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Uruguay: Useful Notes for Cruisers on Formalities

By Thibault da Cruz — last modified Apr 06, 2018 10:39 AM
These useful notes have been compiled by a cruiser who visited the country at the end of 2017.

Published: 2018-02-08 00:00:00
Countries: Uruguay

Prefectura Naval / Armada
Armada is open 24/7, pay them a visit when you enter as soon as possible. Receipt from the Hydrografia is required to obtain exit clearance outside of Uruguay or to the next Uruguyan port. As for the coast, the Armada forbids anchoring so you have to go through ports no matter what. All ports belong to the state (See the comment below).
You must call Control Maritimo when departing a port.  Also 1 hour before entering a port, and while entering a port. If ,while at sea, you want to change your destination, you must update the Prefectura over the radio. Prefectura monitors Ch16. The Armada maintains a good lookout and radar coverage of its waters and beyond. Armada speaks spanish and English over the radio.

Latest weather forecast can be requested on Ch16.

Aduana
There is 9 months free import if the boat is in transit. Beyond that, a US$600 fee has to be paid. The boat then becomes a resident and can be subjected to safety inspections. It is simpler to remain in transit, less paperwork.

Hydrografia
The Port Authority is part of the Ministry of Transportation and Public Works (MTOP). They maintain the ports, toilets, showers, etc. They collect the fees for port use. See this website for Tarifs charged for all ports in Uruguay.

The MTOP prints a guide of the Uruguyan ports (good information) called "Keep Yachting, Guia Nautica, Puertos del Uruguay". It is in Spanish only. Do not use it for navigation.

Migraciones/Immigration
Not present in every port. It does not seem to be a problem. The Armada will provide a "laissez-passer" if required.

Transportation
The bus services offer a gateway to the country itself and beyond. The bus network is quite affordable, good, on time, clean and most buses offer WiFi. In high season it is cheaper to leave the boat in one of the cheaper ports and visit by bus.

Overall

Uruguay is a safe place to leave your boat while exploring inland. Since Argentina changed its inspection regulations concerning foreign flagged vessels, it can be considered a safe place to leave your boat while visiting Argentina by land.

Berthing can be quite expensive during the high season (southern summer), to insanely expensive (Punta del Este or Piriapolis) to fair (La Paloma or Montevideo). I found it was cheaper and simpler to leave the boat in La Paloma and explore the country by bus.

Thibault da Cruz
S/V Moya

Omar Sanchez
Omar Sanchez says:
Mar 27, 2018 05:14 PM

A few comments I'd like to add to what Thibault da Cruz of S/V Moya says:

1. "All ports belong to the state."
True, except for Montevideo - Puerto del Buceo. Yacht Club Uruguayo is the owner and who charges the fee:
http://www.ycu.org.uy/2130/Precio-de-Amarras
The docks in the ports are not floating, so it is not an easy decision to leave the boat unattended. In some ports the swinging buoys are the only option, but in many ports the twisting buoys (La Paloma - Piriápolis) are for small boats.

2. "If, while at sea, you want to change your destination, you must update the Prefectura over the radio."
This must be done not only when the destination is changed. You must also notify the Prefectura when you pass through each port, even if there is a significant delay in the ETA.

3. "There is 9 months free import if the boat is in transit. Beyond that, a US$600 fee has to be paid."
But, if you are on the same mooring for more than 6 months you have a significant discount. Also, an important part of the taxes is deducted if you pay with a foreign credit card. The CC benefit also applies to many restaurants and shops. These benefits do not have much future, enjoy now!

Other points: Some areas of Montevideo are occasionally unsafe for foreigners. Uruguay is out of the Yellow Fever risk, now a problem in Brazil.

Omar Wetdoc, from Buenos Aires. Good Winds!!

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