Documents, paperwork and money.

Documents, paperwork and money.

Insurance contract.

Before you set off make sure to have an insurance contract. Start early to arrange a contract. Most insurers want a recent inspection of mast and rigging from a qualified rigger.
Third party liability insurance is the minimum required by all marinas.
Australia wants you to insure 5 million AUD probably just in case you spill your leftover diesel when stranded on the Barrier Reef or one of their beautiful sandy beaches.

Warrant of Fitness or WoF.

Not a piece of paper from the gym but a certificate of electrical fitness of the yacht.
New Zealand marinas require this certificate and a qualified New Zealand electrician must provide it. Ask the NZ marina.

Registry documents and departure clearances.

Entry procedures vary from country to country and are continually changing. They need to be researched before setting off.
All countries want to see Registry documents for the yacht and a departure clearance from the last port.
A good site to research other requirements is:

General arrival procedures.

Advanced notification of arrival is required by many countries. Sometimes up to 96 hours before arrival. A yellow flag above the courtesy flag is always required.
Do not leave your vessel before contacted by officials either by VHF or mobile.

– An official from Bio Security or MAF will board and wants to inspect your vessel and the contents of your fridge and freezer and stores in general before issuing a clearance. Most of the time you lose valuable stores or less valuables such as eggs, wood carvings, herbs you grow on board etc.
Sometimes they want to inspect what grows under your vessel.
Research of these requirements is highly recommended.

– An official from Customs and Immigration wants to see the registry documents of the yacht and if you are not the owner an agreement from the owner stating you are entitled to sail the yacht.
Have a list of all equipment with details on the ready such as make and model and serial number of the engine and all electronic and navigation equipment such as radar, SSB radio and call sign, VHF radios, Iridium or inmarsat details, life raft dinghy, outboard, you name it.
Also the value of the yacht is of interest for customs to calculate the VAT charge in case you do not depart before the cruising permit expires.

Passports with visas for all crew members , with expiry dates beyond 6 months after intended departure. For Australia one can obtain electronic visas but these need to be arranged before entering the country.
If a temporary crew member flies in at some stage for a passage to another country, therefor on a one way flight ticket, it could be useful to send an email letter to this crew member to show the airport staff stating the invitation to be part of the crew.
All crew members to be listed on arrival and departure.
When one crew member departs by plane, make sure to de-list this person officially with Immigration.

Departure clearance which includes the names of the crew from the last port need to be shown.
You will be issued with a cruising permit for a certain period of time and sometimes only for a specific area. Whenever possible ask for the maximum cruising area to start with. One gets visas for each of the crew members depending on their citizenship.
At departure you will be issued with an exit or departure clearance which is needed at the next port of entry stating all crew members
The U.S immigration service does not automatically issue this exit clearance and it would be advisable to ask some port official or better customs official to issue one to avoid a discussion at the first country you arrive in. Then go and discover the new world.


Gone are the days of Traveller cheques. ATM machines are almost everywhere to be found. Sometimes Mastercard is not accepted and Visa is or vice versa. So it might pay to have both cards on the yacht just in case.

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