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Old 03-06-2016, 05:46 PM   #1
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Canadian Customs

I have a U.S. documented boat currently in a slip in Sidney, Canada. I have a number of new items in a store room in Anacortes, Washington that I plan to take to the boat and install them.

Does anyone KNOW what problems or costs/duty I will run into at Canadian customs with these items in the car?
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:17 PM   #2
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Canadian Customs

Sunchaser should be able to help you. I believe it depends on how long it is in Canada and whether you are leaving it there long term. I know of some people who leave their boat in Canada most of the time but they need to bring it back into Washington for a month or so each year to avoid issues either in Canada or in Washington. They report that they "had some work done in Canada." Keep your receipts.

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Old 03-06-2016, 07:39 PM   #3
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To get first hand information call Canada Border Service Agency at
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Monday - Friday 8 am - 4 pm
Have all the documentation you acquired when you left your boat in Sidney.
You did let them know you were leaving your boat there and recieved the appropriate documents I hope !!!
If you didn't keep your mouth shut, go back to Sidney then take the boat to Anacortes, pick up your stuff and return to Sidney and check in properly.
If you get caught doing things wrong the CBSA could sieze your boat if you had the misfortune to meet up with a border guard having a bad day.
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Old 03-06-2016, 07:42 PM   #4
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Welcome to Wonderland. That is the place that has its own rules, but nobody can tell you exactly what they are. Just ask anyone who moors a Canadian boat in Point Roberts Marina, or, as you do, keeps a US boat in a Canadian marina.

As a US Resident (I presume) none of the well publicised rules for returning Canadian residents apply to you. Every time you cross the border into Canada, you are entering as a visitor. CBSA will ask you what the purpose of your visit is. You will most likely be on vacation, so will answer appropriately. They will then ask if you have any alcohol, tobacco or firearms, (or not, if there is a long lineup they are more likely to wave you through). You know enough to leave all of your AT&F at home, so will move to the next probable question, "Do you have anything to declare". That question is really for a returning resident, not for a visitor, but if, in the back of your SUV they see boxes of stuff from a marine store, they may wonder out loud why you have such a load. In that event, I can't tell you what the correct answer is, as I have been unable to figure it out. When I kept my own boat at Point Roberts for a couple of years, I never got a meaningful answer from the CBSA or US Border Services guys, so I concluded that either they don't really know, or they just don't want to share. You might take the view that you are not bringing anything in for resale, but only for your own use on your own boat, and will be returning it all to the US when the boat leaves, so, really, there is nothing to declare. Or, you may take the cautious approach, declare everything and pay duty and taxes on it, just to avoid any uncertainty, that might lead to loss of your Nexus card or later difficulties at the border. If you take the latter approach, you will pay duty (usually 6.1%) on anything not covered by the NAFTA, and GST&PST (12% total) on everything.
Usually, telling the CBSA guys or gals what you have, so long as it isn't a huge amount of stuff, will get you waved through.
The same applies, in reverse, to Canadian visitors to the US.

Don't know Stan's background, but I do know that a boat seizure will only happen if the boat is your mode of crossing the border. You are asking about driving through, so the car could be subject to seizure if, when they suspect you of smuggling, or worse, you get searched and that kg of coke becomes an issue. I have never heard of anyone losing their car for failing to declare a depth sounder.
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:12 PM   #5
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When I purchased my boat she was in Sidney and I had to fly up to start the trip back to California, so I shipped (UPS) up about $1,000 of gear, as I couldn't bring it on the plane. I insured it, and a few weeks later received a bill from Canadian customs for a few hundred dollars. I argued with them, but ended up paying it.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:01 PM   #6
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For what it's worth, in 2008, we spent a couple of months on the north branch of the Frazer. Hobo's US documented and Lena/I are both US citizens. About every other week we'd drive to Bellingham for grocery shopping, beer/wine and boat parts. We'd declared everything at Blaine on the way back, when asked. We said everything was for personal consumption/or Hobo's. Once, we did have to give our/Hobo's customs clearance number. We never paid duty or were detained.

Things may have changed.
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Old 03-06-2016, 09:19 PM   #7
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You'll have no problem if you own the goods, are not selling them and are not leaving them indefinitely in Canada. In other words you have nothing to declare. No different than taking a suitcase of clothes if you were flying in and didn't own a boat

A word of caution. Stay silent on the internet about your status and travels. Over and out.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:09 PM   #8
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"A word of caution. Stay silent on the internet about your status and travels. Over and out."

There has been a lot of publicity recently about the exchange of information between the US and Canadian authorities at the border being improved. I can tell you that this is nothing new. I kept my boat in Washington State in 1984 and 85. I know from personal experience that nothing they know now exceeds what they knew then. And yet, we can get paranoid about a lot of stuff. We shouldn't get paranoid about anything border related.

Recent good relations between our two countries will chill when Trump builds his wall. Get him under control. Please.
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Old 03-06-2016, 10:31 PM   #9
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I believe, if asked, the magic words are 'ships stores in transit'. Foreign vessels in any port are normally allowed to import, duty free, spares and stores if the vessel is a temporary visitor to the country.


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Old 03-06-2016, 10:41 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by koliver;
Recent good relations between our two countries will chill when Trump builds his wall. Get him under control. Please.
Got it covered, sir.

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Old 03-06-2016, 10:43 PM   #11
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"I believe, if asked, the magic words are 'ships stores in transit'. Foreign vessels in any port are normally allowed to import, duty free, spares and stores if the vessel is a temporary visitor to the country."

Easy to say so, but the trouble is, none of the BS guys (US) or the CBSA guys (Cdn) have ever been taught about them. Case in point, friends of mine do the SYC opening every year and claimed "ship stores in transit" on the way down. After the argument was lost, they paid duty on their liquor cabinet's contents, then had to do the same thing on the way back home.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:12 AM   #12
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So, as I hoped it wouldn't be, government at it's best...

make sure you follow the rules but we won't tell you what they are until we decide you have violated them..

Thanks, All!
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:21 AM   #13
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last year I sent a glow plug relay to a friend who was cruising. I sent it to Port McNeil. The customs charges were more than I paid for the part.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:24 AM   #14
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BTW, Canada now has its own version of the US "ESTA" process, which visitors complete before travelling to Canada. It applies to arrivals from (I think) March 16. I took no particular note, but think it does not apply to US residents.
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Old 03-07-2016, 08:31 AM   #15
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KTDTX, the wife and I did what you are trying to do in reverse, we shipped a giant crate of stuff from our old boat in Canada to our new boat in the USA. The crate contents were very carefully documented and included many boat parts. We used a broker to export under the "Household Goods" provisions. No duty applied to the goods. The same applies to shipping household goods to Canada. See: Before you arrive: Prepare to move - Bringing goods to Canada

You can ship or self carry the goods across but I was told if you self carry, document everything in excruciating detail and be prepared to spend time at the border. Makes no sense to do this however, a broker will sail it through no problems for a few hundred bucks.

I wouldn't mess with them though, it should be "household goods with some boat parts", not "boat parts with some household goods".
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Old 03-07-2016, 11:53 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ktdtx;
Does anyone KNOW what problems or costs/duty I will run into at Canadian customs with these items in the car?
No.


I wasn't going to chime in here because this is not the place to be asking and you have already been given some good, bad, so-so and plum wrong information.

Look, ktdtx, I doubt there will be a problem or cost related to anything legal you could be bringing in and if there is, it will likely be less than a month's moorage or half a tank of fuel on your half million dollar boat.

If you're really nervous, make the call to CBSA.
If nothing else, you will at least have a record of having asked the right people.
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Old 03-07-2016, 12:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGillicuddy View Post
I believe, if asked, the magic words are 'ships stores in transit'. Foreign vessels in any port are normally allowed to import, duty free, spares and stores if the vessel is a temporary visitor to the country.

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The "ship's stores" comment may not work. It didn't work for me. I got grilled on what we had as ship's store. The ship's stores regulations does not apply to pleasure craft.
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Old 03-07-2016, 01:30 PM   #18
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Just tell the truth, make sure you have proof that your boat's in BC and have the paperwork in both French and English, you should have no problem. Just kidding about the French and English.
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Old 03-07-2016, 05:13 PM   #19
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I thought I was a little paranoid about governments but maybe not enough.

everything I'm doing is legal..taking "my stuff" to put on my boat across a friendly border and I shouldn't put vague travel plans on a forum ??
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