How to kayak into the US (San Juan isles) from BC? (customs border question)

pointbob

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Jul 16, 2014
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Point Bob
Hi all

What's the procedure in visiting the san juans by kayak? I have nexus. Do I have to register for some program. Thanks
 

cougarmeat

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Sep 17, 2012
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Bend OR USA
From what I understand, the border is still closed and will be for some time. So driving over is out. As far as paddling over - there was a post about paddling into Canadian waters from the US and apparently, if you don’t land, you can paddle over and back and not have to check in.

That’s going from USA to Canada. And I’m guessing you want to land - so that needs to be answered. I last heard that state parks that are serviced by Ferry are closed. That means the San Juan county park (NE side of San Juan Island) is closed but small island parks - like Patos, Posey, Sucia, Jones would be open. But “open” doesn’t mean fully operational. The water sources might not be turned on. There was an earlier report that some - but not all - rest rooms (on Sucia) were open.

Though I don’t have those answers, I’m mentioning them because they are things you might want to ask about - besides the rules for checking in with customs (both landing in US and returning to BC)
 

dvfrggr

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Seattle,Wa
Hi pointbob,
If your location is Point Roberts and your a US citizen i would assume you paddling to the San Juans and camping is no problem, Alex wrote a great piece on this post detailing research of his day trip to Race Rocks. Read some of his other posts on San Juan park openings and who to contact for latest info.


 

cougarmeat

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Just saw on CNN that the ferry from Seattle to Victoria will be closed until April 2021. Doesn’t look like border crossings are recommended any time soon.
 

Jurfie

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May 6, 2007
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Semiahmoo, South Surrey, BC
From what I understand, the border is still closed and will be for some time. So driving over is out. As far as paddling over - there was a post about paddling into Canadian waters from the US and apparently, if you don’t land, you can paddle over and back and not have to check in.
Assuming @pointbob is transiting through Canadian waters to go from Point Roberts to the San Juans:

If you enter Canadian waters, you are not required to present yourself and report your goods to the CBSA if you:
  • do not land on Canadian soil and do not anchor, moor or make contact with another conveyance while in Canadian waters;
  • do not embark or disembark people or goods in Canada.
If you leave and re-enter Canadian waters, you are not required to present yourself and report your goods to the CBSA if you:
  • did not land outside Canada and did not anchor, moor or make contact with another conveyance while outside of Canadian waters;
  • did not embark or disembark any people or goods while outside Canada.
LINK: https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/travel-voyage/pb-pp-eng.html

If he is planning to land on Canadian soil, many check in points are closed. Refer to this site for those that are open:

https://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca/do-rb/openpoe-temp-pdeouvert/marine-maritime-eng.html

Either way, that’s a looooong, boring paddle. A number of years back a few members whom are no longer active posters paddled from Tsawwassen to the SGI and commented how they would never do it again, IIRC.
 

pointbob

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Jul 16, 2014
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Point Bob
Hi all

Sorry I wasn't clear. I'm a canadian yes. I live in south vancouver near tsawassen. I can SEE point roberts lol.

The above links seem to contain info coming BACK to canada. I still don't have a definitive - what goes on if you paddle into the US and who do you report to...US side....

Below article says you can travel to US by air but not by car. However no mention of boat.

" Canadian air passengers also likely won't have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival in the U.S. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that international travellers do so, but it's not a requirement unless specified by a particular region or state. "
 
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cougarmeat

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Bend OR USA
It might be a lot easier to cross to the US side then to get back. In normal times, I figure there is someone you’d contact on the San Juan Island

In a trip report to Race Island, Alex dug deeper into the “not stopping” rule for over and back. It appears the intent of that rule - and made more specific in the French version - was to allow “transition” through Canadian water. For example, passing through on the way to Alaska. leaving from A, going to B, and returning to A is not “transitioning through”.

My plans for Canadian adventure will probably be put off until summer 2021.

So Canada, understandably, doesn’t want people coming from the USA right now. I’m guessing you would be allowed back in your own country - but there might be a fine and/or quarantine period involved.

In the past, you had this:
"Canadian Border Boat Landing Permit (I-68) applicants for admission into the United States by small pleasure boats are inspected and issued an I-68 permit for the entire boating season. The I-68 permit allows boaters to enter the United States from Canada for recreational purposes with only the need to report to CBP by telephoning in their arrival."

Details found here:
pleasure-boat-overview

But why poke the bear (or pull on the maple leaf). Now is not the time for international travel.
 

SalishSeaNior

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Nov 15, 2020
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Okanagan Valley, Canada
Very old post, but I just saw it, so here is the answer for future reference. Marine Ports of Entry in Puget Sound, as well as Nexus Information can be found at this U. S. Customs and Border Protection link. Interestingly, I see I can paddle a kayak from Canada into the American End of Osoyoos Lake, report in and then presumably carry on down the Okanagan and Columbia Rivers to the Oregon Coast if that trip were to strike my fancy.

However, as noted above last summer, the border is closed to non-essential travel, any mode of travel, except commercial flights. I know this because my wife actually walked over from Canada Customs to the American side of the border a couple of months back, spoke to a US Customs Officer and asked if there was any way she would be allowed to travel down to Lummi Island to check on our cottage. The answer was an unequivocal no! The Officer also questioned her sanity as a Canadian wanting to enter the US at the time. He then went on to tell here not to ask him when the border might open, 'cause he said he couldn't speculate on that, but not before next spring, April was his guess. I expect the border will remain closed until most of the population in both countries are vaccinated and the Covid 19 case numbers are very low. We can only pray for that to happen as things stand now.

Just say'in.

R
 
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alexsidles

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Jan 10, 2009
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Seattle WA
One other option for kayakers seeking to enter the US by water is the CBP Roam app. You can check in by smartphone or tablet rather than in-person.

Be warned, however, that the customs officer who reviews your CBP Roam entry may re-direct you to the nearest marine port of entry for further inspection. This happened to me on a trip across Haro Strait last year: Instead of uploading a picture of my passport photo page, I mistakenly uploaded a photo of my own face! Seconds after I hit “send,” the app rang with a customs officer, who told me I would need to come see him in person at Roche Harbor!

I’m not sure what the procedure is if you check in by app but are too far to kayak to a port of entry if re-directed.

Alex
 
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