Hispaniola Navigation Chart Notes (HIS017)


Hispaniola Navigation Chart Notes (for HIS017) (Dominican Republic)Currency
Peso (DOP)
Rate: US$1 = 38.9DOP*
*Rate as at 26 Mar 2012: currently floating exchange rate that varies daily.
US dollars are accepted.
Read also Haiti (at right) for a brief history.

Ports of entry
Most commercial ports are POE’s, but cruising vessels are encouraged to clear in at Bahia Luperon or at Ocean World Marina, Cap Cana Marina, Marina Zar-Par Boca Chica or Santo Domingo Marina. Avoid clearing in at Puerto Plata as there are no pleasure craft facilities here and the harbour is exposed to Northerly winds and seas.

Clearance procedure, Luperon – inbound
Call ‘Puerto Luperon Navy’ on VHF ch.16 when you are a few miles out and say (if you get a reply) that you are entering harbour and intend to moor alongside the ‘Moyer Grande’ (Government Dock) – while clearing in if there is dockage space, or that you’ll anchor nearby if not.

Officials from Customs & Immigration & Public Health will come to your vessel on the Moyer, or if at anchor they will use a local fishing dinghy or, have you collect them in your dinghy. The Port official will not usually come out to vessel so you do need to go there and register – see plan for location. The Comandancia (Navy) and Officials are on duty seven days a week – but the Port Office is closed from 12:00 Saturday to 08:00 Monday. If you have not been visited after a few hours, then all aboard should go with papers to the Port Office and clear in.

Officials will ask to see ships papers, clearance from last port if applicable (or immigration certificate and cruising permit for Bahamas if you have no clearance).

Port charges in US$ at present are:

  • $43 port clearance (this also covers port dues for first week), if you wish to stay longer then a monthly charge of $15 is applied.
  • There is a $10 customs charge and $10 for agriculture, health inspection.
  • If you have pets aboard then a person from the Animal Health Dept will board to inspect pets’ papers with the main concern being a current rabies vaccination certificate and they will charge $10.
  • Immigration will charge an entry fee of $10 per person; you’ll get a ‘Green Card’ that should be kept in your passport by the page that has your entry stamp. Although this fee covers the crew person for a 15 day stay, it’s usually good for first three months. You’ll get a receipt from all above departments for your payments.

The Navy will visit and list your vessel on their register and also inspect and check papers / passports. No charge for Navy services but you may wish to donate a few dollars (say US$5.00) for outboard fuel costs especially if a fishing boat has been commandeered for the purpose.

Clearance procedure – outbound
Clearing your vessel for a weekend cruise to La Isabella, or Samana or clearing out for foreign ports– involves first going to the port office and getting emigration approval then port clearance. Port will give you two pieces of paperwork: a receipt to say your harbour dues are paid up and a clearance certificate that you must give to the Navy Clerk at the Comandancia, who will issue a clearance or Despacho. Just prior to leaving port, two members of the Navy will board to make sure that you are not departing with unauthorized DR nationals.


Hispaniola Navigation Chart Notes (for HIS017) (Haiti)Currency
Gourdes (HTG)
Rate: US$1 = 41.00HTG*
*Rate as at 26 Mar 2012; check here for the most current exchange rate.
US dollars are accepted.

Ports of Entry
Pleasure Craft should ‘clear in’ to Haiti only at major commercial ports (i.e.- Cap Haitian, Gonaïves, Port Au Prince – perhaps Port-du-Paix) and then show paperwork at all other ports and harbours visited. NEVER ARRIVE IN A HAITIAN PORT AT NIGHT. Arrive during daylight hours only, and plan your clearance to be within regular working hours – 08:30-14:00 to simplify the procedure and save overtime charges.

Historical ‘snippits’
Taino Indians named the whole island “HAITI”, meaning “mountainous”. The highest and lowest points in the entire Greater Antilles are found just miles apart near 71° longitude – Pico Duarte at 10,417 feet and Lago Enriquillo at 130 feet below sea level.

Columbus claimed Haiti for Spain during his first voyage of 1492 and renamed it Hispaniola. He lost his small flagship Santa Maria on the reefs at Caracol Bay soon after. In January 1494, he started construction of the medieval European style city of La Isabela at 71º05.00W on the north shore.

La Isabela was abandoned four years later for a more favourable location and the city of Santo Domingo was established. It became the principal business and cultural center of the western hemisphere for the next three centuries. This importance caused the whole island to be known as Santo Domingo, until 1697 when Spain ceded the eastern portion to France and also the remaining portion in 1795 under the terms of The Treaty of Bale.

A slave rebellion that started in 1791, and was later lead by Pierre Dominique Toussaint L’Ouverture, paved the way for his successor, Jean Jacques Dessalines, to declare the western portion a republic and himself Emperor in 1804. Dessalines chose to revert to the original name of Haiti for his new republic. Following Dessalines’ death in 1806, rule of the Republic was divided between ‘Petion’ in the South and ‘Christophe’ in the North. Henri Christophe endeavoured to sophisticate his supporters and improve the country by contracting teachers, doctors and engineers from Europe, but the military brute force that he used during the construction of his Citadel Fortress has eclipsed his positive contributions.

The eastern part of Hispaniola, then known as ‘Spanish Haiti’, came under Haitian rule in 1822 until 1844 when the Haitians were driven back and the Republic Dominique was established. A treaty was signed in 1936 and this has maintained a strained but peaceful co-existence.