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Old 09-03-2020, 01:28 PM   #1
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Entering Canadian Waters while in transit between US ports

Hello folks, since 2019 we have been able to transit Canadian waters without Canpass check in, as song as we did not anchor or stop at a marina or port.

I'm planning a short cruise from my home port at Roche Harbor to Port Angeles and the rhumb line enters Canada.

Do any of you know if the COVID deal has changed these transit rules?
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Old 09-03-2020, 01:56 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by CPONTE25 View Post
Hello folks, since 2019 we have been able to transit Canadian waters without Canpass check in, as song as we did not anchor or stop at a marina or port.

I'm planning a short cruise from my home port at Roche Harbor to Port Angeles and the rhumb line enters Canada.

Do any of you know if the COVID deal has changed these transit rules?
That journey does not require entering Canadian waters, except to follow the rhumb line as you note. What is the distance savings, maybe ten miles? That said, if you want to follow the traffic lanes maybe call the traffic control group for guidance.

Me? I'd stick to US only. There is lots of boat traffic in that area with many neighbor's to the north intentionally looking for miscreants and ratting them out.
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:38 PM   #3
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I would agree with Sunchaser. If you contact the Canadian side they will know the most updated rules. But why when you can stay on the US side.
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Old 09-03-2020, 02:57 PM   #4
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Right, adding a few miles makes sense and I will do so (probably). But the question was: Have the rules changed post COVID?
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Old 09-03-2020, 04:03 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by CPONTE25 View Post
Right, adding a few miles makes sense and I will do so (probably). But the question was: Have the rules changed post COVID?
Technically the right of safe passage remains. However, they could still argue you didn't need to enter Canadian territory or if you're too close to shore. Think too, what if you broke down in Canadian waters? What if a US tow boat won't come for you?

Odds are 99% you'd have no trouble but sounds like by traveling through Canadian waters you're just creating a possible issue you have no need to.
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Old 09-03-2020, 05:33 PM   #6
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I would also run the extra miles and stay well away from the boundary line. A friend lives at the south end of Lopez Island and fishes the lower Haro Strait area, including Middle and Hein banks. He sees lots of scrutiny of American boats by Canadian LEOs. Just ask the Friday Harbor whale watching boat that was fined $1k a few weeks ago.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:22 PM   #7
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A solid 4 for 4 consensus on TF and BandB gives the best of a good batch.

We are mid COVID not post COVID and no, “the rules” have not changed.

FYI, cross border whale watching has become a nonissue following serious discussions and agreements, between all stakeholders. It is my understanding, the penalties imposed on Maya’s Legacy Whale Watching were subsequently dropped.

WW is now allowed both ways as long as there are no “touching land” etc. There can be no Americans on Canadian boats and vice versa.
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Old 09-03-2020, 06:52 PM   #8
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With respect to your question "Have the rules changed post covid?" There are things that have not changed since Covid-19. Those things are the proper operation of a vessel in and near VTS areas.

I offer the following as educational not confrontational.

First I'll make the observation there is no rhumb line from Roche to Port Angels. I'm assuming that by rhumb line you mean the shortest possible passage from Roche Harbor to Port Angeles. To make the shortest passage you need to tuck in close to the eastern shore of Discovery Island then sail from there to Port Angeles. Sailing point to point from either Mosquito Pass or the western side of Henry Island directly the eastern shore of Discovery Island then directly for Port Angeles puts you in violation of Colregs rule 10 Traffic Separation Schemes as well as the rules for all VTS area and the Puget Sound (Salish Sea) VTS.

You are required by the Colregs rule 10 to cross the lanes "as nearly as practicable to right angles to the general direction of traffic flow" You would be running obliquely through the traffic lanes. Neither crossing nor following the lanes.

Diving a but further in you will see by reading the Puget Sound VTS User's Manual that unless you are greater then 20 meters (approximately 65.62 ft) length you are not required to actively participate. You are allowed to participate but the clear implication is you are not encouraged to. And your participation may not be possible when the traffic is heavy or communications are limited.

All of this means that departing Roche by either Mosquito Pass or running around Henry Island you should set a course parallel to, but to the east of the lanes until past Lime Kiln Pt. If you go just a bit further until past False Bay then make for Port Angels you will not only stay clear of the lanes but avoid crossing into Canadian Waters as well.

Additionally I've seen some suggestions on TF that you might voluntarily follow the lanes. And the concept of safe passage. My comments are:

  1. The VTS schemes are intended for bigger vessels than most of us operate. Stay physically clear of the lanes unless you have no option.
  2. Don't push the concept of "safe passage" to simply do what you want. If you have to take a weather course for the safety of your vessel and crew then don't hesitate to do so. But shaving a few miles off doesn't in my opinion qualify as safe passage.
  3. Don't hesitate to contact the relevant VTS for updates, traffic info etc.
  4. Hint. Read the VTS manual and you will find that the "big guys" required to follow the VTS and VRMS are NOT required to monitor VHF 16. If a dangerous situation is developing call the offending ship on 13 or the appropriate VTS channel.


Additionally, additionally:
  1. Know what agency is managing which area. Seattle Traffic, Prince Rupert Traffic or Victoria traffic.
  2. Know which VTS VHF channel to monitor depending upon your area. Seattle traffic 14 or 5A, Victoria Traffic 11, Prince Rupert Traffic 74. If you are choosing to participate know where to check out of one area and into the next.
  3. Understand that by following the route you wish to follow you will be in and out of at least two VTS areas.
  4. Don't forget to monitor VHF 13. That's the channel the "big guys" use to make passing arrangements. So to do this right if you want to travel in the lanes you are monitoring 16 (because you are required to), 13 and the appropriate VTS channel.

Additionally, finally.
Why choose to sail the "rhumb line" vs proper observance of all the rules, regulations and protocols? The short distance Mosquito Pass to Port Angles is 28.2 nm, the "clean" route outside the lanes to past False Bay is 31.8 nm for a savings of 3.6 nm or about 30 min at Trawler-ish speeds.

Who am I to offer this educational bit? Someone who has spent a life time working in and around VTS schemes on a smaller vessel. I am very happy in my recreational life to leave all of that behind, stay clear of the lanes and all the requirements.

Personally? Why would I want to get in the lanes to potentially tangle with a ship that measures it's turning radius and stopping distance in miles if I don't have to? I'd rather be the boater who makes the ship's captains and pilots day just a little less stressful.

In the attached graphic the green route is the "rhumb line" and the blue route is the route I would follow. It looks quite a bit longer, but really, it isn't.
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:17 PM   #9
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Portage Bay: Really useful and interesting post, thank you! It obviously took you some time to put together, and the chart you included makes it easy to visualize.

Sunchaser: "Ratting out" seems a bit judgemental to me. That implies that the person reporting an issue is the one to blame.

I doubt anyone would report the OP for crossing over the line briefly in a personal, non-commercial vessel; but why not use Portage Bay's proposed route just because it's a better thing to do?
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:30 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Portage_Bay View Post
With respect to your question "Have the rules changed post covid?" There are things that have not changed since Covid-19. Those things are the proper operation of a vessel in and near VTS areas.

I offer the following as educational not confrontational.

First I'll make the observation there is no rhumb line from Roche to Port Angels. I'm assuming that by rhumb line you mean the shortest possible passage from Roche Harbor to Port Angeles. To make the shortest passage you need to tuck in close to the eastern shore of Discovery Island then sail from there to Port Angeles. Sailing point to point from either Mosquito Pass or the western side of Henry Island directly the eastern shore of Discovery Island then directly for Port Angeles puts you in violation of Colregs rule 10 Traffic Separation Schemes as well as the rules for all VTS area and the Puget Sound (Salish Sea) VTS.

You are required by the Colregs rule 10 to cross the lanes "as nearly as practicable to right angles to the general direction of traffic flow" You would be running obliquely through the traffic lanes. Neither crossing nor following the lanes.

Diving a but further in you will see by reading the Puget Sound VTS User's Manual that unless you are greater then 20 meters (approximately 65.62 ft) length you are not required to actively participate. You are allowed to participate but the clear implication is you are not encouraged to. And your participation may not be possible when the traffic is heavy or communications are limited.

All of this means that departing Roche by either Mosquito Pass or running around Henry Island you should set a course parallel to, but to the east of the lanes until past Lime Kiln Pt. If you go just a bit further until past False Bay then make for Port Angels you will not only stay clear of the lanes but avoid crossing into Canadian Waters as well.

Additionally I've seen some suggestions on TF that you might voluntarily follow the lanes. And the concept of safe passage. My comments are:

  1. The VTS schemes are intended for bigger vessels than most of us operate. Stay physically clear of the lanes unless you have no option.
  2. Don't push the concept of "safe passage" to simply do what you want. If you have to take a weather course for the safety of your vessel and crew then don't hesitate to do so. But shaving a few miles off doesn't in my opinion qualify as safe passage.
  3. Don't hesitate to contact the relevant VTS for updates, traffic info etc.
  4. Hint. Read the VTS manual and you will find that the "big guys" required to follow the VTS and VRMS are NOT required to monitor VHF 16. If a dangerous situation is developing call the offending ship on 13 or the appropriate VTS channel.


Additionally, additionally:
  1. Know what agency is managing which area. Seattle Traffic, Prince Rupert Traffic or Victoria traffic.
  2. Know which VTS VHF channel to monitor depending upon your area. Seattle traffic 14 or 5A, Victoria Traffic 11, Prince Rupert Traffic 74. If you are choosing to participate know where to check out of one area and into the next.
  3. Understand that by following the route you wish to follow you will be in and out of at least two VTS areas.
  4. Don't forget to monitor VHF 13. That's the channel the "big guys" use to make passing arrangements. So to do this right if you want to travel in the lanes you are monitoring 16 (because you are required to), 13 and the appropriate VTS channel.

Additionally, finally.
Why choose to sail the "rhumb line" vs proper observance of all the rules, regulations and protocols? The short distance Mosquito Pass to Port Angles is 28.2 nm, the "clean" route outside the lanes to past False Bay is 31.8 nm for a savings of 3.6 nm or about 30 min at Trawler-ish speeds.

Who am I to offer this educational bit? Someone who has spent a life time working in and around VTS schemes on a smaller vessel. I am very happy in my recreational life to leave all of that behind, stay clear of the lanes and all the requirements.

Personally? Why would I want to get in the lanes to potentially tangle with a ship that measures it's turning radius and stopping distance in miles if I don't have to? I'd rather be the boater who makes the ship's captains and pilots day just a little less stressful.

In the attached graphic the green route is the "rhumb line" and the blue route is the route I would follow. It looks quite a bit longer, but really, it isn't.
Yes, by "rhumb line" I meant a course that allows cutting the corner, but again, the question was not a request for cruising advice, or for a lesson on the subtleties of VTS (I do appreciate the information though). It was simply to verify with the group if "post COVID", (meaning in the current situation, not implying that the pandemic is over), the Canadians had changed the normal rules that were in place at the beginning of the year.

The short answer is no. We can still enter Canadian water so long as we do not anchor or land.

My intent was certainly not to shave off a few miles. I actually considered going all the way around San Juan Island just to enjoy the scenery and more time on the boat. I used the specific example to prevent lengthy exchanges on going to Alaska from Washington State, stopping for fuel, etc.

Thanks guys...
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Old 09-03-2020, 07:37 PM   #11
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Yes, I understood your question and went off topic to rant about proper operation in and near VTS schemes. My apologies.

If TF member soin2la has found a good source, no there is no reason you can't cross Canadian waters enroute US port to US port. See this post. https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...&postcount=156


QUOTE=CPONTE25;918957]Yes, by "rhumb line" I meant a course that allows cutting the corner, but again, the question was not a request for cruising advice, or for a lesson on the subtleties of VTS (I do appreciate the information though). It was simply to verify with the group if "post COVID", (meaning in the current situation, not implying that the pandemic is over), the Canadians had changed the normal rules that were in place at the beginning of the year.

The short answer is no. We can still enter Canadian water so long as we do not anchor or land.

My intent was certainly not to shave off a few miles. I actually considered going all the way around San Juan Island just to enjoy the scenery and more time on the boat. I used the specific example to prevent lengthy exchanges on going to Alaska from Washington State, stopping for fuel, etc.

Thanks guys...[/QUOTE]
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:22 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Portage_Bay View Post
If TF member soin2la has found a good source, no there is no reason you can't cross Canadian waters enroute US port to US port. See this post. https://www.trawlerforum.com/forums/...&postcount=156
Not sure what your first sentence is about. The information quoted is from CBSA, a good source and it has not changed since the initial ban on large cruise ships and the general border closure in March.

From that CBSA site this would apply toCPONTE25's original question:
Transiting boaters
You may still navigate through international or Canadian waters while in transit directly from one place outside Canada to another place outside Canada, if the transit is:
-direct
-continuous/uninterrupted
-by the most reasonable route

"Exempt" US vessels have had the green light all along. The confusion lies in how individuals read it, or hear it from others. For some it's the old; "well there's no sign."

Frosty; ratting is not a harsh word in this context and there are many on the coast, including our own BC Premier, who aren't offended by that badge.

Portage Bay; your post #8 was a good read.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:32 PM   #13
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Frosty; ratting is not a harsh word in this context and there are many on the coast, including our own BC Premier, who aren't offended by that badge
I guess that's my amateur boating experience showing again I was taking it in a "landlubber" context, in which is is used like the word "snitch" to connote the person doing the reporting as a somewhat rotten person. I didn't realize it didn't have that connotation in a marine context. Thanks for correcting and informing me.

Sunchaser: I also owe you an apology. Because of the "land" use of "ratting out," I thought you meant to imply that the people who might report such activity were petty types.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:40 PM   #14
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No, Frosty, you are on the right track. By "in this context" I meant at this "COVID" time. A lot of BC coast people see suspicious boats, like someone entering the neighbours yard with a sawed off 12 gauge and they are going to rat it out.
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Old 09-03-2020, 08:58 PM   #15
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Cutting the corner of the international boundary on a direct line should not be a problem.
IF it was a problem we would have heard from the many Canadian boaters out of White Rock and Crescent Beach BC that are water locked and always transit US waters past Point Roberts to get to the Canadian Gulf Islands.
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:06 PM   #16
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My first sentence is about your post having no direct link to the CBSA policy or statement that your post is a citation of CBSA policy. I am not inferring that your post in inaccurate nor am I inferring it is. I am quite simply saying that if your post is accurate then US boaters can transit from US port to US port through Canadian waters as long as the Canadian rules are followed.


Quote:
Originally Posted by soin2la View Post
Not sure what your first sentence is about. The information quoted is from CBSA, a good source and it has not changed since the initial ban on large cruise ships and the general border closure in March.

From that CBSA site this would apply toCPONTE25's original question:
Transiting boaters
You may still navigate through international or Canadian waters while in transit directly from one place outside Canada to another place outside Canada, if the transit is:
-direct
-continuous/uninterrupted
-by the most reasonable route

"Exempt" US vessels have had the green light all along. The confusion lies in how individuals read it, or hear it from others. For some it's the old; "well there's no sign."

Frosty; ratting is not a harsh word in this context and there are many on the coast, including our own BC Premier, who aren't offended by that badge.

Portage Bay; your post #8 was a good read.
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Old 09-03-2020, 09:13 PM   #17
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Good post Portage. However in this case VTS is not applicable as the OP is under 68 ft LOA.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:33 PM   #18
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Good post Portage. However in this case VTS is not applicable as the OP is under 68 ft LOA.
Yes, the rules regarding crossing the lanes, direction of travel, observance of precautionary areas, knowledge of where the lanes are and where the boater is in relation to the lanes etc. are applicable to vessels under 20 meters length. Read the VTS manual and Colregs rule 10 and you'll see what I mean. Far too much to quote here. Further voluntarily participating in the VTS as some have suggested in other threads, makes a participating boater fully responsible for following the VTS rules and regs regarding position reporting, check in etc regardless of length.

It's a lot to read and absorb much of written in CFR language that I swear is printed in ether ink intended to put the reader to sleep. Through some technical magic the ether ink effect works online as well.

An easy way to put it is if under 20 meters length, power or sail, don't impede the passage of a vessel required to participate, stay out of the lanes and precautionary areas unless you must cross them, if you must cross then do so at as near a right angle as possible to the traffic flow.

Many, I'd say most, recreational boaters are unaware of or choose to ignore the rules and regs. I'm trying to provide a bit of education to make all of use more responsible boaters in and around VTS.
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:44 PM   #19
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Last year I volunteered to enter the VTS system. I learned real quick how much I didn't know. ie the pink lines on my electronic charts are VTS reporting lines. So when you enter the "system" you must report the ETA to these lines. Yep you first have to know where that line is...... I dropped out and I think traffic Victoria was smiling, laughing and happy I dropped out...
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Old 09-03-2020, 10:55 PM   #20
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I chose to cite by copy, because the CBSA has so many embedded links, it is easy to get lost and I have that section ready to go in word. Here it is then;
https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/services...ns-eng.html#s5

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Good post Portage. However in this case VTS is not applicable as the OP is under 68 ft LOA.
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Many, I'd say most, recreational boaters are unaware of or choose to ignore the rules and regs. I'm trying to provide a bit of education to make all of use more responsible boaters in and around VTS.
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