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Helpful Tip: Departing U.S. Ports

  • February 18, 2018
  • By YachtsmansGuide
Helpful Tip: Departing U.S. Ports

This information covers, in brief, the needs of the owner/master of a pleasure vessel. It was provided to us by the U. S. Customs Service. If you are not sure of the status of your vessel, call the nearest U.S. Customs or Immigration Office, or if abroad, the U.S. Consulate. Departing U.S. ports. Yachts and pleasure craft owned by U.S. citizens that are state-numbered and/or documented by the U.S. Coast Guard are not required to obtain formal clearance at the customs house before departing the U.S.

All foreign-owned and foreign-flag vessels must obtain formal clearance with U.S. Customs before departing the U.S. For customs purposes, a state-numbered (or state-registered) vessel owned by a foreign national, or even a resident alien, is considered an undocumented foreign flag vessel, and in that instance the vessel takes on the nationality of the owner.

Operators of private vessels of 30 feet or more in length are required to complete Customs Form 339 (Annual Processing Fee Decal Request) and display the subsequently provided decal on the side window of the vessel. The decal number will be required when you report your arrival to customs upon your return to South Florida. If the decal is not obtained prior to departure for a foreign location, upon return the vessel operator will be directed to the nearest customs office to purchase a decal within 48 hours of arriving in the U.S. A Customs User Fee Decal costs $27.50 and may be purchased at the following location during business hours Monday through Friday. It would be beneficial to call the customs office before making the trip to purchase the decal.

• U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Port of Miami, 1500 Port Blvd., Miami, FL 33132; (305) 869-2800.

At the following locations, you will be able to fill in an application for the decal, but you will not be able to purchase one on the spot. The only location that you can purchase one on the spot is the Port of Miami.

• U.S. Customs & Border Protection, Port Everglades, 1800 Eller Dr., Suite 104, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316; (954) 761-2041.

• U.S. Customs & Border Protection, 4 East Port Road, Suite 104, Riviera Beach, FL 33602; (561) 844-1703 Option 263.

• U.S. Customs & Border Protection, 1604 East 7th Ave., Suite 101, Tampa, FL 33605; (813) 712-6000 Option 5.

• U.S. Customs & Border Protection, 301 Simonton St., Room 105, Key West, FL 33040; (305) 296-5411.

If there are aliens aboard, call the immigration office for further instructions. If you have aboard or intend to take along any plants, seeds, or cuttings, you should contact the nearest office of the Plant Protection and Quarantine Division of the Department of Agriculture. If you have animals or birds that will be returned to the U.S., contact the same office. These instructions apply only to pleasure craft and not to any vessel used for commercial purposes. To determine your status, call the customs office before you depart from the U.S.

US Customs website:

By YachtsmansGuide, February 18, 2018
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