First we talked to St Mary’s Boat Services. We had been in touch with them by e-mail from the Bahamas, so they were expecting us. We planned to go to their boat yard later this afternoon when it was closer to high tide. They would pull our boat out of the water that afternoon. It was only about 10 miles up river, so less than 2 hours away.
It took us about 2 hours to clear with Customs and Immigration. We are right on the Florida/Georgia border. We started with Georgia because last year, they just took our info over the phone and that was it. Well, they wanted us to bring our boat to a marina in Brunswick so they could board our boat for inspection. That would take us a day to get there and a day to return. And the expense of a marina slip for the night. We called them back to explain that we were having concerns with our shaft and didn’t want to move our boat. We were scheduled to have our boat hauled out at a boatyard that afternoon. Then they said we could check with Immigration in Fernandina Beach, Fl, since they were closer. When we called Fernandina, they gave us a different number for a new central call center. So the third number asked us all kinds of questions and let us clear through them. We discovered that if we had registered a float plan with the American Customs and Immigration before we had left in January, we could have checked into the US through an automated system. At this time the Customs officer said that site wasn’t user friendly. Hopefully it will be in the future. Seems crazy that we had to go through so much rigamarole when we are US citizens and there are thousand of non US citizens walking across the southern border of the US with no questions asked.
Our boat insurance has to be renewed by June 24. So we were e-mailing back and forth with our agent. We are supposed to be north of latitude 30.5 from July 15 to November 1. This boat yard is at 30.44 and we will be there until some time in September. I guess they can call this an AI marina, which we learned was an Additional Insured Marina. We want to change our coverage so we can go to the Caribbean next year, but he couldn’t give us new quotes until we gave him a new “storm plan” for hurricane season. So I had to download and print the form, fill it out, sign it, take a picture of it, and e-mail it back to him. Crazy.
About 2:30, we headed up the St Mary’s river and then into the North River through flat grasslands up a meandering river to the boat yard. They had good directions on their website to avoid the shallow areas. We made it by 4:00. We met Rocky, the owner, as we backed into their lift channel. He tied us to the docks on each side. Then they slide two huge straps under the front and back of the boat. There is a set place where they are supposed to go to distribute the weight correctly as it is lifted out of the water. The boat weighs 24,000 lbs if it were empty. Our manual shows us where the straps should to and we reviewed it that afternoon. After the straps are in place, they give a plank to walk off the boat. Then we watch them lift it out of the water and over land. SCAREY!! But it all went fine.
|straps holding the boat|
|ready to be lifted out of the water|
|Dave making new friends (owner's son Clayton)|
When they finished washing the boat, they gave us a ladder to climb back into the boat. We just did some reading and called it an early night. We’re still trying to get back on a normal schedule.
I have a video of lifting the boat and moving it over land, but the wifi isn't strong enough to download it. So I may add it later.
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