BoatUS reported in their August/September issue of BoatU.S. Magazine of a couple who were boarded in April by the Bahamas Customs and Border Patrol while anchored in a remote bay in the Abacos. The inspection was described as aggressive and the inspectors went through all lockers and drawers. They were cited and fined $300 on the spot for having one less shotgun shell than they declared on entry and were told that if they didn’t pay it right then that they would have to appear in court and possibly spend time in jail. They were fortunate enough to have the money onboard and were released. They were given a receipt for the money. The boaters were told that this was a new policy and that officials were now going to out islands for boat inspections.
BoatUS reported that the Bahamas authorities were increasing their boat inspections and that boaters should make sure they follow the rules exactly. Of particular note are the rules for weapons (and ammo), which are very strict in the Bahamas. BoatUS recommends going to their web page which has requirements and advice for boaters who enter and leave the Bahamas, Cuba, Mexico and Canada: Boatus.com/crossing-the-border.
BoatUS is also encouraging any boater to have funds onboard in the Bahamas in order to pay potential fines, as it appears the choice is pay then or appear in court. They suggest that if you are contesting a fine to do so afterwards and to contact BoatUS about the incident at firstname.lastname@example.org.