Hooray - new Panama cruising rules - 2 yr per
Posted by: "Jeff" on Southbound_group@yahoo.com
Fri Jul 2, 2010 9:28 am (PDT)
Panama's new administration has passed new laws allowing
foreign-registered pleasure boats to stay in the country for one or
two years, reversing the current 90-day limit.
"We feel that this is a very positive step toward the goal of
promoting private yacht tourism here in Panama," said Chuck Silvers,
owner of Bocas del Toro Marina and Yacht Club on the Caribbean side of
Panama President Ricardo Martinelli has been instrumental in
encouraging nautical tourism, assisted recently by visiting U.S.
Previously, Panama's required "cruising permits" for foreign-flagged
yachts had been renewable at the end of 90 days. But in late 2009,
port officials sporadically began refusing to renew the permits for a
second 90-day period.
That forced boat owners to take their vessels out of Panama. Before
they could return, they had to officially clear into some other
country — mostly to neighboring Costa Rica or Colombia. After
obtaining Zarpe exit papers from the other country, cruisers could
then return to Panama after 72 hours and apply for a new 90-day
Article 71 of Panama's fiscal code now defines a new one-year sailing
and navigation license that costs $5 and is renewable for another
year. The new license for "boats, yachts or private-use motor yachts"
will be issued by the director general of the merchant marine of the
Panama Maritime Authority.
Article 72 defines a new temporary registration fee for private
yachts: $42 for boats up to 6 meters (19.7 feet) in length, $90 for
boats up to 10 meters (32.8 feet) and $180 for larger boats. The new
registration is annual, but it is renewable for the same period.
"Also in the works is a new Mariner's Visa that will be renewable in
person after 90 days for a second 90 days, and then renewable for 180
days," Silvers said. "That will correspond to the boat's new one-year
Although these new cruiser-friendly laws have been approved and passed
in the legislature, they have not yet been fully implemented, Silvers
said. However, he said the secretary of tourism has assured marina
owners that, until the new Articles 71 and 72 are put into effect, the
existing 90-day cruising permits will continue to be renewed by port
These new laws refer to maritime tourism throughout Panama's many
beautiful cruising grounds. They do not refer to the Panama Canal,
which is regulated by the Panama Canal Authority.
Article 72 also describes similar registration fees for
foreign-flagged recreational vessels that wish to engage in chartering
in Panama. Those annual fees are $24 for boats up to 6 meters (19.7
feet) in length, $120 for up to 10 meters (32.8 feet) and $240 for
One of the issues faced by Panama's tourism industry is whether
foreign yachts should be assessed local taxes after they have been in
the country beyond a reasonable time period.
Also from the Bocas del Toro cruising grounds of Panama, the system of
red and green buoys along the east side of Careening Cay has been
removed, so cruisers approaching Bocas del Toro should contact
Marina Carenero for safe GPS entrance positions. The marina's new
e-mail address is
A different buoy system was installed along the west side of Isla
Colon, called the Boca del Drago, to lead ships to the commercial port
Bocas del Toro, Caribbean, Panama, Central America
Phone: (011) (507) 757-9242
Latitude 9º20.64' N
Longitude 82º14.11' W
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