What paperwork is needed to sail to the Caribbean? Here we will list all the paperwork we have for ourselves (Swedish citizens) with a Swedish boat. Most paperwork are quite general and should apply for other nationalities as well, with smaller differences.

And again, we are no experts, but this is what we have found during our research that we need for us and our boat in the waters we plan to sail.

  • Passports
    • Every crew member should have a valid passport that shouldn’t expire in the next 6 months.
  • Certificate of Competence
    • We both have Coastal Yachtmaster Diploma (sv. Kustskepparintyg) as it is needed in Sweden to drive boats over 12 m and our other boat is that. But as far as we’ve understood it shouldn’t be necessary (but good to have some kind of certificate) if it is not needed where the boat is registered.
  • Original registration papers
    • We have registered our boat in Sweden via Swedish Cruising Association.
  • Insurance Policy
    • Some kind of third party liability insurance is needed for most marinas in Europe. We have a third party liability insurance via Y Yacht Insurance, but it was not easy for us to find an insurance, read more about it HERE.
  • Crew list
  • Short Range Certificate
    • To use VHF
  • Ship’s Radio Licence
  • HF radio certificate
    • Not needed if boat is not equipped with HF-radio.

Other paperwork that is often mentioned is

  • Certificate for inland waterways
    • We don’t have this as we don’t plan to go via the canals (expect Kiel canal, but that is, as far as we’ve understood it, not a part of the inland waterways). It is also a bit unclear if this certificate is now checked on offshore yachts in the Netherlands. I guess we will find out.
    • UPDATE after departure: We choose to go through the Fixed Mast Route through Netherlands, and before going into the canals we googled if we would need a certificate for inland waterways, but didn’t find a source that said we needed one. We found that we should have a certificate of competence, but that (as far as we understood it) was not inland waterways specific and needed for larger and faster vessels. We also read on a Swedish page that a Coastal Yachtmaster Diploma (sv. Kustskepparexamen) would be good enough to go through the Fixed Mast Route. During our trip on the canals no one checked any of our certificates, so still unsure if it is actually needed.
  • Proof of VAT status
    • Our boat is built 1965 so this does not apply to us, but boats built after 1985 should have this document.