the skipper can get off the boat. I was chastised once when some crew got off to help another boat tie up.

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Write down the documentation/registration number from the ship's papers, and the names, citizenship, birth date, and residence of passengers. Bring that and your charter agreement to the office or dock phone. Leave the ship's papers on board. Have ID of children aboard, and written permission if they are not your children. Only the skipper may leave the boat until after you have cleared customs – ALL OTHER PASSENGERS MUST REMAIN ONBOARD UNTIL CLEARED!
Boaters Clearing Customs Information - British Columbia Canada

The same is true when entering Canada.

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post #7 of 27 Old 06-21-2011
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Jackdale - you are correct and I was wrong about the US clearance procedure for foreign yachts, only the captain goes ashore (since I usually singlehand I get confused about who goes ashore or not).
Subsequently every person aboard the vessel has to clear immigration in person. See Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements - CBP.gov or noonsite or 19 USC 1433 - Sec. 1433. Report of arrival of vessels, vehicles, and aircraft - U.S. Code - Title 19: Customs Duties - Part II - Report, Entry, and Unlading of Vessels and Vehicles - Id 19194197 - vLex for those details.


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post #8 of 27 Old 06-21-2011
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Jackdale can you tell me if you are considered to be clearing in to the US if traversing US waters? For example between Tsawwassen BC and Mayne island BC where you are departing from a Canadian port and making land again in a Canadian port without stopping in the US.
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post #9 of 27 Old 06-21-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dropanchorfor3 View Post
I have a question, my gf and I were in Miami today and stopped by a Miami harbor. We saw the CBP show up with border patrol. It seems if you sail to lets say the Bahamas you have to tell them when your going and when your coming back, Is this really true.
If so what happens if you go, and you don't checking with them, how are they or is anyone to know you are going to sail out of the country. This sounds serious.
If you're a US citizen, you don't need to clear *out* of the US when going to Bahamas or Canada, or USVI to BVI, but you need to clear *into* those countries. And, you need to clear back *into* the US. If you go back and forth frequently, look into "Local Boater Program" for returning to FL, or NEXIS (sp?) for returning from Canada. Each of these will let you pre-register your passport and ships papers with CBP, then you can generally clear back into the US with just a phone call instead of showing up in person. It's a free program, convenient for you, and lets CBP concentrate their resources on bigger risks.


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post #10 of 27 Old 06-21-2011 Thread Starter
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Ok , that all makes good sence and I'm glad I asked it. But if you are going to an island in the Bahamas that is very small, do you still need to go out of your way to the main island and check in?
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