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Old 06-10-2012, 01:24 PM   #1
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Operating a US boat in Canadian water questions.

Those that have been in Canada recently,can you tell me what requirements I need to meet in order to pass through customs?

I just got my answer about radio licensing here.http://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/s...mmsi-6031.html

My other question is about having a boaters card.Would the completion of the USCG aux give me the card I need?

I know it's going to be a few years before I'll be there but I don't want to wait till the last minute to get what I need.

Any other useful info is greatly appreciated.
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Old 06-10-2012, 01:37 PM   #2
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Don't sweat the famous Canuck PCOC. If you've got a pulse and a credit card you can pass the test. However as a US citizen you're allowed 45 days without having one. If you plan to be in Canadian waters longer than that then:

a) nobody is likely to care
b) if you have a pulse and a credit card then you can get one at any boat show or online

The PCOC is possibly the worst example of a private sector money grab masquerading as a government mandated safety program that you will ever encounter. It does nothing to advance water safety. Absolutely nothing. Personally I would give it the attention it deserves - IOW I would completely and absolutely ignore it.

Having said all that I have carried a card in my various boats since it first was imposed on us and all my kids have one as well. The fact that two of them were 9 or 10 years old when they passed the test and the oldest was 12 should tell you something about the rigourousness of the exam. My wife passed the test without ever opening a text - she said the test questions were so poorly worded that she was able to just eliminate all the obviously wrong answers and pick the one that remained. (the exam is multiple guess)
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Old 06-10-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
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Bob

Be fair! Some have actually failed that test. In fact, the test is aimed at a low level on purpose, so that everyone with a tiny bit of common sense can pass. Hopefully the guys who are eliminated will go back to terrorizing the roads and stay off the water.
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Old 06-10-2012, 03:45 PM   #4
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Bob
Be fair! Some have actually failed that test.
You got proof of that? If they meet my criteria (pulse and credit card) then I'd have to see the rejected test before I believe you.

I'll repeat the statement: the PCOC is all about sleazy agents making money and has nothing whatsoever to do with boating safety. As further proof of my claim I point to the fact that any idiot - literally any idiot - can show up at a boat rental counter, plunk down his credit card and drive away in a boat after signing a checklist that purports to show his PCOC competency.

Don't bother defending this bit of lunacy Keith - its simply indefensible.
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Old 06-11-2012, 10:46 AM   #5
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I'm with Keith on this, I'm not a Mensa like Bob and his kids. I actually studied for the Canada exam and found it useful.
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Old 06-11-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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Those that have been in Canada recently,can you tell me what requirements I need to meet in order to pass through customs?
Technically I believe you're supposed to have a station license for your VHF since you are operating in international waters. And you may need a radiotelephone operators license (what used to be called a Third Phone) but I'm not sure that's a requirement anymore. We go into Canada a fair amount and have never been asked for either one even though we have both of them.

You'll need a passport or enhanced drivers license for every person on board. If you want to clear into Canada and back into the US by phone you'll need a Nexus card for every person on the boat, guests included. They're something of a pain to get because you have to have a meeting in person and this can be a hassle to schedule if you're on the US side of the border. Good for five years, handy to have if you cross a lot by boat or car or both. We keep putting off getting one since there is a Canadian POE on our way to all the places we start out in BC so it's no big deal to swing in and clear in person. Same coming back--- Roche Harbor is not that far out of our way home most of the time.

Canada will want the name of your boat, the names of everyone on board, maybe the documentation or registration number. We're on record with Canadian customs now and have been for many years. So when we clear they look up our boat name and then feed all our info to us before I have to. When we took the same guests into Canada last September that we'd taken in the previous September, when I told them the husband's name they fed me back the wife's name and both their passport numbers and that was the end of it. They don't ask us for the documentation or registration anymore but they may for a first-timer.

They'll want to know if you have any firearms and there is a whole list of food items you can't bring into Canada They also have some pretty strict wine and alchohol limits so best to become familiar with the limitations on what you can take in. If you exceed them they can charge you duty. If you're bringing a gift of wine or whatever into the country to give to a friend, that counts toward your total limit (we found out the hard way last year). Beer also counts toward your limit (also learned the hard way).

If you have a pet they may or may not want to see proof of current vaccination. We carry copies of the relevant forms on the boat. But we've been going into Canada by car, floatplane, and boat for some 25 years now and we have been asked to show our dog's papers exactly once.

The most important rule is that how the rules are interpreted and enforced is totally up to the agent clearing you through. So you may be asked about one thing this time and not hear a peep about it next time.

It's been our experience in the car, plane, and boat that clearing customs back into the US is often a WAY bigger hassle than clearing into Canada.

The PCOC has a grandfather clause that at the time they introduced the requirement excluded people over a certain age or something like that. In any event, when we looked into it the gummint told us we didn't need it so we took their advice and forgot about it. We have never been asked about it.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:19 PM   #7
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The PCOC has a grandfather clause that at the time they introduced the requirement excluded people over a certain age or something like that. In any event, when we looked into it the gummint told us we didn't need it so we took their advice and forgot about it. We have never been asked about it.
The grandfather clause has expired - I think it was 10 years from the time it was implemented. Nevertheless ignoring it is absolutely the right way to deal with this particular bit of lunacy.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:35 PM   #8
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We were told we would never have to concern ourselves with it because our birthdays fell outside the implementation sliding scale. Since it was the Canadian government that told us this and even put it in writing for us (if we could ever find the letter again) it's forever a non issue for us.
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Old 06-11-2012, 01:54 PM   #9
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Technically I believe you're supposed to have a station license for your VHF since you are operating in international waters. And you may need a radiotelephone operators license (what used to be called a Third Phone) but I'm not sure that's a requirement anymore. We go into Canada a fair amount and have never been asked for either one even though we have both of them.I will make sure to have all of that and probably more.

You'll need a passport or enhanced drivers license for every person on board. If you want to clear into Canada and back into the US by phone you'll need a Nexus card for every person on the boat, guests included. They're something of a pain to get because you have to have a meeting in person and this can be a hassle to schedule if you're on the US side of the border. Good for five years, handy to have if you cross a lot by boat or car or both. We keep putting off getting one since there is a Canadian POE on our way to all the places we start out in BC so it's no big deal to swing in and clear in person. Same coming back--- Roche Harbor is not that far out of our way home most of the time.Noted for future reference.

Canada will want the name of your boat, the names of everyone on board, maybe the documentation or registration number. We're on record with Canadian customs now and have been for many years. So when we clear they look up our boat name and then feed all our info to us before I have to. When we took the same guests into Canada last September that we'd taken in the previous September, when I told them the husband's name they fed me back the wife's name and both their passport numbers and that was the end of it. They don't ask us for the documentation or registration anymore but they may for a first-timer.Noted for future reference.I will be a first timer.Plan to do it by boat.

They'll want to know if you have any firearms and there is a whole list of food items you can't bring into Canada They also have some pretty strict wine and alchohol limits so best to become familiar with the limitations on what you can take in. If you exceed them they can charge you duty. If you're bringing a gift of wine or whatever into the country to give to a friend, that counts toward your total limit (we found out the hard way last year). Beer also counts toward your limit (also learned the hard way).Are flare guns considered firearms?No one in my family drinks.I am 8 years sober by choice and health issues.

If you have a pet they may or may not want to see proof of current vaccination. We carry copies of the relevant forms on the boat. But we've been going into Canada by car, floatplane, and boat for some 25 years now and we have been asked to show our dog's papers exactly once.Good info.We currently have no pets but that could changing since we have two boys.

The most important rule is that how the rules are interpreted and enforced is totally up to the agent clearing you through. So you may be asked about one thing this time and not hear a peep about it next time.Sometimes that can be a good thing.

It's been our experience in the car, plane, and boat that clearing customs back into the US is often a WAY bigger hassle than clearing into Canada.Are you saying that Canadians are trying to keep Americans from leaving?

The PCOC has a grandfather clause that at the time they introduced the requirement excluded people over a certain age or something like that. In any event, when we looked into it the gummint told us we didn't need it so we took their advice and forgot about it. We have never been asked about it.No matter what the requirements,I still plan to take the USCG aux classes.So I think i will be covered.Worst thing they can do is send me down the river.
Most of my boating has been on lakes and a few small rivers.I look forward to cruising a little salt water.
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Old 06-11-2012, 02:08 PM   #10
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We were told we would never have to concern ourselves with it because our birthdays fell outside the implementation sliding scale. Since it was the Canadian government that told us this and even put it in writing for us (if we could ever find the letter again) it's forever a non issue for us.
Well you were told wrong then but its all a tempest in a teacup anyway because the PCOC is irrelevant and unmonitored.
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Old 06-11-2012, 03:27 PM   #11
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Well you were told wrong then but its all a tempest in a teacup anyway because the PCOC is irrelevant and unmonitored.
Not true I have been asked to produce my radio operators and proof of compentancy on several occasions by local police. Its the police that enforce such here. Proof of compentancy can be in the form of approved courses from power squadron or sailing courses. The PCOC is for the like's of me that just want to challenge the test for a pass. The admiral has sailing courses under her belt and did not need the PCOC card. Not aware of any grandfather clause.

FYI.
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Old 06-11-2012, 05:46 PM   #12
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Flare guns are not what customs is interested in with their firearms questions.

Taking a boating course is a good idea regardless of any proof of competence requirement. We felt the USCG Auxilliary course was the better of the two (in our area) and we took it in the later 1980s shortly after buying our first boat, a 17' Arima fishing boat which we still have and use. It was a multi-week course and the class on hypothermia, taught by the then -leading expert on the subject at the University of Washington School of Medicine was worth it alone.
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Old 06-11-2012, 11:38 PM   #13
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Taking a boating course is a good idea regardless of any proof of competence requirement. We felt the USCG Auxilliary course was the better of the two (in our area) ...
I fully agree with Marin. We took the USCG Auxillary course and learned a lot.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:22 AM   #14
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People often forget tests are also learning tools, even when the correct answer is obvious.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:25 AM   #15
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Flare guns are not what customs is interested in with their firearms questions.Thanks.I don't plan to carry while onboard.

Taking a boating course is a good idea regardless of any proof of competence requirement. We felt the USCG Auxilliary course was the better of the two (in our area) and we took it in the later 1980s shortly after buying our first boat, a 17' Arima fishing boat which we still have and use. It was a multi-week course and the class on hypothermia, taught by the then -leading expert on the subject at the University of Washington School of Medicine was worth it alone.Besides being educational,I think it will be fun foe the family.Is there an age limit for youths?My son will be 11 or 12 when we are ready to take the AUX course.

Lots of good info.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:48 AM   #16
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Don't know about a lower-end age limit for boating courses. I would think that an 11 or 12 year old could get as much out of the course as the parents. And very possibly retain it longer. But I'm sure a Power Squadron or USCG Aux website would get you the answer.
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Old 06-12-2012, 11:55 AM   #17
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Don't know about a lower-end age limit for boating courses. I would think that an 11 or 12 year old could get as much out of the course as the parents. And very possibly retain it longer. But I'm sure a Power Squadron or USCG Aux website would get you the answer.
I looked but didn't see anything on the Aux website.I may have to make a call.
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Old 06-12-2012, 12:38 PM   #18
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I just stopped teaching the NJ State Safe Boating Course for certification after 12 years.

In NJ a 12 year old can take the course but can't get their card until 13. They can only operate small boats with small outboards....You have to be 16 to operate a larger vessel in NJ (even passing through....when transiting NJ waters on the Great Loop...you have to be able to produce some kind of safe boating certificate).

Not sure about generic USCGAux courses...but I don't think there is any age limit that can attend...getting a "certificate" might be another story just like the company I worked for...there are "certification courses" and just plain educational courses.
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Old 06-17-2012, 11:14 AM   #19
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I wonder if my passing of the USCG OUPV (opertor of uninspected passenger vessels) and USCG Uprade to Master 100 ton course qualifies?
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Old 06-17-2012, 01:05 PM   #20
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I wonder if my passing of the USCG OUPV (opertor of uninspected passenger vessels) and USCG Uprade to Master 100 ton course qualifies?
Versus answering some questions on a web site and receiving a card with no check that the card is being issued to the person answering the questions?


No idea.
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