Reporting to U.S. Government Agencies Prior to Entering San Diego Bay:
All vessels entering San Diego Bay as their first port of call from an international voyage must report their arrival. Here are the steps that are required:
- 96-Hour Rule (U.S. Coast Guard): All vessels must report their arrival to the U.S. Coast Guard at least 96 hours prior to entering San Diego Bay.
- Port Control (Port of San Diego): No less than 48 hours away, all vessels must contact Port Control (Port of San Diego) for permission to enter San Diego Bay. Consult the "Admiralty List of Radio Signals" for specifics. Port Control, located at Shelter Island, may be contacted at (619) 686-6200 during normal business hours.
- U.S. Customs clearance at the Shelter Island Harbor Police Dock. All crew members must possess a valid "B" Visitor Visa, a non-immigrant visa for persons desiring to enter the United States temporarily for business (B-1) or temporarily for pleasure (B-2)
All Immigration and Agriculture matters are handled by Customs and Border Protection officers, located in the Customs and Border Protection offices at:
- 1240 N. Harbor Drive, B Street Pier Cruise Ship Terminal.
All Recreational Vessels Greater than 130 Feet:
Must clear U.S. Customs at the Shelter Island Harbor Police Dock, upon entering San Diego Bay.
Yachts over 130 feet in length should contact the Harbor Police Communication Center at: (619) 686-6272 (24 hour number), eight hours prior to arrival, so that dock space can be cleared to accommodate the vessel. The dock length is 235-feet. Vessels larger than this should contact the Harbor Police Communications Center for instructions on dock usage options. If a vessel is directed to anchor to await CBP, Harbor Police Communications will coordinate contacting CBP to initiate the clearance process.
San Diego Harbor Police Contact Information:
Telephone: (619) 686 6272 (24 hrs)
Radio Contact: Marine VHF Channel 16 (24 hrs)
Address: 3800 N. Harbor Dr., San Diego, Ca 92101 (Headquarters)
- After docking, the master of the vessel should contact the U.S. Customs Service at (619) 557-5132 and request an inspector. Note: There are no Customs inspectors on duty. They are called from other work sites to provide this service. A public telephone is located at the observation platform near the center of the pier.
- All persons aboard the clearing vessel are quarantined to the vessel until cleared by Customs. Additionally, no visitors are allowed aboard the vessel.
- Persons of foreign nationality should identify themselves to make arrangements to declare entry into the country with the U.S. Immigration and Nationalization Service. U.S. Customs will make the necessary phone calls to start this process,.
- During heightened alerts, U.S. Coast Guard patrol officials may stop to question or board vessels entering San Diego Bay. A boarding by the Coast Guard does not fulfill the requirement to report your arrival and clear customs.
- The U.S. Customs office may be reached at (619) 557-5370 during normal working hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.
All Recreational Vessels Sized Less than 130 Feet:
Must clear U.S. Customs at the Shelter Island Harbor Police Dock. This dock is located at the south end of Shelter Island (located less than a mile after the Point Loma promontory) and is posted "Pleasure Craft Clearance." The Harbor Police fleet shares the dock.
When space is not available at the designated facility, vessels should utilize one of the three quarantine buoys located across from the dock until space is available.
When a vessel uses the Shelter Island facility, the following procedure should be used to expedite the process:
- After docking, the master of the vessel should contact the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at (619) 557-5132 and request that an officer respond to Shelter Island. Note: There are no Customs and Border Protection officers on duty at Shelter Island. They are called from B Street Pier to provide this service.
- All persons aboard the clearing vessel are quarantined to the vessel until cleared by Customs and Border Protection. Additionally no visitors are allowed aboard the vessel.
- Persons of foreign nationality should identify themselves to make arrangements to declare entry into the country with Customs and Border Protection / U.S. Customs will make the necessary phone calls to start this process.
The U.S. Customs and Border Protection office may be reached at (619) 557-5370 during business hours, Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.