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Old 07-04-2018, 09:05 PM   #1
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Cruising in Shared/Adjoining US and CA Waters

Has anyone noticed or experienced increased enforcement of US and CA territorial waters? My reading online finds that the rules for US recreational boats in CA waters are much the same as for CA boats in US waters. Visiting boats have to sign in when docking or when anchoring. I also read that, for example, a US boat just passing through some anomaly in the border need not report in to CA but a recreational fishing boat which passes in and out of CA waters has to report.


My reason for posting is that CDN folks I know who've been sailing these waters for decades were boarded by armed agents and arrested having been anchored in US waters. They had to sign their arrest papers but were not given a copy of what they'd signed.


I imagine our agents were acting in accordance with the law but, given the current administration's behavior elsewhere towards all our long-time allies...
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:26 AM   #2
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Historically, if you pass through and donít touch land, did not require reporting. Anchoring was a grey area as to whether you ďtouchedĒ land, but when we were diving across the border, the smart money was to clear customs first and upon return.

Not sure if it sounds like anything has changed? If somebody got hassled for anchoring, thatís always been a distinct possibility. Sounds like they probably should have cleared customs.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:30 AM   #3
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Historically, if you pass through and donít touch land, did not require reporting. Anchoring was a grey area as to whether you ďtouchedĒ land, but when we were diving across the border, the smart money was to clear customs first and upon return.

Not sure if it sounds like anything has changed? If somebody got hassled for anchoring, thatís always been a distinct possibility. Sounds like they probably should have cleared customs.


Yeah, that was always my understanding. As long as you didnít anchor or come ashore, or engage in fishing, or take on or off passengers or items, you were fine.

Not sure who would have arrested them. ICE certainly could, local LEOs could. Not sure who else would care.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:37 AM   #4
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Arrested? For what? I suppose if you don`t get a copy of the arrest papers you can`t know the charge.
Sounds as if "gunboat diplomacy" is alive and flourishing.
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Old 07-05-2018, 12:47 AM   #5
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This changed about 2 years ago. US Customs now wants to be notified if you are transiting US waters. I mistook this to mean they want you to call when you cross the boundary, I was told not to call if I was continuing to a port of entry, but to call if I was transiting and returning to Canadian waters.
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Old 07-05-2018, 06:28 AM   #6
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Historically, if you pass through and donít touch land, did not require reporting. Anchoring was a grey area as to whether you ďtouchedĒ land, but when we were diving across the border, the smart money was to clear customs first and upon return.

Not sure if it sounds like anything has changed? If somebody got hassled for anchoring, thatís always been a distinct possibility. Sounds like they probably should have cleared customs.



Nothing gray about it. Maritime law allows for free transient passage. But as soon as you go to shore or drop anchor, you have entered the country and need to go through the entry process. So you could run from WA to AK without checking into Canada provided you run non-stop.
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Old 07-05-2018, 07:20 AM   #7
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Nothing gray about it. Maritime law allows for free transient passage. But as soon as you go to shore or drop anchor, you have entered the country and need to go through the entry process. So you could run from WA to AK without checking into Canada provided you run non-stop.
+1

On my Great Loop trip, crossing back and forth between countries in the Great Lakes and waterways was not an issue as long as you didn't anchor or dock. The one notable exception was the Canadian lock going into Lake Superior. Even though you sort of tether to the wall, they don't consider it formal entry into Canada.

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Old 07-05-2018, 07:32 AM   #8
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+1

On my Great Loop trip, crossing back and forth between countries in the Great Lakes and waterways was not an issue as long as you didn't anchor or dock. The one notable exception was the Canadian lock going into Lake Superior. Even though you sort of tether to the wall, they don't consider it formal entry into Canada.

Ted

Dhays brought up a couple of other finer points, namely no fishing or other harvesting of resources, and no coming along side other boats.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:55 AM   #9
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Think this is the letter of the law. You can see a very narrow exception on anchoring.

SUBSECTION A. RULES APPLICABLE TO ALL SHIPS


Article 17
Right of innocent passage

Subject to this Convention, ships of all States, whether coastal or land-locked, enjoy the right of innocent passage through the territorial sea.


Article 18
Meaning of passage

1. Passage means navigation through the territorial sea for the purpose of:

(a) traversing that sea without entering internal waters or calling at a roadstead or port facility outside internal waters; or (b) proceeding to or from internal waters or a call at such roadstead or port facility.

2. Passage shall be continuous and expeditious. However, passage includes stopping and anchoring, but only in so far as the same are incidental to ordinary navigation or are rendered necessary by force majeure or distress or for the purpose of rendering assistance to persons, ships or aircraft in danger or distress.
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:16 AM   #10
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Along with what TT said, you cannot drop anchor in Canadian or US waters before clearing customs. There are a few exceptions as noted.

Also, if you have AIS your current and historical movements are monitored 24/7. Satellites are tracking many non AIS vessels with notifications shared amongst agencies on both sides of border. Given the high volume of illegal traffic, namely drugs, fishing and ďimmigrationĒ, vigilance by the authorities is common place, now supported by computer tracking. Iíve friends in this business and best I can say is stay legal, youíre being watched.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:25 AM   #11
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There is definitely stepped up activity and stopping or inspecting. While laws may not have changed, interpretation and activity have. Using Lake Erie as an example, when we looped, we were told as long as we were going from a US destination to a US destination, crossing the imaginary line into Canada was fine. We were told that previously it had not been considered so, but never confirmed that. However, today, boats going from Canadian destinations to Canadian destinations and US to US are sometimes being stopped on the way and required to explain their transit. Anchoring, other than in an emergency would get you ticketed.

Just look at the jogger who was taken into custody and held for two weeks for crossing the US border between White Rock, BC and Blaine, Washington. She was jogging along the beach and there was no indication of a border. In a different environment, she would have been admonished and turned around and sent back to Canada.

Just look at the immigration checkpoints on the highways in New Hampshire of all places.

We were advised to be especially diligent on our current trip, crossing both ways. We are not proceeding to Lake Ontario but we were advised of taking extra care if we did.

One other piece of advice is to carry your passport at times you otherwise might not have. Some traveling with us, had a van in Boston and decided to make day trips to New Hampshire and Vermont and were advised strongly by locals to carry their passports, especially those who are first generation Americans and might have the looks of foreigners. Otherwise, you're stopped and asked if you're a citizen and you have no proof at all. Some of those stopped on the highway in New Hampshire found it very frightening to be questioned and have no way of proving they were telling the truth.
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Old 07-05-2018, 11:54 AM   #12
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So you could run from WA to AK without checking into Canada provided you run non-stop.
Well maybe. As we were entering Prince Rupert B.C., a feet of fishing vessels were heading south through Canada (inside passage). They call VTS to get a "permit" for passage. All done over the radio.

But I too have heard you could transit so long as you don't touch land. In the OP case they should have reported into a Customs station.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:32 PM   #13
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Article 18
Meaning of passage

1. Passage means navigation through the territorial sea for the purpose of:

(a) traversing that sea without entering internal waters or calling at a roadstead or port facility outside internal waters; or (b) proceeding to or from internal waters or a call at such roadstead or port facility.
I think this is key. Canada for example, claims parts of the Northwest passage, and the straits of Georgia as internal waters. The US disputes some of that. The Salish sea has been in dispute for some time.
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Old 07-05-2018, 03:54 PM   #14
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Different reason, but if you are heading out of Mex into CA waters you can be stopped by the Feds for a drug search. IE, they can come along side and ask you questions. I suppose if the interviewed party looks or acts guilty, it gets escalated from there. This happened to me about 4 years ago, but have not heard of any such stops since so I can't be sure if they are still doing it.
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Old 07-05-2018, 05:55 PM   #15
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Gee, when I travel internationally via air I'm searched, patted down, and radiated, as well as interviewed. And you expect less when traveling by boat? This is what the world has become.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:44 PM   #16
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There is definitely stepped up activity and stopping or inspecting. While laws may not have changed, interpretation and activity have...

Just look at the jogger who was taken into custody and held for two weeks for crossing the US border between White Rock, BC and Blaine, Washington. She was jogging along the beach and there was no indication of a border. In a different environment, she would have been admonished and turned around and sent back to Canada.....
Surely the jogger story is urban myth. Arrested? Held in custody for 2 weeks? It either didn`t happen or there is more to it.
OTOH, I read Mexican border crossers separated from their children are now having DNA tests to work out whose children are being held separately,I suppose the children are being tested too. So it could be true. Could be some surprises from DNA testing,that`s another problem, it can`t determine guardianship.
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:49 PM   #17
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Surely the jogger story is urban myth. Arrested? Held in custody for 2 weeks? It either didn`t happen or there is more to it.
OTOH, I read Mexican border crossers separated from their children are now having DNA tests to work out whose children are being held separately,I suppose the children are being tested too. So it could be true. Could be some surprises from DNA testing,that`s another problem, it can`t determine guardianship.
Not an urban myth, story here.....
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:50 PM   #18
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Surely the jogger story is urban myth. Arrested? Held in custody for 2 weeks? It either didn`t happen or there is more to it...
Sad, but true.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/briti...eeks-1.4717060
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Old 07-05-2018, 09:58 PM   #19
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Thanks, maybe there was more to it. The young lady jogger appears in the pics to have dark skin which ought not to but might have bothered the apprehending officers. What if she was a Mexican masquerading as a jogger,entering from Canada,while claiming to be French and even worse,perhaps speaking French as her first language? Off to jail!
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Old 07-05-2018, 10:08 PM   #20
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Has anyone noticed or experienced increased enforcement of US and CA territorial waters? My reading online finds that the rules for US recreational boats in CA waters are much the same as for CA boats in US waters. Visiting boats have to sign in when docking or when anchoring. I also read that, for example, a US boat just passing through some anomaly in the border need not report in to CA but a recreational fishing boat which passes in and out of CA waters has to report.


My reason for posting is that CDN folks I know who've been sailing these waters for decades were boarded by armed agents and arrested having been anchored in US waters. They had to sign their arrest papers but were not given a copy of what they'd signed.


I imagine our agents were acting in accordance with the law but, given the current administration's behavior elsewhere towards all our long-time allies...

Yes. We have noticed. / Len


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