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US Cruisers in Cuban Waters

By Sue Richards last modified Oct 30, 2009 03:27 PM

Published: 2009-10-30 15:27:01
Countries: Cuba

Report from Cruising Compass

US Cruisers considering sailing into Cuban waters should read the US State Department's advisory dated August 14, 2009, regarding the legal aspects of US citizens and boats visiting Cuba.

This information may be found here.

The Obama Administration's State Department presents a bleak view for US flagged vessels cruising in Cuban waters. Here is an excerpt from their advisory:

"U.S. boaters who enter Cuban waters (legitimately or illegitimately) have encountered problems that required repairs and/or salvage; costs for both are significantly higher than comparable services in the United States or elsewhere in the Caribbean. For example, docking fees of up to ten dollars per hour have been reported, and Cuban authorities typically hold boats as collateral payment. In 2008, at least three U.S.-registered/flagged vessels belonging to U.S. citizens were permanently seized by Cuban authorities.

The quality of repairs in Cuba is frequently not up to U.S. standards, and renders mariners, their crews and passengers, and vessels less-than-safe to take to sea. Repairs take significantly longer in Cuba than they would in the United States due to lack of the most basic materials and to bureaucratic impediments. Boaters are often confined to their boats while repairs are made.

Some boaters are held in Cuban detention while Cuban authorities investigate the circumstances of their entry to Cuba, more often than not because they fail to produce a valid passport. Mariners and their passengers should not navigate close to Cuban territorial waters without possessing a valid passport, unless seeking a safe port due to emergencies. The ability of the U.S. Interests Section to assist mariners in trouble is extremely limited.

Posted by Glenn Tuttle on the Cruisers_Network_Online Yahoo Group.