by Des Ryan
Cruising sailors anywhere near Jamaica will want to know that the island is now doing its best to encourage yachts. Once, if you wanted to visit and keep your yacht in Jamaica, there were a plethora of fees to consider - customs duty, customs user fee, an environment levy and a General Consumption Tax.
Jamaica sunset sailing
Now these have all been eliminated, replaced by an annual fee or a cruising permit fee for foreign yachts, and, if your boat is less than 25ft, there are no fees for two years after arrival.
Jamaica's Cabinet has approved the implementation of the prescribed annual fee to replace the existing fees.
Senator the Hon. Sandrea Falconer, who made the announcement, said the decision to institute an annual fee is aimed at 'stimulating nautical tourism and yacht registration in Jamaica.'
'It will also enhance the competitiveness of the Jamaican Shipping Registry by encouraging the registration of pleasure crafts and facilitating home porting in Jamaica,' the Minister argued, while pointing out that only about eight per cent of the 100 yachts berthed in Jamaica are locally registered.
She also advised that yachts below 25 feet in length will not be required to pay registration or safety inspection fees, for the first two years, after being landed.
Senator Falconer said Cabinet approved the introduction of a cruising permit fee, under the Shipping Act, to be paid by visiting foreign registered yachts. Drafting instructions, she said, are to be given to the Chief Parliamentary Counsel to amend the relevant legislation to effect the recommendations.