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Old 23-08-2016, 08:51   #16
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Re: trying to get to alaska

I've made that trip fifteen times, six without stopping. If your vessel and machinery are in good condition, you can easily make the trip non-stop, in three days two nights, as hundreds of vessels do every year. You'll need enough crew to motor around the clock.

If you leave Port Townsend at high slack and can maintain six knots, it is possible to have the tide with you the entire trip.

I'm assuming this is just a delivery, otherwise why would you? You'll be traveling through the best cruising grounds on earth. Why not just take the time to check into Canada and take your time exploring. It's early season yet and the birds don't start heading south for a month and a half.
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Old 23-08-2016, 08:53   #17
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Re: trying to get to alaska

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Originally Posted by UNCIVILIZED View Post
On this, I'm concurring with Ann. Ship anything that you don't need onboard for the trip, or take it up via the ferry, etc. As Murphy's Law says that you will need to stop along the way. It's pretty hard not to on the trip in question. Even without Mr. Murphy's intervention.
Besides firearms as mentioned by another poster...what do you expect they would have problems with the Canadians so they might actually ship things? We live aboard and carry every possible combination of crazy stuff and lots of it with us -- but no guns -- and had no problems when checking in at Prince Rupert for the trip back down from AK through Canada. On the way up, they asked us a bunch of questions on our phone call-in about fruit, alcohol, and whatnot. All were answered honestly and no problems experienced. We also have a pet (a cat) aboard who travels with us. No problems there.
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Old 23-08-2016, 09:37   #18
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Re: trying to get to alaska

There are a couple of things that need clearing up:

1. If you "touch" in Canada on the way, you need to clear customs. Anchoring is now considered "touching". Tying up at a dock or contacting another vessel have always been considered touching. Penalties for not clearing can be severe. There are patrols by high speed boats and aircraft. Places like Bishop Bay (hot springs) are checked regularly.

2. Rifles and shotguns are OK. Pistols are not. There is a $25 fee for a permit that is good for 60 days as I recall. Our stays were always longer than that so we paid both ways when were were stopping in route. The last few years the hassle at customs got too burdensome, thanks to a guy who had been smuggling a pistol, and we started running straight through non-stop. Actually we did stop in Prince Rupert on our last trip south (Fall, 2015) as we thought it might be our last for a while. We cleared customs, declared the shotgun, and paid the $25 via credit card without problems.

3. If you're going straight through without clearing customs/border patrol and for some reason need to stop, contact RCMP. They may not be happy about it, but they can clear you in.

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Old 23-08-2016, 09:53   #19
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Re: trying to get to alaska

FedEx the guns to Alaska, then check in and enjoy the trip.
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Old 23-08-2016, 10:13   #20
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Re: trying to get to alaska

Why not stop? BC is a beautiful province with a lot of neat pubs, villages and things to see and do. Remember the trip may be the best part of the journey. I go up most every year and actually have more hassle getting back into the US than getting into Canada. Usually Canadian customs can be cleared with a telephone call.
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:16   #21
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Re: trying to get to alaska

I cleared in with an airplane some time ago, but I think the rules are the same.
Somebody maybe it was the US had me throw away any meat we had, and I'd assume maybe produce? Anyway they not only were OK with the Shotgun, but thought I'd be stupid to fly the NWT without one, but I only had one with an extra box of bird shot and not an arsenal, and under no circumstances any kind of Pistol.
I believe also that Bear spray and any kind of tear gas thing is right up there with a Pistol.
Flying the NWT there was a laundry list of required equipment, X number of calories of food per person, mosquito netting etc., but there was a list, but items were never checked.
I checked in at Leftbridge and seeing as how it was Canada day they didn't even come out, I called them on the phone, I had already sent in the paperwork for the gun, they just took my credit card info over the phone and that was it.
Everywhere I flew and everyone I met common sense ruled, there was no Bureaucratic nonsense like we get from the CBP and Homeland security here, none of it.
To not check in is crazy, really they were all very courteous and very nice people.
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:24   #22
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Re: trying to get to alaska

We were informed by the Canadians when we got our transit permit that we could stop for emergency/safety reasons -- and as I mentioned, due to a full on storm, we did so. We did NOT contact the authorities when we stopped but only because our VHF couldn't raise anyone on the radio from our seemingly very remote location. We anchored and did not leave the vessel and were on our way as soon as the major part of the storm had passed.

If someone PLANS on stopping somewhere they really need to check in. Going up the outside, knowing that Uculet is closed pre-season, some people try to call in from the phone at the dock there in Uculet and talk their way through a phone-in checkin. The Canadians are hit-or-miss about whether they will do it over the phone. They are not supposed to if that station where you're calling in from is closed. So you really need to be prepared to go straight through. When we checked back in, Prince Rupert, going south, it was a phone-in thing at the Prince Rupert YC but the point was the station was "open" which is important to the Canadians. They grilled us about where we were calling from--we kept saying the Prince Rupert YC. Clearly the phone-in privilege has been abused by too many travelers. Please don't abuse it.

Why go straight through? if you don't have time. In our case, we wanted to be in AK and spend the maximum time in AK knowing that we could get back to BC easier than AK in future years. We did spend about 2 weeks in BC as we came back down from AK. You could spend a lifetime in BC and AK and not anchor in all the places and see all the things you'd like.
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:51   #23
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Re: trying to get to alaska

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Originally Posted by yvonne13 View Post
We recently bought a boat in everette wa, and are trying to get it to at least ketchikan alaska before the weather gets bad. we are encountering a bunch of info re the customs on both sides....some say dont worry if you are in transit, others are intent on reporting. we do not have the nexus cann or enhanced id's, however we are not wanting to get off in canada...we feel we can transient thru, but what if we need fuel, or need to escape weather....what then?
Hi Yvonne,

You mention 'encountering customs info...' May I recommend you ignore us all and only go by what the countries you are traveling through have to say...?

One of the best synopses for this area I've seen so far [with links to relevant government information] is available on Clearing Customs by Boat | Canada & United States | NW

If you are US citizens [the only perspective I can provide...] with valid passports [or other acceptable documents] have no outstanding warrants in either country, and you don't plan to bring anything into Canada [or back into the US for that matter] that is illegal or on either country's restricted list, then checking in is easy and no hassle. Otherwise, you will be stopped in your tracks...

This time of year foul weather in this area does start crescendoing, but you have ample time to make a leisurely inside passage to Ketchikan or points further north- even in winter months... However, outside waters [i.e., the Gulf of Alaska] can be treacherous any time of year, and now with the Aleutian low preparing to move back into the Gulf of Alaska, I would not advise it in a vessel your size. [Except perhaps for carefully planned short runs outside during the brief benign weather intervals.]

There is always the possibility you may get a long enough weather window to make an outside run for it this time of year, but I wouldn't count on it...

A question to ask yourself: You will be transiting world class, pristine cruising grounds... If you have the time [and it is my observation that schedules are among the most dangerous things on a boat...] why not take some to really enjoy this area and take an inside route? This is a bucket list item for many a cruiser...

If you always declare honesty, abide by and respect every country's rules, regulations and laws, and you will have no hassles that travel with you... Get caught trying to fool them and you will suffer short and long term ramifications for as long as you travel just about anywhere...

Stop reading now if you don't want to read about our experiences crossing between the US and Canada.

How bad can check-in be with Canadian Customs?

Here is our worse case story to date: [This was before we had NEXUS cards- which help streamline the process when everyone on board has them...]

When we brought our current boat into Canada for the first time in 2014, Canadian Customs went through it with a fine tooth comb [while we stood on the dock...] They later explained one reason this was done was it was the first time on their records that we and this vessel crossed as a unit. [All had visited Canada many times before that, just not as a single unit... I think it was also because they had a new officer in training who was involved... i.e., OJT]

Our boat is a presentable 43 foot ketch with lots of nooks and crannies, and they missed nothing. They were very polite and professional; complimented us for our organization [we had just taken possession and 'moved in' 3 weeks earlier; we hd unpacked and stowed 33- 18 gallon plastic tubs full of our live-aboard possessions...] They also sincerely apologized for not being able to properly repack and close the waterproof ditch bags, a couple of first aid kits, and a few other items like that.

They also discovered among our 5 [declared] bottles of Bear Spray one that came with the boat that wasn't labeled "Bear Spray"- it said "Personal Protection" with a bear on the label instead.

We voluntarily relinquished possession of that canister to the Canadian Customs Agent and signed the ensuing paperwork [in triplicate...]

Side note: Of course we always check what is on the prohibited items list before checking into any country. And back then as well as today, Bear Spray is legal to bring into Canada and the US, but we learned it must absolutely be factory labeled "Bear Spray." As the Customs Agent told us; 'I know it is from the same manufacturer, has the same formula, has a picture of a bear on the label, and has the same logo and instructions as the other cans of Bear Spray, but it isn''t labeled Bear Spray"...

All that took less than 2 hours and we were on our way without a blemish on our record... [And please don't take the story as anything more than sharing an experience we had. We are not complaining...]

Ironically, when sharing this Bear Spray story with the former owners of our boat [now lifetime friends] they mentioned that can of Bear Spray had been in and out of Canada several times with them before we bought the boat, and they had no idea either...

This reinforces that we are subject to the interpretations of those we are dealing with...

What is the most difficult aspect of going back and forth between countries?

For me the answer is meal planning. Given the nature of a cruising sailboat and timing, it can be difficult to plan things out so food items not allowed into one country are consumed while they can be, and to make sure you don't run out prematurely... [I have yet to see floating markets in this region...] This works crossing both ways with regards to the US and Canada... [e.g., always hard boil any remaining eggs before crossing, cook and/or eat forbidden proteins, plan to shop soon after crossing, etc.]

I wish you a safe and uneventful passage.

Cheers! Bill
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Old 23-08-2016, 11:55   #24
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Re: trying to get to alaska

Buy a Can Pass. It s good for five years.
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Old 23-08-2016, 12:21   #25
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Re: trying to get to alaska

Check in. Pender Harbor is easy. You'll need fuel. Go up the inside. Get going..,, ....before October gets iffy weather. Foggy this time of year at times. Go up the inside. Do you have radar?
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Old 23-08-2016, 12:38   #26
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Re: trying to get to alaska

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I believe also that Bear spray and any kind of tear gas thing is right up there with a Pistol.
Last time I went into Canada (by camper van, but no difference) "bear spray" was fine, tear gas was not... their distinction was that bear spray is (along with being labeled bear spray, but it should work on all, err, mammals) in a larger container and therefore very hard to carry concealed, but they took issue with my wife's small can of pepper spray. They were nice enough about it, but it wasn't coming in with us, so our choice was to dump it with them at the border or leave it at the border and reclaim when we came back through... since we were not coming back through same crossing it went in their garbage can.
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Old 23-08-2016, 16:35   #27
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Re: trying to get to alaska

I though bear spray was a no no but I guess not.
There is a story about Glacier National Park, story is a rather protective Mother lined up her kids and sprayed them with bear repellent, cause Lord knows you don't want a bear to get one.
I don't know if it is true or not, but I can see how some dummy thought mosquito repellant works that way, doesn't bear repellant?


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Old 23-08-2016, 16:36   #28
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Re: trying to get to alaska

Whyever would anyone from Everett wish to avoid Canada Border SERVICES Agency [emphasis mine :-)]? The protocol is dead easy, eh? Canadian hossifers are ALWAYS friendly as long as YOU don't get officious. If you do, they will still smile and address you as Sir/Madam, but they will turn "correct" and punctilious. And inflexible. And they have more power than yer common flatfoot cop. Just stick to the rules - which are on HolyMotherNet - and smile, and they may even hug you as long lost cousins :-)

Can't imagine why anyone would forgo the Broughtons en route to Alaska! Heck, have a good look around, and you may decide that they are preferable to Alaska :-)

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Old 23-08-2016, 17:35   #29
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Re: trying to get to alaska

You can apply for quick approval on nexus, but I don't remember the details. With everyone on board with nexus, you can call/radio in. Canada doesn't like felons, dwi, etc.

US commercial fishermen transit Canadian waters all the time. Take Canadian/US custom ports phone numbers. If you have to stop, call/radio in. Neither country likes surprises.
It's better so go thru customs in Nanaimo than Vancouver/Victoria.
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Old 23-08-2016, 19:57   #30
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Re: trying to get to alaska

I guess if there is a felon aboard or someone with a DWI on their record they may have trouble getting in. If that is so fly up and hire a delivery crew. I am available.
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