Reporting requirements for private boaters

COVID-19 Notice:

During the COVID-19 pandemic, unless exempted, foreign national boaters are not permitted to enter Canadian waters. Failure to comply with the current prohibition of entry for discretionary or optional reasons (leisure, pleasure fishing, sightseeing, etc.) may result in severe monetary penalties or criminal conviction and/or imprisonment. Visit Transit through Canadian waters for more information.

This section summarizes important information for private boaters who are exempted from the current prohibitions and are permitted to enter Canadian waters.

Reporting options

As owner/operator of a boat entering Canadian waters, it is your responsibility to report to the CBSA. There are 3 ways to report:

To find a telephone or direct reporting site in your area visit our interactive map.

Telephone reporting centre

Call this number from a marine telephone reporting site to request clearance to enter Canada:

Toll free: 1-888-226-7277

Only the owner/operator may leave the boat to place the call. Everyone else must remain onboard until the CBSA authorizes entry.

Direct reporting sites for marine private vessels

Report directly in-person at one of 10 marine reporting site locations, which are staffed by the CBSA

Passenger groups of 30 or more

If you are in charge of a private boat carrying 30 or more people entering Canadian waters, you cannot be cleared by telephone upon arrival.

You must notify the CBSA at least 72 hours before you arrive in Canadian waters in writing, including:

For more information, contact:

Telephone Reporting Centre (TRC):
Toll free: 1-888-226-7277

Border Information Service (BIS):
Toll free: 1-800-461-9999

Reporting exceptions

Foreign national boaters

If you enter Canadian waters, you are not required to present yourself and report your goods to the CBSA if you:

If at any point during the transit you come to port, anchor, moor or make contact with another vessel, you must report to the CBSA immediately.

You may do so by calling the TRC using a cell phone from your location in Canadian waters if you meet all of the other conditions for an exception.

You must report restricted and prohibited goods on board, such as firearms, to the CBSA and obtain the necessary permits (if required), even if you meet the conditions for a reporting exception. Undeclared restricted and prohibited goods found on board will be seized and you could face criminal charges.

Under Canadian immigration law, foreign nationals, including passengers on board commercial passenger conveyances, are required to always carry proper identification and a valid visa (if necessary) for entry in Canada.

For more information, visit the Reporting exceptions page.

Canadian boaters returning to 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:

Making your report

As the owner/operator of the boat, only you can report to the CBSA. You will need to report:

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:

For information on what you can bring into Canada, visit Bring goods across the border.

Note: Canadian citizens must also provide details about any repairs or modifications made to goods, including the boat, while these items were outside Canada.

Requirements for Canadian citizens or permanent residents

Requirements for non-residents of Canada

Your CBSA report number and secondary inspection

A CBSA officer 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 inspection site, or to 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 Appeals/Reviews.

Faster processing with the NEXUS program

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.

Boating events

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.

Contact information

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

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