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Old 26-01-2014, 09:41   #1
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Holding tank in Alaska?

I am a Canadian boat about to cruise in Alaska. Do I need a holding tank? Is there any sort of inspection process when entering US waters? Has anyone got any experience about the whole process? i.e. where do you check in? What documentation do you need? etc. Thanks!
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Old 26-01-2014, 10:14   #2
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Re: Holding tank in Alaska?

Basic US rule is no untreated sewage discharge less than three miles offshore. No holding tank would be quite a limitation in SE Alaska.

If you tie up or anchor anywhere across the border, you must report in. Heading north from BC, Ketchikan is often the convenient place to check in, but if you anchor in AK before you reach KTN you should call the Coast Guard (VHF or phone: 907-225-2254) and let them know. If you're heading into a sheltered cove, such as Foggy Bay, you may want to call before you get inside and lose contact. Similar rules apply when you head back south into BC.


Here's some material on border crossings from my book:

You’ll save yourself considerable grief if you understand and graciously comply with the rules for entering Canada from the US, or the US from Canada (and of course they’re different).


As of June 1, 2009, US and Canadian citizens must present a passport or passport card, a trusted traveler (NEXUS, FAST, or SENTRI) program card, or a WHTI-compliant drivers license (so far issued only in WA and a very few other states). Except for those under age 16, birth certificates and citizenship cards are no longer acceptable. Your dog needs a current rabies certificate. Your boat title or registration will be needed as well.

If you’re entering by boat, only the “master” may leave the vessel until Customs has been cleared. Depending on location and circumstances, this may be done over the phone, but it may require a visit from Customs officers.

Entering Canada, many items are prohibited or restricted. We’d suggest you don’t even think about bringing firearms. Long guns can be brought in, but only after going through a permitting process. No handguns. They’ll probably ask you about guns in several ways. Smile and answer nicely.

There are limits on how much alcohol and tobacco you can bring across without being delayed to pay import taxes. Check with Customs for the latest rules. Last I checked for BC, the limit was 1.14 liters of liquor per person, such that two people could bring in three bottles. Wine was limited to 1.5 liters per person, or four bottles for two people. Beer was 24 cans apiece. Coming back into the US, alcohol was limited to one liter per person.

Food is restricted in sometimes surprising ways. For as long as I can remember, we could not bring potatoes across, in either direction. Fresh fruit tends to be a problem, too. Coming into the US, meat has often been prohibited, and citrus as well. More recently the US has been allowing beef, and fruits and vegetables grown in Canada if they are labeled as such. Rules change often, and some don’t seem to make much sense, but it does you no good to object. Find out what the latest rules are before you go - it may save you having to give up a bunch of perfectly good food.


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Old 26-01-2014, 10:53   #3
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Re: Holding tank in Alaska?

Richard,

Thanks for the info.
We go to Canada every year, but after hearing from friends about opened alcohol (ships liquor locker) I am not clear about whether or not Canada Customs cares about this.
Our friends said Canada Customs is only interested in SEALED alcohol as they are concerned about it being sold in Canada.
Opened containers are not considered. Is this true?

Sorry for the thread drift.
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Old 26-01-2014, 11:10   #4
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Re: Holding tank in Alaska?

As far as I know, there's no distinction in US Customs rules. But I have never really figured out the ships stores aspect of liquor. I haven't been able to find where this is spelled out in Canadian rules either. I just stick with the low-quantity rules I mentioned, and stock up after crossing the border. BTW, seems to me that both price and selection (at least of beer and liquor - not so sure on wine) are as good or better on the AK side of the border. Maybe not compared to big city stores as in Vancouver.

Sent you a PM, BTW.
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Old 26-01-2014, 12:55   #5
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Re: Holding tank in Alaska?

I meant I had sent a PM to Wolverine - sorry for the confusion.
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