New reporting procedures for small boats beginning in 2016

U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) office of field operations will be implementing new procedures for small boats entering the country in 2016.

On December 22, the CBP announced new inspection procedures for foreign flagged private boats entering the U.S. These procedures will be in addition to the current reporting process.

All operators of pleasure boats must report to CBP immediately if they are arriving in the U.S. from a foreign port or location; if they had contact with another vessel outside the U.S.; or if they have received merchandise outside U.S. territorial waters.

Canadian registered boats moored full-time in Washington marinas will need to report in person the first time they return from Canadian waters. Operators should request a cruising license which will then allow them to report as usual (e.g. NEXUS) for the remainder of the year. The cost of a cruising license is $19.

“The cruising license will greatly facilitate multiple entries during the year and avoid additional fees for boaters,” said Bellingham port director Diana Sandoval.

A cruising license may be available to boats departing from Canada and arriving in the Puget Sound area. Cruising licenses may exempt some foreign flagged pleasure boats from having to undergo formal CBP entrance and clearance procedures, except at the first CBP port of entry each year. Cruising licenses are normally valid for one year.

The operator of a foreign flagged or undocumented foreign pleasure boat without a valid U.S. cruising license must obtain CBP clearance before leaving a port in the U.S.

Foreign flagged boats traveling under a cruising license would not be required to purchase a CBP decal, which is currently $27.50, for the year.

For questions, please contact the small boat reporting line at 800/562-5943.

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