http://uscode.house.gov/uscode-cgi/fast ... +2033+0++() AND ((19) ADJ USC):CITE AND (USC w/10 (1433)):CITE
The above link, title 19 sec. 1433 is the law. Anything else that you see on this topic is an interpration of this law.
There were a few articles writtin on this topic in late march that were incorrect. Even one in USAToday that I believe reported false information.
Since then, there were some more articles written on the topic in early April:
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 8804060642
http://www.thetimesherald.com/apps/pbcs ... GgtS46E%3D
Straight from the US code of Law:
(A) any vessel from a foreign port or place;
(B) any foreign vessel from a domestic port;
© any vessel of the United States carrying foreign
merchandise for which entry has not been made; or
(D) any vessel which has visited a hovering vessel or received merchandise while outside the territorial sea;
If you do any of these, then you need to report to US customs.
More info on the topic:
http://www.cbp.gov/linkhandler/cgov/tra ... ea_faq.pdf
Page 6 of the above pdf.
"What about commercial or charter vessels that enter international waters but do not dock at a foreign port? Are its passengers required to present passports upon returning to the United States?
No. As long as a vessel does not call at a foreign port, immigration law does not consider this a "departure" from the United States and therefore upon return, is not considered an entry that would require a passport. Therefore, passports or other designated documents would not be required for those, including commercial fishermen traveling on a vessel that sails from a U.S. port and returns without calling at a foreign port."
http://www.cbp.gov/xp/cgov/travel/pleas ... erview.xml
6th paragraph down:
Any small pleasure vessel leaving a United States port into international or foreign waters, without a call at a foreign port, does not satisfy the foreign departure requirement. Therefore, certain fishing vessels, cruises to nowhere, or any vessel that leaves from a United States port and returns without calling a foreign port or place, has not departed the United States.