Crossing through the US between Canadian ports

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by WGalbraith, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Victoria
    If anyone has sailed or paddled from Victoria (Sidney) to White Rock or Crescent Beach I would like to know what is required, who to talk to, Toll free numbers etc.to keep US customs happy about me crossing through US waters. In this case I would have to traverse Point Roberts to get to my destination. I had a look at the 600 common questions on the Customs website and since none were close to mine, I attempted to submit my question. They have some high tech software that would not allow me to interact, so I am hoping that the good people at WCP can offer some suggestions.

    Hoping to visit relatives in White Rock next summer.

    Thanks,
    Wayne
     
  2. DarenN

    DarenN Paddler

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2006
    Messages:
    1,390
    Location:
    Surrey
    as long as you just sail through, and don't touch land (this includes anchoring) in the US, you don't have to contact US customs. also, stay well clear of other boats.
     
  3. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    Daren is absolutely right. Unless you're landing on US 'soil' you don't have to do anything. The ferries do it many times each day, as do many other pleasure and commercial craft, and there are no 'rules' dictating even an intention to cross US waters.

    I've paddled that stretch twice - the first time was solo from Cabbage Island (off Saturna) across to White Rock beach, in which you cross a pretty big stretch of US water (that was day 2 - first day was Victoria to Cabbage Island). The second time we paddled from Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen ferry terminal, following the ferry route exactly. Neither time did I encounter any Canadian or US 'official' boats, although in listening to the ferries and other commercial traffic on VHF Channel 11, quite a few times they did note our locations for other traffic in the area.

    If you're considering doing that trip by kayak, trust me - there are plenty more exciting places to paddle. I thought it would be fun to be able to say I did it. In actual fact, it was just plain boring and tiring. Probably one of the most boring paddles I've done to date. At least the second time there were two of us, which made the time pass faster (and we saw a brown pelican which was the highlight of an extremely drab day on the water).
     
  4. Mark_Schilling

    Mark_Schilling Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2005
    Messages:
    4,554
    Location:
    "Home by the Sea" - Nanaimo, BC
    I should add that if you're planning on stopping at Pt. Roberts en route, you'll have to check in at customs there immediately upon arrival (there must be a customs office there - should be easy to find with Google). However, when crossing 'back' into Canada again (ie White Rock) you'll once again have to check in at customs immediately upon arrival. I'm not sure where the closest place would be - I can't think of any major marinas in that area that might have Canada Customs offices. If there aren't any, as I suspect, it would make that part of the trip very difficult as you'd have to check in somewhere before landing at White Rock. Might be easier in reverse, as you'd go from White Rock to Pt. Roberts, check in there at US customs, then continue on to Sidney where there's a Canada Customs office at (I believe) Tsehum Harbour. Better yet, just don't land at Pt. Roberts and all your problems are solved.
     
  5. Jurfie

    Jurfie Paddler

    Joined:
    May 6, 2007
    Messages:
    805
    Location:
    Semiahmoo, South Surrey, BC
    It probably would be a good idea to carry passports even if you don't land, in case USCG or USBP come check you out as you pass through.

    If you do land in Point Roberts, you'll have to check in with CBSA upon re-entering Canada.

    From http://cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/publications/pub/bsf5061-eng.html

     
  6. kisielk

    kisielk Paddler

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2010
    Messages:
    94
    Location:
    Vancouver, BC
    I thought about it as well on my last trip back from the Island on the ferry. Then I realized that paddling the 30-40 miles of open water is really not that interesting :) Thanks for confirming my suspicion.
     
  7. WGalbraith

    WGalbraith Paddler

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2009
    Messages:
    194
    Location:
    Victoria
    Thanks for the help. Although a boring trip across, I am still seriously considering the trip. My favorite Aunt and Uncle live near the pier in White Rock and it would be a real adventure to paddle there... or maybe my boys and I will sail there instead. We are not planning to set foot on US soil but I like the passport idea just in case.

    As usual there is a lot of good advice from a wealth of experience on WCP.
     
  8. Alisonpaddles

    Alisonpaddles Paddler

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2009
    Messages:
    11
    Location:
    Delta
    It is really no big deal to check in at Point Roberts with the US customs.
    Just can't imagine not wanting to stop in and streach after that crossing. Paddle in to the Point Roberts Marina stop at the first Dock it is the customs dock. climb out follow signs to the phone and call in . The Customs guys arrive in about 1/2 hour you can camp here at Lighthouse Point they are part of Washington Water trails. If you have Nexus they may not even come check you out just record over Phone. Same thing with the custom Dock in Whiterock it is on the Big Pier . Last time I called in with my Cell the # is posted on a huge sign. Got my clearance and had a really nice meal of Fish and chips, while waiting for my ride.
    Alison
     
  9. chodups

    chodups Paddler

    Joined:
    Nov 2, 2005
    Messages:
    939
    How about checking in at Port Angeles after crossing from Victoria? Anyone have any experience?
    I am planning on crossing the strait next summer and really wanted to enter the states most anywhere west of Port Angeles but I'm hearing that customs don't play that.