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Great Lakes BoatUS April 2017.indd 2 2/10/2017 9:49:03 AM APRIL | MAY 2017 BoatU.S. Magazine | 35
gov). Another good source is the
California sailing magazine Latitude 38’s
“First Timer’s Guide to Mexico 2016”
pdf), compiled by sailors who frequently
sail south of the border. Remember:
Regulations and procedures are subject
Beelining for the Bahamas
To enter the Bahamas, private vessels
need a Bahamas customs clearance form,
one Bahamas immigration card per person aboard, and proof of citizenship (a
According to the Bahamian
government website, visiting boaters must clear Bahamas Customs &
Immigration at the nearest designated
port of entry; fly the yellow quarantine
flag and notify customs of your arrival.
Only the captain is permitted to leave
the boat until your vessel has been
cleared, at which time customs will send
officers to your vessel to check in the
crew. All boaters entering the Bahamas
are required to pay an entry fee of $150
for boats up to 35 feet; it’s $300 for
larger boats. Fees are subject to change.
Go to the entry requirements page at
bahamas.com for info, including contacts
and downloadable clearance form.
Voyaging to Puerto Rico and
the U.S. Virgin Islands
As U.S. territories, clearance procedures
here are regulated by CBP, and reporting requirements are basically the same
as stateside. The Local Boater Option as
well as the Small Vessel Reporting System
are accepted alternatives to face-to-face
inspection (see “Navigating the border,”
p. 36), and the customs user-fee decal for
boats over 30 feet is also required.
To report your arrival, seven days
a week, call (877) 529-6840 or (787)
729-6840. Customs is staffed from 8
a.m. through midnight. Visit the CBP
page for Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin
Islands for more information ( cbp.gov/
Crossing to Cuba
The politics of visiting Cuba, by boat
or by plane, are in flux. As of publica-
tion, you must have a license from the
Office of Foreign Assets Control to
travel to Cuba. The licensing division can
be reached at (202) 622-2500.
You can find the most recent amendments to the Cuban Assets Control
Regulations at the U.S. Department of
the Treasury’s Federal Register website
( fdsys.gov). Also check the U.S. Customs
and Border Protection website (cbp.
gov) and the Department of Treasury
( treasury.gov) for more information.
Fishing trips & cruises to nowhere
CBP reminds boaters that “any vessel
that leaves from a United States port and
returns without calling at a foreign port
or place has not departed the United
States.” Therefore, “any small pleasure
vessel leaving a United States port into
international or foreign waters, without
a call at a foreign port, does not satisfy the foreign-departure requirement.
Therefore, certain fishing vessels, cruises
to nowhere, or any vessel that leaves from
a U.S. port and returns without calling at
a foreign port or place has not departed
the United States.”