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Old 21-01-2014, 06:10   #1
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Canadian Boat Crusing in US

Last year I took my boat to the US. I had a Canpass which the officials in MA accepted and I continued on down to Florida. When I got to Virginia I found out that the Canpass covered only the people and I needed a cruising permit. Now a friend tells me I need a decal as well at the cost of 25 dollars which must be displayed. The customs people did not know I needed a cruising permit and the Border patrol/Homeland Security people who finally gave me a cruising permit in Beaufort never informed me of the need for a 25 decal. I sailed down to Bahamas and back without one.

So does anyone know what is really needed. And is Canpass okay or is NEXUS better seems the two seem similar but different. Thank you
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Old 21-01-2014, 06:49   #2
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

We went to the US side of Ontario lake last summer with only our Canadian passport for the people. CANPASS and NEXUS only accelerate people's border procedure. For frequent crossing of the border, like in the 1000 Islands, those pass are a plus. Half an hour each time is a PITA. For infrequent crossing, passport is enough. if you all have it already (because all the people aboard need it to take advantage of it), then it's ok.

For the boat, all I had (and is required) is proper Canadian documentation, and "the" decal. You also need to license your VHF in Canada to be legal for using it in the USA. Some state can also require an additional cruising permit.
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Old 21-01-2014, 07:15   #3
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

For cruising on Lake Ontario a passport is all that is usually required. For cruising down the coast your boat requires a cruising permit. This is good for a maximum of one year and cannot be renewed without the boat leaving the US for fifteen days. The decal is required for boats over 30 feet (if I remember right) and the only thing it does is relieve you of clearing in charges. The requirement to have a decal is hit and miss. If you don't have one they charge under $20 for clearing in.

From my experience the decal rule was strictly administered on Lake Ontario. Maybe because it's frequently done by video-phone and no money changes hands. In Florida they don't worry about it much. Many Florida offices are used to boats whereas on Lake Ontario clearance usually comes from officers at airports. As an aside, the decal is also required for aircraft.
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Old 21-01-2014, 08:06   #4
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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Originally Posted by Vasco View Post
For cruising on Lake Ontario a passport is all that is usually required. For cruising down the coast your boat requires a cruising permit. This is good for a maximum of one year and cannot be renewed without the boat leaving the US for fifteen days. The decal is required for boats over 30 feet (if I remember right) and the only thing it does is relieve you of clearing in charges. The requirement to have a decal is hit and miss. If you don't have one they charge under $20 for clearing in.

From my experience the decal rule was strictly administered on Lake Ontario. Maybe because it's frequently done by video-phone and no money changes hands. In Florida they don't worry about it much. Many Florida offices are used to boats whereas on Lake Ontario clearance usually comes from officers at airports. As an aside, the decal is also required for aircraft.
I cross Lake Ontario about ten times per year. Vasco's info is spot on.
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Old 21-01-2014, 09:47   #5
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

We are heading south this summer from Nova Scotia. Just wondering where I can get this pass you mention and from what government department? We will be crossing from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor then coastal all the way to Norfolk, ICW to Beaufort, outside to Florida and then ICW until we get a decent weather window for the Bahamas jump.
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Old 21-01-2014, 12:35   #6
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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Originally Posted by sailor_andy View Post
We are heading south this summer from Nova Scotia. Just wondering where I can get this pass you mention and from what government department? We will be crossing from Yarmouth to Bar Harbor then coastal all the way to Norfolk, ICW to Beaufort, outside to Florida and then ICW until we get a decent weather window for the Bahamas jump.
You get the cruising permit at your first US port of entry. There is no charge It is advisable if you are returning to the US from the Bahamas before one year is up to ask for a permit for less than a year. You can get it for whatever period you like as long as it's not more than 1 year. If you re-enter the States and your cruising permit has not expired they will not issue a new one. You will have to leave the States again before the expiry date and return not before 15 days. Another way to do this is to surrender the cruising permit when you sail for the Bahamas.

I find it easier to ask for a cruising permit that expires at the end of March or April. I usually return to the States at the end of May and get a new cruising permit.

Homeland Security does everything.
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Old 21-01-2014, 13:06   #7
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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I cross Lake Ontario about ten times per year. Vasco's info is spot on.
I've crossed L. Ontario into the US once, and L. Erie once...same experience - passports only.

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Old 21-01-2014, 15:01   #8
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

Thanks guys. After further research I have discovered the passes are for boats 30 ft and above but I can order one on line. They are good for 1 year. I can check in at Bar Harbor ME. As our voyage will continue to Grenada, I'm not worried about the pass expiring.
Next question for you, as we will be going on to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, is the same pass valid and/or required?
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Old 21-01-2014, 15:16   #9
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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Thanks guys. After further research I have discovered the passes are for boats 30 ft and above but I can order one on line. They are good for 1 year. I can check in at Bar Harbor ME. As our voyage will continue to Grenada, I'm not worried about the pass expiring.
Next question for you, as we will be going on to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, is the same pass valid and/or required?

The cruising permit and the decal are two totally unrelated things. There are no "passes".
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Old 21-01-2014, 15:45   #10
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

Can someone clarify the subject, please:
As a Canadian intending to cruise US coast, I can obtain a cruising permit for up to 1 year.
Also as a Canadian, I can remain in USA for up to 4 months/year without visa (I understand this can be extended to 6 months by filing some form).
So, for how long I, with my boat, can remain in the US? Is it 1 year (as per cursing permit) or 4(6) months (as CDN citizen)? I.e., does the 1 year cursing permit allows me to stay in USA for 1 year?
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Old 21-01-2014, 15:57   #11
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

For traveling from the USA of Canada and back most of our cops haven't a clue or don't care. If the office that you contact or run into on the water receives no direct income from a permit they likely don't care. The corollary is the local city cops rarely enforce seat belt laws alone since the state receives the fine. If you are stopped for a city infraction you will also get nicked for the seat belt. The interesting question is who collects cruise permit money?
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Old 21-01-2014, 16:30   #12
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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Originally Posted by argalax View Post
Can someone clarify the subject, please:
As a Canadian intending to cruise US coast, I can obtain a cruising permit for up to 1 year.
Also as a Canadian, I can remain in USA for up to 4 months/year without visa (I understand this can be extended to 6 months by filing some form).
So, for how long I, with my boat, can remain in the US? Is it 1 year (as per cursing permit) or 4(6) months (as CDN citizen)? I.e., does the 1 year cursing permit allows me to stay in USA for 1 year?

The cruising permit is for the boat only. Nothing to do with immigration or visas.
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Old 21-01-2014, 16:33   #13
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
For traveling from the USA of Canada and back most of our cops haven't a clue or don't care. If the office that you contact or run into on the water receives no direct income from a permit they likely don't care. The corollary is the local city cops rarely enforce seat belt laws alone since the state receives the fine. If you are stopped for a city infraction you will also get nicked for the seat belt. The interesting question is who collects cruise permit money?

If you had read the earlier posts (#6)you would realize there is no charge for the cruising permit.
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Old 21-01-2014, 17:15   #14
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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If you had read the earlier posts (#6)you would realize there is no charge for the cruising permit.
I have also heard of fees of 25 being charged. This may be more a factor for non-Canadian guests and/or on the coasts. I've always been keen on the reciprocity of good will crossing the Great Lakes. Our last entry to Canada in the North Channel required only a phone call to Canadian agents who wished us a good vacation. I understand this is random enforcement and could always be more involved or personal. Cost was zero as you noted.
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Old 21-01-2014, 17:27   #15
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Re: Canadian Boat crusing in US

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I have also heard of fees of 25 being charged. This may be more a factor for non-Canadian guests and/or on the coasts. I've always been keen on the reciprocity of good will crossing the Great Lakes. Our last entry to Canada in the North Channel required only a phone call to Canadian agents who wished us a good vacation. I understand this is random enforcement and could always be more involved or personal. Cost was zero as you noted.

Again you are wrong. The $25 fee was for the customs decal (I think it's now about $27.50). As I posted earlier these are two different things. See post #9!
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