MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Memorial Day weekend is a huge time for boating in South Florida, and that can often mean pleasure boats arriving from the Bahamas and other points in the Caribbean. Each of those boats must check in with US Customs, and this weekend, the feds are making it easier for captains.

If you don’t report when returning to the US, and the government finds out, you could face big fines and the possible seizure of your boat.

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Understanding the reporting can be inconvenient on a holiday weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will deploy teams of officers to specific marinas over the long weekend to take the report of any pleasure boat that:

  • is returning after visiting a foreign port
  • is returning after contacting a “hovering” vessel off the coast

Customs officials will be at the marinas on a schedule to handle the processing. The person in charge of the boat must report their arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This  means any vessel not engaged in trade, or documented trade such as pleasure boats and yachts, regardless of size. This requirement applies to all boats regardless of country of registration.

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When a boat meeting these requirement wants to enter the US, everyone but the captain pr person in charge must remain aboard, and nobody may board the boat. No baggage or merchandise may be removed or loaded until the report of arrival is made and release granted by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officer.

The person in charge may leave the boat only to make a phone call to arrange for the inspection.

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People must report their arrivals immediately upon entering the United States through South Florida waters by calling 1-800-432-1216 or 1-800-451-0393, or by visiting one of the special Marina reporting spots:

  • Miami Beach Marina          Saturday 1:00 – 7:00 PM
    300 Alton Road                   Sunday 1:00 – 7:00 PM
    Miami Beach, FL                 Monday 7:00 – 1:00 PM
  • Lauderdale Marina
    900 SE 15th St.                   Sunday May 29 12 noon – 6:00 PM
    Fort Lauderdale                 Monday May 30 12 noon – 6:00 PM
  • Sailfish Marina
    98 Lake Drive                    Monday May 30 12 noon– 6:00 PM
    Palm Beach Shores