BY RYCK LYDECKER
Even in our post-9/11 security- driven world, crossing the U.S. border by water to neighbor- ing countries is becoming less
formidable thanks to electronic communication coupled with strict regulatory changes. This story, written in
December 2016, is a primer for preparing for such a trip.
“One of the biggest considerations
for international cruising is getting all
your papers in order well before you leave
home port,” says David Kennedy, our
BoatU.S. Government Affairs manager.
“U.S. Customs and Border Patrol [CBP]
regulates all foreign-flagged or U.S.
cross-border vessel movement, includ-
ing private recreational vessels.” CBP
requires certain “paperwork” – whether
printed or electronic – and that includes
documents for your vessel, your passen-
gers or crew, and you as the master.
It’s imperative for skippers to check
for themselves the requirements for
reaching their chosen destinations
and returning. That includes knowing the latest rules and regulations.
They can change with little notice,
and the ultimate authority on this is
the appropriate governmental entity. Be
sure to allow enough time in planning
for any potential backlog in documentation processing.
Cruising to Canada
Our neighbor to the north sees plenty
of U.S.-flagged boats, and it has its
own rules that visiting American boaters
Once you enter Canadian waters,
there’s an obligation to report, according to the Canadian Border Services
Agency (CBSA). That means going
to one of the agency’s 439 designated
Marine Reporting sites, many located
at yacht clubs and marinas. (For a list
of locations, search cbsa-asfc.gc.ca for
“telephone reporting sites.”) A special
telephone connects you to an agent. If
you aren’t landing but simply cruising
through Canadian waters, you can make
the call by cellphone (assuming you have
coverage) to the same telephone reporting centers.
Either way, once you arrive, check
in with CBSA promptly. Don’t assume
Americans get any special favors. A
NEXUS card and/or an I- 68 permit
can simplify the border-crossing process
When crossing the
border into Mexico
by private boat,
needs a visitor
card among other
Boaters guide to the border
Cruising to Canada, Mexico, Cuba, or the Bahamas can be an exhilarating adventure
away from home waters. Here’s some background to help you begin your planning