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Sailing long trip in Pacific Ocean enquiries

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We are two friends planning to sail along the Pacific Ocean. Is a long journey and I hope this is the right place to ask questions.

I would like to know first what kind of permits are we going to need for this type travel or where could we go to answer this type of questions.

If anyone can give us a tip we would really appreciate it!

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Skipper will need an International Certificate of Competency before leaving. Yacht will need to be hauled and inspected for Cat 1 safety. All passengers/crew will need passports. That's about it.

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Hola black panther!

Hablas español?

We would be leaving from New Zealand or Australia. Then visit Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, maybe until Kiribati and then back through Australia (or NZ) and along Papua, Indonesia until the south east of Asia. Then the Mediterranean is a possibility but for now this is the plan.

For what I've read about the International Certificate you only need it in Europe, maybe in the places were going to go now they require some other certificates? Are there any authorities I can refer to?


Excuse me if my questions are too basic, I appreciate your help very much

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Yo intiendo pero hablar es un poquito mas dificile. Mi espousa es de La Republica Dominicana.


OK - for that trip no skippers qualification is necessary. If the boat is NZ registered then you would need Cat 1 clearance (you can find the rules on the YNZ website), if registered elsewhere you won't need cat 1 but it is a useful tool/checklist for  getting a boat prepared.Technically should have a license for the VHF radio and a you will have to make a decision on what long range communications you want to carry (SSB means another license as does Ham radio, but a satphone no problem).

Other than that passports and visas and a few other documents for Indonesia. Check out a website called Noonsite for various countries entry requirements.


Nothing there that should scare you off, much more interesting is your choice of boat and how you go about gaining the necessary skills and experience to competently skipper a boat across an ocean.

Good Luck.

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Forgot to mention, the yacht will need to be registered on a national registry. Also, as some have noted above, radio licences are required for some types of radios. And of course visas will need to be obtained for all counties visited that don't have a reciprocal arrangement with your passported country, including those of all crew. You'll also have to make yourselves aware of notification requirements. e.g. Customs MUST be notified 96 hours before making port in Australia otherwise big fines will result. Other countries, other rules. It's all fairly tedious.


You also need to clear out of a specific port and fill in a bunch of documents before leaving. See this page for details:




Re: The ICC requirement, I sailed to NZ in Dec 2013 and the skipper had to show it before customs would grant us clearance to leave Australia. Their reason? We couldn't leave NZ without it. YMMV. In any case, if customs aren't convinced you're personally capable of making the journey you can be refused clearance on the basis of safety, so it behooves us to have some kind of proof that we're not hell-bent on suicide. I would regard a Yachtmaster Coastal qualification as a minimum these days, and you can get an ICC with that. For experienced sailors, a look at your logbooks might just win them over.


This page has a reasonably good overall summary:



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I've done several offshore trips leaving NZ. Customs etc never asked a thing about competency. If I had Cat 1 we are all good to go. In the numerous countries I've visited by yacht, I have never been asked to show anyone my Yachtmasters ticket. Including Australia.

In NZ the Cat 1 inspector will ask what he needs to to ascertain whether or not he thinks the crew is capable. Read the Cat 1 regs.


Customs are not qualified to make a call about the abilities of a Sailor or his craft - that is what the Cat 1 cert is for.


I've been to most of the places you have listed, with never a problem...

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Let's see if I understand. So basically someone on board should be capable of sailing (my friend is getting his permission back home) and have a certificate(?) to use the radio on board. I checked the noonsite website and for moist places I mentioned they don't ask for much else than the visas and previous notice of arrival, things like that as you said too.

We come from Uruguay, South America!

Which type of craft you think would be optimal for this journey? We were thinking of a 12m long ship but again, we both are new at this so if you can provide some more insight I'll be exited to look it up and discuss this with you

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Capable of sailing is the prime requisite for a trans ocean sailing trip!

Some people have done this in vessels as small as 2m, and of course to over 250m. Most cruising boats are 10-16m. 12m would be fine, if well prepared and in good order, and a design suited to the task. The "right" boat is a never ending argument. I prefer a fin keel, fairly light displacement (say 8000Kg fully loaded for a 12m yacht) design with reasonable performance. Others prefer heavy displacement full keel boats for crossing oceans. Some like production boats, some don't.

You need to do some reading, join a yacht club, get some sailing experience. This will lead you to make a more informed decision, and save money (and possibly your life) down the track.

Good luck.

Oh, and most countries will not ask you for any certificates etc that are not required in your own country - if your boat is registered there. A ship is required to meet the regulations of her flag of state. 

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The last two post especially but all the advice above is good, read lots of positive blogs. And do a couple of passages as crew first

As for Europe we have just sailed to NZ from Greece via Panama and weren't asked for any proof of competence at all, in fact when we left the EU in Lanzarote in the Canary Is, all we had to do was pay our marina fees and fill in a form ( they did it for us as it was in Spanish) stating where we where heading. all this at the marina office and they said they send these off once a month, no passport stamp or anything just off you go.

They asked for our next port and we didn't have a set course, the plan was to sail south until the butter melted then sail west, so I told them Antigua possibly ? as that was near the centre of the lesser Antilles

Happened to be where we landed but more by good luck than management.


Similar things happened in Greece, Sicilly, Spain and Gibraltar, I always took my ships papers etc but often they weren't asked for.

Though I did find noonsite an invaluable source of info, always highlighted the details of the next few countries or places we were heading then saved them into notes on my iPad before departure but in the Med you always get mobile coverage as you need it but not so likely everywhere else.

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