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Philadelphia CBP Launches Operation Shore Watch to Remind Marinas, Boaters of Federal Reporting Requirements

Release Date: 
May 22, 2017

PHILADELPHIA – With the calendar flipping to May and the thermometer hitting 70 degrees, we anxiously await the quickly approaching summer and another busy boating season.  CBP officers are conducting Operation Shore Watch, an enforcement and outreach operation, to remind vessel operators of federal reporting requirements.

On May 12, CBP officers visited marinas in New Jersey’s Cape May County and Atlantic County, delivered new signs and flyers, and conducted outreach and compliance examinations of foreign-flagged vessels officers observed at those marinas.

CBP officers encountered seven vessels, flagged in Canada, Norway, British Virgin Islands, and France.  Most possessed valid CBP cruising licenses, but only two reported their arrival to CBP.

CBP officer pleasure boat reporting requirements outreach.
CBP officers continue to visit marinas
to remind pleasure boaters about
federal reporting requirements.

“It has been a long winter, and Customs and Border Protection wants to remind vessel operators, especially those arriving from Canada or returning to our area after wintering over in the Caribbean, how and where to report their U.S. arrivals,” said Shawn Polley, CBP’s Acting Port Director for the Area Port of Philadelphia.  “CBP will continue our marina visits throughout the boating season to remind vessel operators and verify compliance with the federal reporting requirement.”

CBP officers will continue to conduct boater outreach to include compliance visits and enforcement operations, and provide information on CBP’s various Trusted Traveler programs at marinas in New Jersey, Southeastern Pennsylvania, and Delaware, including during Memorial Day weekend.

CBP officers will continue outreach and enforcement operations throughout the boating season.

Pleasure Boat Reporting Requirements

Federal law (19 CFR 4.2) requires the master or person in charge of a vessel, such as a pleasure boat or yacht, regardless of size, to report their U.S. arrival immediately to the nearest CBP facility (see 19 U.S.C. 1433).  This requirement applies to all boats regardless of country of registration.  These reports are tracked in CBP’s Pleasure Boat Reporting System.

The master reports to CBP by phone at (215) 717-5950 or (215) 717-5951 during business hours, or at (800) 973-2867 if after hours.  The master and boat's passengers are then directed to the nearest Port of Entry or the nearest designated reporting location to present themselves for CBP inspection.

View a list of CBP reporting locations and contact numbers in Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey and Delaware.  The link above explains the procedures for reporting, the business hours of the marinas, and the phone numbers for the travelers to report via telephone of their arrivals.

Additionally, foreign registered boats must contact a local CBP office for a cruising license.  Cruising licenses exempt pleasure boats of certain countries from having to undergo formal entry and clearance procedures and may be obtained from the CBP Port Director at the first port of arrival in the United States.

“The United States is a welcoming nation,” said Casey Owen Durst, CBP’s Field Operations Director in Baltimore, the agency’s operational commander in the mid-Atlantic region.  “As the nation’s border security agency, Customs and Border Protection needs to know precisely who and what is entering the U.S. at all times.  These pleasure boat reporting requirements help CBP to effectively manage and to secure our nation’s borders.”

For more information, please visit CBP’s Pleasure Boats and Private Flyers reporting webpage.

Small Vessel Reporting System

There are four exceptions to the face-to-face inspection at a designated reporting location, NEXUS, Canadian Border Boat Landing Permit (I-68), Outlying Area Reporting Stations (OARS), and the Small Vessel Reporting System.

The Small Vessel Reporting System (SVRS) is a voluntary effort that will allow eligible, low-risk, pleasure boat operators and passengers, who are U.S. Citizens or Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) of the United States, to register with CBP and complete the customs and immigration clearance at the time of arrival.  This program will satisfy the boat operator's legal requirement to report to a port-of-entry 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.

CBP’s Office of Field Operations

Almost a million times each day, CBP officers welcome international travelers into the U.S.  In screening both foreign visitors and returning U.S. citizens, CBP uses a variety of techniques to intercept narcotics, unreported currency, weapons, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products, and to assure that global tourism remains safe and strong.  For international travel tips, please visit CBP’s Travel webpage.

CBP's border security mission is led at ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations, who enforce all applicable U.S. laws, including against illegal immigration, narcotics smuggling and illegal importation, and by CBP agriculture specialists, who protect U.S. agriculture from the introduction of pests or disease from overseas sources. 

Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders.

Learn more about "A Typical Day" for CBP in 2016.

Last modified: 
February 3, 2021