The Miami Herald
The U.S. Coast Guard handed down new restrictions Thursday on U.S. boaters heading to Cuba from the United States.
Under new regulations published in the Federal Register, U.S. vessels less than 100 meters long must have a new Coast Guard permit in order to travel from U.S. to Cuban territorial waters.
In order to obtain the permit, applicants will have to first provide the Coast Guard with ‘‘evidence’’ that they have appropriate licenses from the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury to travel to Cuba.
Those caught traveling from Cuba without a Coast Guard permit face a civil penalty of up to $25,000 for each day they are in violation and could receive an immediate, $10,000 ‘‘ticket’’ from the Coast Guard. Passengers on boats the Coast Guard stops and believes are heading to Cuba may be asked to provide verbal assurances that they are not going to Cuba, according to a Coast Guard spokesman.
The new rules do away with a three-mile ‘‘security zone’’ around the Florida Peninsula. Boaters previously had to apply for Coast Guard permission to exit the security zone with the intention of entering Cuban seas.