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U.S. Customs and Border Protection Wants To Hear From Boaters Over Easter Holidays

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SAN JUAN — With the significant increase of beachgoers and small pleasure boaters traversing the Caribbean during this Easter weekend, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced on Thursday an increased vigilance posture and advisory of reporting requirements.

U.S. Border Patrol and Air and Marine Operations (AMO) agents will work with state and local partners in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through the Operation Stonegarden Grant Program in coastal operations to deter smuggling operations.

Federal law requires that all operators of small pleasure vessels entering the United States from foreign locations immediately notify their arrival to CBP. If entering the United States through Puerto Rico and the USVI, boaters are required to report their arrival by phone. This clearance procedures for boaters include: arrivals to the US Virgin Islands from a foreign port; and Arrivals to Puerto Rico (including Vieques and Culebra) from the USVI and foreign.

To report entry boaters should call:

  • Puerto Rico: 1-877-529-6840 or (787) 729-6840
  • St. Thomas: 1-877-305-8774
  • St. Croix: 1-340-778-0216

When calling, vessel masters must have the following information available:

  • LBO registration number or Float Plan Number (if applicable)
  • Name, Date of Birth and Citizenship of all persons on board (including passport number);
  • Name of the boat and/or boat registration number;
  • CBP user fee decal number (if 30 feet or longer);
  • Homeport and current location; and
  • Return contact number

During the call, boaters will receive further instructions from CBP concerning face-to-face inspections. Alternative inspection programs such as the Local Boater Option (LBO) Program and the Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) facilitate arrival into the US by registering boats and passengers with CBP and allowing to expeditiously report an intended arrival in a web-based system.

CBP officers, from the Office of Field Operations, lead CBP’s border security mission at the ports of entry, along U.S. borders by agents from the Office of Border Patrol and from the air and sea by agents from the Office of Air and Marine Operations. Also at ports of entry, agriculture specialists deploy to protect U.S. agriculture from the introduction of pests or disease from overseas sources.

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The Author

John McCarthy

John McCarthy

John McCarthy has been reporting on the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region since 1989. John's articles have appeared in the BVI Beacon, St. Croix Avis, San Juan Star and Virgin Islands Daily News. He is originally from Detroit, Michigan.

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