Checking in to Tobago: Time your arrival to avoid high fees
Published 4 years ago
Checking in in Tobago is always an adventurous Task.
Coming from the North towards Tobago we decided to sail into Charlotteville, because once at the jetty Customs and Immigration is within walkable distance. In contrary to Store Bay in the South where you’ll need a taxi for all your crew members to get to Scarborough.
If we had known what to expect in Charlotteville, we would have chosen the run to Store Bay.
We arrived in the morning hours, shortly after 8 AM. After we set anchor, cleared up, prepared the dinghy and outboard it was around 10 AM when we entered the building where Customs and Immigration are situated. We had to wait for the Immigration officer to arrive from Scarborough.
Then the paperwork could start.
Filling out by hand 16 pages, some with a blueprint, copying all my papers from the previous port, three passports, ship registration papers – in all 24 pages were used! Next step was for the officer to type everything into the computer. Triple storage! After one and a half hours the three of us were cleared at Immigration.
Two doors further down were Customs. I only had to fill out two pages here with a blueprint. The Officer charged me 264,20 TT-$ plus the regular 50 TT navigation fee. I was very astonished as it was not a holiday, but a regular Friday to check-in. The officer explained to me that yesterday at 4 PM he was on the jetty to count the yachts, and there were 6 boats. Then this morning at 8 AM he saw with binoculars 8 boats. Therefore, two boats must have arrived between 4 PM and 8 AM, and this is arriving after hours. He is allowed to charge me over time, even though he was not working after hours, but I have to pay. My comment, we arrived after 8 AM. On the check-in paper I wrote as arrival time at 8.15 AM. “You have to pay! Otherwise, I will come out to your boat to search it!“ On my check-in paper, he wrote himself, on the back page, my arrival time as 7.00 AM – when we were still were out at sea!!
The 264,20 TT-$ is listed as a “boarding fee“ when he never was on board.
Next step came when we wanted to sail south towards Store Bay. I had to mention every bay we intended to stop at and our exact arrival time in Scarborough.
So folks, be prepared with your arrival time in Charlotteville.
It is no wonder why every year fewer yachts have Trinidad & Tobago on their visiting list.
The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of noonsite.com or World Cruising Club.