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International travel by boat... when it's your own


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I remember of reading that at least a couple of the RVers here either have or do also live aboard their boats. I would imagine boats that are large enough to live on fulltime might be bordering on the size where it might be reasonably save to take off from, say, Florida, and head on over to Bermuda for a while.


Sounds well and good. And I would imagine there are quite a few places in the Carribean that would be pretty easy to get to for a decent sized boat.


But what I wondered about was, what kind of requirements are there for the legalities of traveling between the US and other places? Do you need to go through some kind of paperwork? Do you need to ask permission of either or both contries involved? Would you need more than just your passport? How does that work?


It's only acedemic for me at this point. Don't have a boat. Probably never will. But I had a friend that used to tell me all about their adventures through the Carribean on their boat, probably back in the 1970s. I know, different world we live in today. But still, I wondered.


Curious. :)



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Before my wife started having great difficulty with skin cancer we sailed for almost 30 years. When I retired in 2004 we were on an 47' Catalina. We spent a great amount of time in Mexico. As to entering other countries it is no big deal. Just like driving a car. A few extra procedures like providing documentation and pass ports to the Port Captain. If you are going to stay any length of time, that time depending on the country, you must get a Visa. In Mexico that can take up most of a day. Go to the Port Captain and get paperwork, take paper work to a specific bank and pay, go to the visa office and present receipt and paper work from Port Captain, go back to the Port Captain and present all the paperwork. When you return to the US you must go to a specific dock, in this case in San Diego, raise you yellow quarantine flag, only the captain can go ashore and call immigration on the provided phone. Wait for up to 2 hours for immigration to arrive, allow inspection of boat, present Mexico paper work and passports and you are good to go.

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We spent five summers on our sail boat cruising the North Channel of Lake Huron. We would sail from the US to Canada. Before 9/11 crossing into Canada was a simple matter of making a phone call to customs when you made your first stop in a Canadian marina. Returning to the US only required contacting the US customs agent via marine radio and reporting your return. After 9/11 the return to the US required a stop at a marina with a customs agent so you could have your boat inspected. I have no idea what the process is like today, I'm sure there are many more hoops to jump through.

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