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Smokeyham

Handling Mail That Cannot be Done Electronically? - Notary on Board?

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I just spent three months living on board a boat and travelling inland rivers in the U.S.  My regular bills were handled through electronic auto payment and I used a service (St. Brendan's Isle) for handling most of my other correspondence.  They scanned mail that I received and I reviewed it.  The vast majority I could handle online, but every so often there is something that needs a "real" signature and you must receive a hard copy, and then mail that back.

 

Here is my question for world cruisers...... Have you ever HAD to have something delivered to the ship, and then had to sign it and send it back?  If so, did sending it to the local port agent (shipping agent) work well for you?  Any other suggestions for what to do in these situations?  Also, if  you needed a document notarized, was that service available?

Thanks for your feedback. 

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I have had friends who have done this on World Cruises.

 

I know with Crystal Cruises who we sail we are given a list of port agents and addresses for the embarkation ports for each segment who can hold mail and packages for you.  The issue is to allow plenty of time as sometimes things get held (shouldn't be with a letter versus a package) but allow time.

 

For notary you can ask at the reception desk at the ship and they could have a port agent help you through this.

 

Is there anyway the document can be sent to you while on the ship as a document for you to print out and have notarized and send back?  I'm sure you thought about this but just wanted to mention it.

 

Keith

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59 minutes ago, Smokeyham said:

I just spent three months living on board a boat and travelling inland rivers in the U.S.  My regular bills were handled through electronic auto payment and I used a service (St. Brendan's Isle) for handling most of my other correspondence.  They scanned mail that I received and I reviewed it.  The vast majority I could handle online, but every so often there is something that needs a "real" signature and you must receive a hard copy, and then mail that back.

 

Here is my question for world cruisers...... Have you ever HAD to have something delivered to the ship, and then had to sign it and send it back?  If so, did sending it to the local port agent (shipping agent) work well for you?  Any other suggestions for what to do in these situations?  Also, if  you needed a document notarized, was that service available?

Thanks for your feedback. 

 

I will likely be facing something similar on my upcoming world cruise on Regent Seven Seas Jan 24 - Jun 4.,.

 

I have a house that will likely be listed for sale around Feb 1, and given the market in the area, it will likely sell fairly quickly.  Sales document need a "wet signature," so my plan is to have all forms emailed to me.  I'll print, read, and sign them onboard, and then get them to the nearest UPS, FedEx, or DHL office in the next port to mail back to my realtor.

 

I need to run this by Regent (it's on my "to do" list for this week), but I'm not anticipating any real problems.  I'm sure I'm not the first guest who has had to deal with something like this, so i suspect that they may already have a process in place to handle it.  I'll also ask about needing something notarized.

 

I'll report back here as soon as I've talked to Regent.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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Great points!

I bought a small, portable, printer while living on board my boat.  Of course, you don't need this while living on a ship. However, there are some longer documents that it is not feasible to print so having them delivered would be necessary. 

Good to hear that there are notary services available.

 

 

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While working on ships we had mail sent to the ship through port agents, on a regular basis. I have also had mail sent a couple of times as a passenger. As a passenger the biggest risk is selecting the port, to ensure the mail arrives at the agent before the ship does.

 

For a Notary, in foreign lands we can use a local consular office, so I suspect the US also provides this service. Not sure if all foreign notaries are acceptable. The ship would normally assist in helping to locate this type of service. 

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On 12/18/2019 at 7:32 AM, CptBoatface said:

Hmm, I may bring my seal and book if I go on a long trip like this

Good idea and tell the front desk you have it if any passengers need a notary.  
 

We’ve dealt with this on land and asked the concierge where to go but never on a ship....I agree with others I’m sure the company has dealt with this before and can probably tell you what to do.

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Did a real estate closing once onboard using E sign.

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I posted last December (2019) upthread as I was preparing for my world cruise and the sale of a house in WA state.  I can now report my experience --

 

Whether or not E-sign is permitted depends on the state and the specific document.  WA state requires a notarized wet signature on the Warranty Deed -- this is changing effective October 1, 2020 to allow E-signature & E-notarization but at the time I went through this process, I needed a notarized wet signature.  I did not know before I left about the Warranty Deed notary requirement -- I had been told by my real estate broker that I would only need to be able to print and sign the Warranty Deed and then return it via UPS/DHL/FedEx to the escrow company. 

 

Further, the signature must happen on US soil/territory, and the notary must be credentialed for that location.  US soil/territory includes all US states and US territories (Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands, Guam, etc.) plus any embassy or consulate building anywhere in the world.  Most US states have "reciprocity" for notaries, so, for example, a notary credentialed in Alabama could notarize a signature taking place in Colorado.  When we're looking at non-state US territories, it's not so clear.

 

So the notarization requirements added a level of complexity that ended up consuming about 2 weeks of my trip as I tried to figure out how to get myself to a US location where I could get a signature notarized.  Not all embassies/consulates provide this service every day -- they have specific schedules that may or may not coincide with the ship's itinerary.  

Add to this the complexity of the unfolding coronavirus situation ...  

 

SO ....

 

Papeete (Tahiti) didn't work due to schedule (Consular Office is open only 2 days a week, and neither matched our schedule)

Next option: American Samoa -- Super!  US territory, they provide notary services by appointment, etc.  EXCEPT - the governor cancelled our stop there due to coronavirus concerns.

Next option:  Fiji -- except we were going to dock in Lautoka and the US Embassy is in Suva, a 4.5-hr drive from Lautoka.  Our stop was scheduled for 8 hours, so this wouldn't work.

Next option:  Auckland, NZ -- US Consulate -- except they didn't provide notary service on the two days we were scheduled to dock there, and they would not schedule a special appointment for this.

By this time, our entire Southeast Asia leg had been canceled so they added a stop in ...

SUVA, FIJI!!!  Alright!  I emailed the Embassy to make the appointment while the Concierge  on the ship worked with the port folks to round up transport from ship to Embassy to DHL office back to ship.

My buyers now have something not too many people have:  a Warranty Deed notarized by the Deputy Ambassador at the US Embassy in Suva, Fiji.

 

Lesson learned:  make sure you understand PRECISELY what the requirements are before you leave.  Had I know about the notary requirements, I would probably have executed a limited power of attorney to someone to sign for me or or at least build in some more time before closing to allow for hiccups along the way.

 

Lana in Bellingham, WA

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21 minutes ago, ArtsyCraftsy said:

Lesson learned:  make sure you understand PRECISELY what the requirements are before you leave.  Had I know about the notary requirements, I would probably have executed a limited power of attorney to someone to sign for me or or at least build in some more time before closing to allow for hiccups along the way.

Thank you for sharing your story.  It is a real lesson in how we need to be prepared if we are planning a long cruise and expect to have important transactions during that time.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/18/2019 at 1:31 AM, Smokeyham said:

Have you ever HAD to have something delivered to the ship, and then had to sign it and send it back?  If so, did sending it to the local port agent (shipping agent) work well for you

 

Twice, I had requested absentee ballots be sent to me using the address of HAL's Port Agent in Hong Kong.  The first time, the ballot was delivered to my stateroom during our first day in HK.  I completed it, signed it, and prepared it for mailing.  The Main Post Office was a short distance from the Star Ferry's terminal.  I took the ferry and mailed it at the Main Post Office.  (I did this because the Front Desk claimed that the only postage I would need was postcard priced postage.  I doubted that was so.  And, it wasn't!)  My ballot was received and my local Board of Elections showed that I had, indeed, voted.  

 

The second time was unsuccessful.  The absentee ballot was mailed by my local Board of Elections in ample time to read the HK Port Agent.  The ballot never reached the Port Agent.  Returning after the election, I checked to see if they had a record of me having voted in that election or if the ballot had been returned to their return address.  No record of either.  I still wonder what happened to that ballot. 

 

One thing that might have happened may have been the Board of Elections staff member may NOT have written the Port Agent's complete address on the envelope.  The first time, the staff member specifically asked me if the many lines of address HAD to be on the mailing label.  (They were going to have to make a special effort to produce a label that had those multiple lines.)  I told them:  Yes.  They obviously did; the mail was received in HK.  I don't recall a staff member asking such a question with my second attempt to get an absentee ballot.  Perhaps, that person did not prepare a proper mailing label?   

Edited by rkacruiser

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Thanks for your story, @rkacruiser. I've been concerned about voting this November as we were supposed to leave in late September on a Transpacific and be bopping about Asia during the election. I'd done some research into how to make it possible, and had decided that having our ballots delivered to a Port Agent would be best. 

 

Our TP has been cancelled, and, even if the other cruises were to go forward (doubtful) I don't imagine we will choose to fly and join them. It's a moot point for us this year, but I very much appreciate knowing that this is something that can work for the future. Thanks so much!

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23 hours ago, MamaFej said:

Thanks so much!

 

You are welcome.  Part of the experience that I found interesting was going to the Main Post Office in Hong Kong to mail the ballot.  Only Caucasian in the building with everyone around me speaking Chinese.  I wondered what I would encounter with the counter person.  No problem at all:  the gentleman spoke English and easily understood what I wanted done:  air mail postage to the U. S.  

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