Entry into the United States on a British registered vessel

Published 10 years ago, updated 6 years ago

My husband Andy and I are liveaboard yachties on a British registered vessel, SV Coromandel, a 1973 Nicholson 35.

We left Virgin Gorda on 12 May and arrived off Little Creek in the Chesapeake Bay ten days later having had a mixed passage as a cold front crossed the Atlantic seaboard and gave us winds up to 28 knots from time to time.  We also ran into a south-going counter-current, which was a bit disappointing as we were doing only 4 knots over the ground at the time.  We arrived at 0300 and made the mistake of anchoring to the east side of Little Creek off a lovely sandy beach, which we discovered next morning was a hovercraft landing site – hey ho!

We had pre-booked space in Little Creek Marina but were directed to the adjacent Bay Point Marina.  We entered at low water and with our 6’ 6” draft plowed the mud a little on the way into the pontoons.  A member of the marina staff was on hand to take our lines, and the whole process of entry was a very pleasant experience.

The marina staff kindly called Customs and Homeland Security, and within about an hour three officers arrived to do the clearing process.  This took approximately 30 minutes and was again unproblematic and after the grumpiness of some of the officers we dealt with in the Caribbean, it was a pleasure to deal with officers who really made one feel welcome and who seemed pleased that one was visiting their country.   We already had full US visas, having applied for them in Trinidad – a rather long-winded procedure, especially filling in the form online, but we thought it was worth it.

I had been concerned about the Advanced Notice of Arrival, which I had not done, but had been informed by a Customs and Homeland Security Officer in Hampton that as we were a private yacht and under 100 tons such advanced notice was not required.

So our entry into the United States, about which I had been quite concerned, turned out to be a warm and welcoming experience.

Linda Lane Thornton

SV Coromandel

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