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Joined: Nov 2002
Posts: 2,536
Originally Posted by DANZA
And part of my Living the Dream was to have a small boat.

And that is why I think the chamber is creating a negative atmosphere; you CAN own and operate a boat when you come to live here - even part-time; you CAN live your dream here with the present laws that are meant to - and will - increase safety. Just take a positive - problem solving - approach.

Agree to disagree and would love to meet you when you come here again - just PM me. Good luck, have fun and remember Captain Jeff's motto! This was Captain Short - over and out.

Live and let live
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 162
OK sounds good I look forward to meeting you. Although we just got back from AC on Feb. 13th. I did get to meet Cpt. Jeff and take a look at his place. What a nice guy.
The day before we left my wife and I went out on a glass bottom to Hol Chan. We were the only one's on the boat which worked out well for getting my wife to actually go in the water. So I had this Cpt. license discussion with the tour guide. I think it is more of blame the gringo with boats then a concern for the reef or safety issues. I'll PM you.

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,392
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline
Update on Boat Registration & Captain's Licenses
from the Chamber of COmmerce...
A Member reported on his ability to get a Captain's License and Boat Registration as a "foreigner". It was difficult, but he brought copies of his corporate documents & tax receipts showing he had business and investments here. He was allowed to apply successfully, and commended the Port Authority personnel on the willingness to help him.

Tom also sent out an update on the present status of the Port Authority's policies. Several policies are still under review. The US Embassy is also researching the new law as to how it effects Americans.

There is a NEW law that took effect in May 2007. This law is the one that supposedly implements these new regulations affecting private captains, boats and registration.

Your Chamber can provide you the following documentation by email on request:

1. Mariner's Booklet - Study book for Captain's License

2. Harbours & Merchant Shipping Act in 2000

3. Information required on a Declaration that is required when original boat documents are not available or both parties cannot be present.


Still only citizens, residents, retirement residents, & those with work permits are allowed to apply. This is under review by the Port Commissioner.

Mariner's Booklet - $15

Captain's License - $25 (available for UP TO 3 years). Port Authority issues picture ID. (You can bring passport size photos, Port Authority will laminate.) Must be carried by Captain at all times in the boat.

We have been given information that it may be possible to have the Port Authority give both the written test and practical on location by covering expenses. Call Port Authority to verify and schedule.

Captain's Written Test - Mondays AND TUESDAYS, 10-11am at Port Authority in Belize City

Captain's Practical - WEDNESDAYS AND THURSDAYS, anytime. You MUST bring a registered boat to do your test. Smaller boats are allowed to be brought to Port Authority, larger boats at Cucumber Beach or any other dock in Belize City - Option to have it local by covering expenses.


Still only citizens, residents, retired residents, & those with work permits are allowed to register a boat. This is under review by the Port Commissioner. (Exceptions can be made for property & business owner, but you must bring all documentation and evidence of your association with Belize)

First Time Boat registration - $30 (originals are required) Port Authority issues "Title Certificate". Port Authority will laminate for a small charge. Copy should be kept on-board.

Annual Boat Registration - $50 (only available one year at a time) Port Authority issues Registration Sheet (Port Authority will laminate) & "Sticker". Sticker must be in a visible location.

Registration of a boat owned by a "foreigner" (without Residency, Retirement Residency, or Work Permit) - $250 for 3 months. (One year available for $1,000). This is under review, and can be waived by the Port Commissioner for those foreigners with a "purpose" (longtime, property ownership, business investment).

Change of Ownership - $50 - Both parties MUST be present in Belize City. Not likely to change now.

Change of Ownership without buyer & seller present at Port Authority requires a Declaration by Notary & with Indemnification to Port Authority - $250 - Not likely to change now. List of required input available from the Chamber by email.

Change of Name - $25


No Captain's License or not registered - $1000 and possible confiscation of boat until corrected & paid.

A foreign vessel entering Belizean waters and NOT checking in is subject to a fine of $30,000.


Belize Port Authority, Awe Building, 2nd Floor, #120 corner of North Front Street & Pickstock Street, Belize City. Tel: 223-0714, Fax: 223-2318

Port Authority E-mail: [email protected]

For on-site boat registration & captain's practical contact: Earl Valerio, Port Authority Inspector at 600-1423

Port Authority Commissioner: Major Lloyd Jones

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,392
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

Update on Captain's Licenses & Boat Registration

Tom Vidrine reported that he had a call from Bill Mackenzie, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Belize, who is very interested in having us support their efforts to deal with the problems created by this "new" marine law.

Tom sent Bill copies of our Chamber's position and letters from the many people that wrote a protest letter (some names were withheld by request). Bill is working hard to get a copy of the new "law" and has agreed to share it with us. Since it has not been gazetted, there are questions on whether it actually has become law.

We also agreed to join forces in putting pressure to change areas that are deemed unreasonable, and prejudicial to foreigners, as well as those that put an unreasonable burden on Belizeans and residents.

The MAIN issue seems to be the total lack of communication within the Port Authority, and that the public is not informed in any reasonable method. These "new" policies were not listed or published, nor was the new law (which cannot seem to be provided even upon request). There was very little thought to the consequences of some of these policies, and little regard for the cost and time required of the public.

The "Belizean" issues are:

a) The requirement of private boat captains to even be required to have a license.

b) The requirement that "sales" have to take place at Port Authority with both the buyer and the seller present.

c) The increased fee of registration when a Notary Public witnesses the sale.

d) That the drivers of small boats, small engines, sailboats, jet skis, etc. are required to have a Captain's license. We were just informed that the paddlers of the canoes in the upcoming La Ruta Maya Challenge were required to have Captain's Licenses. Hopefully this is just another example of the lack of communication in the Port Authority, and a silly mistake.

The "foreigner" issues are:

a) Not allowing "foreigners" to apply for a license.

b) Not allowing "foreigners" to be able to register a boat.

c) That even a Belizean-built boat or a boat that has an entry permit and paid duty is not considered qualified to be registered as Belizean.

d) That a foreigner with a US Coast Guard issued Captain's license was told that it did not qualify him to drive a boat in Belize.

Incidental information:

A boat in San Pedro was stopped yesterday and was issued a ticket for not having a Captain's license. So be careful, and you may want to consider contesting it.

We are now being told that a boat in a Belizean Corporation's name must be allowed to be registered in Belize by law, but have not gotten a definitive answer from Port Authority.

Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 3,157
I received my Captains License last week.

When I arrived at BPA on Tuesday am after flying in on Monday and spending the night in Belize City, I was told I could not take the test. I produced the Memorandum and Articles of Association for 2 Belize companies, and my property tax receipt, and asked if they would care to refund the boats registration, so I could then use it as a tourist, and take it out of the country every 3 months. As with local government everywhere, not just Belize, the idea of perusing 60+ pages of legal sized documentation was daunting, and after a brief discussion, I was allowed to take the test.

The 25 questions had an allotted time of 1 � hours, and after 7 minutes, I handed in my answers and continued my trip to San Pedro. I called that afternoon and was told I had passed with a score of 84%, which surprised me, as I could not think of 4 questions I may have answered incorrectly. I asked if there were any time I needed to be there for the practical exam, and was told anytime after 9

I returned to Belize City on Wednesday with my boat, and waited 3 hours to be able to take the test. While waiting, I asked to see my test, so I could find out what I had answered wrong: The first thing I noticed was that 22 had been marked correct, so that made the score 88%, not 84%, but further inspection also showed that 2 questions marked wrong, were in fact correct. This really didn't matter as a 75% score is a pass, but the young man at the counter, who was very helpful, insisted on making the change, as he was concerned that the incorrect score would be permanently on my file!

When no one had showed up by noon, he then took me out and tested me himself. When we did the man overboard drill, the bottle was thrown to port, so I completed the turn and then positioned the bow for him to pick up the bottle off the starboard side of the boat. He asked me why I had done that, and was interested when I answered that recovery should always take place on the leeward side of the recovery vessel if feasible.

As I will have a change of address coming in fall, I opted for my license to be issued for 1 year. I noted that it ran for 6 weeks, through to my birthday in April, so I then paid another $25 for a further 1 year extension!

I own 49% of a Dive Company, with a Belizean majority partner, and will never take out customers, but I have no wish to receive a fine for using the boat to pick up groceries or if I am getting gas or dropping off tanks in town, so I felt a license was necessary, but like Elbert and a few others on the board, the guys that work for and with me don't ever want me to actually drive!

Be polite and patient, have all documentation, and don't get frustrated: my health, temperament and blood pressure are a lot better now than when I had almost 100 employees in the States!

It's rarely rocket science, it's usually just math: then again if you can't do the math.......
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