As you can probably imagine, crossing into foreign waters with your boat requires some consideration. Following the requirements of US Customs and Border Protection ensures that you can come back into the country legally. They are making sure that no one enters US waters with items that you are avoiding paying taxes for. If you plan to sail your USCG-documented vessel to Canada, here’s what you need to know so that the trip there and back is legal.
Verify Your Vessel Documentation
Before you begin your voyage to Canada, it’s imperative that you ensure that your vessel’s paperwork is current and that you have all of it handy on board. That includes your registration and any other relevant paperwork that deems your boat legal to sail in both the United States and Canada. You can find out exactly what you need by looking at the Coast Guard website and its sister site in Canada. Often you can fill out this documentation online but be sure you do so well in advance of your departure date to ensure that it’s all been approved before you leave.
Verify the Classification of Your Vessel
This refers to the purpose of your boat. That might be as a recreational vehicle, but it could also be for commercial purposes or another type of watercraft, such as a passenger boat or to move cargo. Depending on the classification of your vessel, you may need additional licenses or documentation when you travel to Canada. If you’re unsure what type your boat is classified as you can contact the United States Coast Guard for more information or refer to your boat’s documentation.
Fuel Up Before Departure
This might seem like a no-brainer, but it bears being mentioned because the US Customs and Border Protection requires you to have enough fuel on board to get you to your destination without making any stops outside United States territorial waters. Your ship is considered in transit as long as it’s moving, both to Canada and back into the United States. When you fuel up, make sure you have enough to get you to your final destination, plus some extra to make up for margins of error. Be sure you take into account any delays you might face, such as going through inspections and immigration. You won’t want to run out of gas in any of these situations.
Check Your Safety Gear
It’s important to inspect your safety gear before you leave. That includes all flaring or emergency devices, life jackets, fire extinguishers, and any other safety equipment you have on board. No matter where you’re sailing, but especially if you’re leaving the country, you can never be too careful. Be sure you have enough safety gear for you and your passengers, as well as a few extras in case you need to come to the aid of other boaters.
Do you want to know more about sailing outside the United States in a USCG-documented vessel? Here at Vessel Documentation Online, we’re committed to helping you navigate the process. Contact us today with your questions.