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Old 01-19-2007, 12:43 PM   #1
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Default entering other countries

Hi guys, I've been reading on here for a while now and have already picked up tons of great information. At the moment I have absolutely no sailing experience, though as a former Marine I spent quite a bit of time at sea on Navy ships. My current plan is to attend all the local ASA schools available, I just signed up for a diesel mechanics course, which should prove handy, and then hope to find a crew position and get some real experience before I buy my own boat.

To get on topic though. My first extremely ignorant question is based on the fairly extensive travel I have already done. When flying there is always some kind of customs, or at least agricultural screening... How does this work when your sailing? When you pull into a foreign port with a US vessel do they have inspectors handy to come ask you if you have any fruit that you plan to take ashore? When you're on a ship going into a strange port you obviously have your radio but how do you arrange to dock? On the radio, or do you drop anchor, row in and make the arrangments? In adds for crew I see "passport required", which I have. But how do they check/stamp your passport when you are just sailing up? I'm sure I'll learn this quick enough when i get some real experience but these are just some things I've been wondering about.

Anyone willing to humor my complete lack of knowledge is greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-19-2007, 02:39 PM   #2
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Hi Atavist,

Not every port is a 'port of entry' into a new country. Those that are will be listed in pilot books and anyone arriving in a new country will head for those specified places.

Just as when you fly in, those ports do have all needed officials close to hand. Immigration officials, health officials, customs, police or border post officials etc. Sometimes they each have offices all over town involving a lengthy trek to get documentation completed. Often they are all combined in one building. Sometimes all jobs combined and done by one single official. Sometimes the paperwork is minimal, sometimes its ten copies with half a million bits of info required!

Also in pilot books each marina / harbour will indicate its working radio channels. Prior to entry you'd normally call up the harbour master and seek a berth. And normally they'd tell you which one to go to. In many EU ports they'd have marinaros there to take your lines and say hello - and once docked you'd trek off to the harbourmasters office to book in and pay your mooring fee.

Sometimes all the officals you'd need are there alongside the harbour master.

If you come in and anchor - you'd usually get yourself ashore and go find these officals.

When you do arrive in a new land you'll be normally required to indicate openly you wish to clear into (that's 'check in with all officials') the country, by hoisting the yellow Q flag from your mast. You only haul it down once you've cleared in OK. Just once in a while if you arrive with this flying - you'll find the officials come to you - rather than the other way around.

Hope that summary helps and no need for you to almost apologise for asking Q's.........that what I do all the time and the reason one uses such a forum.

Good luck

JOHN
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Old 01-19-2007, 09:39 PM   #3
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Thanks Swagman that answers a lot of questions.
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