Customs officers warn recreational boaters about crossing Canada-US border
Published Friday, June 5, 2020 1:28PM EDT Last Updated Friday, June 5, 2020 1:30PM EDT
High water levels along the Detroit River in Windsor, Ont., on Tuesday, April 28, 2020. (Michelle Maluske / CTV Windsor)
WINDSOR, ONT. -- The Canada Border Services Agency is reminding all boaters that crossing the border for recreation or tourism is currently prohibited and could result in hefty fines.
Since March 21, there has been a temporary ban on all discretionary or optional travel at the Canada-U.S. border, this includes on the water. The restriction has been extended until June 21.
The closure is in place to limit the spread of COVID-19.
Border officials are concerned with the onset of warmer weather, boat and pleasure craft owners may be inclined to take their boats across the border on inland or coastal waterways, or to come to their cottages in Canada.
“These activities are considered discretionary (non-essential) travel according to temporary travel restrictions currently in place, and are, therefore, prohibited,” said a release from the CBSA. “Boaters are still permitted to navigate across international waters if needed, but are not allowed to enter Canadian territorial or boundary waters for discretionary, leisure (non-essential) reasons, including entry for touring, sightseeing and pleasure fishing.”
Boaters who enter Canada without reporting to the CBSA, including for the purpose of refueling, may face severe penalties, including monetary penalties, seizure of their vessels and/or criminal charges.
The minimum fine for failing to report to the CBSA upon entry to Canada is $1,000.
Non-compliance by foreign nationals may affect their immigration admissibility and ability to re-enter Canada in the future.
Failure to comply with the current border entry restrictions is an offence under the Quarantine Act and could lead to up to six months in prison and/or $750,000 in fines.
A person who causes a risk of imminent death or serious bodily harm to another person while willfully or recklessly contravening this act or the regulations could be liable for a fine of up to $1,000,000 or imprisonment of up to three years or both.
The CBSA and its law enforcement partners say they are actively monitoring Canadian waterways and will address any identified discretionary cross-border activities.