Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed? - Page 2 - SailNet Community
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post #11 of 29 Old 02-24-2019 Thread Starter
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Thanks to all of you for your responses. The original CG documents are still on board the vessel, the CG Bill of Sale is in the mail, I have several copies of CG verification from their website that do not mention the owner but only information about the boat. I'll make several copies of the bill of sale and CG documents and take a chance. I was a little confused as to what to do as the CG documentation forms conveying ownership must be accompanied by the original CG bill of sale. The current marina where the boat is docked charges $850 plus $50 for shore power per month. I'm in for one month already. Spending a couple of weeks on the boat to do maintenance and minor repairs then returning at the end of March with crew to head south taking about 2 months cruising and ending up in Texas where the boat will be kept until the next adventure. Just wanted to loop through the islands instead of following the US coast all the way back. Let the adventures Begin!
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post #12 of 29 Old 02-24-2019
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

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Originally Posted by colemj View Post
In our case, we ARE the owners of the boat. Backed up with a notarized CG bill of sale, and a notarized letter from the previous owners describing the situation (and insurance certificates in our name, if they needed more). The documentation was current for the boat. Putting our names on the forms as owners was truthful and legal. Doing otherwise would have been illegal.

It isn't really possible/practical to get new CG documentation in the Caribe during a US government shutdown. Even during normal operations, it often isn't possible to Fedex the required documents to the CG and get the new documentation back before one's cruising permit expires and they need to leave the country with the boat. This was our case - the boat's cruising permit was expiring in a week, and it had already used up its extensions.

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All I am saying is that the form did not match the document. Nothing more. Who knows, perhaps he bought the boat for his son? Just a word of caution, no more. Perhaps that customs guy had had a fight with his wife that morning?
By law, one must produce the original document, but since we can only download a copy, we use that and no one has given us any grief over it. It sounds like you are prepared, but sometimes these guys can be tough, even unreasonable.

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post #13 of 29 Old 02-24-2019
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

The French islands insist of full CG reg AND it must be the original doc BUT they simplified the check in and out procedure.

Now in most cases you wander into some beach front bar, fill in the details on some dusty PC and get the barmaid to stamp it. Repeat when leaving.

However the French CG are fairly active and they have daily updates on the boats checked in.

Woe betide you if you are caught by them ' yellow flagging it ' Expect a substantial fine and if the boat docs are not in order eg a boat travelling on a lapsed state reg they have been known to seize the boat and deport the skipper.
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post #14 of 29 Old 02-25-2019
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

I think the Bahamas are both the most lenient to US boats and among the most inconsistent. It seems to depend on the individual C&I officer and which island you're clearing into.

I understand that a federal form of documentation is technically required abroad, but how could every clerk in every C&I office around the planet know what all the others look like. I think that is why some tell of getting away with State registrations. The agent probably didn't know the difference.

Personally, I don't need the stress and would want the correct documents. There is enough I can't control.


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post #15 of 29 Old 02-25-2019
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

Most places weíve been to treat you just like you were a large ship. I donít know how you would fill out the forms to clear if you:
Werenít the owner or agent
Didnít have a crew list and all crew have active passports
Werenít A DOCUMENTED vessel
All have had a line for the documentation number and which country flagged you.
Many places now do clearance on computers scattered among the ports of entry. If you donít fill in all the lines they donít spit out the clearance document you need to stay legally in that country. If they board you the first thing they ask for is that piece of paper. Donít have it you go to Jail.

Not being a documented vessel is not a viable option through out the Caribbean. Just look at eclear to see the typical information asked.

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post #16 of 29 Old 02-25-2019
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

Interesting read. The best place to get info is on Noonsite.com , they tell you everything you need to know about clearing in and out of any country.

Funny story..........helped my buddy take his L38 over to the Bahamas after thanksgiving 2018 got there beginning of December Cleared in at Little Grand Cay(Rossies Place). Had all the proper paperwork and documents in order(almost). Everything went very smoothly util we went to leave four days later flying back to the US.............We get to Marsh Harbor airport and (my buddy ) owner of the boat gets told that his Passport is expired( as in almost a yr out of date). It was quite delightful seeing him sweat bullets wondering if he was going to get out of the country. We still haven't figured out how he was let to clear in..........I do think that they decided since he was really not legally there they had to let him go.............. they escorted him thru security and on to the plane.

Remember Double Check all your documents. Safe travels and Fair winds.
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

Once cleared crew with a polish, Aussie, and Italian passports. I as captain submitted my US passport to round it out. Customs lady lady wanted me to help with translating the Polish and Italian. That was a joke as I barely speak proper English. So we just picked the numbers that seemed right and laughed our way through it.

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post #18 of 29 Old 02-28-2019
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Bahamas is not the only issue, what if you are boarded by the USCG. Having purchased a USCG documented vessel this past Fall and knowing it takes about 2 months for the USCG to issue the new certificate, I asked the USCG if it was lawful for me to operate the vessel during the weighting period. They said if I was stopped by the USCG, I would need two things, 1. the prior owners original documentation certificate and 2. a copy of my USCG application, which includes a Bill of Sale, applying for a new documentation certificate.
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post #19 of 29 Old 03-01-2019
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Re: Cruising from US to Bahamas and south Boat Documents needed?

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Originally Posted by Pilot2 View Post
..... if I was stopped by the USCG, I would need two things, 1. the prior owners original documentation certificate and 2. a copy of my USCG application, which includes a Bill of Sale, applying for a new documentation certificate.
I believe your copy of the application is good for a certain number of days, after it's dated. I want to say 120 days. Whatever it is, there are times they get backed up beyond the number of days. I'll bet you'd be okay, if it was just a routine boarding. They would presumably know they were backed up.

I don't think a copy of the PO's doc is necessary, as the boat may not have been previously documented in the first place. I can't recall, but I'm trying to think whether it even needed to be sent in with your application.


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post #20 of 29 Old 03-01-2019
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The USCG made clear to me that you do not need to send the original certificate of documentation to them with your application for a new certificate...you only need to send a copy. The original certificate needs to remain in the vessel until the new certificate is received.
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