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
- Paper NOAA "print-on-demand" charts (up-to-date within last 2 weeks) - about $20 each
- RNC Raster files of NOAA Navigation Charts (free - updated weekly)
- Free Download of NOAA RNCs Info and agreement page
- US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS Inland navigation charts These cover the middle of the US, Mississippi River and tributaries, for the most part. The list includes free ENC charts and downloadable paper charts to print.
North American weather ranges from tropical to arctic. It is far better, if one plans to cruise off (or in) North America, to do one's homework and find specifics about the specific area(s) that you want to see. (see each section of the Cruising Wiki)
- Weather Forecasts
- NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)
- SailFlow (Weather Where You Sail)
- Weather Underground
- Current Weather Conditions
- NOAA National Databuoy Center (realtime wind/wave data)
List popular passages/routes, timing, etc.
- HF frequency 14.300MHz is monitored continuously by a US-wide volunteer network.
Also see World Cruiser's Nets.
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.
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.
|NEW ENGLAND (N-to-S)||MID-ATLANTIC (N-to-S)||SOUTHEAST (N-to-S)||GULF COAST (E-to-W)||PACIFIC (S-to-N)|
- Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AICW) (Norfolk, VA to Key West, FL) (Has data)
- Gulf Intracoastal Waterway (GICW) (Brownsville, TX to Ft. Myers, FL)
- Okeechobee Waterway Trans Florida (E/W)
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)
- Perri Marine Sales - Internet Marine Sales, Same day delivery.
- Over land boat transport, Sail and power - up to 45', CIMA Boat Transportation Tel: (941) 639-2606
- Wikipedia - United States
References & Publications
Books, Guides, etc.
- 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
- Waterway Guides (Also good, especially for upscale marina-hopping, but fewer ports and marinas covered.)
- Chesapeake Bay
- Atlantic ICW (Intra-coastal Waterway)
- Guide to New England Marinas book + CDROM (Excellent resource, but listed dockage rates are outdated and low)
- Cruising Guide to the New Engand Coast (Excellent sailors' background supplement to "New England" Embassy Guide or "Northern" Waterway Guide. Covers Maine to NY, including Hudson River, but its marina coverage is thin.)
- (Its author Roger Duncan wrote Coastal Maine, an in-depth maritime history from earliest explorers to present.)
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