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New mobile app for boaters checking in with U.S. Customs

Posted at 6:06 PM, Jun 14, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-14 18:55:46-04

Avid boaters traveling between the Bahamas and Florida say checking in with U.S. Customs and Border Protection just got easier.

Boater John Spencer said, "We got online with their app, it was very efficient put our passport information in, the information about the vessel and then you simply do a quick online interview with them through your phone and we are off to lunch."

John Gillilan just returned from the Bahamas. "It's fantastic, it's a great idea saves a lot of trouble," he said.

They're talking about the new procedure pleasure boaters can use when they check in. It's the Reporting Offsite ArrivalMobile app called ROAM.

Jared Olafson with U.S. Customs and Border Protection told us, "The ROAM app is very easy to use the key is that people need to use the ROAM app. You do have to report your arrival and this is going to allow you to do that in a much faster and expedited way."

Boaters say it's already saving them time and money.

"Right now if you don't have a small boat registration card, you have to go into the facility in West Palm Beach and sometimes that takes a little bit," said Todd Goggins.

"Before you had to find the office get a cab and go to the office and then come back. So it was a bit of a nuisance doing it for a 2 minute process," said John Spencer.

But not any more, according to Olafson.

"The officers all love it the ROAM app and how its performed its functions."

The app is free and Goggins thinks many boaters will use it.

"The way the world is going with apps, I think it's a good thing Customs, Coast Guard and kind of keeping up with the times and making it easier for people to travel," he said.