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CBP reminds pleasure boaters of reporting requirements in the Caribbean

Release Date: 
March 21, 2016

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Easter weekend marks the start of a busy boating season that lasts until the very end of the summer within the islands of the Caribbean.  With an increase in navigating traffic throughout the various islands, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reminds pleasure boaters today of the reporting requirements when arriving at ports of entry within Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

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 (see 19 U.S.C. 1433).

During the Easter weekend CBP can inspect boaters for compliance to reporting requirements.
During the Easter weekend CBP can
inspect boaters for compliance to reporting

The master of the vessel reports their arrival at the nearest Customs facility or such other place as the Secretary may prescribe by regulations. 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.

CBP has designated specific reporting locations within the Field Offices that are staffed during boating season for pleasure boats to report their arrival and be inspected by CBP. The master of the boat must report to CBP telephonically and be directed to the nearest Port of Entry to satisfy the face-to-face requirement, or report to the nearest designated reporting location along with the boat's passengers for inspection.

Nonetheless, CBP has implemented alternatives such as the Local Boater Option (LBO) and the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS). 

Participants in this program may report their arrival to CBP by calling a port of entry and 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 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 US Virgin Islands, providing the following information:

  • 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

For detailed list of phone numbers to call visit LBO.

SVRS is a voluntary effort that will allow eligible, 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. SVRS 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.

Decals are stickers that are placed on all private aircraft and private vessels (30 feet or more in length) as proof that the User Fee for entry into the U.S. has been paid for the calendar year. If a vessel or aircraft does not have a decal upon entering the U.S., an application must be completed and a User Fee purchased when reporting to CBP. Participation in the LBO program does not preclude the decal requirement. In order to obtain your decal you can login to our web page DTOPS or submit a paper application.

Last modified: 
March 5, 2019