California Eases Entry for Superyachts

Ahead of the 34th America’s Cup in 2013 authorities in California have realised that some changes to the existing bureaucratic procedures were necessary to avoid missing out on a boom in income for the maratime sector from the staging of this world famous event.

A group of pro-actie San Diego businesses rightly judged that the onerous and costly reporting requirements for visiting yachts have been factors that put large luxury vessels off calling into Californian ports in the past. California’s Lempert-Keene-Seastrand Oil Spill Prevention and Response Act, as applied to non-commercial vessels over 300GT. The Act requires submission of individual vessels’ oil spill contingency plans and procedures, along with paperwork showing evidence of financial responsibility – ie insurance – among others. In the past, strict regulations dictated this documentation relating to the Act needed to be presented to officials at least 21 days prior to arrival in the state of California, under threat of a fine for failure to comply.

The need for such advanced planning was a clearly a deterrent to superyacht traffic and now the procedure has been changed so that visiting yachts have up to 14 days after arrival to file the documentation.

With marinas up to 500 miles away fully booked for the duration of the competition it seems that many skippers will find arrival procedures much easier, introducing private Customs inspection docks rather than having to clear cusotms at the main CBP dock.

During the petitioning process highlighted a study by the Marine Industries Association of South Florida, showed that for every $1 spent on yacht repairs, another $7 goes into the local economy. This additional income comes from owners and crews seeking hotel rooms, and spending money on restaurants, shopping and entertainment during the repair process. So encouraging superyacht traffic brings benefits to more than just the marine community.


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