US flag Official website of the Department of Homeland Security

Archived Content

In an effort to keep current, the archive contains content from a previous administration or is otherwise outdated.

Michigan CBP Reminds of Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements

Release Date: 
May 24, 2010

Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. - Boating season is here and boaters are on the water. Customs and Border Protection would like to take this opportunity to remind boaters of reporting requirements and procedures for small pleasure vessels, arriving in the United States from a foreign port or place.

When Is Reporting Required? Boaters must report their arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection if they have been engaged in any of the below activities:

  • After having been at any foreign port or place including tying up at a foreign dock or;
  • After having had contact with any hovering vessel

The simple activity of fishing in Canadian waters will not require reporting arrival to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Reporting Requirements

How Do You Report?CBP has designated specific reporting locations within the Field Offices that are staffed during the boating season for pleasure boats to report their arrival and be inspected by CBP. The master of the boat must report to CBP telephonically. The master and all passengers will be directed to the nearest port of entry to satisfy the face-to-face inspection requirement. Boaters may also report directly to a designated reporting location during operational hours.

Designated reporting locations covered by the Sault Ste. Marie port of entry include; Sault Ste. Marie Kemp Marina (noon. - 8 p.m.), Drummond Island Yacht Haven (noon. - 8 p.m.), and Roger's City Public Marina (noon. - 8 p.m.), To contact CBP in the Sault Ste. Marie operational area please call (906) 632-7221 or (906) 632-2631.

Exceptions to Face-to-Face reporting to CBPAlternative Inspection Systems satisfy the boat operator's legal requirement to report for face-to-face inspection in accordance with 8 CFR 235.1, but boaters must still phone in their arrival to satisfy 19 USC 1433. AIS programs include:

  • Participation in the NEXUS program
    • The NEXUS program is a joint Canada-U.S. initiative. NEXUS cards are valid for five years and satisfy the boat operator's legal requirement to report to a port of entry for face-to-face inspection. Boaters can phone in their arrival.
  • Participation in the Canadian Border Boat Landing Permit System (I-68)
    • The I-68 permit is a yearly permit that allows boaters to enter the United States from Canada for recreational purposes with only the need to report to CBP by telephoning in their arrival. To report, call CBP in the Sault Ste. Marie area at the numbers above.
    • Boaters utilizing an I-68 are reminded that it is not a travel document. You must possess a Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative document in conjunction with the I-68.

Details about the I-68 and NEXUS programs can be found on the CBP website.

Declaring Items from Abroad

In addition to having the proper documents, planning ahead can expedite your crossing.

Travelers should adhere to the following points to help facilitate their crossings.

  • Be prepared to declare merchandise purchased or acquired in Canada.
  • Declare "duty-free goods" even if purchased at "duty-free" stores.
  • Do not attempt to bring unauthorized fruits, meats, and dairy products into the United States.
  • Do not attempt to bring Cuban cigars in as they are a prohibited item.
  • Even before leaving for the trip, obtain a Know Before You Go brochure available on the CBP website.

What Can Happen If I Do Not Report? Failure to report can result in civil penalties as defined in Title 19, United States Code, Section 1436 to include a penalty of $5,000 for the first violation and $10,000 for each subsequent violation with the conveyance subject to seizure and forfeiture. In addition to being liable for a civil penalty, any master who intentionally commits a violation under subsection (a) of this section upon conviction is liable for a fine of not more than $2,000 or imprisonment for 1 year or both.

Customs and Border Protection encourages boaters to have a safe and enjoyable season by knowing the rules for crossing the border.

Please report any suspicious activities observed to (1-800) BE-ALERT (1-800-232-5378) or the after hours toll free number(1-800) 562-5943.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021