caribbien boating qualifications requirements

oceandrive

New member
Joined
11 Dec 2006
Messages
369
Location
Menorca
www.oceandrivecharter.com
I have a client who plans to take his boat to the caribbien for maybe two to three years. He has asked me to consider being the captain of the vessel whilst in US waters.

My qualifications are YM commercial but I have now let my instructing qualifications laps i.e YM Instructor. My question is has anybody any knowlage on what qualifications are required by a captain to skipper a 100 motor yacht in the states. 96 GT

The boat is private use only so no chartering or commercial standing required.

I am presuming that my YM will be OK for private use but do I need to do any conversions or obtain any further licenses for US waters or is my YM OK??
 

The engineer

New member
Joined
5 Mar 2011
Messages
208
Location
Felixstowe
Visit site
Fine for a private boat

For a private boat that is yours coming and going from US is no problem. It gets tricky if you embark or dis-embark passengers, even if it is the owner. If you are the captain with the owner on board almost by definition you are professional and it then becomes commercial. Declaring the owner as captain technically can resolve this but opens up another can of worms.
 

Bajansailor

Well-known member
Joined
27 Dec 2004
Messages
6,470
Location
Marine Surveyor in Barbados
Visit site
Just a thought, where is the vessel registered?
The flag state probably have regulations regarding manning qualifications, especially as she appears to be over 24m long.
(I think that Yachtmaster tickets are supposed to be for up to 24m LOA?)

I was delivery crew 24 years ago on a private (never chartered) 100' sailing yacht (American flag), going from the Caribbean to Newport, Rhode Island.
The Captain was South African, while the Mate was American.
When we checked in to the USA at Newport, the Mate had to temporarily become the Captain for Immigration purposes, as I think this was (still is?) a requirement for US flagged vessels over 24 m (perhaps an offshoot of the Jones Act?)
 

The engineer

New member
Joined
5 Mar 2011
Messages
208
Location
Felixstowe
Visit site
less than 24m too

American port to American port, even USVI to America.
If foreign flagged I don't think it's a problem unless embarking or dis-embarking guests at which point it is regarded as charter and then the issue becomes visa related in tha a B1/B2 is not sufficient you need a crewmans visa.
 

jfm

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
23,707
Location
Jersey/Antibes
Visit site
I'm pretty sure this boat is <24m load line so being red-ensigned I think YM (or even lower, but let's not bother going there) is fine provided no commercial use (which is the case here) and YM commerical if commercial use. i note what engineer says but it is difficult to believe there are work permit/visa issues in US waters because otherwise the whole fleet of red-ensigned boats that do the carib circuit every winter with european crew wouldn't be able to do it. They even embark/disembark paying charters without any problem. Indeed, ease of crew employment is one reason why nearly all US owned superyachts are not US flagged and why the exception of Leslie Wexner's m/y Limitless (with its own personal law) is so famous
 

The engineer

New member
Joined
5 Mar 2011
Messages
208
Location
Felixstowe
Visit site
Visas

I have worked on 2 boats where we visited USVI and US itself
Both required crew visas in addition to B1/B2, they were obviously chartering a foreign flagged boat in US waters.
It can however get sticky sometimes proving that you are embarking non paying guests. Having a crew visa will save the day in this circumstance. It is fine to be on a foreign flagged boat in US waters but if it is involved in "perceived" commercial operation by a keen officer it is a problem with out the appropriate visa.
 

jfm

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
23,707
Location
Jersey/Antibes
Visit site
I have worked on 2 boats where we visited USVI and US itself
Both required crew visas in addition to B1/B2, they were obviously chartering a foreign flagged boat in US waters.
It can however get sticky sometimes proving that you are embarking non paying guests. Having a crew visa will save the day in this circumstance. It is fine to be on a foreign flagged boat in US waters but if it is involved in "perceived" commercial operation by a keen officer it is a problem with out the appropriate visa.

Engineer,ok so you are saying it is technically/legally ok for Oceandrive to captian the boat on a UK YM and no more (which I agree), but your concern is that a keen US official might be a PITA and might suspect there is paid charter occuring, and you are saying it might be easier to have the visa than to convince him of the truth. In this case the boat is not coded for charter and it is (I'd guess) registered on the Maltese ship registry as "pleasure vessel" not "commercial vessel", which will be provable by the on-board papers. In view of all that, it would be a criminal act for both captain and skipper to use it for charter. The owner is a prominent UK gentleman (prominent in business and the City, rather than a rock star; the US official wont have heard of him) who wouldn't be so crazy as to destroy a successful career by a criminal conviction, so even the most "keen" officer ought to be able to figure out that Oceandrive isn't lying when he says the embarking guests are non-commercial. What do you think?
 

The engineer

New member
Joined
5 Mar 2011
Messages
208
Location
Felixstowe
Visit site
It is very easy as you say jfm, for non US flagged boats with European crew doing the Caribbean circuit for charter and private use and I agree that here are no visa or work permit issues but I believe the crew need crew visas if the boat is in commercial operation in US waters.

As far as I am aware a red flagged boat of less than 24 m water line length is not governed by the large yacht code.
This is not that relevant though as it is tonnage and not length that captain qualifications apply to. It is, I believe legal for a yachtmaster to skipper a greater than 24m length boat as long as it is less than 200 tons registered, private and also commercial if a commercial endorsement is held (red flag). As this boat appears to be Maltese flagged it would be subject to the regulations of the flag state.
My original comment with regard to captain status was based on a wrong assumption that the boat was US flagged.

If the owner is documented as being the owner on the registration document then he is obviously not a paying guest. However most owners are not registered as the owner and the boat is generally company owned. This is where complication can occur. A letter stating that he is a director of the company normally does the trick. Similair for friends boarding. This would eliminate the visa usefulness.

If guests arrive without documentation to say they are the owners or owners guests then it really does look like charter on the surface. This is not illegal in US waters for a foreign flagged vessel I believe, but it is commercial and the crew need crew visas. It may be easier to say in this circumstance that it is charter for the beneficial owner and not try and prove that it is not, hence my suggestion for visas and not letters from the owning company.

US customs and immigration officials, particularly in Miami, can be a real PITA as you put it. It is just a cover your arse suggestion that can save grief and embarassment. It is best not to under estimate the difficulty an officer can cause if he or she feels like it....despite the facts. It works in the end if you are in the right, but they can make it take a very long time.

One other point to note, a visa waiver is not avilable for entry to the US by sea on a private vessel. So going for example from Tortola to USVI, all on board must have visas or have entered the US previously and have a visa waiver that is still valid. We have had to send owners and guests on the ferry to St John to get a visa and then return to Tortola with their visa waiver so they can then enter by yacht! This is legal.

All of this based on my experience and the facts as I believe them to be which may be wrong, it is worth getting the true technical legalities defined, probably by a yacht mangement company or similair.
 

jfm

Well-known member
Joined
16 May 2001
Messages
23,707
Location
Jersey/Antibes
Visit site
OK thanks. Here's an attempt at summing up. Please say if I've got it worng!

This boat is Malta flagged, and is both <24m and <200t so we are agreed Oceandrive's YM ticket is good enough

All we're left with is visas

So far as working visa for crew/Oceandrive is concerned, he doesn't need one if the boat is in private use only. He can take papers including "pleasure vessel" registration certificate and letters from the yacht-owning company to say the vessel is not on charter, is never on charter, is not coded for charter, etc, and he can take his chances as to whether PITA officer will accept those letters/papers or delay him 24hrs while they faff about

So far as guests (including ultimate owner) are concerned, and crew, they cannot use visa waiver green little forms so they need either (i) full visitor visas obtained before their trip or (ii) to have taken a flight or ferry into US from a visa-waiver territory (which includes the UK) in the preceding 3 months so that they have the little ellipse shape visa waiver stamp in their passport (which has a 3 month expiry).
 
Top