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Old 25-05-2019, 17:44   #1
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Huron/Superior North Channel: International Border Crossings Over-water

Hi all,

Iím looking for some advice. Iíve done a lot of research, but am still a little confused as to proper requirements here.

Iím a Canadian boater with a 34í cruiser. I have spent my life boating the Georgian Bay coast and as such have never had to worry about international borders.

However, this year Iíll be cruising up the Georgian Bay coast to Killarney, through Little Current to the North Channel, and through Sault Ste. Marie into Superior for an ultimate destination of Thunder Bay.

Obviously, Iíve studied charts thoroughly and generally have solid routes in mind. However, Iím still lightheaded after trying to confirm the requirements for crossing over the Canada/US border within the North Channel between Manitoulin and SSM. Some of, if not all of, the best routes require crossing over the over-water Canada/United States international border. From my planning, there are times that Iím likely to cross the border for a few hours or less before crossing back in to Canada - with this occurring several times. Basically, I foresee myself regularly crossing back and forth between the countries, not planning to anchor or spend a night on the US side but simply daytime cruising time.

Basically, what do I need to do?! What are the customs requirements for reporting to US CBP (do I need to in some fashion report to CBP *EVERY* time I cross in to US waters - likely to be multiple times during a single day?) and the same for when I cross back into Canadian waters (my country of citizenship).

Or, so I simply need to have proof of citizenship on board and in the event that Iím stopped by CBP I report to them at that time?

Iím a little dazed. I read something about a sticker/plate for my vessel that essentially (I think) is notice that I am entering the United States over water, but I also read I need to call/radio in *every* time I cross the over-water border.

For any North Channel veterans - particularly if there are any with experience from a Canadian citizenship point of view - any and all advice is GREATLY appreciated. The arrival by water customs reporting info on the CBP website is confusing at best, misleading at worst, and the CBSA isnít much better for the Canadian side.

Thanks for any assistance. I am indebted to all who may help me plan this trip and adequately understand what my responsibilities are when crossing into both countries as a Canadian citizen. Again, I do not plan on landing ashore in the United States or spending any time at anchor - only daytime cruising before crossing back into Canada.

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Old 25-05-2019, 17:54   #2
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Re: Huron/Superior North Channel: International Border Crossings Over-water

Canadian citizen here. Have done the trip a number of times both ways. Bottom line is, you can cross the border without having to clear into either country as long as you do not touch land in any way. No docking, no dinghying ashore and no anchoring.

You can even go through the American locks at the Sault without clearing into the USA, although I certainly donít recommend this. The Canadian locks are far easier for us recreational boaters.
Why go fast, when you can go slow.
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