American Boaters to Cruise Cuba?

Hemingway Marina Havana Cuba

Hemingway Marina Havana Cuba

Is Cuba on the Horizon for boaters?

According to Commodore Jose Escrich, head of Cuba’s Club Natico, U.S. regulations restricting boat travel to the island are about to change. Citing an unnamed official from the American Interest Section in Havana, the head of the only non-government supported boating organization in Cuba said restrictions on private U.S. boats crossing the straits will be relaxed or ignored beginning sometime in March. Actively enforced during the second Bush administration, tight regulations have kept all but a trickle of mariners from cruising the largest of the Antilles Island.
For U.S. boat owners desiring to cruise Cuba, hope arrived with President Obama’s announcement in December 2014 calling for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations with our island neighbor.
Lying a day’s sail from Key West or less than three hours for the average power boater, Cuba’s close proximity, great fishing, diving and cruising grounds are a treasure U.S. boaters yearn to explore. According to recent estimates, eighty-thousand American boat owners are poised to cruise Cuban waters.
An easing of restrictions would be welcomed news for Club Natico which host the Hemingway Billfish Tournament, the oldest competition of its’ kind in the world. Ernest Hemingway launched the tournament bearing his name in 1950. At the time the famous writer was vice president of the newly formed International Gamefish Association. American participation in the contest would boost registrations and transform it into one of the richest blue marlin tournaments in the world.
In South Florida to receive an achievement award from the International Seakeepers Society, Commodore Escrich met with various yacht club officers and boating organization representatives from around the country.

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