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Old 07-04-2022, 11:53 PM   #1
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Travelling from a Canadian port to another Canadian port through US waters

I’m sure this has been asked and answered before but I can’t find it. I’m Canadian, if I want to travel from a Canadian Gulf Island to Victoria, BC, the auto route sends me through US waters. Obviously I can plan a different route, but I’m wondering what the requirements are if I just accept the auto route. Can I transit US waters without checking in if I’m not stopping at all? Or do I have to stop and check in?

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Old 07-05-2022, 12:17 AM   #2
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My best guess is that if you donít stop, anchor or moor in the US you would be ok.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:12 AM   #3
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As long as you don't stop, dock, anchor, or enter areas (such as a harbor) off the normal path you are transiting, you don't need to clear customs. I have done this a number of times in the last 6 years without issue. There are several places where the North and the South bound lanes between the Great Lakes, are in different countries. They expect you to follow the navigation channels taking you in and out of the other country.

The one exception (I'm aware of) where you're allowed to stop is the Soo Locks going into Lake Superior. The mutual agreement is that they would prefer recreational traffic to use the Canadian lock and commercial traffic (for size reasons) needs to use the American locks.

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Old 07-05-2022, 07:08 AM   #4
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Yes, what the others said, but why would you do it? You don't neet to and you would actually be going out of your way to do so.
Sorry to use a land map, but it shows the border more clearly than a chart.
https://goo.gl/maps/GcAB2PtG2YdeLS7r7
The other thing is, you will more than likely be "seen" by one or more of the US agents in the area, why draw their attention.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:42 AM   #5
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What soin2la said.
A better example is leaving Canadian boundary bay to go to the gulf islands. There is no other way to get there. Yet if you transit, no problem.
Actually you can fish all day at Point Roberts bell buoy (with an American license) and return home without clearing customs since you did not land, anchor or go along side another boat.
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Old 07-05-2022, 08:37 AM   #6
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United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea: Innocent passage
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Old 07-05-2022, 09:00 AM   #7
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While USA boats do regularly pass through the Inland Passage they are required to radio into the Canadian Coast Guard for permission. I would assume the same is true for Canadian boats heading through the San Juan’s. On rare occasions, Home Land Security has been known to hang out and intercept boats crossing from the Gulf Islands to the San Juan’s, making it ill advised to skip the checking in process.

In the end would be more hassle than it’s worth, but if you wanted to you could do it.
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Old 07-05-2022, 09:52 AM   #8
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Covid has made modifications to vessels in transit. But I have not found where you must check in while transiting Canada without stopping.

Quote:
While in transit to your destination
You may navigate through Canadian waters while in transit from outside Canada.

You must:

-report immediately when you anchor in Canadian waters or come to port
-follow all instructions provided by the border services or quarantine officer
-quarantine on your vessel and make arrangements for contactless re-fuelling and re-stocking of essential items with the marina operator
-follow physical distancing practices and wear a mask during these stops
If you're transiting through a canal or lock system, you must meet all of COVID-19 border and health requirements.

You can only make essential stops while in transit or doing loop movements, including to use facilities, refuel or for essential supplies. If you make essential stops, you must first report to the CBSA at an open designated marine reporting site. You will be subject to all entry requirements.

If you make any stops for non-essential purposes, you must report to the CBSA and you will be required to leave Canada immediately.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by soin2la View Post
Yes, what the others said, but why would you do it? You don't neet to and you would actually be going out of your way to do so.
Sorry to use a land map, but it shows the border more clearly than a chart.
https://goo.gl/maps/GcAB2PtG2YdeLS7r7
A direct route from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands via Active Pass, for example, takes you through the tip of that triangle of US waters off of Point Roberts. Took that route the other day and did not check in with CBP.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:20 AM   #10
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Entering the US
https://help.cbp.gov/s/article/Artic...language=en_US
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:28 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sababa View Post
A direct route from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands via Active Pass, for example, takes you through the tip of that triangle of US waters off of Point Roberts. Took that route the other day and did not check in with CBP.
Do BC Ferries clear customs after leaving the dock.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sababa View Post
A direct route from Vancouver to the Gulf Islands via Active Pass, for example, takes you through the tip of that triangle of US waters off of Point Roberts. Took that route the other day and did not check in with CBP.
Well, we’re really muddying the waters now.
The question was from the Gulf Islands to Victoria; nothing to do with White Rock, Point Roberts, Vancouver, innocent passage, or US vessels transiting Canadian waters.

Why not pop BC Ferries into the discussion as well? (oops, it's been done). They cross back and forth through US waters dozens of times a day.

A route from Vancouver to Victoria need not cross the international boundary.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:36 AM   #13
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Vancouver to Victoria travelling through the San Juan is a nice scenic trip.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:40 AM   #14
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Thanks for the replies!

Thanks for all the replies, this isnít our regular cruising area and I was curious more than anything. Appreciate the input!
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Old 07-05-2022, 03:33 PM   #15
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Good posts. I do this all the time from Cattle Pass (Friday Harbor) to Neah Bay., heading south. I enter Canadian Waters as I approach the light house, then one course correction for a straight line to Neah Bay. Opposite going the other way. It's call transient through.

Last year I did get stopped by the RMCP. They wanted to know our destination (Neah Bay) and passport numbers. Then they said be safe and have a nice trip.
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Old 07-05-2022, 06:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
Covid has made modifications to vessels in transit. But I have not found where you must check in while transiting Canada without stopping.
There are two ways to transit the inland passage. ĎTransit thruĒ and ďPass thruĒ.

Transit thru requires actually checking in with CBSA. Pass thru requires checking in via radio with the Canadian Coast Guard for a Pass thru number. I donít know what happens if you fail to check in but it must hurt as all the commercial fishermen always check in while heading up Hario Straight.

With a Pass Thru you must motor non stop both day and night. With a Transit thru you are allowed to anchor and take on fuel but direct route only, no deviations.
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Old 07-05-2022, 07:51 PM   #17
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TT, thanks for the info. Being Canuck I do not have to know this. However I have sent an email to USCG to ask what the rules are now. Before c19 we would sail into the US, use nexus by cell phone and clear customs, same exiting back.
Have never called in passing through, so I asked.
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Old 07-05-2022, 09:06 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soo-Valley View Post
TT, thanks for the info. Being Canuck I do not have to know this. However I have sent an email to USCG to ask what the rules are now. Before c19 we would sail into the US, use nexus by cell phone and clear customs, same exiting back.
Have never called in passing through, so I asked.
We entered Canada for a brief time while transient between two U.S. ports. No stopping, no anchorage, no requirement (as far as I know) to report in. Things may have changed.
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Old 07-05-2022, 10:02 PM   #19
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More info

If you enter Canadian waters for leisure and touring, including pleasure fishing or sightseeing (known as loop movements), you are not required to report to the CBSA as long as the boat*does not*land on Canadian soil, anchor, moor or come alongside another boat in Canadian waters.
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Old 07-11-2022, 12:56 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by UrsusMaritimus View Post
Iím sure this has been asked and answered before but I canít find it. Iím Canadian, if I want to travel from a Canadian Gulf Island to Victoria, BC, the auto route sends me through US waters. Obviously I can plan a different route, but Iím wondering what the requirements are if I just accept the auto route. Can I transit US waters without checking in if Iím not stopping at all? Or do I have to stop and check in?

Thanks!
You may transit US waters as long as you dont anchor, stop in a marina or come along side another vessel while in the US waters. There is no need to check in with US Border authorities.
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