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Amati

Has anyone else had their boat beat the crap out of at the Friday Harbor customs dock?

16 posts in this topic

We'd just come to a halt at the customs dock, and we're getting off the boat and a wake from some asshole in a Bayliner (and then another motorboat) going too fast just banged the shit out of everybody at the dock.  Who's brilliant idea is PVC pipe as a dock 'cushion?'  A motor cat dug under neath it, and pasted the dock with his rear corner.  We were rolling so bad that our fenders were flying in the air.  The second time I jumped off the boat to get it away from the dock and got yelled at to get back on the boat.  Nice.  

I should add that the drunk in front of us panicked when we surged forward a couple of feet because of the wave, ran over and pulled the bow into the dock.  

Hell is other people.

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We had a different experience there, tied up too far forward and were told off by customs, moved back to check in, and were then pinned against the black pipes by the notorious Friday Harbour cross current.

tried to motor off and only succeeded in dragging our fenders and top sides 100' along the black pipes.

the black blended in well with the brown marks in the gel coat from wood stain the Canadians cleverly used on their docks.

Won't talk about the continuing disasters with the cross current at the fuel dock and tying up in the transit slip.

we had a bouncing time similar to yours near the ferry dock at Orcas Island, had some visitors and small kids onboard at the time, made it all the more interesting...

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Having lived aboard on the inside of the custom's dock in FH over a two year period, I got to see the regular shit shows of boat handling disasters and the usual custom officer's bitching.  The whole thing is a (bad) joke.  (and a couple of the customs guys I consider friends....)  I mean, really, the folks who you're really trying to catch just won't bother going through the motions.  Bad guys and contraband can be offloaded anywhere and anytime prior to clearing in--if they even bother.

Get NEXUS or whatever pre-screened clearance program is in force these days.  You get to call in instead of having to do the Friday Harbor dance.  Weekends and particularly Sunday afternoons are not optimum times to clear in.

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Well, you could always head over to the Customs dock at Roche and mill around for 90 minutes waiting for a slot while assholes try to jump the line.

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Even if you don't want to get a Nexus card (which is totally worth it) you could get an I-68 when you are in Anacortes. This is a $16 per person annual pass that allows you to clear from the water. 

Even our baby has a Nexus card so that we can avoid those two docks. 

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Usually a aggressive ferry is the culprit but both outer breakwaters are massive swell zones from traffic at the wrong moments.  This summer seemed to be one of the busiest as far as traffic I have seen in a long time.  As far as customs the very rightly deserving reputation of being difficult A holes in the FH office which included Roche seems to have been taken care of a year or so ago with some people moving and retires. We have had fine dealings with them in both spots.  

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Wait until you're hit by the wake from the whale watching boats zooming past the dock next to the ferry at Orcas. They don't even pretend to slow down.

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6 hours ago, Hank Chinaski said:

Wait until you're hit by the wake from the whale watching boats zooming past the dock next to the ferry at Orcas. They don't even pretend to slow down.

That's the one where we copped it ...

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9 hours ago, IStream said:

Well, you could always head over to the Customs dock at Roche and mill around for 90 minutes waiting for a slot while assholes try to jump the line.

Been there, done that. They should have a "take a number and we'll page you" at Roche when it's busy. But Customs isn't really a customer focused organization, is it. 

Clearing into the US Anacortes is about as friendly as it gets, no ugly customs dock so you just go to your nice assigned slip and walk up to the office. The only problem there is between about 2:15 and 3:45 nobody is there 'cause they are at the ferry. 

They don't target mariners: last time I tried to fly Alaskan from Victoria home we stopped in Seattle for customs. We had a 3 1/2 hour connection (time enough for lunch I thought) but by the time we got through customs we barely made the connecting flight. It was the most disorganized goat rodeo I've ever seen. 

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To be fair, I don't have any issues with the Friday Harbour customs guys, it was my error the customs dock was full, there was an empty space in front at the seaplane dock, we hadn't been through customs before so it was our mistake.

still uses the same crappy black plastic pipe bumpers though, so presumably they are a Port of Friday Harbour problem.

we had some interesting issues as we were in the US on an ESTA visa, the FH customs office was more than helpful before we left for Canada, made sure we had no issues coming back in. The FH customs guy at the dock was intrigued by our story, Aussies who owned a boat registered in Washington coming back from Canada, but he navigated his questioning with skill and tact and we parted on good terms.

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2 hours ago, olaf hart said:

To be fair, I don't have any issues with the Friday Harbour customs guys, it was my error the customs dock was full, there was an empty space in front at the seaplane dock, we hadn't been through customs before so it was our mistake.

still uses the same crappy black plastic pipe bumpers though, so presumably they are a Port of Friday Harbour problem.

we had some interesting issues as we were in the US on an ESTA visa, the FH customs office was more than helpful before we left for Canada, made sure we had no issues coming back in. The FH customs guy at the dock was intrigued by our story, Aussies who owned a boat registered in Washington coming back from Canada, but he navigated his questioning with skill and tact and we parted on good terms.

Last time we cleared in through Friday Harbor I had the good fortune to encounter a Border Patrol person who was very attractive and friendly. Even on a calm day the landing is awful, though.

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Sign up for the SVRS system - it's free and you get to call in from the water. Everyone on the boat needs to be registered though, and you need to file a float plan before you leave online but it's still way better than going to the customs dock at FH 

(I went to the one at Roche once, and never again. At least the FH one is close)

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I've had the ferry take the turn so fast that is created a wake that hit the guest docks and caused the boats to make a 20 degree roll. I had a cast iron pan on the stove without pot supports that went flying and the handle broke off. It was a Griswold pan too, which are built a lot stronger. I was a little bummed at the time but I don't miss the pan. It seems two pans of different sizes suffice.

I've also come out of the anchorage a couple of times with boats bearing down on me from the marina at full throttle. I was sailing off and they didn't even flinch. Five blasts told everyone they were going too fast out out of port.

 

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 My dad always makes us get I-68's which make coming back easy.  I setimes questioned him but now I know after hearing the stories.  If we went more often to the land of maple syrup I would invest in a nexus..  However, getting a I-68 is super easy and cheap.  Stop in Anacortes they are super friendly and fast.

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