Boca Marina Yacht Club - Boating Resources - US CBP Local Boater Option
Boating & Weather » US Customs & Border
Patrol - Local Boater Option
Prior to 9/11/2001, traveling to
the Bahamas on your boat or as the passenger of a private pleasure boat
was relatively painless. After 9/11, procedures and restrictions put in place by
the newly created Department of Homeland Security made it so cumbersome, it was
just easier to fly. In November 2006,
Customs and Border Protection (CBP) streamlined the process for international
boaters returning from foreign waters. The revised program is known as the Local
Boater Option (LBO). Enrollment is voluntary, only needs to be done once, is
relatively easy to use and is free of charge. On May 23, 2010, CBP announced took
another step towards improving the LBO called the Small Vessel Reporting System
(SVRS). The SVRS is a web-based system that allows file your "float plan" online.
You can also use the SVRS to enroll in the LBO.
Who is eligible?
All US citizens and lawful permanent residents of the US (14 years of age
and older) are eligible to participate in the LBO. The program is for
boaters, not boats, though the master of a vessel will be required to
provide vessel information, such as the vessel’s name, color, registration
number, size, type and manufacturer.
Note: Children under 14 may be included in their parents’ BR#, and should
use that number when entering the US.
Who is NOT eligible?
Non-US citizens, paying passengers (such as those on a day charter boat),
and paid crew on cargo boats are not eligible to use the LBO. The LBO is
only available to private, non-commercial boaters who are US citizens and
legal permanent residents (green card holders).
Why should I sign up?
Signing up for the LBO will facilitate your entry into the US from a foreign
country. Once you have obtained a BR#, your entry into the US can be
processed over the phone by CBP. Agriculture requirements can be satisfied
over the phone, as well. If everyone onboard an incoming vessel has a BR#,
then the vessel and passengers will not have to report for inspection
in-person, unless requested to do so by CBP.
- Make sure you have a valid
US government-issued ID, such as a US
passport, or US military ID.
- Visit the
Small Vessel Reporting
System website. You can apply online or print and complete the
enrollment form to bring with you on your appointment.
Note: passengers need only complete the top half of the form, while boat
owners/captains must complete the entire form.
- Call your local Port of
Entry office to schedule an appointment:
West Palm Beach · (561) 848-6922 · M-F 8am-4pm
1 East 11th Street, Riviera Beach, FL
Port Everglades · (954) 761-2049
· M-F 8am-4pm
1800 Eller Drive, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Miami Seaport · (305) 536-4758, ext. 5 · M-F 7am-3pm
903 South America Way, Terminal H, Miami, FL
Attend your scheduled appointment and bring
your valid US government-issued ID.
Be patient. Soon you'll be given a Boater
Registration number (BR#) and
you'll be ready to set sail.
Additionally, you must
obtain a CBP decal
if your private vessel is thirty feet or greater in length. This
makes no logical sense, is probably double taxation, and is just overall
Using the SVRS when traveling:
Note: This process should be completed
by the master (captain) of the vessel after having been at any foreign port or
place or after having contact with any hovering vessel:
Prior to departure, file your "float plan"
SVRS website. When using the SVRS website, the
terms "BR#", "LBO" and "SVRS" appear to be interchangeable.
Make sure you have your three
flags (US flag, quarantine flag, and Bahamian courtesy flag) onboard.
Upon entering protected foreign waters (port
of entry / inlet), fly your yellow quarantine flag.
Dock or tie-off your boat, but do not unload
passengers or gear.
Report to a customs & immigration facility.
Have ready vessel's documentation, passports for all persons aboard, pet
permit, and firearms information (make, model, serial number and exact
ammunition count). Do not bring firearm ashore!
Pay for your cruising permit. You may
optionally purchase a fishing license.
Return to your vessel. Take down your
Quarantine flag and hoist your Bahamian courtesy flag (cruising pennant).
Upon returning protected U.S. waters, you should fly
your yellow "quarantine flag".
Dock your boat but do not unload
passengers or gear.
Call the CBP at 305-984-1418
if you filed a float plan. Call 800-432-1216 or 800-451-0393 if you did not
file a float plan.
In the event you get voice
mail, leave a message including your float plan number, arrival location,
name and call-back phone number. Wait for a return phone call --
clearance is not granted until contact is made with a CBP officer.
Let the CBP representative know your
passengers are enrolled in the Local Boater Option.
Give the CBP representative the names and BR# for each passenger.
If you have a CBP decal (boats 30'+ in
length), offer the decal number to the CBP representative as well.
The CBP representative will clear your boat
You may now take down your quarantine flag and
offload your passengers and gear.
Links to CBP articles related to the Local Boater
This page was last updated on Sep-1, 2011. Please notify the webmaster of any
incorrect information or broken links on