Crossing to Canada isn’t necessarily difficult, but things will be much easier if you plan ahead. You’ll want to make sure you’ve checked the weather; the Strait of Georgia can be a bit rough at times. It’s not a bad idea to be mindful of shipping lanes, and the busiest days for them. There are a number of apps for phones and tablets that can help you locate and identify shipping traffic.
You will also need to have proof of citizenship for all parties, including kids. The agencies that you’ll want to keep in touch with on your voyage are the Telephone Reporting Site – Marine (TRS/M), Canadian Telephone Reporting Centre (CTRC), Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA), and US Customs & Border Protection (CBP). An additionally important note for groups of 30 or more – you must contact the CBSA in writing at least 72 hours prior to arrival in Canadian waters. The list of documents accepted as identification are as follows:
- NEXUS Card/Permit ($50.00/5 years). This is a partnership between CBP and CBSA. You’ll need to notify the NEXUS marine reporting number up to 4 hours in advance of your arrival in Canada for a lot easier processing. This can also be used for air travel in Canada, for ports of entry.
- I-68 Permit
- Military ID
- Enhanced ID (WA State only)
- CANPASS ($40.00/5 years). This is similar to the NEXUS program, but only for private boats. There is more information that can be found on the CANPASS for private boat page. Please remember that you’ll need the following information when checking-in to Canada:
You’ll also need:
- Your estimated time of arrival when calling NEXUS/CANPASS
- Names, DOBs, address, and documents of citizenship for all traveling
- NEXUS/CANPASS number, if you have one
- Boat registration information
- The purpose of visit, along with all destinations, the length of stay, and return date.
- Declaration of goods being imported, including firearms and money if greater than $10,000.00.
Overall, you’ll want to make sure you follow posted directions on the Telephone Reporting Site and request clearance to enter Canada. If you’re coming in with friends, only the owner/operator of the boat may disembark to contact the Telephone Reporting Center. All others will need to stay onboard until clearance is given by the CBSA. All this information and more can be found at Canada Border Services Agency (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/pb-pp-eng.html).