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A Letter to the Editor:

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From Steven Styles:Getting into Canada has never really been a problem, it's getting back into the US.  Canada has a single 800 number (888-226-7277) that you call once you tie up to an approved marina.  In Canada, the marina is approved if they give permission for the agents to come on their property to inspect boats.  No one (except the skipper to call in ONLY!) is allowed to leave the boat.  Have full names, SSNs, & birth dates of all on board.

CanPass allows you to call prior to docking.  For this you pay a fee, where the 800 number is free.  You must be within 30 minutes of an approved marina when you call.  If they want to inspect you, they will tell you to wait on board, otherwise, the give you clearance to go.

Getting back to the US requires a face-to-face inspection with an immigration officer (law has yet to catch up with Department of Homeland Security.)  This can be done via video phone (where available), at a port of entry (none around here that do a face-to-face), with an I-68 (yearly inspection) or a NEXUS card (five year inspection).  BTW, if we are in condition orange or red, these programs are suspended and you cannot legally return to the US by boat.

You must also clear customs, which may or may not be done by phone depending on the area you are in.  If your boat is 30' or over, you must also have a customs decal attached to your "windshield" (try finding that on a sailboat).

Check out the "Links" page at www.phyc.org for links to the Customs Decals and the NEXUS program.

This probably leads to more questions than answers, but this is my understanding of the programs that currently exist.



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