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"Private" US flagged yachts under 200gt don't require US captains??
Captain Kiwi
Posted: Monday, November 7, 2011 3:39 AM
Joined: 07/10/2009
Posts: 2

I have been researching a little and it appears that US flagged yachts under 200gt that have a 'recreational endorsement' may not require a US citizen as Captain. Can any one confirm this? If so does any one know how to check or get a 'recreational endorsement' on a US flagged yacht. Also what immigration issues might I need to consider as a foreign master if I take a job as captain on a private U.S.-flagged yacht that occasionally enters U.S. waters. Will I have problems clearning in / out of the US?? Thanks
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 2:11 PM
I Don't know about a recreational endorsement, but the problem lies in the fact that if a vessel is US Documented, the master must be a us citizen. We went through this 15 years ago, marry a us citizen w/ a captains license, that's what my husband did today, he works on land and I'm a commercial captain.
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 7:24 PM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

"...  if a vessel is US Documented, the master must be a us citizen."


Ownership (or 75 percent at least) must be held by a US citizen. There is no requirement for any crew to be licensed on a recreational vessel <200 tons. There are no citizenship requirements for crew on a US flagged  recreational vessel <200 tons.


Curl up with 46CFR15

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 10:13 PM
Joined: 01/06/2008
Posts: 1061

Captain Kiwi wrote:
I have been researching a little and it appears that US flagged yachts under 200gt that have a 'recreational endorsement' may not require a US citizen as Captain. Can any one confirm this? If so does any one know how to check or get a 'recreational endorsement' on a US flagged yacht. Also what other immigration issues might I need to consider as a foreign master if I take a job as captain on a U.S.-flagged yacht occasionally operating in U.S. waters. ie: I have a B1/B2 visa and will be paid from an offshore company account to an offshore account. But will I have problems clearning in / out of the US?? Thanks

There are two separate issues as you see. For recreational use in the US the vessels you are talking about do not require a license to run, so USCG you're good with. However, your B1/B2 visa does not allow for it in US waters, and you will have issues if you are a paid captain coming into the US on a US flagged vessel.

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 10:18 PM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 78

Junior... you read them. If you have a green card, you may work on US flagged vessels in US waters, otherwise it is illegal to use them in US waters. Overseas is a different matter. It does not matter what size or whether it is recreational or not. § 15.720 Use of non-U.S. licensed and/or documented personnel. (a) United States vessels which need to replace one or more persons while on a foreign voyage and outside the jurisdiction of the United States, in order to meet manning requirements, may use non-U.S. credentialed personnel without a TWIC, except for the positions of master and radio officer, until the vessel returns to a port at which in the most expeditious manner replacements who are citizens of the United States can be obtained. (b) The citizenship requirements of 46 U.S.C. 8103(a) and (b) and the TWIC requirement of 46 U.S.C. 70105 are waived, except for the requirement that the master must be a U.S. citizen holding a TWIC, with respect to the following vessels: (1) A U.S.-documented offshore supply vessel (OSV) (as that term is defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(19)) that is operating from a foreign port; and (2) A U.S.-documented mobile offshore drilling unit (MODU) (as that term is defined in 46 U.S.C. 2101(15a)) that is operating beyond the water above the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf. (c) The waiver provided in paragraph (b) of this section does not apply to any vessel operating in water above the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf (as that term is defined in 43 U.S.C. 1331(a)). (d) The master shall assure that any replacements of crewmembers by non-U.S. citizens made in accordance with this section will be with an individual who holds a credential which is equivalent in experience, training, and other qualifications to the U.S. credential required for the position and that the person possesses or will possess the training required to communicate to the extent required by §15.730 of this part. [CGD 89–061, 55 FR 1212, Jan. 12, 1990, as amended by USCG–2006–24371, 74 FR 11261, Mar. 16, 2
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 10:31 PM
Well stated Capt Erik. Nice to see someone knows the legalities of operating a US Flagged yacht while in US waters and is not quoting from the foreign waxys forum.
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 10:36 PM
maybe the aliens that are here in the states should just go back to their own countries and run their own flag yachts, as americans we are not very welcome to work in europe under any other nations flag, but yet you all come here and take jobs away from us, use our health care system and dont pay so that we as tax payers here have to cover your debts, bad talk the states, but yet stay well past your welcome.. maybe you should just go back to where you came from and work there instead !
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 10:54 PM
Joined: 25/07/2008
Posts: 31

Better not be working on a US flagged yacht being held out for charter. A master, licensed by the USCG is required. What "Chief" does herein is perpetrate the belief that foreign nationals can fly to Fort Lauderdale on a visitor's visa (i.e. vacation) and then shack up at a crew house afterwhich they hit the docks and boat yards seeking employment. This is illegal. My problem with Kiwi is that he states he has set up an offshore account with which he is to be paid. That equates to no payroll taxes for wages earned in the US. Also, a B1 Busniess Visitors visa PROHIBITS the holder from gainful employment in the US. (SEE BELOW) B1 and B2 visitor visas Business travelers may enter the United States using a B1, or 'Visitor for Business' Visa. In practice these visas are invariably issued as jointly with B2, or 'Visitor for Pleasure' (i.e. Tourist) visa. This practice means that, if a candidate has an old tourist visa, it may be valid for a planned business trip. For those who come under the visa-waiver scheme, details of which are provided below, there is usually no need to apply for a visit visa at all if the candidate wishes to visit the US for three months or less. While in the US as a business visitor, an individual may: •Conduct Negotiations •Solicit sales or investment •Discuss planned investment or purchases. •Make investments or purchases •Attend Meetings, and participate in them fully. •Interview and hire staff. •Conduct research. The following activities require a working visa, and may not be carried out by business visitors: •Running a business. •"Gainful employment". •Payment by an organization within the US. •Participating as a professional in entertainment or sporting events. Obviously there is a considerable 'gray area' in between what definitely is allowed and what definitely isn't. It is advisable to err on the side of caution when bringing overseas persons into the USA on business visitor visas. However, in certain strictly limited cases, paid employment may be possible using a 'H1B' Those entering on visitor visas will generally be granted 6 months admission (the maximum allowable is one year) on entry. It may be possible to obtain a six-month extension to the visit visa as long as the candidate will be maintaining visitor status, and there are good reasons to do so. It is sometimes possible to change status to another longer - term visa whilst in the US as a visitor, as long as the candidate advised the relevant US Embassy or Consulate of this possibility beforehand, or there was no pre-conceived intent to do so. Visit visas should generally be applied for in a country of which the candidate is a Citizen or permanent resident. Applications made in other countries often run a high risk of being turned down. The most common reason for refusal of B1/B2 visas is the applicant showing insufficient evidence of social, family or economic ties to his/her country of residence that would ensure that s/he would return there following the visit to the USA.
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:06 PM
Well that last anonymous comment was a little un-called for. I'm from the Seychelles and even though I work on a foreign flagged vessel and have never spent more than six months in the United States during the year. I have still filed for and received an ITIN number so that I can pay taxes as a non-resident alien! Oh and by the way, I don't kick up a fuss when yachts with American crew spend lengthy amounts of time in the Seychelles and nobody files for taxes there!
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:22 PM
Joined: 29/12/2010
Posts: 8

I know a Captain who has run a fairly well known large American flagged yacht for best part of 10 years... he is not a US resident and I believe that his entire crew are non-residents. The owner is not a US resident either, so I guess one of his US Companies owns the yacht However the flag of the yacht is not the issue, he tells me, it is where the yacht spends the majority of the time. This yacht is offshore most of the time, but does come back to the states 2 or 3 times per year, quite legally, being run by the present crew. As he says, it is a complex area which involves payroll, and time spent in and out of the US for both Yacht and Crew, and most yachts do not bother with it by just flagging non-US. So the simple answer to the question of can a non US resident Captain a US flagged boat is , Yes. The amount of operational time you can have in US waters is another question and is one that will have to be examined thoroughly.
sheddon filday
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:38 PM
Non US officers are allowed to be employed on US Flagged vessels if vessel is documented but un-inspected. Check electronis code of federal Regulations: Any Us Flagged vessel may employ foreign officers whilst in offshore waters id siutable replacments are not available. ( Loophole)
Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:43 PM
Residency is not the issue, neither is nationality. Being legal to work in the USA for a US owned corporation is. As said above, if you have a green card or some other document that makes it legal for you to work in the USA then you are ok. But a B1 given to you as you came in on some other boat or for some other reason does not legally give you the right to change jobs, etc.  That is illegal, ask any ICE or CBP officer, I have and they make it clear they will take your visa/passport and stamp you 'no entry' for 10 years.
Also, if a boat, recreational or not, but documented in the USA, thus necessitating flying the Old Glory, then it has to be owned by a US corporation. If you are an employee of that boat, then you are working for a US corporation no matter how or where you are paid.  Legally, US corporations have to ask each new employee for evidence of the right to work in the US, ie. a passport, green card or birth certificate and that is filed in your employee file. If the government ever comes knocking and you do not have this evidence, everyone, including the owner of the corporation can be in hot water.  This is why so many people in bars, etc, work for cash.
If the owner or his management of a US flagged boat does not know this, then I guess he and his money will some be parted.
And when you do come into the US, let's hope you dont get a disgruntled USCG or CBP officer that is upset about budget cuts, as they will take it out on your passport. Just ask the guys in West Palm, Miami or St. Thomas, they are the worst.

Posted: Tuesday, November 8, 2011 11:45 PM
Joined: 29/12/2010
Posts: 8

Absolutely agree with Anonymous above ref Aliens (esp the green ones) working in the US and on US boats....... addition (and by your rationale) ANY and ALL of the Americans should leave non-American yachts immediately and be forbidden to work anywhere in the world apart from the USA or on US flagged boats, and only within US waters - (you have to fly to the US Virgin Islands and meet your boat there)....!!
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 1:19 AM
Joined: 02/06/2008
Posts: 342

aeronautic1 wrote: "What "Chief" does herein is perpetrate the belief that foreign nationals can fly to Fort Lauderdale on a visitor's visa (i.e. vacation) and then shack up at a crew house afterwhich they hit the docks and boat yards seeking employment."

[Comment removed by moderator] The statement refuted was quoted at the top of my post. My post very clearly stated that <200 tons and recreational required no license and there are no citizenship restrictions. I even provided the relevant CFR for those who desire to look it up themselves.

The matter of the OP having problems entering the US is not something I have knowledge enough to answer or am stupid enough to provide the crap answers that fill these pages. I don't even know what nationality he is and that sort of question is best managed between himself and the agency with authority over those matters.

What you have done is to read your own prejudices into a question that was never asked. You immediately wrote a small pamphlet based on your own misconceptions and ignorance of the regulations.

You guys are so hyper sensitive to the immigration and nationality issue that you can't even read past the word citizen so that you might be able to understand the question. It never ceases to amaze me how reactionary and ignorant most of those who claim to be "captains" and have all the answers really are in these matters.

Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 2:20 AM
Chief, well spoken.

So that sums it up, either way if the boats are under 200gt and Privately Endorsed then we can take more of the American jobs, besides it takes one Kiwi, Australian, South African or Pommi to do 5 Americans work, make the math, less money waisting and more money flowwing and at the end the work gets done better and faster.

[Comment removed by moderator]

The actual reason he is crying for, is that we can work on any flag boat and be out of the US mostly and don't pay taxes and no matter what he does he has to. It's your ignorance, boycott the oil industry and go free energy, less expenses for all and more saving and still same taxes


Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 3:59 AM
Joined: 11/01/2009
Posts: 3

I remember coming across something on the web stating that Any Masters or Officers on a American Flagged Vessel need to hold a USCG issued license, is that true?
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 4:15 AM
Joined: 05/06/2008
Posts: 88

First & foremost, Kiwi. Brass tax is that a U.S. flagged boat is just like working anywhere in the U.S. If you are getting paid to run a U.S. registered boat & if you are to be insured doing so, you must have citizenship in the U.S...that is whole of the law without getting into the details. Second, you can all leave this nationality mud-slinging...I've seen English, Aussies, South Afficans, Kiwi's, Americans do this job excellently & piss-poorly. Its not the homeland heritage that shapes the work ethic of how we do this job, but how we been brought into it...our experience. That is the grim factor in yachting. Not enough Caltains, Mates & Engineers being proper role models for the standards this industry used to have more prominently. Proudly, I currently work on a U.S. boat with 8 crew that do the job of 11.
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 7:45 AM
I would suggest that you stay away from working/running any American flagged vessels while in the US waters. I was banned from entering the US for ten years after the owner & manager persuaded me that it was all legit. To the guys complaining that us 'Foreigners' taking your jobs, I would like to remind you of all the US Citizens working & running red flagged vessels and you don't hear us saying anything about it!! We work in a multi-national industry where it should be that any nationality should be able to work on any flagged vessel. I try to do this as much as possible, even employing US citizens. It is only the US that bans 'Foreigners' to work on their vessels in US waters! You have problems getting other flagged vessels not because of the laws but because you have a bad reputation of suing people so it costs more in insurance to have you onboard.
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 8:41 AM
Referring to the post 8th November @ 2236 I normally find people making comments like this are usually the ones who don't get employed as they are not good at their job!
Posted: Wednesday, November 9, 2011 1:38 PM
US Captains try and go to NZ and say you want to work and soon you will find yourself on a plane back to the USA
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 1:39 AM
Joined: 09/09/2008
Posts: 78

I posted the cfr for this earlier, and some have chosen to look at other areas of cfr's and to try to use those as justification as to being a illegal alien working on a US flagged vessel in US waters. They mention the fact that under 200 tons certain vessels do not have manning requirements and cite this as the reason, no where in that section does it state that aliens are allowed to man these vessels. That is covered under the section that I copied earlier. Just go to a crew agency and tell them you want to apply for captain of one of these yachts, they won't because it is illegal. As for Sencho and his non us crew running a large yacht. If it is under 200 tons and does not carry passengers for hire they have to have either citizenship, or a registered alien. If the vessel requires licenses, they have to be USCG ones and you either have to be a citizen or a registered Alien to have one. You can not be a foreign national and run a US flagged vessel, period, and it does not have anything to do with the number of days outside the country. The only thing that has to do with is Federal Taxes on money earned . for all those spouting about Americans being employed on foreign boats , I have no trouble with changing the world rules that you must live in the country of the yachts, flag, and that means England is ONLY England, South Africa is only South Africa, and Marshall Islands is only people residing on the actual Island . Or we should really go by the nationality of the person who owns the yacht, so American yacht owners, no matter where the boat was registered would have to hire ONLY Americans, then we will see how it works out. Good news coming though since changes are coming to make all you blowhards who do not support any country with taxes to start paying your fair share!
Posted: Thursday, November 10, 2011 11:45 AM
Joined: 12/07/2010
Posts: 57

I've been following this issue since most of your were in grade school. Not much change in 30 years, those whom are not US Citizens are not qualified to operate a US documented vessel (of any tonnage)as explained above. Yet there is this under-culture to attempt to re-define or spin the issue so that euro scabs and antipodean dirtballs can justify their presence in our world. For the record , I am not interested in any way of operating a vessel which is not US flagged, However the industry and tax code allows for such a loophole for owners. this creates an issue for the Marshal Islands finding enough qualified personnel to man there fleet. If an American has made the money and chooses to man his or her vessel with foreign labor, he or she deserve what they get. There choice of not representing and benefiting on the protection of the US flag is a retarded decision. Don't thing that 6% is going to let you go, you will pay regardless. in the end.
Posted: Monday, February 27, 2012 1:09 PM
can anyone please tell me do vessels with a Marshall Islands registery class as a US vessel while in US waters?

Posted: Monday, February 27, 2012 2:49 PM
Why would you think that? Marshall Islands is its own country. How could she be considered a US-flagged vessel while in US waters?
Posted: Thursday, July 19, 2012 5:30 PM
Joined: 12/08/2008
Posts: 3

I have been through this in recent years. Instead of trying to decipher the CFRs, which I am terrible at, I relied on a very well known, coinservative Maritime attorney. His interpretation is that if the crew person is not captain or officer that it is very legal. This coming from a conservative attorney giving advice to a conservative owner. So you can all read the CFRs all you want. This has been my experience. Hope it helps.