Legal Basis By U.S. Customs & Border Protection Regarding Requirement For Private Boaters/Anglers To “Report Arrival” Into U.S. After Boating/Fishing In Foreign Waters

Updated 3-10-2018

Please note, Canada passed a new law last July 2018 making it easier for sports anglers to enter and fish Canadian waters. The requirements are simple, as long as sports anglers/boaters do not come to the dock or shore, make contact physically with another boat or ANCHOR they do not have to call Canadian Customs for a clearance number. If they do any of those things, they MUST call Canadian Customs.

Returning to the U.S. from Canadian waters has not changed. YOU MUST still call U.S. Customs upon returning to U.S. waters. Everyone aboard must either have a Nexus Card, Global Entry Card or an I-68. Penalties for failure to report are $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second offense.

Also, the WDFW recently implemented a Canadian Salmon Trip online report form that enables the master/captain of the vessel to pre-register each time they plan to salmon fish in Canada. This is only needed if you plan to keep salmon.

Here’s the link with a case from 2005 about a charter operator who wanted to fish Canadian waters with his customers. This information was passed on to me by Bellingham Port Director with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Anthony Zumpano.

https://rulings.cbp. gov/detail.asp?ru=116568&ac=pr

Zumpano sent me the below paragraph today.

The final holding of the ruling states, “Pursuant to applicable laws and regulations vessels, such as the one under consideration, which travel to the waters of a foreign country, come to rest or engage in an activity in foreign waters, and return to the U.S. are required to obtain vessel clearance, report arrival, and make formal vessel entry”.  Private vessels would be exempt the requirement to obtain clearance and make formal vessel entry pursuant to 19 USC 1441, but even that exemption requires that pleasure vessels comply with the requirement to report arrival.

In short, sports anglers who leave U.S. waters MUST call U.S. Customs & Border Patrol and “Report Arrival” into U.S. waters. And to properly do that an I-68 or Nexus card is required for proper entry and reporting.

Fishing Canadian waters is really simple once you have the I-68 or Nexus. Upon entering Canadian waters make your call to Canadian authorities, get a clearance number and fish. Upon re-entering U.S. waters call U.S. authorities, get a clearance number and be done for the day.

About John L. Beath

John Beath is a writer, photographer, videographer, blogger, tackle manufacturer & Captain at Whaler's Cove Lodge in Southeast Alaska. He is also owner of and host at Lets Talk Outdoors @
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