What is needed for the border crossing?
I asked this question of those from US with Cdn boating experience. Here is a summary of key responses:
- Don't bring a lot of alcohol or cigarettes into Canada.
- No guns of any kind. Mace, pepper spray, and stun guns are illegal in Canada.
- Carry reasonable ID. eg. military ID card, valid driver's license, voter registration card, passport. Carry papers for the car, boat, trailer, etc. Also, get a Canadian insurance card from your automobile insurance carrier to prove that you are covered in Canada in case of an accident.
- Take vaccination records for any dog. (Must have current rabies shot.)
- If travelling with children and if both parents are not present, it is a good idea for the child to have their own ID and a letter from the other spouse agreeing to the border crossing.
- It is OK to bring reasonable amounts of food/groceries from US. This can save money
Entering by water
This site has lots of useful information. Note that "proof of competency" is not required if boat is in Canada for less than 45 days.
If you enter Canada by boat, be sure to call Canadian Customs immediately. Marinas have either a 1-888 phone number or a telephone hot line to customs. If you aren't going to a marina, go to one anyway, call customs then go anchor out. Anchoring is the same as being there. You arrive when you drop anchor.
Pete wrote: If going into Canada by boat be sure that the marina (where you enter) that you are calling from is a designated Port of Entry. Wayne added: In the directions for entering Canada by boat - -you will be told to get Form such and such. That is just when you are entering by water. Do not get the form if you trailer in. We did once, in the early years - -and still have tales to tell about it.
Jack wrote: In recent years in the North Channel of Lake Huron we have noticed that the Canadian Customs personnel have appeared at Spyder Bay Marina in Little Current on a frequent basis to check US boats to see if they have properly cleared Customs when they entered Canada. For trailer sailors who have cleared customs when entering Canada by highway, there has always been the problem of how to prove that you came in by trailer. This year I decided to get some sort of a document at the border to prove my entrance by trailer. After the normal clearance at the border, I asked how I could obtain such a document. I was instructed to pull over to the the office and make my request. I was easily issued a small blue sheet measuring about 4 inches square titled "Canada Customs Report" after showing my US boat registration. Sure enough, Customs was checking boats at Little Current this year. I was happy to be prepared, but they walked right by our boat this time. Must have been the small blue piece of paper in my hand!
Quoting from this site:
- "Portable toilets are illegal on Ontario waters. The owner of a pleasure craft shall ensure that each toilet and the holding tank(s) is/are installed so that;
- The toilet and equipment are connected in such a manner that the equipment receives all toilet waste from the toilet.
- Equipment designed for the storage of human excrement is provided with a deck fitting and such connecting piping as is necessary for the removal of toilet waste by shore-based pumping equipment.
- No means of removal of toilet waste is provided other than the means mentioned above.
- All parts of the system for removal of toilet waste are congruent with one another and the boat."
For trailer sailors, we advise setting up:
- A means of securing the portipotti firmly within the vessel (Mine is screwed in place with brackets supplied by the manufacturer … Thetford in my case)
- A deck-mounted pump-out. This is via a pump-out fitting that screws onto the portipotti in place of the main top cap.
- A vent line through the hull just below the rub-rail. This also attaches to the fitting that replaces the top cap.
Having said this, we have not heard of this issue being a problem with previous visitors from south of the border. Some prior cruisers have paid to dump their portipotti at a marina waste disposal, and kept the receipt as evidence of their environmental responsibility.
We all want to keep the water clean. It's where we will be swimming tomorrow, right?
Dingy regulations in Canada
Not as onerous as they may first appear. May cost on order of $15 (or even less). The requirements are in regular font, my understanding is in italics.
Rowing craft under 20 feet must have on board:
Approved personal flotation device for each person.
This is your life jacket. You have it on your main boat anyway. You are just expected to take it when you go in the dinghy. Not a bad idea. Cost $0.
One buoyant heaving line of not less than 50 feet.
Buy one ready made .... or ... buy 50 ft of 1/4 inch polypropylene line. Secure one end to a small (e.g. 500 ml) plastic bottle with a bit of water in it for weight for tossing, but light enough to float. May help you save someones life. Cost$5 - $30.
One manual propelling device OR An anchor with 50 feet of line or chain.
You have an oar or paddle on your dinghy already. Cost $0.
One bailer, or a manual water pump with sufficient hose to pump over the side.
The regs. guide book gives the example of a cut-down bleach bottle. Cost $0.
A sound signaling device or appliance (whistle or air horn).
A ("pea-less" ... e.g. Fox 40) whistle is fine. May help you sound alarm on your own or other's behalf. Cost $4.50.
Navigation light or lights (or waterproof flashlight) if the craft is to be used after sunset or before sunrise.
A small waterproof flashlight. We keep ours inside the inspection port of the flotation compartment so it is always aboard. Cost $5 - $15.
For craft under 20 feet but powered, add a class 5BC fire extinguisher.
I wondered about this re dinghy. The regs say extinguisher needed if boat has a "fixed fuel tank". I e-mailed the coast guard to ask about a dinghy with a small hp outboard having integral tank, plus a spare can secured in the dinghy by a lanyard/line.
I received the following reply from:
Office of Boating Safety - Bureau de la sécurité nautique
"The outboard motor with an integral tank does not count as a fixed fuel tank, nor does a Jerry can which is fixed with a rope or lanyard that is designed to prevent the can to go overboard. Therefore you do not require a fire extinguisher for that perticular vessel (unless you have appliances that burn liquid or gaseous fuels aboard)"
(I have printed this comment and keep it with my boat papers.)
We keep our whistle, bailer and floating throw line in dinghy at all times, tied in with a light line. Hassle-free compliance.
More about the North Channel
The North Channel and Manitoulin Island:
Weather in Little Current:
North Channel weather radar:
Marine forecast for the North Channel:
Current conditions from North Channel buoy (46.05N 82.63W):
Great Lakes water levels:
Little Current tourism site:
Little Current Yacht Club:
Anchor Inn web cam:
Turners Store - interesting, check them out:
- "Well-favored Passage: The Magic of Lake Huron's North Channel". This classic book by Marjorie Cahn Brazer has been newly updated by T/SA members Captain Pixie Haughwout and First Mate Ralph Folsom. For more information about this cruising guide or questions about the North Channel, contact them at SeaFeverGearPixie@gmail.com
Planning to sail in Canada?
One of the most comprehensive reference sources re rules, recommendations, water levels, etc can be found at "Pat's Boating in Canada". Strongly recommended.
For boaters visiting Canada from US
For boaters visiting Canada from US, you'll find most of what you need to know at: