Management issues for Yachts within US Waters

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Operations in the USA are far more complex than operations in Europe or the Caribbean. West Nautical have had a number of Captains coming to us after they have committed to a voyage in the USA and have began to encounter problems. West Nautical are experts in the provision of the documentation required to ensure sooth transition into US Waters, enabling the Captain to remain focussed on guest preparations.

West Nautical have recently assisted a client who was planning an Owner cruise itinerary around the Caribbean and wanted to visit the USA. The yacht had previously visited the US but it was the Captain’s first voyage to the mainland. Although the yacht had the correct documents issued by the Flag State and Classification Society as a commercial yacht, it did not have the Non Tank Vessel Response Plan (NTVRP), Water Quality Insurance Syndicate (WQIS) coverage, Pre Fire Plan, OSRO Coverage and salvor coverage that the United States Coast Guard require.

Creating these documents can be done relatively quickly, however each must undergo an approval process with the United States Coast Guard which can be time consuming. Once the documents are submitted, the USCG may require a number of changes and then for the documents to be resubmitted.

In addition to the yacht’s certification, there were several crew members who did not hold the relevant entry and work visas. West Nautical identified suitable Embassies for the crew to utilise in the Caribbean, minimising the disruption to the Owners cruise. By pre-booking the appointments, facilitating the required authorising letters from the employers, and preparing the crew for their embassy interviews, West Nautical ensured all crew were issued with B1/B2 working visas within the time constraints given.

For this particular yacht, the Captain was able to carry on serving the guests on board, ensuring that they received the expected excellent standard of service whilst West Nautical undertook the task of working with the Coast Guard and changed the yacht to be Privately Registered, working with the Flag State to issue and post the original certificate to the yacht’s first US port of call. The plans were all issued in time and the yacht entered US Waters without an issue, demonstrating the value a yacht management company has during an Owners cruise.