Friday, September 16, 2016

Sailors Do Two Things in Lake Worth: They Clear In and then They Clear Out

16 09 2016
Lake Worth (West Palm Beach) FL

I come not to bury Lake Worth but to Praise it.

At first glance you would be inclined to think Lake Worth was named on Opposite Day.  It does much to commend itself to that view.


As a sailor from a foreign land (foreign to the USA that is) we need, on entering that vast frightened country to clear customs and immigration.  We need to obtain clearance to operate our boats in their blessed waters.  Rules must be followed and obeisances observed.

Often immigration and customs officials are outright jerks.  Small minds filled with tiny bureaucratic authority can create nightmares for people who just need the paperwork done, who wish the USA no ill and who resent having to kiss the ring of some uniformed ego who never quite graduated from high school.  Yes I am a bit of an elitist.

Lake Worth is not like this.  If you have customs and immigration paperwork that needs doing we strongly RECOMMEND you do it here.  The immigration and customs office is easy to access from an anchorage, the staff have never been other than polite, knowledgeable and efficient.

For sailors it is important too that the inlet to Lake Worth is easy access.  We do not recommend you try it against the tide, not in your little 40 hp 40 foot cutter rig but if you are sensible and even sort of get Canute's meaning when he was demonstrating his inability to order back the tide then the entry and egress of this inlet is easy peasy.

This year our dinghy would not float.  It had two deflated and uninflatable tubes and a six inch rent where the bow fabric had separated.  So we could swim to Homeland Security or take a slip in a marina and walk.

Hence our only visit ever to Riviera Beach Marina. Now look.  This place is for credit card captains.  Or as the Budget Committee, who is both Dutch and sort of accountant like and therefore hates change, calls them Cheque Book Captains: those guys who have a cheque to write for every problem that ever beset them or their boat.

Located close to Homeland Security offices this place is grand.  Staff are plentiful and, God can testify they help you.  They catch lines; they insist on tying up your boat.  It would be really really annoying if the staff were not so damn nice about it.  Insistent even.

From the RBM you can catch a Number One bus on the local bus system.  Fare is $5 for an all day pass or $3.50 if you are a senior citizen.  The bus ride is a hoot.  The driver knows all the passengers and the passengers know each other.  There is joking and laughing and a great deal of camaraderie.

The number one bus takes you to the Publix where you can buy everything in air conditioned splendor.

However normally we cannot afford or justify the Riviera Beach Marina.  It cost $91 US which is a bloody fortune in Canadian money.

So for normal unbeset sailors our recommendation is simple:

Come to Lake Worth Inlet, anchor and dinghy to Riviera Beach Marina.  Pay the $15 landing fee and walk to customs.  Clear in.

That done just Clear Out.

But do not condemn that which you do not know (or like most of us, will not pay for).

The bus by the way is almost exclusively black and Mexican.  They let us on anyway and treated us like we belonged.  This is a great place. 

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