Dominican Law Changes to Entice Yachts

17 July 2009

The President of the Dominican Republic, Leonel Fernandez, signed a new decree (No. 280-09) amending already existing law regarding pleasure yachts. The decree has been a result of almost a year-long effort by privately owned marinas in the Dominican Republic, including Ocean World Marina, to overcome existing challenges that many vessels’ owners, passengers and crew had experienced in Dominican ports that consequently had given the Dominican Republic bad publicity in the yachting press.

In early May, the general supervisor of the Dominican ports informed privately owned marinas that the president signed the new decree, which would regulate the marine industry, simplify procedures and improve the image of the Dominican Republic as a yachting destination, thus reinforcing the idea that the yachting industry is a very important part of Dominican tourism.

DECREE No. 280-09: EFECTIVE MAY 15, 2009

In layman’s terms, the new decree states:

1. That any private yacht coming to a private marina in the DR from a foreign port will not be boarded by all the different governmental officials; only one Navy representative with one other official can search the vessel if there has been a report of suspicious activity on the vessel.

2. That all other governmental forms are to be filled out in the marina offices by the captain of the vessel.

3. Transparency of Payments: All monetary payments are to be made to the marinas directly and will show on the receipt given to the yacht when they leave the particular marina.

4. The following fees will be charged by the Dominican Port Authority, Dominican Navy and Immigration:

   * Five percent (5%) of the vessel’s dockage before tax charged by Dominican Port Authority.
   * US$10 or equivalent in Dominican Pesos to the Dominican Navy for a Dispatch Letter only when departing to a foreign port.
   * US$10 for each passenger on the vessel (excluding the crew of the vessel) paid to Immigration.
   * US$16 (or DOP 500) for each crew or passenger that leaves the DR or arrives by plane and is leaving or enrolling on a vessel.

5. Dominican Port Authority was going to charge two (2) percent of all fuel invoices. This has being put on hold until further notice due to it unpopularity with all the marinas.

6. Vessels traveling in Dominican waters from one marina to another do not pay any fees regarding the Dispatch Letter. The captain of the vessel must inform the marina with his name, vessel’s name and the number of passengers on board of the vessel any time the vessel leaves the marina. The five percent of the dockage fee in the marinas covers cruising permits up to 90 days.

7. There is going to be a new vessel entrance form that will be filled out with the vessel, crew and passenger information. This will be given to all governmental authorities and one copy to the captain of the vessel as proof of entry and clearance when traveling between marinas in the DR. This document is still being made by the marinas and needs to be approved by the Dominican Port Authority.

The Port Authority will oversee the implementation of the new decree and the Dominican Navy will be in charge of policing.

A special thanks to James Wilford of Ocean World Marina for providing this information. Ocean World Marina, along with other privately owned marinas in the Dominican Republic, persevered to demand the new regulations for the marine industry.

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