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Old 04-22-2019, 07:50 PM   #1
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Custom and Immigration Requirements

I am transiting from Guadaloupe to Martinique passing offshore Dominica.

If I need to overnight and anchor in remote Dominica's waters without going ashore prior to continuing the trip to Martinique am I required to check in and out of Dominica's customs and immigration?

Think about the burden of finding a port of entry and doing an entry and exit the same day just to transit with an overnight anchorage never leaving the boat.

I am interested if anyone has a factual answer versus an opinion.
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Old 04-23-2019, 07:42 AM   #2
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Yes, you are required to check in. This is the law. The inconvenience to you is of no concern to them. No, you probably won't get caught if you don't. On the other hand, the penalties can be pretty severe if you DO get caught.


I would obey the law, and check in.
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Old 04-23-2019, 08:52 AM   #3
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Yes, you are required to check in. This is the law. The inconvenience to you is of no concern to them. No, you probably won't get caught if you don't. On the other hand, the penalties can be pretty severe if you DO get caught.


I would obey the law, and check in.
Absolutely the law and required. I'd also toss in that the chance of getting caught and punished is far greater than many realize. All coast guards track boats coming through their waters and it's pretty obvious when one stops. Then it just depends on how aggressive law enforcement wants to get. There are two ports of entry for Dominica.

While not in Dominica, I have known of a boat that failed to clear in a similar situation and suffered greatly. In the specific case, they and their boat were arrested and they were jailed. After that, they were quite happy with the $10,000 fine and invitation not to return. I also know of another case where a couple was taken to shore. Their boat was left where they were found and while they spent days in jail, their boat was ransacked. Finally, they were put on a plane for their home country. While these are extreme cases and there have been others where boaters were just advised they must check in and to come first thing the following morning, flying a quarantine flag until then, it's not worth the chance. Also, in Dominica you can clear in and out at the same time.
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:11 AM   #4
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Further Information

Thank you for the knowledgeable informed response. Can you cite the relevant law, rule or procedure that documents this requirement for Dominica or other Caribbean nations?
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Old 04-23-2019, 11:20 AM   #5
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Probably one of the better references.

https://www.noonsite.com/Countries
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Old 04-23-2019, 12:22 PM   #6
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LMGTFY

I'm sure you'll find it in there somewhere.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:17 PM   #7
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The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the doctrine which grants the rights of safe passage and defines territorial seas. For instance part of the convention is spelling out territorial rights of 12 nm. Now, the US at one time only claimed 3 but not claims 12. Some countries have gone so far as to try to claim 200.

https://www.un.org/Depts/los/convent...s/unclos_e.pdf

There are two types of passage, those outside of territorial waters and those through. The rights of innocent passage apply to passing through territorial waters. Innocent passage is discussed in Section 3. Part of innocent passage is that it must be continuous and expeditious. Now, anchoring is allowed when it's incidental to ordinary navigation or rendered necessary by force majeure or distress or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress. A good example is boats that find themselves in Cuban waters with engine problems. They may contact the Cuban authorities and get permission due to force majeure.

The consistent interpretation by all countries I'm aware of has been that overnight anchoring is not incidental to navigation and is inconsistent with continuous and expeditious. Anchoring for ten minutes to add oil or replace a fuel filter would be.

Each country chooses how vigorously to enforce. However, for a boat transiting to then anchor for hours without communication with customs and immigration or the local coast guard is often going to get one checked and sometimes action taken.
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Old 04-25-2019, 01:12 PM   #8
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The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea is the doctrine which grants the rights of safe passage and defines territorial seas. For instance part of the convention is spelling out territorial rights of 12 nm. Now, the US at one time only claimed 3 but not claims 12. Some countries have gone so far as to try to claim 200.

https://www.un.org/Depts/los/convent...s/unclos_e.pdf

There are two types of passage, those outside of territorial waters and those through. The rights of innocent passage apply to passing through territorial waters. Innocent passage is discussed in Section 3. Part of innocent passage is that it must be continuous and expeditious. Now, anchoring is allowed when it's incidental to ordinary navigation or rendered necessary by force majeure or distress or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress. A good example is boats that find themselves in Cuban waters with engine problems. They may contact the Cuban authorities and get permission due to force majeure.

The consistent interpretation by all countries I'm aware of has been that overnight anchoring is not incidental to navigation and is inconsistent with continuous and expeditious. Anchoring for ten minutes to add oil or replace a fuel filter would be.

Each country chooses how vigorously to enforce. However, for a boat transiting to then anchor for hours without communication with customs and immigration or the local coast guard is often going to get one checked and sometimes action taken.
Excellent. Exactly what I ask for. Thank you.
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Old 04-25-2019, 02:46 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by garychurch View Post
I am transiting from Guadaloupe to Martinique passing offshore Dominica.

If I need to overnight and anchor in remote Dominica's waters without going ashore prior to continuing the trip to Martinique am I required to check in and out of Dominica's customs and immigration?

Think about the burden of finding a port of entry and doing an entry and exit the same day just to transit with an overnight anchorage never leaving the boat.

I am interested if anyone has a factual answer versus an opinion.

Neither Guadeloupe nor Martinique are signatories of UNCLOS. Dominica is a signatory.
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Old 04-25-2019, 04:39 PM   #10
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Neither Guadeloupe nor Martinique are signatories of UNCLOS. Dominica is a signatory.
My experience has been that the non signatory countries are at least as strict as UNCLOS signatories, but in many cases more so in ways such as declaring more than 12 miles territory. I would expect them to react just as strongly to anchoring.

Guadeloupe and Martinique are overseas regions of France and tend to follow along with France in such matters.

There are countries too like Colombia that signed but haven't ratified. Then countries like China that signed and ratified but have decided to ignore.

Still, I know of no country that I would feel comfortable anchoring overnight without clearing or checking in and getting permission.
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Old 04-25-2019, 06:10 PM   #11
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Dropping anchor is the same as going ashore.
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Old 04-26-2019, 06:02 AM   #12
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Neither Guadeloupe nor Martinique are signatories of UNCLOS. Dominica is a signatory.
As french territories they are signatory parties and represented also by european union.

L
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Old 04-26-2019, 07:24 AM   #13
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The consistent interpretation by all countries I'm aware of has been that overnight anchoring is not incidental to navigation...
I agree, but I think the main point here is that this is an interpretation by the individual countries. Each country interprets and enforces UNCLOS in their own way. Not to mention (because it has already been mentioned!) that not all countries are signatories to UNCLOS. As such, UNCLOS doesn't really define how individual countries handle customs and immigration.


Though the bottom line -- as everyone ought to know -- is that if you anchor for the night you have to check in.
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Old 04-26-2019, 09:24 AM   #14
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I agree, but I think the main point here is that this is an interpretation by the individual countries. Each country interprets and enforces UNCLOS in their own way. Not to mention (because it has already been mentioned!) that not all countries are signatories to UNCLOS. As such, UNCLOS doesn't really define how individual countries handle customs and immigration.


Though the bottom line -- as everyone ought to know -- is that if you anchor for the night you have to check in.
And that bottom line is a very consistent interpretation. I've yet to find any country that did not interpret in that way.
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