Things To Know Before Taking An International Boating Trip

Some prefer a relaxed boating experience, others like adventure in their boat trips. But how should you prepare if you’re going cross-border boating?

boat boating
UNSPLASH Felipe Dias

Boating is a fun and free way to explore the wide sea, and the freedom to go across borders by meeting certain conditions is also a great plus point. Getting to see a new country while sailing on a boat is what draws many new boaters who have a great spirit for adventure. However, there are few steps you must remember to complete whether you are renting a boat in another country or just checking out boats for sale. Read on to know a few basic requirements for international boating.

Gather The Proper Paperwork

When you are planning to cross an international border with your boat, there are a few documents that you need to keep with you to safely deal with the authorities at the border. The required paper depends on your situation. Here a few common papers or documents you may need to have with you.


You mostly require a passport when crossing a border, in some cases enhanced driver licenses can work between the borders of the US, Mexico, and Canada. A passport is more recognizable than any local license and is more acceptable during an inspection by the office of the international coast guards. If you are traveling with your children it is advisable to have their birth certificates and passports with you.

If you are embarking on a year-long trip or a several-month tour then it’s a good idea to check the expiration date of your passport and renew it if required. You do not want to face the hassle of your passport expiring in the middle of your journey.


Traveling to some countries does require a visa, especially if you plan to stay for an extended time. You should check the local consulate’s website to find out about the necessary documents required by the country you are planning to sail to and how much it will cost to obtain a visa.

Registration And Other Papers Of Your Boat

You must carry all current paperwork on your boat when you are sailing on international waters. Your insurance needs to stay up-to-date and you must ensure that the registration of your boat does not expire during the extended overseas sailing tour. If you are chartering or renting a bareboat, be sure to keep all the paperwork relating to the rental with you at all times.

Travel Insurance

Having travel insurance keeps you covered in case of any accidents when you are traveling abroad. There are different coverages and policies available in the market. You can go through them to choose one that is flexible and affordable enough to go with your travel plans.

Before Taking Your Boat Overseas

Boating into foreign waters warrants some research beforehand. You must have a clear idea of the navigation, ports, rules,  language, and any other factors before you enter the foreign water. Even though it is not necessary to have extensive knowledge, some familiarization about the country is a good idea.


Most rules for boating are universal and based on etiquette. But once you have landed on the foreign shores, the customs are bound to be different from the ones in your home nation. You should get informed about those rules before you head out.

If you are sightseeing in a religious place, find out if they have any specific dress codes to visit the premises. Learning the traditions and customs of the nation you are visiting and adhering to their rules will always help in making your stay pleasant and more welcome.


It’s a safe idea to consult with a doctor depending on your destination. There might be pathogens in the location that you are planning to visit so consulting with the travel doctor regarding vaccination requirements will keep you protected while visiting. Travel doctors will also be able to inform you about any illnesses that are common in a specific area.

The doctor may prepare an emergency medicine package for you that will come in handy in case you are planning an extended trip. Also, be equipped with a series of first aid kits on your journey, so that you are prepared for any unwanted situation.

Customs Offices

When you are boating in international waters it might be hard to find the local coast guard. So make your plan accordingly so that necessary custom formalities are carried out once you have arrived in the country. Look out for the location of the customs checkpoint and plan your route accordingly. If you are sailing into a big city then you will most likely find a major shipping location or international ports to check-in. So research ahead and plan your route so you can easily announce your arrival to the local customs.

Things To Consider When Entering A New Country By Boat

When you have done your research and have taken the required steps, sailing into a new country should be quite simple. You can give the necessary documents and paperwork to the local customs since you are already aware of the pre-requisites for entry into that nation, knowing the location of the customs office and sailing to that point will be easier. Your preparation will be appreciated by most customs officers who are rather friendly to work with.

It’s a good idea to have the flag of your country flying off the stern of your vessel. Be sure to leave it on display from the sunrise to sun set. This will make it easy to identify you as a foreign tourist. Knowing the countries traditions and customs from before will prepare you while packing for your trip, as you might need to bring a set of specific clothing to match the countries culture.

Parting Thoughts

One of the best ways to explore the word is by boating. You can see things off the tourist trail and you don’t even need additional arrangements to stay. Boating to international locations may seem intimidating to a few people, but getting the right preparation before your tour can ensure that your sailing is legal, safe, and prepared for any unforeseen emergencies. Just be sure to follow the tips above and make your sailing in international waters an experience to cherish and remember forever.

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