Canadian Marine Boating Requirements are impossible for users of the St Croix

posted Jun 10, 2013, 11:18 AM by Heather Almeda   [ updated Jun 10, 2013, 11:18 AM ]
The St. Croix International Waterway Commission has, since 2001, been watching border enforcement issues in both Canada and the US closely. Increased security has meant that we need to change the way we use the lakes and river. This includes one country camping (putting in, camping, making landfall and taking out in the same country) and complying with marine boating requirements in both Canada and the US. 

Why is this issue a concern? 

In the US, boaters may call to report their travels. However, so long as you do not make landfall (in this case, in Canada) or if Canadian boaters do not make landfall on US soil, no additional reporting is required. The I-68 pass system also allows boaters to speed up this reporting process. 

In Canada, there is also a telephone reporting system, as well as a pass system (called CANPASS.) However, the law is slightly different; under Canadian law, you must report every time you re-enter Canadian waters. You may also be required to stay in your boat until a CBSA agent comes to check you out. 

This is problematic for St. Croix users for a number of reasons. 
  • except in the estuary, there are no buoys or markers indicating that you are crossing the international boundary. There is no way for a user to know when they have crossed the boundary. 
  • it isn't practical or possible in some cases to mark this boundary. 
  • Canadian marine reporting centres are located in the estuary and at Fosterville, neither of which are convenient for the majority of recreational paddlers. 
  • CBSA agent locations are quite distant from remote boat landings. 
  • Cell phone coverage on the St. Croix and the lakes is non-existent; therefore, it is impossible to report landings to the marine reporting centres. 
So what are boaters to do? 

If you are American citizens, beginning and ending your trip in the US, follow the instructions on the USBP website, here. We suggest that you send a trip plan to the nearest US Customs office in advance of your trip, to speed things along. So long as you do not visit a "foreign port," make landfall in Canada, or meet other boats mid-stream, you'll be fine. 

If you are Canadian citizens, begin and end your trip on Canadian soil. Before your trip, report to Fosterville, St. Stephen or St. Andrews wharf, or call the Marine Telephone Reporting Centre at 1-888-226-7277. They are going to ask you questions, so be prepared. Visit CBSA's webpage on reporting so you have the information you need. 

If you are a frequent boater, we strongly suggest applying for the appropriate program (I-68 or CANPASS) to speed up the process. 

We also suggest that you contact the appropriate border agency if you have any questions or concerns about your trip at all. We want you to enjoy the St. Croix, safely and legally. We will continue to work on your behalf to clarify this situation. 
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