If you are the owner/operator of a private boat entering Canadian waters, and you are carrying 29 people or fewer, you must report your arrival to the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA).
Note: There are different requirements for boats carrying 30 or more people.
New for 2016 boating season: Pre-registration of travel information
To help ensure minimal wait times for private boat owners/operators reporting their entry into Canada using the CBSA Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC), we recommend that you pre-register your personal and travel document information in advance. You must provide the following information for each individual on the boat:
- Full legal name
- Date of birth
- Travel document number, type and expiry date
You can e-mail your information to TRC_PreRegistration_InscriptionPréalable_CRT@cbsa-asfc.gc.ca. The CBSA will enter your information into our system within 24 hours of receipt. You must still use the regular reporting methods to report your entry.
Whether you chose to pre-register or not, be sure to always have your travel documents on hand when you call the TRC to report entry into Canada. This will assist the CBSA in facilitating your entry into Canada as quickly as possible.
As owner/operator of the boat, it is your responsibility to report to the CBSA when you enter Canadian waters. While in most cases you will be required to report from a Telephone Reporting Site-Marine (TRS/M), in specific circumstances you can report from the water.
Reporting from a CBSA marine reporting site
Go directly to a TRS/M and follow the instructions posted on location to contact the Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC) and request clearance to enter Canada. Only the owner/operator may leave the boat to place the call to the TRC. Everyone else must remain onboard until the CBSA gives authorization.
Report directly in-person at one of ten Direct Reporting Sites for Marine Private Vessels (DRS/M), which are CBSA staffed marine ports of entry.
Reporting from the water
You can report to the TRC from the location at which you enter Canadian waters only if certain conditions are met. In all cases, everyone onboard must be a citizen or permanent resident of either Canada or the United States.
If you are visiting Canada, you can report to the TRC from your cellphone from the location at which you enter Canadian waters when you:
- do not intend to land on Canadian soil, and
- will not be leaving any people or goods in Canada.
If you are returning to Canada, you can report to the TRC from the location at which you enter Canadian waters when you:
- have not landed on U.S. soil, and
- you have not taken on any people or goods while in foreign waters.
Note: If you meet the above conditions and are planning on continuously weaving in and out of Canadian waters, you only need to report to the TRC the first time that you cross the border into Canadian waters.
Making your report
When you contact the TRC, you will be asked about your trip, passengers, and whether you have any goods to declare. As the owner/operator of the boat, only you can report to the TRC. You must collect the information from each passenger onboard and provide it to the TRC.
Requirements for Canadian citizens or permanent residents
- Full name, date of birth and citizenship;
- the length of absence from Canada; and
- one of the following:
- valid Canadian passport,
- enhanced driver's license,
- Permanent Resident Card,
- secure Certificate of Indian Status,
- NEXUS card, or
- Free and Secure Trade (FAST) card for Canadian citizens.
Requirements for non-residents of Canada
- Full name, date of birth and citizenship;
- length and purpose of the stay in Canada;
- acceptable identification; and
- visa information, if applicable.
Declarations for all passengers
All passengers must declare any goods being brought into Canada, as well as currency or monetary instruments totaling Can$10,000 or more. Restricted goods include, but are not limited to, firearms and weapons; food, plants, animals and related products; explosives, fireworks and ammunition. For information on what you can bring into Canada, visit the Bring Goods Across the Border page.
Note: Canadian citizens must also provide details about any repairs or modifications made to goods, including the boat, while these items were outside Canada.
Your CBSA report number and secondary inspection
A CBSA officer at the TRC will determine whether further verification or examination is needed. If you do not need further verification, the officer will provide you with a report number. If a secondary inspection is necessary, the officer will advise you to remain at the TRS/M, or go to one if you are reporting from the water, and to ensure that all goods and passengers remain onboard. The CBSA officer who conducts the secondary inspection will provide you with the report number.
Failure to report
Canadian law enforcement authorities patrol Canada's coasts and inland waterways and have the authority to stop any boat that has recently entered Canadian waters. Failure to report to the CBSA may result in detention, seizure or forfeiture of your boat and/or monetary penalties. The minimum fine for failing to report to the CBSA upon entry to Canada is Can$1,000.
Appealing a seizure or penalty
You have the right to appeal a seizure or penalty. To do so, you must send a written submission to the Recourse Directorate of the CBSA. To be considered, your appeal must be filed within 90 days of the seizure or penalty.
For more information on appeals, visit the Appeals/Reviews Web page.
Faster processing with the NEXUS and CANPASS programs
The NEXUS program provides low-risk travellers the option to be pre-approved by both the CBSA and the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Members can call the NEXUS marine reporting number up to four hours in advance of their arrival in Canada for more convenient processing. They also have access to expedited security screening at major airports in Canada and the United States. Members benefit from expedited border clearance at land, air and marine ports of entry. The program is available by application only and the fee is $50 for five years. The NEXUS program is jointly administered by the CBSA and the CBP. For more information visit the NEXUS Web page.
The CANPASS program for private boats also provides more convenient border clearance for low-risk, pre-screened travellers entering Canada. CANPASS members can report to the CBSA through the TRC up to four hours in advance of their arrival. Members can only benefit from the program when travelling by water. The fee is $40 for five years. For more information visit the CANPASS for private boats Web page.
Boats with 30 or more people
If you are in charge of a private boat carrying 30 or more people entering Canadian waters you cannot be cleared through the TRC. You must arrange for clearance locally by notifying the CBSA in writing at least 72 hours before you arrive in Canadian waters. Your notice should include the details of your arrival and a request to be cleared in person at a DRS/M or by the local CBSA office.
You can call the TRC or Border Information Services line for more information.
Are you organizing a boating event?
International/cross-border boating events are coordinated by the Special Events section at the CBSA Headquarters and the local CBSA office where the event is to take place. If you are organizing a boating event, you must contact the local CBSA office in your area as far in advance as possible and request that arrangements be made to accommodate the clearance of participants in your event. You may be required to provide details of your event and information about its participants to help with CBSA processing.
Marine reporting site locations
To find a TRS/M or a DRS/M in your area visit our interactive map or phone the TRC.
Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC):
Toll free: 1-888-226-7277
NEXUS telephone reporting line:
Toll free: 1-866-99-NEXUS (1-866-996-3987)
Border Information Service (BIS):
Toll free: 1-800-461-9999
Note: CANPASS members must call the TRC phone number for service.
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