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Old 27-07-2016, 10:55   #31
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by Strypes View Post
On Saturday, June 25th, 2016, my wife, Denise and I left Midway Marina on Catawba Island/Port Clinton, OH via our 30' Sea Ray power boat named Pure Pleasure at 10:00am. We stopped for fuel and a pump out at Anchors Away Marina on our way out of West Harbor and dropped anchor in Canadian Water near West Dock/Mosquito Bay/Fish Point off of Pelee Island. We were meeting friends on another vessel that were already anchored in that area. Prior to leaving, we spoke with several boaters in our area, my Dad who is retired Coast Guard and the couple that we were meeting, who have been doing this trip for 15 years to see what the procedure was for entering and anchoring in Canadian Waters.

As soon as we dropped anchor off of Pelee Island, I called 1-888-CAN-PASS. I spoke to a female agent and answered all of her questions before she issued us a report number.

She asked the standard questions; who was on board, if we had firearms, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, pets, plants and Passport information. I gave her my Passport Number and my wife's Enhanced Michigan Drivers Licence Number. She asked where we were, I told her that we were off of the Southern part of the Island which I believed was called Fish Point. The agent said she didn't know where that was, I told her that is was near West Dock. She asked us what our intentions were and how long we planned on staying. I told her that we were going to have lunch on the boat, swim with our friends that were also anchored where we were, walk up and down the beach on Fish Point and have dinner at the Pelee Island Winery and that we were planning on leaving around 7:00pm that day.

She gave me a Report Number and told me to write it on a piece of paper and tape it to the back of the boat so that if there were any patrol boats out they would be able to see that we had already checked in. She also informed me to take our Passports and the Report Number with us when we went to shore and ended the conversation with "enjoy your stay in Canada".

We had lunch on our boat before our friend picked us up in his dinghy to take us to shore to walk up and down the beautiful beach and take pictures. After that we decided to go to the main land to check things out and have a bottle of wine before dinner. So, we got on our friends boat which he pulled up his anchor and moved North up the coast line so that we were closer to where the winery was. He re-dropped his anchor and then my wife & I and he and his wife got into his dinghy and again went to shore.

He tied his dinghy off and we walked up the hill to the road that the winery is on. When we got to the road, a mini van pulled up and 2 Canadian Border Patrol Agents got out to greet us. One agent seemed to have an attitude and wasn't very friendly, the other agent was friendly and didn't seem to be too concerned in what we were doing. They said what's up guys, what are you doing. We said hello and that we were heading over to the winery. He asked if we had checked in and we told him yes, that we checked in around 11:30am that morning. He asked if we had our Report Numbers and we told him yes and gave him the numbers. He then asked if we had our Passports and we again told him yes and handed those to him as well. He asked who we checked in with and we told him 1-888-CAN-PASS. He said that we didn't check in with him and we again told him that we called the 888 number when we dropped anchor. He said that the agent that we spoke with was in Windsor. We said okay. He then said if we want to come to "his Island" we need to check in with him and that he seized a boat an hour and a half ago and that he wouldn't hesitate to do it again. He asked us if we were vagrants, and we told him no. He then asked where we told the agent we were docked and we told him that we told her that we were anchored near West Dock. He then said that where we were "didn't look like no God damn West Dock to him". We apologized and were being very respectful as we didn't want to get into trouble or cause any problems.

The agent then told our wives to go ahead and go to the winery that we needed to go with him so "he could teach us a lesson". He told us that we needed to walk a mile and a half or so to his office so that "we could properly check in" and that he couldn't give us a ride because they didn't have a caged vehicle and we were "God damn vagrants".

We walked to the agent's office and answered a series of questions, basically the same questions that we answered with the agent in the morning before she issued our Report Number. After answering his questions the agent told us to wait outside and he would let us know when he wanted us to come back in.

After 3 hours, one of the agents came out and said that we could come back in. The agent with the attitude said "well gentlemen, as of right now your boats belong to the Canadian Government, that they were under seizure". We were flabbergasted and asked him why because we felt that we didn't do anything wrong. He said that we didn't check in properly. I tried to explain that I thought that we were okay because I called the 888 number and received a Report Number. He asked me how old I was and I told him that I was 39 years old which he replied "well you're not a God damn 12 year old boy and I should've known better to find out what the proper check in procedure is and that if I come to his Island, I need to check in with him". The other 2 agents were saying and doing nothing, it seemed as if they felt bad for us. The agent then said that he was going to cut us a break and write us up for a Level 1 Infraction and that if we each paid $1000 Canadian we could get our boats back.

They said that they didn't accept American checks but they would accept Canadian or American cash or Credit Cards. I didn't have that much money on me so I tried to use my credit card. I didn't report to my credit card company that I was leaving the Country, as I wasn't planning on making any charges, so as soon as they swiped my card the credit card company froze my account and declined my card. The same thing happened to my friend when they tried to run his credit card. They said that our boats were to remain with them until we could make payment and that we could take a ferry back to the United States and come back when we had the money and get our boats back.

Luckily I had my cell phone and tried to call my credit card company to get the card unfrozen and out of fraud. I tried 5 times and kept getting disconnected due to poor cell reception at which point I asked the agent if I could use their phone, one agent said sure, but the agent who was giving us a hard time then said "no, the cord wouldn't reach where I was standing". Fortunately, the 6th attempt with my cell phone went through and I was able to touch base with my Credit Card Company and get the card to work. My friend wasn't able to get in touch with his credit card company or bank, so I paid for both of our boats to be released, which was $2000 Canadian, $1,618 US. He then told us to go back outside while he filled out our release forms.

45 minutes later he told us to come back in and sign our paperwork. He then told us that we were all set and that we were free to go anywhere in Canada that we pleased for as long as we wanted. He also informed me that I would be ineligible for a NEXUS Card for at least 5 years and "good luck trying to get one even then" and that I was going to be placed on a watch list and anytime that I wanted to travel anywhere that they would look at me hard and scrutinize me because I now had a record. They never searched us or our boats, they never even asked. Our boats remained where they were anchored the entire time. We walked back to the winery to get our wives and tell them what happened and then got back on my friends dinghy and asked him to drop us off on our boat. As soon as we got back on our boat I pulled the anchor up and hightailed it back to the United States. We wanted nothing more to do with Canada after the experience I had and the way we were treated and wanted to be back home. We will NEVER go back to Canada. Never.

As soon as we got back to our dock On Catawba Island/Port Clinton, OH we drove to Brand's Marina and used the Homeland Security Phone to check back in, with no problems.

I don't know if there is anything that can be done, but I really don't want to be on a watch list. I am a law abiding, tax paying, God fearing, American Citizen without any record whatsoever.

Thank you
I guess you don't get out much. Any time you want to step ashore in any country the captain has to check in the country while all passengers wait on board. You did a BIG mistake by not doing that. You should thank god you got off so easy. Could have been deported without a boat! Follow proper channels when entering another country and do not set foot on land until the captain has properly checked in.
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Old 27-07-2016, 11:01   #32
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by lookinggoodrock View Post
I guess you don't get out much. Any time you want to step ashore in any country the captain has to check in the country while all passengers wait on board. You did a BIG mistake by not doing that. You should thank god you got off so easy. Could have been deported without a boat! Follow proper channels when entering another country and do not set foot on land until the captain has properly checked in.
He did follow proper proceedure for a US citizen in a private boat entering Canada. He called CanPass & reported his plans.
There is a special setup for Canadian-US citizens crossing the Can.-US border.
You are correct about other nations & nationalities of course!

Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters

Cheers/ Len
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Old 27-07-2016, 11:02   #33
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

Sorry for your problems! I recommend you do 2 things. First go to" Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters ". Scroll down to "Your CBSA report number and secondary inspection". When I read this, it tells me that the original agent shouldn't have issued you a "report in number" unless she was clearing you as she told you. You would have only had to report in physically, if she had not issued you one and informed you to do so, the way I read this anyways.
At the bottom of that link is the link to Appeal, which you most certainly should!!! I'd be amazed if you don't win it!?!?
Secondly , I think you should call/email "The Township of Pelee Island" and inform them of your unpleasant experience and how you were treated!
I've been going over there for 33 years for the Fall Pheasant Hunts and they are very good, sympathetic people on a small island where everyone knows everyone! They need to hear these kinds of issues as they count immensely on tourism!
I boat on the Niagara River and we're having issues with "crossing the line"!!! It's totally ridiculous that we have to call in if we've tacked across the line, but apparently it's some stupid, couple of hundred year old law that only the Canadians care about or enforce!?!? American boarder services doesn't care if we're 10 feet from their shore or less, as long as we don't land, touch bottom or touch an American boat on the water. Yet, our the Canadian side is all over us to call in!
In the winter I come back to Florida from the Bahamas and can clear in by phone once I'm at my slip in Lauderdale with my Local Boater Option Card. They issue me a report in number and away we go. We still have to go get our 1 year cruising permit though personally within 24 hrs.
Good luck with this matter!!! Should never have gotten that far!!!
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Old 27-07-2016, 11:19   #34
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deblen View Post
He did follow proper proceedure for a US citizen in a private boat entering Canada. He called CanPass & reported his plans.
There is a special setup for Canadian-US citizens crossing the Can.-US border.
You are correct about other nations & nationalities of course!

Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters

Cheers/ Len
After reading Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters

I'm not certain that the OP did follow the rules. While he called the Cann-Pass number and reported, he didn't mention whether he had registered for the Cann-Pass program which appears to be a requirement.

Over the past 30 years, my experience clearing into Canada has been pleasant. The standard procedure is to go to a designated port and then the skipper calls in to CBP. If the CBP wants to inspect the boat they will tell you to wait and an agent would come and inspect. The OP didn't do that.

In this story there are several occasions when there could have been miscommunication. Did the original agent hear his intentions correctly? Did the OP hear the Agent correctly? Has failing to report properly been an issue on the island? If so, a crack down might have been warranted with the OP being the unlucky boater.

The moral of this story is to be certain of the current reporting rules and then follow them to the letter.
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Old 27-07-2016, 11:24   #35
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by wannacat View Post
Sorry for your problems! I recommend you do 2 things. First go to" Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters ". Scroll down to "Your CBSA report number and secondary inspection". When I read this, it tells me that the original agent shouldn't have issued you a "report in number" unless she was clearing you as she told you. You would have only had to report in physically, if she had not issued you one and informed you to do so, the way I read this anyways.
At the bottom of that link is the link to Appeal, which you most certainly should!!! I'd be amazed if you don't win it!?!?
Secondly , I think you should call/email "The Township of Pelee Island" and inform them of your unpleasant experience and how you were treated!
I've been going over there for 33 years for the Fall Pheasant Hunts and they are very good, sympathetic people on a small island where everyone knows everyone! They need to hear these kinds of issues as they count immensely on tourism!
I boat on the Niagara River and we're having issues with "crossing the line"!!! It's totally ridiculous that we have to call in if we've tacked across the line, but apparently it's some stupid, couple of hundred year old law that only the Canadians care about or enforce!?!? American boarder services doesn't care if we're 10 feet from their shore or less, as long as we don't land, touch bottom or touch an American boat on the water. Yet, our the Canadian side is all over us to call in!
In the winter I come back to Florida from the Bahamas and can clear in by phone once I'm at my slip in Lauderdale with my Local Boater Option Card. They issue me a report in number and away we go. We still have to go get our 1 year cruising permit though personally within 24 hrs.
Good luck with this matter!!! Should never have gotten that far!!!
I've lived near the Maine-New Brunswick border all my 69yrs.

Recently,in our area,there has been the occasional jackass CBP officer on both sides-rare but getting more common.

Usually,they come around after they have been "broken" in for awhile
Can. USA has enjoyed the longest un-defended border in the world for 250yrs. Damn shame to lose it! Especially in the hundreds of small town/village border crossings.

Report any incident of un- professional conduct IMHO.
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Old 27-07-2016, 11:37   #36
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lochner View Post
After reading Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters

I'm not certain that the OP did follow the rules. While he called the Cann-Pass number and reported, he didn't mention whether he had registered for the Cann-Pass program which appears to be a requirement.

Over the past 30 years, my experience clearing into Canada has been pleasant. The standard procedure is to go to a designated port and then the skipper calls in to CBP. If the CBP wants to inspect the boat they will tell you to wait and an agent would come and inspect. The OP didn't do that.

In this story there are several occasions when there could have been miscommunication. Did the original agent hear his intentions correctly? Did the OP hear the Agent correctly? Has failing to report properly been an issue on the island? If so, a crack down might have been warranted with the OP being the unlucky boater.

The moral of this story is to be certain of the current reporting rules and then follow them to the letter.
Have a look at this Dave. http://www.great-lakes-sailing.com/entering_canada.html

Hard to keep up with the changing regulations on both sides.

I still don't feel the officer needed to be so un-professional about it.

/Len
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Old 27-07-2016, 12:05   #37
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

This is the major reason I avoid Canadian waters: attitude toward U.S. vessels and citizens. It seems more common in the eastern provinces, but it does exist even in B.C. Mexican waters are easier and actually more friendly except around the islands (Los Coronados) which I avoid both as a hazard to navigation and a place where you have a high probability of being rousted simply because of the locale. Actually, I do hope my experience is atypical, but given the number of times and places it has been encountered or not, I do not think so. Nor do I have any comment about the OP or the specific experience except it is different in execution.
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Old 27-07-2016, 12:16   #38
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
Have a look at this Dave. Entering Canada - A Guide For Americans

Hard to keep up with the changing regulations on both sides.

I still don't feel the officer needed to be so un-professional about it.

/Len
I don't think any of this is new. You can transit through Canadian waters, but if you want to land then you must clear in through a designated site. If you are a registered member of CanPass, or Nexus, then you may be able to avoid an in-person check in, although that is still at the discretion of the border officer.

From the description of the OP, I infer they are not CanPass or Nexus members, in which case the regs clearly states a cell phone check in is only possible if "you do not intend to land on Canadian soil,...". If you change your mind, it's pretty clear you must go through a standard clearance.

All that said, we all make mistakes. I certainly have. There was no reason for the CBSA guy to be such a dick. I can only assume that Pelee Island has a lot of American visitors who don't bother to follow the rules. But I know of other border areas where the reverse is true. And no, I won't tell you how I personally know this .

It's unfortunate how our mutual border has become a lot more difficult to deal with -- all for the charade of added security.
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Old 27-07-2016, 12:26   #39
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

Quote:
Originally Posted by deblen View Post
He did follow proper proceedure for a US citizen in a private boat entering Canada. He called CanPass & reported his plans.
There is a special setup for Canadian-US citizens crossing the Can.-US border.
You are correct about other nations & nationalities of course!

Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters

Cheers/ Len
Sorry but according to the CBSA web site the OP did not correctly clear into Canada. Go back and read post #3 which was copied directly from the CBSA web site. Phone in clearance is allowed ONLY if you will not leave the boat and touch land.
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Old 27-07-2016, 12:30   #40
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by Mike OReilly View Post
I don't think any of this is new. You can transit through Canadian waters, but if you want to land then you must clear in through a designated site. If you are a registered member of CanPass, or Nexus, then you may be able to avoid an in-person check in, although that is still at the discretion of the border officer.

From the description of the OP, I infer they are not CanPass or Nexus members, in which case the regs clearly states a cell phone check in is only possible if "you do not intend to land on Canadian soil,...". If you change your mind, it's pretty clear you must go through a standard clearance.

All that said, we all make mistakes. I certainly have. There was no reason for the CBSA guy to be such a dick. I can only assume that Pelee Island has a lot of American visitors who don't bother to follow the rules. But I know of other border areas where the reverse is true. And no, I won't tell you how I personally know this .

It's unfortunate how our mutual border has become a lot more difficult to deal with -- all for the charade of added security.
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Old 27-07-2016, 13:05   #41
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by Pete O Static View Post
Well I guess I sit on the other side of the fence. The job of a border officer is to protect and enforce the laws of entry, not educate people on the reporting requirements.
I know I feel safer!
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Old 27-07-2016, 13:37   #42
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

I attempted to check with Canadian customs ~6 years ago on Manitoulin Island. When I called them, I was told to wait for customs officers to arrive. They were searching all US boats that day. We were also fined $1000 cash to keep our boat from being seized. There were similar threats about what to expect on a return trip. Then a welcome to Canada after we paid. Needless to say, I haven't been back.

2 Customs officers. One mean, contemptible fellow and a nice lady who said he was the senior officer with authority.

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Old 27-07-2016, 15:29   #43
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

No problems cruising the EU over the past five summers. Glad I made the move.
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Old 27-07-2016, 16:00   #44
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

I have always found the American / Canadian border more trouble than is is worth. I only travel to Canada for business. It goes both ways, i.e. going or coming. Traveling anywhere else has never been as big a hassle. It seems we treat our enemies better than our friends.
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Old 27-07-2016, 16:07   #45
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Re: American Boaters going to Canada, Be Advised...

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Originally Posted by deblen View Post
He did follow proper proceedure for a US citizen in a private boat entering Canada. He called CanPass & reported his plans.
There is a special setup for Canadian-US citizens crossing the Can.-US border.
You are correct about other nations & nationalities of course!

Travellers - Reporting requirements for private boaters

Cheers/ Len
If he registered for CanPass, then he did follow procedures. However, it is not clear that he had applied for and paid the proper fees.

CANPASS

The CANPASS program for private boats also provides more convenient border clearance for low-risk, pre-screened travellers entering Canada. CANPASS members can report to the CBSA through the TRC up to four hours in advance of their arrival. Members can only benefit from the program when travelling by water. The fee is $40 for five years. For more information visit the CANPASS for private boats Web page.
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