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Author Topic: Law easing boating rules for Americans in Canadian waters clears Canadian Senate  (Read 1183 times)

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djkimmel

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Law easing boating rules for Americans in Canadian waters clears Canadian Senate

Legislation that would ease boating restrictions for U.S. recreational boaters and anglers on all waters shared by the two countries has cleared the Canadian Senate.

The bill would eliminate the need for American boaters to report to Canadian customs when passing through Canadian waters unless they anchor or set foot on Canadian soil. In New York, this bill would significantly change things on the St. Lawrence River, Lake Ontario, Lake Erie, Lake Champlain and the Niagara River.

Read full article on NewYorkUpstate.com.

Been watching this from a distance. Not sure yet if it will pass all steps but there seems to be good support for it. Cross your fingers that it happens, and in time for most of the Lake St. Clair fishing season!
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Jay-MadWags

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That would be great. Calling into Canadian Customs is always it or miss in the middle of Clair with cell phone service. One time I got disconnected 8 times and spoke to 8 different people. Took 35 minutes of my fishing time. I hope they change the call in rule.
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  No I didn't look at the article yet.  If this passes what would you still need??  License of course.  What about ID, Passport???
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dartag

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I have been calling from the parking lot at Harley or downriver if I am walleye fishing.   Never had a problem with them.   Funny you push the English speaking button and usually end up with an operator you can't understand.
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I have been calling from the parking lot at Harley or downriver if I am walleye fishing.   Never had a problem with them.   Funny you push the English speaking button and usually end up with an operator you can't understand.

That is funny! (And frustrating, I'm sure...) Good thing you're getting it done that way. I've had a number of persons tell me they were told they weren't 'in Ontario' yet so hang up and call back when they actually cross the border! I hate inconsistency in enforcement and process with regulations. Usually a sign that it may be a bad regulation.

I used to have no signal hardly even at Harley Ensign. Seems like there's better coverage there now. There are definitely parts of the lake where I can't get a good signal. Always a concern.
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djkimmel

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  No I didn't look at the article yet.  If this passes what would you still need??  License of course.  What about ID, Passport???

Not sure if there will be a good, clear answer to this? If you're around international borders you should probably always have some type of proof of nationality and who you are to be safe for any possible outcome.

I've asked a number of Canadian and U.S. border persons about what happens if I'm stopped, and they all basically say the burden of proof as to whether or not you've landed is on you. I've actually talked to a few persons who were stopped because it was felt they had landed without reporting. Some tried to show their GPS trail to prove they did not land. It was not always accepted immediately as proof.

In every case of being stopped it was expected you could prove who you were with some type of accepted identification.

If you NEVER go near the border on the water, odds are very low you will be stopped and questioned probably. Not zero, but very low.

I will say that I've had more strict treatment and expectations overall from the U.S. side than I have from the Canadian side over the years. Since I had a little tougher time coming back in than going over (by land in the past) I used to get the I-68 form when I did it a lot years ago. I don't anymore.

But to minimize any time that might be lost to this existing issue and simplify for the possibility that I might get stopped I do have an enhanced Michigan driver's license and I carry an official copy (all have said a 'xeroxed' copy is not acceptable) of my birth certificate in my wallet to prove my citizenship (I ordered a few copies from the county clerk where I was born).

I like the idea some people have a making a copy of the identification page of their passport (if they have one) so they can show that, and even if someone where to say a copy is not acceptable you at least have the number with you - they do sometimes ask for that. I've been thinking I have to remember to do that yet. I've made copies but I forget to put that page in my wallet.

Technically, the Canadian side requires primarily a passport for U.S. citizens who land in Canada (barring membership in something like NEXUS or FAST, etc.) it's probably a good idea to have at least a copy of it in case something happened and you did have to land on the Ontario side. It does happen to a few people boating out there every year.

The Canadians don't clearly state anywhere that other ID's are good enough for U.S. citizens but I believe by water a driver's license (or other state-issued picture ID, preferably an enhanced driver's license though they are only accepting them from a handful of states) and real copy of a birth certificate would probably work still. That should cover you for the U.S. side too most or all of the time.

When you call in to Canada at 888-CANPASS when you cross the border by water, they usually ask you for your name, sometimes DOB and citizenship and for all those on your boat. You have to write the number down that they give you (assuming they give you permission to enter - luckily almost all get permission though there are persons who are not allowed to enter). I think it is smart to have a small notebook in your boat to write the number down as some people I know do.

I also think it is probably a good idea for the boater to write this information down in the notebook in preparation for any time you are planning on crossing. I have a personal example of why knowing this in advance might be a good idea - I drew someone year's ago in a BFL. He was the boater but it turns out that knowing where he was from and more information about him would have been a good thing if we had had a quick discussion about this before launching.

We were stopped by Canadian wildlife officers at are very first spot in Canadian waters on the South Shore of Lake St. Clair - we had just stopped the boat and hadn't even picked up our fishing rods yet. Of course, they asked for our licenses. I produced mine, but the boater, my draw partner, unfortunately had left his wallet in his truck! Oh snap!!!

Things went downhill from there. Even though this was before 9/11, they were pretty concerned that he had no proof of who he was or citizenship... They mentioned that this could potentially go beyond just a ticket for failure to show a fishing license (even if you have bought one and prove it later you will have to pay the ticket for failure to show when asked unlike on the Michigan side) or confiscation of equipment (maybe EVERYTHING!!!  :o). They were adamant that he provide some proof of who he was... I was starting to wonder how I was getting back to the Michigan side without a boat/boater!?!

So, the first thing they decided after some discussion was to ask ME some questions about my fishing partner... sounds easy, except the only thing I actually knew about him was his name and that he was from somewhere in West Michigan. The first thing they asked me was what city he lives in... they told him to NOT speak! And I couldn't even answer that...?? It was a draw tournament after all and the first time I'd ever fished with him!

They did not act real happy or friendly that I didn't even know this much about my fishing partner... they weren't very interested in me trying to explain why I didn't know this at the time based on their cutting me off, their comments and behavior! Oh boy... to shorten the story, after some discussion - mostly between themselves - after some time they told us since we didn't have any fish in the boat, they hadn't actually seen us even use our fishing tackle yet, they were going to just give him a ticket for failure to show his fishing license (because we did have rods and reels on the deck which can be all the proof they need on the Ontario side of intent).

They said they could have at minimum confiscated his fishing tackle, possibly detain him, and of course, we needed to head directly to Michigan waters from this point. Luckily, the ticket, about a half hour of lost time while they were deciding what to do and a long ride directly back to Elizabeth Park was the worst of it. It probably would have been a lot less nerve-wracking if I had known a little more about him anyways, maybe over much sooner! I sometimes wonder what would have happened if we had this happen AFTER 9/11?!? Glad I didn't find out! I wonder that I would have had to get someone to come pick me up from somewhere in Ontario most likely!

I'm glad the scouts taught me a little about being prepared, and usually think of more ways I can and should be more prepared. One of the things I like about fishing with different people each year is learning all kinds of tips, not always just fishing tips.
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Help stop invasive spcies. Don't move fish between unconnected bodies of water. Clean, drain and dry your boat before launching on another water body.
Unless clearly stated as such, opinions expressed by Dan Kimmel on this forum are not the opinions or policies of Michigan BASS Nation or TBF of Michigan.
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