United States

From CruisersWiki

Jump to: navigation, search
WorldNorthern AmericaUnited States
United States
39°41.939'N, 100°49.209'W Chart icon.png
United States-CIA WFB Map.png
Flag of the United States.svg
Capital Washington D.C.
Language English
Currency US Dollar (USD)
Time zone Atlantic: UTC-5, Gulf: UTC-6, Pacific: UTC-8, Alaska: UTC-9, Hawaii: UTC-10.
(DST observed except for Hawaii and Arizona)
Calling code +1

Note: This World Cruising Wiki cannot hope to cover all the sailing activities and regions in the U.S.A. This Wiki does however attempt to cover the U.S. ports and areas that may be of interest to world cruisers.

For cruising see individual regions


Chart No 13003 - Cape Sable to Cape Hatteras
Chart No 11009 - Cape Hatteras to Straits of Florida
Chart No 411 - Gulf of Mexico
Chart No 501 - West Coast of North America

See the various ports listed below

Chart sources:


Weather in the United States of America (USA) ranges from tropical to arctic. There are many resources available to assist with planning before you get out on the water. These sites below generally cover weather for all fifty states and territories.

Weather Forecasts, Advisories, and Warnings
NOAA - National Weather Service - Marine Weather Services
NOAA - National Hurricane Center & Central Pacific Hurricane Center
SailFlow (Weather Where You Sail)
Weather Underground
Current Weather Conditions
NOAA - National Databuoy Center (realtime wind/wave data)


List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.



  • Generally speaking, channel 16 is monitored on VHF.
  • With DSC being required equipment on commercial vessels, many ships are now only required to monitor channel 13.
  • HF frequency 14.300MHz is monitored almost continuously by a US-wide volunteer network of amateur radio operators.
  • There are also many radio nets throughout the day. See the World Maritime Mobile Nets page for a more complete listing.


There are four main cellular providers in the United States that provide a variety of data, talk, and text (SMS & MMS) services. They are (in alphabetical order):


Many marinas offer free WiFi to their customers. It is usually beneficial to have some sort of external antenna so you can obtain a better signal while at the dock or in an anchorage. A directional antenna is always best for signal strength but doesn't work well if you're swinging around on an anchor. Newer wireless networks are using 5GHz access points, in addition to 2.4GHz access points. The 5GHz access points allow more bandwidth for users meaning faster throughput for you. If you have a dual-band device, you might be able to try both bands while at anchor or at pier side to determine what gets you the best signal and the best throughput.


Warning: All buoyage follows the IALA-B "red-right-returning" rule, so keep red, conical-topped, even-numbered "nuns" to starboard and green, cylindrical, odd-numbered "cans" to port when entering a port. The outermost buoy will be marked with the lowest number.

Often, there will be a seabuoy ("safe water buoy") just seaward of that lowest-numbered buoy that is striped red-and-white and with a two-letter label (such as "MR" for Merrimac River entrance). Navigate to it before attempting to enter the port.

When encountering buoys cruising along the coast between ports, the convention is that when sailing around the continent in a clockwise fashion, one should also keep red buoys to starboard, (to avoid isolated hazards between the buoy and the coast).


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 (Customs and Border Protection) immediately (see 19 U.S.C. 1433).

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.

Reporting Requirements
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.
Important: See FULL REGULATIONS on the official website.

Also visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection - Locations webpage. This gives all the details for the various ports of entry in the U.S.


  • Qualifying recreational U.S. boaters returning from foreign ports may not have to go through an in-person re-entry interview under a new program launched by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. The Local Boater Option program gives boaters in Tampa, Miami, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands the choice to register in advance with the agency, eliminating in most cases a requirement to meet with officials after every foreign visit. To enroll in the Local Boater Option, set up an appointment by calling 1-800-432-1216 or 1-800-451-0393
  • Foreign flagged vessels are required to report their movement from one port of call, or one berth, to another. Even if a foreign flagged vessel, including those from Canada, have entered the USA legally, and cleared customs properly, THEY MUST NOTIFY US CUSTOMS - HOMELAND SECURITY if they move their vessel from one place to another. Even if the vessel is moved just from Port Everglades to Miami, for example, or even from the city of Fort Lauderdale berths on New River to Bahia Mar, the boat owners MUST notify US Customs - Homeland Security IMMEDIATELY, OR BE SUBJECT TO A $5,000.00 FINE! While it would appear, at least so far, that the enforcement of this provision is lax in some ports, a crackdown could result in some very expensive cruising for Canadians, or boat owners from other countries It appears that this Department of Homeland Security Requirement is NOT well known among foreign cruisers

Customs and Immigration


The best source for Customs & Clearing information is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection CBP.gov


The best source for information regarding visas is the US government pages - Visas

Health & Security

Submit any health warnings/information and any security details here.

External Territories


Maine (ME)
New Hampshire (NH)
Massachusetts (MA)
Rhode Island (RI)
Connecticut (CT)
New York (NY)
New Jersey (NJ)
Pennsylvania (PA)
Delaware (DE)
Maryland (MD)
Washington, DC
Virginia (VA)
North Carolina (NC)
South Carolina (SC)
Georgia (GA)
Florida (FL)
Alabama (AL)
Mississippi (MS)
Louisiana (LA)
Texas (TX)
Hawaii (HI)
California (CA)
Oregon (OR)
Washington (WA)
Alaska (AK)

Also see:


List transportation to other countries, etc.


Submit details/contacts of cruiser's "friends" that can be contacted in advance or on arrival - who can offer information and assistance to our cruising "family".


List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)



Books, Guides, etc.

Atlantic Coast:

  • MapTech "Embassy" Crusing Guides If you can only afford one, this is it. (MapTech makes NOAA's digital charts and provides a free raster chart reader based on their navigation software. They also sell paper "ChartKit" books by region.)
    • New England Coast
    • Long Island Sound to Cape May, NJ
    • Chesapeake Bay to Florida
    • Florida
  • Waterway Guides (Also good, especially for upscale marina-hopping, but fewer ports and marinas covered.)
    • Northern
    • Chesapeake Bay
    • Atlantic ICW (Intra-coastal Waterway)
    • Southern
  • plus

Gulf Coast:



We welcome users' contributions to the Wiki. Please click on Comments to view other users' comments, add your own personal experiences or recommend any changes to this page following your visit.

This is a usable page of the cruising guide. However, please contribute if you can to help it grow further. Click on Comments to add your personal notes on this page or to discuss its contents. Alternatively, if you feel confident to edit the page, click on the edit tab at the top and enter your changes directly.

SailorSmiley.gifContributors to this page

Names: Lighthouse, JeanneP, Haiqu

Personal tools
Friends of Cruisers Wiki