Friday, April 3, 2009

Clearing Customs at Acklins

Checking out of the Bahamas is required, and is easy, even if you expect to return. You can either visit a Customs office, or return your cruising permit by mail. The latter is a little bit scary if you plan to return, although you will have your receipt for your cruising permit payment. You may clear back in once in 90 days without needing a new cruising permit (which cost us $300 annually). Many boats do not bother checking out. Bear in mind that if you return and then need an extension on your cruising permit, you will need to provide your passport to Bahamas customs, and your other ports of call will be obvious.
Having been turned away at Great Inagua, and with less than 30 days left on our cruising permit, we decided to try to get to the island’s administrator. The Explorer charts list Spring Point as a port of entry although no detail about a customs office was provided. On Thursday when the mail boat arrived we dinked over to Spring Point and were lucky enough to find the administrator, who drove us to his office at Mason’s Bay, turned us over to his assistant Antoinette and promised to return.
Although it is planned, Acklins is not yet a port of entry, but the office communicated with Nassau and was able to create some paperwork to accomplish our re-entry. On his return, Mr. Wilson gave us a ride to Spring Point.
The forms to clear boats in for customs are “on the way” to the administrator, so if you decide to check in here it should be easily accomplished. The charts do not indicate sufficient water for us to get close in to Mason’s Bay, but it appears easy to hitch a ride there and back from Spring Point. The folks at this office could not have been nicer or more accommodating.

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