Coast Guard urges boaters to not take to the seas, transit to Cuban waters

united states coast guard

News Release  

U.S. Coast Guard 7th District Southeast
Contact: 7th District Public Affairs
Office: 305-415-6683
After Hours: 786-367-7649
7th District online newsroom

Coast Guard urges boaters to not take to the seas, transit to Cuban waters

Boating Advisory for Cuban waters Spanish Version - Boating Advisory Cuban waters

MIAMI — The Coast Guard urges South Florida recreational boaters considering transiting toward Cuban territorial waters to "not take to the sea."

It is illegal for boaters to depart from the U.S. with the intent of transiting to Cuba for any purpose without a permit, and the waters are in the Florida Straits are unpredictable and dangerous.

Vessels and persons illegally entering Cuban territorial waters or getting underway or departing from U.S. territorial waters with the intention of entering Cuban TTW, without the required permit may be subject to seizure of their vessel, civil and criminal penalities up to $25,000 per day, and 10 years in prison. People who violate U.S. immigration laws and illegally bring foreign nationals into the country, or who attempt to do so, may be subject to arrest, vessel forfeiture, civil and criminal fines up to $250,000 per day, and five years in prison.

The Coast Guard strongly urges boaters to not take to the seas as it could put the boaters life in danger, especially during hurricane season. In recent months, 20 Cuban migrants from two separate search and rescue cases could not be found in the Florida Straits after their rustic vessels capsized.

If a boater attempts to transit near Cuban territorial waters, here are recommended boating safety tips:

  • Have working communication equipment, such as a satellite phone and marine band ratio
  • Monitor VHF-FM Channel 16 as this is the Coast Guard's emergency channel
  • Take a personal locator beacon or an emergency position indicating radio beacon
  • File a float plan
  • Have properly fitting life jackets for all aboard the vessel
  • Take extra food and water
  • Monitor closely the weather and sea state as condition change rapidly in South Florida

For more information about applying for a permit to enter Cuban territorial waters, click here:

For extra boating safety tips, click here:

To check the weather and sea state conditions, click here: