- (1) the support and cooperation of the respective authorities in carrying the tasks of maritime safety, navigation and ecological balance;
(2) to perform search and rescue operations at sea , waterways and other aquatic areas nationwide; and
(3) to encourage the development of the system and the organization of rescue and maritime safety in National Waters with the end of contributing in the preservation of human lives at sea and the protection of the Marine Environment.
ONSA also helps mariners and the nautical community in general, in obtaining information about Marine Safety issues, Weather conditions, regulations and any other topic that might be requested, related with the Venezuelan national waters and the Caribbean. Educational & Environmental programs are also develop and supported.
Maritime Safety Information
1. MARITIME AUTHORITY
- a. By law, the maritime authority is the PORT's CAPTAIN. Each region has one [i.e. La Guaira, Guanta Pto La Cruz, Margarita]. Foreign vessels have to contact the PORT's CAPTAIN OFFICE [Capitanía de Puerto] to request Customs & Immigration.
b. The Venezuelan COAST GUARD is a support entity for control and inspections. Their ships are grey painted, mostly because they are military boats. The CG should be on VHF channel 16VHF and channel 22VHF (only Central Region), 24hours a day , but not all the time you can get a response. No English speaking is reported by radio operators.
c. There are other entities that are also related with the control and inspections of boats, like the NATIONAL GUARD that has a maritime division called VIGILANCIA COSTERA particularly for Drug and Customs inspections.
- a. VHF Channel 16 for maritime emergencies: Some times this channel is NOT the STBY channel of some areas or marinas, particularly in the Eastern regions of Venezuela [i.e. Puerto La Cruz]. The coastal radio stations are working only from 8am to 5pm weekdays and from 8am to 7pm weekends; unless private / marinas radios stations upon request.
- Eastern Region Marinas...... Channel VHF 71
Central Region Marinas...... Channel VHF 68
b. On HF frequencies of the Single Side Band [SSB] Venezuelan marinas are used to stay tune on: 2738.0 and 8291.0
- a. When sailing from one maritime circumscription to the next, you may be asked to get a document named the ZARPE (even when recreational vessels are not to request this permission because a radio call shoulded be enough). This ZARPE requires visiting the PORT CAPTAIN's office and in some cases customs and immigration. Everyone is friendly but can be a time consuming operation.
b. Local agents [GESTORES] can be found. Mostly all are diligent and for a reasonable fee can take care of the paperwork that might take you sometimes a hole day of done by yourself. This guys can be found at the PORT OF CAPTAIN's OFFICE.
c. The Venezuelan Officials are very conservative. Be forewarned that when going to a government office, you should be sure to wear shoes, a decent shirt and trousers; otherwise officials might be inexplicably unavailable.
4. PORTS & MARINAS
- a. There are many different marinas all over Central and Eastern part of the Venezuelan Coast. They you may find friendly and diligent people that will take care about your needs. Private marinas are most recommended when arriving first time into an area.
b. In general, public marinas does not have private security personnel, due tu minor robbery that can affect your boat during your stay. We highly recommended to dock in private marinas that can advise about local security measures & in the surroundings.
5. SAILING DIRECTIONS
- a. Water temperatures are between 68ºF and 77ºF. Air temperatures are between 65º to 100ºF. The water along the coast is clean but murky with a visibility normally limited to about 10 feet; thus eyeball navigation is out. The current is normally to the W. The wind is normally to from the ENE.
b. Due to a nature phenomenon (deslave) occurred on December, 2000 on the coastal areas of La Guaira, the soundings and coastal lines there have dramatically change in some particular points of the coast, so is recommended to keep nearly one (1) nautical mile away from the chart guidelines until updated. Eyeball navigation and digital sounding should be use when entering from a mile off coast while in this area. Also, request the marina a confirmation of any danger area on the approach to it.
- a. In case of an emergency, you can activate a private auxiliary and altern emergency communication net for Venezuela & the Eastern Caribbean, thru this Emergency Form wich is attended by many voluntary and governmental entities related with Maritime Search & Rescue Operations in the region. This Emergency Form activate an alarm over more than 20 related organizations Caribbean wide that will open a mSAR mission on your call. If you have an Emergency Position Indicator E-mail Transmitter (i.e. SPOT Satellite Tracker), you can be subscribe at ONSA's Maritime Emergency Net (click here) for an immediate mSAR response. 24hours mSAR voluntary Corps (CASMAR) operational phone: +58 (424) 231 3300; +58 (212) 715 7105.
b. Officially, the PORT OF CAPTAIN OFFICE should be on VHF Channel 16, not all are 24hours confirmed. On HF frequencies of the Single Side Band [SSB] Venezuelan marinas are used to stay tune on: 2738.0 and 8291.0
c. Emergency Position Indicator Radio Beacons [EPIRBs] are now detected by Venezuelan authorities so if there is any emergency signal detection within Venezuelan almost 500.000 sq. km. of Maritime Search and Rescue (SAR) responsibility area in the Eastern Caribbean and the Atlantic, a SAR Mision is open immediately but it may take about 08 hours to deliver the first SAR unit, so please be patient, help will arrive.
7. PIRACY / ARMED ROBBERY
- a. We have received time to time reports of Piracy / Armed Robbery on yachts, anchored at night near fishermen's areas. Mostly this reports are related with drunk or drugged fishermen looking for money and/or personal belongings like towels, shirts, etc. We do recommend to keep always somebody at night around the boat in any case.
b. Even when friendly & good people is the rule, some others are looking for trouble. In some way, having good relationship with the locals - giving them some fruits, batteries or goods that are not easily findable on their place - helps in keeping the good people at your side wich won't let trouble ones to bader you.
c. To Avoid dangerous areas you MUST see the Boater's Risk Zone Map HERE!. Other Security information regarding this issue is publish at our Sécurité Report webpage.
d. In case of an attack, you should contact immediately the PORT OF CAPTAIN and the National Investigative Police Corp [CICPC] office near you, to declare the incident. Don't hesitate to contact Us to help you & recommend further actions. If you require further assistance or want to denounce any incident, please contact Us thru the email [firstname.lastname@example.org] indicating your request.
Don't hesitate to contact Us for further related information thru the email [email@example.com], and willing you to have a nice & pleasant stay while in the Venezuelan waterways,
Wishing you a good weather & calm seas,