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CBP Reminds Holiday Pleasure Boaters of Reporting Requirements

Release Date: 
April 16, 2014

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The first sharp increase in pleasure boat traffic of the year occurs this long holiday week.

Cognizant of this occurrence U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) issued a public reminder Monday of the pleasure boat reporting requirements.   

Pursuant to 19 CFR 4.2, operators of small pleasure vessels, arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place to include any vessel which has visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise outside the territorial sea, are required to report their arrival to CBP immediately.

The master of the vessel reports their arrival at the nearest Customs facility or such other place as the Secretary may prescribe by regulations. These reports are tracked in the Pleasure Boat Reporting System. Pursuant to 8 CFR 235.1, an application to lawfully enter the United States must be made in person to a CBP officer at a U.S. port-of-entry when the port is open for inspection.

This increased enforcement posture requires physical reporting to a designated local CBP office when returning from foreign ports or locations for a face-to-face inspection, unless enrolled in an alternative inspection program that would allow arrival reporting by phone or online; such as the Local Boater Option (LBO) Program or the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS);

Participants in the LBO may report their arrival to CBP by calling one of the locations mentioned below. Participants in this program may be exempt from reporting for an in-person inspection, unless directed by a CBP officer. Participation in the LBO program does not exempt boaters from decal requirement.

The SVRS, available to all U.S. citizens, nationals and lawful permanent residents; Canadian citizens and permanent residents of Canada who are nationals of a Visa Waiver Program country, is a web-based automated on-line reporting system created for LBO participants to expeditiously report their intended arrivals from foreign. In addition, the web-based system will facilitate the enrollment of new applicants for SVRS. New applicants will be able to enroll and make an appointment for a face-to-face interview with a CBP Officer at an authorized reporting location of their choosing. Once participation in SVRS is granted by CBP, the participant will receive an email with their SVRS number and instructions for setting their initial password for SVRS. Current LBO participants must apply on-line for a password to access the float plan functions of SVRS.

Clearance procedures for pleasure boats arriving at the United States from foreign port include: 

  • Arrivals to the U.S. Virgin Islands from a foreign port and,
  • Arrivals to Puerto Rico (including Vieques and Culebra) from the U.S. Virgin Islands and foreign ports

The Master of the vessel must report arrival via telephone immediately upon arrival to a designated inspection site within the jurisdiction of Puerto Rico (including Vieques and Culebra) and the U.S. Virgin Islands. See below telephone numbers.

  • LBO registration number or Float Plan Number (if applicable)
  • Name, date of birth and citizenship of all persons on board (including passport number and visa information if applicable)*;
  • Name of the boat and/or boat registration number and nationality
  • CBP user fee decal number (if vessel is 30 feet or longer);
  • If qualified foreign vessel, cruising license number
  • Return contact number

To report your entry into Puerto Rico you can call our 24/7 numbers at 1-877-529-6840 or (787) 729-6840.  For the Virgin Islands call:

  • St Thomas: 1 877 305-8774
  • St. John: 1 877 305-8775
  • St. Croix: 1 340 773-1011 (day time) and 1 340 773-1490 (after business hours)
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