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Advice on first crossing?

tony97gttony97gt Posts: 35 Greenhorn
Guys, just picked up a 35' Donzi ZF Cuddy with trip 300 Verados. I'm trying to plan my first Bimini crossing out of Haulover on no particular weekend this summer. I've never been to Bimini so I'm not too sure how customs works and what is the best spot to come into in Bimini and where to stay. The cuddy doesn't have a/c so I'd want to rent a room with the wife. I'm thinking of maybe going once every two months and I'm not sure if there's a way I can get a permit where I don't have to pay the $300 per trip or whatever crazy taxes they have. Also, I've heard about some express pass from Customs so you can just call them when you're heading back. Any advice?

Once I make the trip a few times I'm hoping I can plan an Exhumas trip next summer with some friends. I've researched that route and I was planning on going thru Bimini to Nassau and making an overnight stop/refuel there. Then the second day would be all the way down to Exhumas. Stay in Exhumas for 4-5 days in a hotel and then take the same leg back except maybe stopping in Abacos instead of Nassau. Any input on this?


  • probate-rprobate-r Posts: 419 Deckhand
    Lots of advice can be found here on the forum. I'm sure other's will chime in as well with their suggestions. But here's mine to get this thread going.

    I think this thread is a good place to start....... when it comes to advice on things you should pack. Generally, I would suggest having a spare of just about everything on board ... from fuel filters, plugs, fuses, props, etc. Yeah its a lot, and its expensive, but you will have a peace of mind that if something goes wrong, you can probably fix it or find someone who can. Also, I really suggest you know your boat, inside and out, before going over. Its taken me a year on my current boat to get to know most of the systems, the lines, the wiring, etc. If something goes wrong, I know where to look and how to troubleshoot it. This comes with time, but on a new boat, don't rush out ot the Bahamas without knowing the boat.

    Going to Bimini, West End, Lucaya, etc, I try not to buy gas if I don't have to. Not only is it expensive, but on rare occasions it can be contaminated. I too have verados, and they can be finicky with contaminated gas (fuel filters are known to get gummed up or to get full of water), so I try not to but fuel unless absolutely necessary.

    As for Bimini, there are plenty of places to stay. Book early for the best selection. All types of price ranges and levels, so pick whats appropriate for you and your group for that trip. Check out online (in no particular order) ... Bimini Big Game, Seacrest, Browns, Bimini Sands, Complete Anger, etc. Most of those will have dockage to keep the boat at. But if you are looking to go around a holiday weekend, be sure to book months in advance, especially to get dockage.

    As for US customs, I highly suggest you look into the LBO (Local Boater Option) for everyone on board. I mandate it for anyone that goes over with me, as its so much easier than having to report to immigration within 24 hrs. Its free, its easy, do it .... By the way, you call customs when you get back to the dock. They will clear the boat to disembark, but unless you have the LBO numbers for everyone, you still have to personally present each non LBO registered person to immigration, such as at port everglades. Here's the link to the Bahamas cruising regulations and the 90 day reentry rule ......

    Also, I would get a handful of Bahamas customs forms (I think there are like 5 or 6 of them in total) and have them all filled out before you go. Saves a ton of time at customs and/ or immigration when everyone is itchy to get off the boat.

    Hope the advice helps.
    Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"
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