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Old 20-05-2015, 22:10   #1
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Documents for entering BC from USA

My wife and I are getting ready to go on a trip to the San Juan and Gulf Islands. We've chartered in the islands before and went to BC, but this will be our first trip in our own boat. I'm just trying to make sure I have all the required documents for entry. Obviously we need out passports, but other than the registration for the boat, do I need any other paperwork?
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Old 21-05-2015, 08:52   #2
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

That should do it unless you're bringing a dog, in which case you need a rabies vaccination certificate.

BTW, don't try to bring fresh fruit, potatoes (maybe other veggies?) or meat across - they may be confiscated.
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Old 21-05-2015, 10:12   #3
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

Cool, thanks for the info. No pets for us this time, so we don't have to worry about that.

Yea, I knew about the fruits and veggies thing, kind of makes provisioning a little more difficult but oh well. We'll just get fresh stuff for a couple/few days at a time and then provision more once we make it to Canada.
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Old 21-05-2015, 11:25   #4
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

Just to second the other comment: you'll need your passports (Driver Licenses not good enough) and the boat papers although you'll probably not need to show those. Getting back in the US is usually the harder part.

They can be fairly serious about things you take with you - guns, booze/wine/beer, food stuff. The limit the amount of alcohol significantly. See numerous other posts about guns and personal defense sprays, etc. They will ask, and they don't like them with some exceptions.

Absolutely follow the rules about where and when to check in to Canada and back in to the US. It can be inconvenient but they really get upset if you don't.
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Old 22-05-2015, 10:09   #5
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

Don't you need a station license for the VHF or something?
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Old 22-05-2015, 10:27   #6
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

Yes, to be legal you need FCC radio licenses - the restricted radiotelephone operator permit (no charge, good for life) for yourself, and the ship station license for the boat (fee, renewed every ten years). They've never asked me to show mine or provide my license number.

Along with these you can get an MMSI number, and program it into your DSC VHF radio. With this, if you push the Mayday button, both US and Canadian CG's will have the information about you and your boat to help in a search.
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Old 22-05-2015, 11:25   #7
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

Getting into Canada is easy. They follow your AIS and thank you for coming to Canada. Getting back into the US is a bit harder. Friday Harbor gave us the stinky treatment for coming in at 6 pm (after closing) We were up close to midnight getting the "you should know better" treatment.
As for provisioning...I stock up at home (Astoria) and then at our in Canada, usually Namino. Best place to enter Canada? Poet's Cove. Were else can you take the kids swimming after sailing?
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Old 22-05-2015, 12:01   #8
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

New Restriction: Due to bird flu in Washington and Oregon any eggs or chicken must be boiled or cooked prior to entering Canada. We've met several recent US boat entries that were allowed to proceed after boiling eggs and cooking chicken.
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Old 22-05-2015, 12:20   #9
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

The easiest way to transit between borders is via the NEXUS program. Make an appointment with Customs & Immigration at Boeing Field, Seattle (206) 553-0667. Ask what documents you will need, it seems to change year to year, for the interview. Once the interview is done you’ll move to the next office and interview with Canadian Customs. You’ll then become a “Preferred Traveler” which allows you to clear in via phone on your boat in either direction. Call customs when you are within the hour of crossing the border to receive the clearance number. Customs can still require you to report to a customs dock but in all the years I’ve participated in the program I’ve never been asked to do so. Another benefit of being pre-qualified for crossing the border is international travel. Returning from Mexico I landed in LA and used a kiosk to clear immigrations. You insert your passport into the reader and up pops your profile. You answer the usual questions on the touch screen; upon completion it prints a receipt with your passport photo. Show the receipt to the immigration officer who then waves you through. I show up at customs with this receipt and they wave you through. Very quick. I was at my connecting gate while the rest of the passengers were still waiting for their luggage. You can also use the NEXUS pass to speed through the TSA lines at the airport. The NEXUS pass is not for the boat in general, you’ll need one for everyone on board.
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Old 22-05-2015, 12:47   #10
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

You could do your own homework on the Transport Canada website, too.

Maybe not everything is going to be covered by these helpful responders.
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Old 22-05-2015, 13:19   #11
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Re: Documents for entering BC from USA

Quote:
Originally Posted by Stu Jackson View Post
You could do your own homework on the Transport Canada website, too.

Maybe not everything is going to be covered by these helpful responders.
Thank you so much for Assuming I didn't do any research on my own, and for providing such a helpful well thought out response.

In fact, I did read what I needed to have, and what I found indicated boat registration numbers, owner, and name of the vessel. My post here was simply to double check that I hadn't missed something by asking people who may have actually crossed the border recently.

There have been some extremely helpful and informative responses provided (which is the whole point of forums like this) and I very much appreciate them. Next time I might suggest just not posting if your whole goal is to stop the sharing of information that is otherwise buried in convoluted government websites.
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