LBO, Don’t Leave Home Without It!
13 December 2018 | Sister’s Creek
EVS?Overcast and arming
During one of my (Van’s) wakeful hours, I remembered that our Local Boaters Option cards had to be updated because I have a new passport, which is linked to the LBO account. The LBO program is very helpful as it pre-registers boaters (e.g. Lauren and me) and one’s vessel (e.g. Gratitude) for foreign travel so that, when one returns to the USA, one does not have to report in person to a Customs and Border Patrol/Department of Homeland Security Office, which a few and far between (although they make it very clear they may require a personal visit) to “clear in”. Once one returns to US waters, one simply calls an 800 number, reports current position, and answers some pertinent questions, and is set to go (hopefully).
The last time a passport changed (Lauren’s) we had to go to the Port of Miami (and impose on a friend to drive us to the CBP office) to update our LBOs. It took the better part of half a day for perhaps 10 minutes of computer time. Hoping to avoid that, we checked our cruising guide for nearby offices and found one in Fernandina Beach, FL. We called and found we could walk to the CBP office from the waterfront. Because we were a day north of Fernandina, we decided to travel on the ICW (as opposed to in the ocean) and stop in. Somewhat easier said than done: the municipal marina was trashed in a hurricane and under re-construction, another nearby marina had no available space, and a fuel dock would not allow a transient stop (we even offered to buy fuel, but their 200 gallon minimum swamped our 25 gallon requirement). So, we anchored, dropped the dinghy and rigged the outboard for a quick run into town. What a cute spot! Lovely shops and restaurants that would be worth a stop — maybe when the municipal marina is up and running!
Van (as the Captain) walked to the CBP office and was well attended by the young officer there. All the SBP staff we spoke with were most helpful! All was accomplished and we were back underway (with the outboard and dinghy back aboard) in the space of an hour and a half. We continued down the ICW and are anchored just north of the Sister’s Creek bridge and the St. John’s River. The forecast is for rainy and nasty weather, so we may sit here, continue on in the ICW if not too bad, or go outside of the forecast is plumb wrong.
In any event, we are all set with up-to-date LBOs, so now we can leave home!