USA - General Info
There are 6 time zones in use by the States of America. Eastern time at -4 UTC, Central time (-5 UTC), Mountain Time (-6 UTC), Pacific time (-7 UTC), Alaska (-8 UTC) and Hawaii and the Aleutian Islands at -10 UTC.
In most states, from the 2nd Sunday in March to the 1st Sunday in November, one hour is added. Here is the time zone schedule for the next four years for the USA:
2016: Sunday, March 13, 2:00 AM -- Sunday, November 6, 2:00 AM
2017: Sunday, March 12, 2:00 AM -- Sunday, November 5, 2:00 AM
2018: Sunday, March 11, 2:00 AM -- Sunday, November 4, 2:00 AM
2019: Sunday, March 10, 2:00 AM -- Sunday, November 3, 2:00 AM
Standard household current:
Voltage: 120 V
Frequency: 60 Hz
Amps: usually around 16amps at the plug
Most marinas supply 30amp and 50amp power at least. Occasionally, if the marina does not have 50amp power, they will allow an adaptor to be used to plug in one 50amp cable in to two 30amp plugs that are side-by-side. A specialized Y-adaptor is required, and jury rigged equipment is not permitted.
Household plugs are a 3-prong USA standard (Type B) or 2-prong (Type A) without the ground pin.
The physical plug to connect to shore power is sometimes different from European standard and you may want to invest in a quality pigtail adaptor. Most foreign sailors who have come up through the Caribbean should already have experienced the regional difference.
Certification & Standardization:
The American Boat and Yachting Council (ABYC): The United States has a non-profit, non-governmental agency of standardization and certification, similar to the 'CE' mark in the EU/EEA. The ABYC, while independent, is regarded as the premier organization for safety and construction of pleasure craft in the USA. The council also certifies technicians. These standards are often more stringent than those required by the federal government, and most American yacht companies abide by these ABYC standards.
There are a few differences between the CE mark and ABYC standards, but visiting yachts are not required by law to abide by these standards, even if importing. It is worth mentioning, however, that if you have any work done in the USA, it may be done by an ABYC certified technician, who will conduct the work according to ABYC standards, which may differ slightly in color coordination of wiring, plumbing or fitting types, natural gas fittings, structural elements, waterproofing, or fire prevention. Also, in the case of accidents or legal matters, the ABYC standards are referenced for legal judgements in regards to issues of design, construction, maintenance and product performance.
The full list of ABYC standards can be found here. Most products purchased at typical marine supply stores in the USA will automatically meet ABYC standards.
The standard working day in the United States is approximately 0800 to 1700.
The standard week is Monday through Friday.
Lunch is around 1200 (noon) until 1300 and some business close for this hour.
Hours on Saturdays and Sundays are regionally dependent. Some regions have active weekends with extended hours. Some regions have weekends with extremely abbreviated hours. Where the weekends are active with extended hours, often there will be another day (such as Monday or Tuesday) with shorter hours or reduced staff.
US dollar (US$)
International Dialing Code for USA is +1 + area code + seven-digit phone number. Standard format is grouped: +1 (555) 123-4567. (Area code in this case is 555.)
Most areas of the United States require the complete ten-digit phone number (minus the +1) to connect the call. If calling within the same area city with the same area code, some people will not always give the area code.
Upon arrival in the US, insert your SIM card in your phone - different rates in different areas apply. Even international SIM cards will allow emergency calls without a plan on some phones.
Public transportation is limited to larger cities. Northeast cities are connected by regional train services. West coast cities are linked by a regional train service. Some major inland cities are linked by long-range trains (known as "AMTRAK"), but crossing the country is impractical by train due to speed and infrequent service. There is currently no high-speed transit service coast-to-coast except by plane.
Taxi services are common everywhere. UBER/LYFT is common even in smaller towns.
Some major marinas offer courtesy cars for provisioning, airport transfers, and trips to the marine supply stores.
All international rental car services are readily available, and many offer enhanced service to all customers, such as car pick-up and drop-off.
OPSAIL: Established in 1961, Operation Sail was designed to promote good will and cooperation between countries while providing sail training and celebrating maritime history. While the tall ships form the centerpiece of the event, smaller sailing vessels also participate. Six Op Sail events have been held to date, in 1964, 1976, 1986, 1992, 2000 and 2012.
Held at various cities on the East Coast, the event culminates in the Parade of Ships on the Hudson River and in New York harbor on July 4, Independence Day.
See website for regulations on transiting associated waterways; New York City, Norfolk, Baltimore, Boston & New London.
Dial 9-1-1 for fire, police, and ambulance.
Public pay phone boxes do not charge anything for 911 calls.
Also, some cell phones will make emergency calls even without a carrier plan. In the case of emergency, do not forget to attempt this option.
IMRAY and ADLARD COLES PILOT BOOKS are available at a discounted price for Noonsite.com users via World Cruising Club. Some books common in Europe are not sold in the United States.
Atlantic Coast & ICW Planning and Facilities Guide
By Paradise Cay Publishing
Updated annually (2017 now available).
Guide for cruisers to ports, routes, waypoints, and local history. Covers the area from Maine to Florida. Includes government resources and all latest facilities information, photographs, charts, and bridge schedules along the route. Primarily advertised as a planning guide for making passages along the coast north-to-south or south-to-north.
Waterway Guides offer the most up-to-date and accurate cruising guides available for southbound cruisers. There is a printed edition, an online database, and an app for iPad/iPhone.
- The Northern Edition (2016) is for cruisers of the Atlantic coast from Cape May to Maine, including the Hudson River, Long Island, and Cape Cod.
- The Southern Edition (2017) is for boaters cruising Florida's east coast, the St. John's River, the Okeechobee Waterway, the Keys, Florida's west coast and the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville, Texas.
- The Chesapeake Edition (2017) covers Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic coast from Cape May, NJ, to Norfolk, VA, in enhanced detail.
- The Atlantic ICW (2017) covers the Intracoastal Waterway from Norfolk, VA, to the Georgia/Florida border.
- Cuba Bound (2016) is a guide that covers the diplomatically complex situation that exists when cruising to and from Cuba from the USA.
- Great Lakes (2016) covers the large northern lakes and the inland rivers of the Great Loop from New York City to the Great Lakes, and from Chicago to the Gulf of Mexico.
More at www.waterwayguide.com
Aleutians Islands to South East Alaska
By Phil Hogg & Liz Thompson
Published by RCC Pilotage Foundation (new edn 2016)
Download a copy from RCCPF website.
The original guide is based on work by Phil Hogg and Liz Thompson. The Aleutian information has now been extended in this guide to include SE Alaska and several members of the Royal Cruising Club have submitted their experiences of these waters.
High Latitude Sailing
Explore the cold waters of the world
Publisher Explore North 2014
By Jon Amtrup - Co-author Bob Shepton
Kindle version available on amazon.com
Arctic and Northern Waters (RCCPF)
Including Faroe, Iceland and Greenland - New 2014
By Andrew Wilkes
A major new work from the RCC Pilotage Foundation, this pilot covers the Northwest and Northeast Passages through the Arctic Ocean. The RCCPF website has supplementary information to this guide free to download.
Addicted to Adventure - Between rocks and cold places
Published May 2014
By Bob Shepton
Battling Atlantic storms, losing a mast in Antarctica, sailing the Arctic, skiing across remote regions, climbing and sailing through the North West Passage.
Pacific Boating Almanac, Pacific Northwest & Alaska
By Peter L. Griffes
Publisher: Western Marine Enterprises (Nov 1995)
Salish Sea Pilot's Guide to the West Coast San Juan Islands
By Jim Burgoyne - published 2013
Free at www.salishseapilot.com
US Pacific Coast - Seattle WA to San Diego
By Charles and Margo Wood
Publisher - Charlies Charts -5th Edition (2008)
This cruising guide is a proven reference for safe navigation of the challenges for travel along the US Pacific Coast. It clearly describes the choices of routes for travel along the coast: harbor-hopping, inshore and offshore routes and discusses weather, crossing bars and safety issues. A safe approach to all major facilities is described and sketched in detail as well as the anchorages in the Channel Islands. Many cruisers have found the detailed information invaluable when approaching both planned stop-overs or when making an unexpected approach to the coast as a result of engine or equipment failure or a health emergency. Detailed drawings of marina facilities takes the worry out of approaching an unfamiliar marina especially if the crew is fatigued following a tiring spell at sea.
Charlie's Charts of the U.S. Pacific Coast: Seattle, Washington, to San Diego, California, including the Channel Islands
Publisher: Charlies Charts - 16th Edition (Revised 2012)
16th Edition Revision by Captain Holly Scott and Jo Russell This cruising guide is a proven reference for safe navigation of the challenges for travel along the US Pacific Coast. It clearly describes the choices of routes for travel along the coast: harbour-hopping, inshore and offshore routes and also discusses weather, crossing bars and safety issues. A safe approach to all major facilities is described and sketched in detail as well as the anchorages in the Channel Islands. Many cruisers have found the detailed information invaluable when approaching both planned stop-overs or when making an unexpected approach to the coast. Detailed drawings of marina facilities take the worry out of approaching an unfamiliar marina, especially if the crew is fatigued following a tiring spell at sea.
Southern California Channel Islands
Free download from the RCC Pilotage Foundation Website el_islands_complete.pdf
By Francis Hawkings - 2007
Cruising Ports: Florida to California Via Panama
by John Rains
Publisher: Point Loma Publishing (January 1, 2003)
Nautical guidebook for boaters making this popular 5,000-mile cruising route between the US coasts via the Panama Canal: Cuba, Mexico's Gulf Coast & Yucatan Channel, Belize's outer cays, Rio Dulce, W. Caribbean islands, Panama's Caribbean & Pacific cruising grounds, How To Transit the Panama Canal (new rules & fees), Costa Rica, Fonseca, El Salvador, Guatemala, Pacific Mexico, lower Sea of Cortez, Baja California. Nearly 1,000 destinations, this guidebook describes the safe approaches by sea (from either direction), safe anchorages, where to find a marina slip, fuel, water, provisions, how to clear papers or find a ship's agent, where to find boat yards, marine repairs & services, nearby eateries, land transport, sportfishing & diving spots, side trips, plus historical & cultural notes.
A Complete Cruising Guide to the Down East Circle Route
By Capt. Cheryl Barr
Publisher: Yacht Pilot Publishing
Covers the Hudson River, Erie Canal, E Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence River, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Bras d'Or Lakes
A Cruising Guide to the New England Coast
By Roger F. Duncan, W. Wallace Fenn, Paul W.l Fenn, John P. Ware
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company (August 1995)
First published in 1936, this work provides a guide to the cruising waters of the New England coast, as well as the Hudson River, Long Island Sound and the coast of New Brunswick. This edition provides up-to-date information such as weather, tides, geography, pump-out stations and historical sites.
Cruising the Chesapeake
By Abraham Stone and Hart
Publisher: Putnam (March 22, 1989)
A Cruising Guide to the Maine Coast
By Hank & Jan Taft
Publisher: Diamond Pass Publishing (1996)
Filled with vital information and charts of more than 530 harbours, anchorages and gunkholes on Maine's ragged coast.
Cruising Guide to Coastal South Carolina & Georgia
By Claiborne Young
Publisher: John F. Blair Publisher; 6 edition (May 30, 2007)
The only cruising guide devoted exclusively to South Carolina and Georgia, this book covers almost every body of water along the coast as far inland as it is safe to navigate. The guide includes maps, historical summaries, coastal folklore, listings of coastal marinas and their services, and tips on shoreside attractions.
The Georgia Coast
By Tom and Nancy Zydler
Publisher: Seaworthy Publications - New and Updated edition July 2001
ISBN: 13-978 1892399076
Famous cruising couple Tom and Nancy Zydler have completely charted and described the complex Georgia coast in this new guide book. Filled with detailed information, charts, photos and tables, this is the most comprehensive guide ever written about coastal Georgia.
Cruising Guide To The Northern Gulf Coast: Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana
By Claiborne Young
Publisher: Pelican Publishing; 4 edition (August 31, 2003)
This completely updated cruising guide covers the waters that stretch from Apalachicola, Florida, to Grand Isle, Louisiana. For the first time, this edition includes additional access information to Grand Isle, Barataria, the Chandeleur Islands, and the Harvey Canal in the Mississippi Delta. Like all of Young’s guides, "Cruising Guide to the Northern Gulf Coast" combines expert navigational advice with candid evaluations of facilities, marinas, restaurants, and other shoreside attractions.
Cruising Guide to Western Florida
By Claiborne Young
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company; 7 edition (January 2007)
Western Florida offers a tranquil alternative to the fast-paced lifestyle of the eastern coast. From the slow-moving Manatee River to the wide-open spans of Tampa Bay to the multitude of islands and inlets between Cape Sable and Naples, Claiborne S Young leads readers both to the untouched beauty of the area and to its popular resorts and marinas.
A Gunkholer's Cruising Guide to Florida's West Coast
By Tom Lenfestey
Publisher: Great Outdoors Pub Co; 12 edition (October 2003)
Cruising Guide to Eastern Florida
By Claiborne Young
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Company; 5th edition (Dec 2004)
Hailed by sailors as the standard and best guide on the subject. In this updated third edition, the reader will find firsthand information on water and port conditions including navigation depths and dockside facilities.
East Coast of Florida: Ports of Call & Anchorages
By Thomas Henschel - Robert Hale
Publisher: Mile High Publications (2006)
Covers Florida from its northern border near Fernandina Beach to Miami. Full page aerial photo on right-hand page shows harbor entrances and marinas. Left hand page points out all the services, restaurants, amenities, much more.
Cruising the Florida Keys
By Capt. Frank Papy
Publisher: Pelican Publishing Co(Aug 2002)
This book provides reliable instructions and lively commentary about travelling from the Port of Miami all the way to the Dry Tortugas. Boaters may choose one of two routes to the Florida Keys, the inside route via the Intracoastal Waterway or the offshore option through Hawk Channel. In both cases, the authors pinpoint and assess obstructions, anchorages, marinas, fuel supplies, and other facilities for cruisers. The book also contains first-hand evaluations of restaurants, cultural attractions, and historical sites, including the many things to see and do in Key West.
Florida Keys and Everglades Cruising Guide
By Captain Freya Rausher
Publisher: Wescott Cove Pub Co (June 1997)
Comprehensive guide to this popular cruising area, 256 pages, 129 photos, 56 sketch charts, street maps, GPS waypoints and course lines to aid in navigation, covering Biscayne Bay, Hawk Channel, the shallow inside route, including the area from Miami to Key West and on to the Dry Tortugas, the Marquesas, Flamingo, Everglades City and points between. Details too on the best places for snorkeling and diving, fishing, beaches, entertainment and sightseeing.
Cruising Guide to the Florida Keys
By Cpt Frank Papy
Publisher: Cruising Guide Publications 12th Edition 2001
This revised 12th edition covering the keys from Miami to Key West, includes aerial and satellite photos, detailed charts, list of marinas, artificial reefs, chartering, tips on provisioning, and cruise planning, as well as Florida's West Coast supplement and tide tables.
The Florida Keys Ports of Call & Anchorages
By Thomas A. Henschel
Publisher: Mile High Publishing & Graphics (December 2003)
This is the only Florida Keys book that features full page color aerial photographs and text of the most popular ports of call and anchorages throughout this famed chain of islands presented in a coffee-table styled book that are useful for navigation or a memento of a special vacation.
The Great Book of Anchorages Series
The Chesapeake Bay (including the Potomac River)
Hampton Roads and Norfolk to The Florida Keys (including the St. Johns River)
The Bahamas – The Route Most Traveled
The Gulf Coast, Cape Sable, FL to Mobile, AL, Including the Okeechobee Waterway
By Chuck Baier and Susan Landry, Beach House Publications
Find out more at http://tgboa.com/home.html
These books of anchorages, are simply that, nothing more than anchorages, complete with details and easy-to-use chartlets.
Chartracker to the Intracoastal Waterway: Norfolk to Jacksonville
By Katherine Glampietro Redmond
Publisher: Seaworthy Publications Inc. (February 1999)
Exceptionally detailed index to ICW ports and features, a wealth of information about shore facilities, including locations by statute mile markers, and some sound advice from the author, a frequent ICW voyager, Chartracker is a useful companion for the trip south on the Intracoastal
The Intracoastal Waterway - Norfolk to Miami
By Publisher: International Marine/Ragged Mountain Press; 6 edition (February 26, 2010)
The only one-volume guide to piloting the entire protected East Coast waterway, The Intracoastal Waterway, Norfolk to Miami is updated to reflect changes in channels and shoreside facilities. Offering accurate navigation advice, the guide describes more than 300 marinas and nearly 100 opening bridges and provide concise instructions for negotiating more than 100 tested anchorages.
A Thinking Mans Guide to Voyages South - the many facets of Caribbean Cruising
Author: Frank Virgintino
Published: September 2013
Free download at: www.freecruisingguide.com
See noonsite review here
The Gentleman's Guide to Passages South
By Bruce van Sant
Publisher: Cruising Guide Publications -9th Edition 2006
This guide is considered the
Bible by many cruising yachtsmen travelling between Florida and Venezuela. Includes many sketch charts and GPS coordinates, plus a wealth of information for the sailor who would rather take it slow and easy en route to paradise.
The Sea of Cortes - A Cruiser's Guide
By Shawn Breeding and Heather Bansmer
Published by Blue Latitude Press (2008)
See the details in the Noonsite review
Waggoner Cruising Guide to the Pacific North West (2016)
Download for free at http://waggonerguide.com/download-the-2016-waggoner-cruising-guide/
North to Alaska - Victoria BC to Glacier Bay
By Charles and Margo Wood
Publisher Charlies Charts - 5th Edition 2008
This cruising guide provides navigation information for a boater departing from Victoria and traveling along the British Columbia and Southeast Alaskan coasts following the protected waters of the Inside Passage to Glacier Bay, Alaska. It is divided into eight sections with full-color photographs and a sketched chart indicating marinas or anchorages where a cruising boat with a speed of 6 knots can find moorage as it travels along the coast. Each location has a detailed sketch and description of a safe approach, recommended anchorages and shore facilities. Crucial portions such as the transit of passes and the passage of Cape Caution are given particular attention with guidelines for timing and recommended routes. A customized weather map provides excellent information. For cruisers unable to make the entire trip to Alaska shorter trips to spectacular areas on the coast are described such as to Princess Louisa Inlet, Desolation Sound, Broughton Archipelago, Fiordland Recreation Area, Kitimat and the Kitlope.
Charlie's Charts North to Alaska
By Charles and Margo Wood
Publisher: Polymath Energy Consultants Ltd. (September 2004)
This cruising guide provides current information on the passes, critical passages, anchorages and marinas found on the coast from Victoria, British Columbia to Glacier Bay, Alaska. Seaview land profiles and spectacular color photographs bring highlight the varied scenery found on this beautiful coast. Fuel stations, pump-outs and the location of natural and artificial reefs can be seen on each chart. Side-trips of interest are included such as the Gulf Islands, Princess Louisa Inlet, Desolation Sound, Fiordland, Kitimat the the Kitlope. Information on changes is inserted in each guide in the form of an addenda that is also posted on our website for down-loading at any time. Complete and updated sources of weather forecasts are given for Canadian and Alaskan waters.
Routes and Waypoints
By Captain Pieter D. Brown
Publisher Baico Publishing Consultants Inc., Ontario, Canada (2011)
A Navigational & Piloting Guide of Suggested Routes with Waypoints from Eastern Canada to Grenada including: the Canadian & USA E. Coasts, Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Leeward & Windward Islands.
Read Review here
The Pacific Crossing Guide
By Kitty Van Hagen
3rd Edition October 2016
See The Pacific Crossing Guide 3rd Edition
US Coast Guard Navigation Center
Here you can can sign up for the bimonthly notice to mariners for the region you are traveling through. For example, if going down the ICW it gives info. on bridge closings, hazards to mariners etc.
NOAA's Downloadable charts
NOAA’s 1,000-plus U.S. coastal and Great Lakes nautical charts are available to down load.
Coast Guard Light Lists
These are updated weekly and published electronically only via the internet.
A useful site offering region specific Navigational Notices via email.
West Coast & Alaska
Cruising in Southern California's Channel IslandsS
An article by by Barb Peck and Bjarne Hansen for Sail-World Cruising, July 2016.
Pohnpei, FSM to Dutch Harbor on Unalaska
Jim Patek sailed this route through the Aleutians in May/June 2015. He has written a public blog on Sailblogs for this trip including cruiser notes where appropriate.
Sailing to Alaska
Seattle to Alaska and back, and everything inbetween. Three months, 4000 miles. Derek Hillen and his young family undertook this trip during the Summer of 2013 and his article is wonderful reading for anyone considering this trip.
South California - Newport Beach Marinas Guide
The guide is posted on the city’s website under the “visitors” tab.
East Coast, Gulf Coast, & Florida
Boat U.S. - 2013 Florida Anchoring Information
In 2009, several changes were made to Florida law that increased recreational boaters’ ability to anchor within the state. This law also outlined a temporary pilot mooring and anchoring program to allow five localities around Florida to regulate anchoring within their jurisdictions. This information sheet is intended to help boaters and local law enforcement understand Florida’s anchoring and mooring laws, and the status of the mooring pilot project.
Sailing the ICW
Some useful tips from SpinSheet.
Salty Southeast Cruisers Net
Up-to-date information about cruising southeastern United States and the Bahamas. FREE SSECN Mobile App available for iPhone and iPads (from Mile Marker “0” to Mobile, AL).
Works great on tables and smart phones. Marina info. Anchorages. Fuel prices & availability. Navigation alerts. Bridge and Lock info.
The wilderness coast of the Eastern USA - report by Yachting World, October 2015.
This new app that allows marinas and docks all over the east coast and the U.S. Virgin Islands to connect with boaters. It offers a straight-forward, time-saving solution to slip reservations. Currently (May 2015) 75 marinas have signed up.
American Sailing Association App "Go Sailing"
Free App designed to connect sailors around the country to help sailors learn from each other and get on the water.
Waterway Guides: Choosing your Great Loop Route to the Great Lakes
The passage inland from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes from the northeast USA takes some careful planning. Depths and air draught is restrictive.
Noonsite Introduction to the Intracoastal Waterway and the Great Loop
The Intracoastal Waterway surrounds the entire eastern and southern seaboards of the United States. Combined with major inland rivers and canals, it is possible to take a circular route from Florida to the Great Lakes and back to Florida, circumnavigating the eastern half of the United States entirely by water: this is known as the Great Loop. This report is an introduction for foreign cruisers who may not be familiar with procedures.
November 2016: Clearance, Immigration, Customs and all Formalities section reviewed, updated and expanded.
October 2016: Publications added/updated. Transport section added.
September 2016: Health section updated/expanded.
January 2016: Immigration updated re biometric passports. Clearance and Documents updated re new Cruising Licence requirement.
June 2015: Publications checked
April 2015: Clearance checked & note about international phones added.
January 2015: All formalities checked.
April 2014: Information on obtaining a zarpe added.
February 2014: All formalities checked and updated.
May 2012: Information about SVRS added to clearance.
May 2012: Clearance info. re arriving from Cuba updated.
April 2012: Immigration info. updated.
Noonsite welcomes information and updates especially regarding clearance, customs and immigration procedures from cruisers visiting this country.
Please E-mail noonsite with any new information, updates or corrections. Even just a short email confirming that the current data is accurate would be most helpful.