If you own a U.S. vessel and plan to transport it across the border into Canada, you must follow a few simple steps to ensure the boat is correctly recorded. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) takes this precaution because they want to ensure that you are not attempting to evade tax payment on any items you transport into the country. Some things can be brought into the country without any papers or fees, while others require additional costs or paperwork if you are not a U.S. resident.
You should keep records of your watercraft and any other “pleasure vehicles” you own, such as automobiles, motorbikes, and snowmobiles. Some states in Canada require registration in addition to license plates showing ownership and use in that province (e.g., plates issued in Ontario for vehicles held by Ontarians). Follow these guidelines to get your U.S.-flagged sailboat ready for an international voyage:
Verify Your Vessel’s Documentation
Make sure your U.S. vessel has all the necessary paperwork before setting sail. This means you have all the documentation required on board to prove that your vehicle is following the laws of the country of registration and any other countries it will visit. The respective governments’ formal online portals are the best places to find this data.
Some even have mobile applications, and many offer English-language versions of their sites. The sailboat Documentation Kit (VDK) is a collection of documents that must be filled out by any sailboat (recreational or business) entering U.S. waterways.
Remember that you’ll need to fill out these papers before leaving, which could take some time. You’ll find an application for Coast Guard paperwork, a declaration from the U.S. proprietor, and a proof of number in the VDK, among other documents.
Verify Your Vessel’s Classification
What exactly does this entail? You will need to check whether or not your U.S. vessel t is classified as a recreational vehicle rather than a commercial fishing boat or another type of watercraft. If not, you might need help bringing your boat into Canada or Mexico, and you will need to register for special licenses and other documents before making the journey.
If not, you might need help bringing your boat into Canada or Mexico. What am I supposed to do? You can get information from the United States Coast Guard about whether or not your vehicle is considered a recreational craft according to their criteria by contacting them and asking them about it. If it does not, you must complete additional tasks before sailing your watercraft into another country.
Ensure You Have Enough Fuel On Board for Your US Vessel
Even if you have no plans to stop in other countries on the way to your U.S. port, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) still requires you to have enough fuel on board to get there without making any refueling stops outside of U.S. territorial waters.
Whether or not your ship enters another country’s territorial waters after leaving U.S. territorial waters or whether or not it remains within 12 nautical miles of the original point of entry into U.S. territorial waters, the CBP will still consider your ship to be “in transit” as long as it is moving toward the U.S.
The CBP has not specified how much gasoline is adequate, but you should have enough to get to your final location in the least amount of time possible, plus some margin for error (Just in case). You are not required to refuel before approaching Canadian seas if you are passing through on your journey back to the United States, but you should allow plenty of time for immigration and inspections in case of delays.
Check Your Safety Equipment
Check that all your safety equipment, including life vests, belts, a fire extinguisher, and pyrotechnics, is in good working order and available. When leaving your native nation, you can never be too careful.
It’s also a good idea to have more than the minimum amount needed by law so that you can use the extras to aid other sailors in need. Check that all your safety equipment, including life vests, belts, a fire extinguisher, and pyrotechnics, is in good working order and available. When leaving your native nation, you can never be too careful.
It’s also a good idea to have more than the minimum amount needed by law so that you can use the extras to aid other sailors in need. Acquire familiarity with both nations’ rules. You should familiarize yourself with the laws and policies of both countries that may affect the sort of U.S. vessel you own.
Contact the Maritime Documentation Center today for more information or to learn about our other services. Our friendly, knowledgeable staff will happily answer any questions and help you find your needs. We’re here to serve you.