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#268024 - 02/15/08 02:25 PM Boat Captain’s License & Registration  
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 57,030
Marty Online happy
Marty  Online Happy
today from the Chamber of Commerce....

Tom Vidrine reported that boat regulations are being reviewed by Port Authority for possible changes. The US Embassy is also researching the situation. The “foreigners” who are upset over this (justifiably so) need to relax and be a little patient. Our country and our new government need a little time to become aware of and correct these problems.

Here are the present issues:

1) Captain’s License – Port Authority is still refusing to allow “foreigners” to be able to apply. Only Belizean citizens, Residents, Retirement Residents, and those with a Work Permit are permitted. The “test” is in two parts. On Mondays, the written test is given. On Tuesdays, the practical test is given.

Our position is that Captain Licenses should be required for only commercial vessels, like other countries. And that if Belize really wants to require licenses for private boats, then acquiring a private boat captain license should be made fairly simple, inexpensive, and open to all applicants. Then this should be only for boats of a certain length and engine size. It is ridiculous to require the driver of a dingy, small skiff, jet ski, wind surfer, a sailboard, or small sailboat to be licensed.

This Captain’s License requires all applicants from all over our country to travel to Belize City and spend two days, one day to take the test, and one day to do the practical. The time and expense of this trip to anyone, and especially Belizeans, is not reasonable. If this is to be required, the Port Authority has a responsibility to make it available throughout the county and not burden its citizens.

2) Boat Registration – Presently the Port Authority is refusing to “register” a boat owned by a foreigner. They will issue a 3 month “permit” for $250 to allow it to stay in Belize. EVEN if it is Belizean-made and previously registered! They will allow you to buy a year for $1,000.

Our position is that we like the idea of ALL boats being registered, but that any boat that meets the safety and ownership qualifications should be allowed to be registered. Any boat “Made in Belize” or had a permit to import & paid duty should automatically be registered here. This is an outrageous prejudicial policy that will hurt our economy by chasing away the many foreigners that own property and invest here. This also hurts boat building and sales, boat mechanics, marine supply companies, not to mention anyone that wants to sell property.

Besides this creates a situation where all of these boats have gotten a “permit to import” and paid duty. These boats have a right to become Belizean registered. If they are not allowed to be registered as Belizean, then there is a question of refunding the duty and taxes if they are classified as “visiting foreign boats”. Just like cars, once proper import duty and taxes are paid, then the vehicle becomes “Belizean” regardless of who owns it.

We also believe that Boat Registration should be allowed for 3 years. At least until such a time that the Port Authority has the staff and locations to provide timely registration on location.

3) Change of Ownership – Presently Port Authority has a $50 charge to change ownership of a boat. The catch is that both the buyer and the owner have to be present in Belize City. If they are not BOTH present, the Port Authority requires an affidavit by a notary, and indemnification by the purchaser. Then the Port Authority charges you $250 to make the transfer.

Our position is that requiring both the buyer and the seller to be present is silly. A Notary Public is the Belize-authorized official to witness and qualify signatures. They are responsible and LIABLE if they act inappropriately. This is an insult to their position and authority. A Notary’s seal and signature legally qualifies for ANY contract, and just because the seller or buyer is not present, there is no valid reason for the Port Authority to require an increased fee of $250. Neither should have to be present, just as they are not present at the Lands Dept when they transfer ownership of land.

#268056 - 02/15/08 05:54 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: Marty]  
Joined: Dec 2006
Posts: 12,135
elbert Offline
elbert  Offline
I'm sure the Belize Port Authority gets a good laugh over the San Pedro chamber of commerce telling it how to run the Port.

It will be interesting to see if any of this whining gets attention.

The Dive Shops Daily Blog
#268066 - 02/15/08 07:24 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: elbert]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,443
Short Offline
Short  Offline
An other approach for those foreigners living here with no residency would be to just get a residency, like everybody else.

Live and let live
#268081 - 02/15/08 10:14 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: Short]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
DANZA Offline
DANZA  Offline
Lot of crap to go through just to operate a boat. Was this just an arbitrary decision or was there a problem? Sounds more like they weren't getting their allotment of "special meeting" money.
Another approach might be for people to not buy boats, and not need a boat yard, fuel, repairs, or parts. Or not to buy that condo and go to another place that does allow private boat ownership. Some would love that solution. Of course some might suggest to improve the road North and eliminate the need for a boat. I think you would find a large group objecting to that idea.

#268083 - 02/15/08 10:48 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: DANZA]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,443
Short Offline
Short  Offline
The chamber creates a negative atmosphere with this subject, and that is not good for Ambergris Caye. Every country has its own laws and regulations. When you drive a car, you need a driver's license - when you drive a boat you need a boat master's license - when you fly a plane you need a pilot's license.

You can drive a boat here with a foreign boat operator's license. No problem IMO. And now the registration - just register it in the name of your real estate agent or whoever takes care of the boat when you are not here; problem solved. Take a positive approach rather than complaining and whining.

Live and let live
#268087 - 02/15/08 11:21 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: Short]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
DANZA Offline
DANZA  Offline
If the chamber creates a negatative atmosphere by stating the facts, good. I think you are correct it will hurt Ambergris Caye but it will not be the chamber. I don't have a capt license because, as you state every country has its own laws and regulations. My country and state don't require one until you get to 65 ft. I'm quite sure registration in someone elses name is probably illegal and if not soon would be. Because the real purpose is to use government intervention to protect Belizean boat operators. Just by the name itself, "boat master license" it would seem to imply some higher level of training may be required such as a larger vessel, or a large number of passengers or passengers for hire is being done as a business.
Stating the obvious and the truth is not whining and complaining.

#268088 - 02/15/08 11:47 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: DANZA]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,443
Short Offline
Short  Offline
And this is also a fact: Last Monday Oswaldo Francis Petillo died on his 11th birthday while he and his father were run over in their 14-foot fiber glass skiff by a larger boat. The driver of the larger boat operated the boat while sitting and didn't see them. Chino was buried today.

See: Tragic End to Father-Son Fishing Trip on Channel 7

Am I right that your country and state do not have a vulnerable coral reef and shallow, dangerous waters?

Looking at your website it looks like you are developing a property here and are going to build condos. When I were you I would get a residency.

Live and let live
#268089 - 02/15/08 11:58 PM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: Short]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
DANZA Offline
DANZA  Offline
So if I get my residency that will make the reef less vulnerable and me safer. All I know is that if this works then it would make sense for the taxi owner/operators to demand a operators license for golf carts. Or at least a master cart operator license for the 6 seaters. Well on the last thing I'm going to have to re-visit the development issue. Lets see, do I want to move to an island where I'm not allowed to own/use a boat.

#268090 - 02/16/08 12:13 AM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: DANZA]  
Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,443
Short Offline
Short  Offline
Originally Posted by DANZA
So if I get my residency that will make the reef less vulnerable and me safer.

Is that a trick question? If so then yes. Otherwise no: When you get your residency you can apply for a captain's license.

Originally Posted by DANZA
Lets see, do I want to move to an island where I'm not allowed to own/use a boat.

Well when you are planning to run a business here on a monthly tourism visa, you are correct, you might get into trouble with immigration though.

I would advise to use a Belize limited company to run your business, and get at least a work permit to go with the company (the cheapest approach). See there: You qualify again for a captain's license! No problem for you IMO.

Live and let live
#268091 - 02/16/08 12:29 AM Re: Boat Captain’s License & Registration [Re: Short]  
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
DANZA Offline
DANZA  Offline
Well I think I'll just wait and see. We don't plan to run any business just spend 4 or 5 months a year down on AC. And part of my Living the Dream was to have a small boat.
I guess one good thing is it will be the end of the jet ski rental business. OK I guess I'll just agree to disagree but it has been fun and educational.

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